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Credit: Jesse Zhang

Penn President Liz Magill and Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok announced their resignations on Saturday following months of mounting scrutiny over antisemitism on campus.

These simultaneous resignations are unprecedented.

Magill has become Penn's first president to resign for reasons other than a government appointment and is the University president with the shortest tenure to date. While Magill will stay on as president until an interim is appointed, Bok's resignation is effective immediately.

The Daily Pennsylvanian compiled the next steps and implications of the dual resignations.

Magill to stay on as faculty

Magill will remain a tenured faculty member at University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, according to the announcement of her resignation.

Magill previously served as a professor at the University of Virginia Law School and dean of Stanford Law School.

Penn to search for permanent president

Magill will stay on as president until an interim president is appointed. 

After this, per the Penn Faculty Handbook, “When it becomes necessary to elect a new President, the Chair of the Board of Trustees shall convene a Consultative Committee, composed of trustees, deans, faculty, staff, and students, to advise in the selection process.” The chair is also responsible for creating a search committee.

A final candidate is then brought forth by the Executive Committee to be voted on by the full board. A candidate must receive an affirmative vote from two-thirds of the trustees to be elected president.

Board of Trustees to select interim chair

Contrary to Magill, Bok's resignation is effective immediately.

Julie Beren Platt will become the interim chair of the Board of Trustees, according to an announcement on Saturday night.

Platt, a 1979 College graduate, previously served as the vice chair of the Board of Trustees and was the Penn Alumni president from 2013 until 2018. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2006

It is unclear who will fill her position.

Implications for free speech on campus

Magill's resignation was a response to backlash from comments made during Tuesday's Congressional hearing about addressing antisemitism on college campuses. When asked by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) whether individuals who call for the genocide of Jewish people violate Penn’s policies or code of conduct, Magill said it was "context-dependent." 

Multiple students expressed concern over what the resignation means for the state of academic freedom on campus.

“I think it's very concerning for academic freedom as a whole that the university is kowtowing to the will of donors," College first year Kyle Fukumoto said, adding that he thinks Penn's Code of Conduct needs revisions.

Other students expressed concern for what the resignations mean in regard to free speech as campus conversations about the Israel-Hamas war continue.

“I’m alarmed at the implications for free speech and academic freedom as the far right uses this resignation as license to start policing calls for peace, ceasefire, and Palestinian rights,” Engineering sophomore and progressive Jewish group Penn Chavurah board member Lily Brenner said.

Does this solve Penn's antisemitism controversies?

Several students expressed hope that Magill's resignation will serve as a turning point for Jewish life on campus, while also acknowledging that the University needs to take further steps.

“I hope we can start to restore our campus community as a safe and inclusive place for Jewish students and all students from all backgrounds,” Vice President of Israel Engagement at Penn Hillel and College junior Maya Harpaz, who is also a member of the University's antisemitism task force, said.

In a statement, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan Greenblatt said that he hopes her resignation serves as a “wake-up call” for other college presidents.