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The Wharton Board of Advisors has called for a change in university leadership, according to a letter to Liz Magill, obtained by the DP.

Credit: Derek Wong

The Wharton Board of Advisors is calling on the University to change leadership with "immediate effect," according to a letter to Penn President Liz Magill first obtained by The Daily Pennsylvanian.

The letter describes the Board's concern about "dangerous and toxic culture" at Penn that they said the University leadership has allowed to exist. The letter adds that the University leadership "does not share the values of our Board."

According to the letter, the Board has held eight sessions since Nov. 16 and had drafted a set of resolutions regarding campus conduct and leadership before the congressional testimony.

"In light of your testimony yesterday before Congress, we demand the University clarify its position regarding any call for harm to any group of people immediately, change any policies that allow such conduct with immediate effect, and discipline all offenders expeditiously," the letter said.

The letter includes three proposed resolutions — which the board reported two weeks ago — from the board meeting on Nov. 16. The resolutions aim to address “standards of behavior,” “leadership and governance,” and “Wharton Board ongoing review.”

The “standards of behavior” proposed resolution said that Wharton community members will not celebrate murder or genocide, use hate speech, or use language that threatens the physical safety of others. The resolution also said that those who violate these standards will “be subject to immediate discipline.”

The “leadership and governance” proposed resolution said that the University Board of Trustees “must be immediately strengthened,” adding that its oversight of the University “must be examined and enhanced.”

The “Wharton Board ongoing review” proposed resolution said that the Wharton Board of Advisors will monitor antisemitism at Penn and work towards increasing the safety and security of campus.

“Our University chooses to maintain policies that do not protect our students and our community,” the letter said.

The letter — which does not include a date — requested that Magill and the Board of Trustees take action at the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees held an emergency gathering at 9 a.m., and an Executive Committee luncheon took place at 12 p.m on Dec. 7.

The chair of the Wharton School's Board of Advisors Mark Rowan previously called on Magill and Bok to step down, citing the University's handling of antisemitism on campus on Oct. 11.

“I call on all UPenn alumni and supporters who believe we are heading in the wrong direction to ‘Close their Checkbooks’ until” Magill and Bok step down, Rowan wrote in a letter.

The Wharton board includes top business leaders such as the former chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, 1986 Wharton graduate and principal owner of the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers Josh Harris, and BET Media Group president and chief executive officer Scott Mills. 

The letter comes amid growing scrutiny over Magill's remarks at a congressional hearing of the United States House Committee on Education and the Workforce and almost two months after several alumni and donors called for her resignation following the Palestine Writes Literature Festival and Hamas' attack on Israel. 

During the hearing on Dec. 5, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) asked whether individuals who call for the genocide of Jewish people violate Penn’s policies or code of conduct. Stefanik described calls for "Intifada revolution" among some protesters on campus as calls for genocide of Jews. 

“If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment,” Magill told Stefanik at the House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing, later adding, “It is a context-dependent decision."

The University's "Free Speech FAQs" detail Penn's guidelines governing hate speech. These rules state that speech can only be disciplined by the University if "the inflammatory speech intentionally and effectively provokes a crowd to immediately carry out violent and unlawful action."

"Universities can invest their efforts and resources in educating their members and in creating spaces and contexts for productive dialogue, but they cannot legitimately punish members — students, staff, and faculty — who choose not to participate in those, or who profess bigoted and other hateful views," Penn's policy reads. "This is especially true in open and public spaces, like Locust Walk."

Magill expressed regret for her statements during in a video released Wednesday evening, pledging to evaluate Penn's policies regarding hate on campus. 

Staff reporter Emily Scolnick contributed reporting.