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Former Faculty Senate chair Tulia Falleti attends a University Council meeting on Feb. 22, 2023.

Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

Political science professor Tulia Falleti resigned from her position as Chair of the Faculty Senate early this afternoon in response to Penn's disbandment of the Gaza Solidarity Encampment. 

In the letter, which was sent to Interim Penn President Larry Jameson and Provost John Jackson Jr. at 1:34 p.m., Falleti wrote that she is resigning as she is “no longer confident of my ability to work collaboratively with our administration that has sent in the police to arrest its own students, staff, and faculty ….” Falleti was set to leave her position upon the expiration of her term on June 30.

“Professor Falleti has provided invaluable service to the University of Pennsylvania during her time as a Tri-Chair of the Faculty Senate,” remaining tri-chairs Eric Feldman and Vivian Gadsden wrote in a statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian. “We regret her resignation and look forward to continuing to work with her in the days ahead.”

A request for comment has been left with a University spokesperson. 

“Today, I am heartbroken that my University, the institution where I have taught, carried out my research, and worked in service of our students, staff, and faculty in myriad ways for over twenty years has decided to send in the police to arrest its own students, staff, and faculty,” Falleti wrote.

She also added that she will continue to defend “academic freedom, free speech, and due process” in her position as a standing faculty member. 

“I leave my leadership role in the Faculty Senate, with the following unsolicited worlds of advice to our administration, our Trustees, our boards’ advisors, and to my fellow colleagues,” Falleti wrote. “It comes from our students: 'We commit to assuming the best intentions, granting ourselves and others grace when mistakes are made and approaching conflict with the goal of addressing, repairing, and restoring.'”

Falleti also noted her upbringing in Argentina, adding that engaging in peaceful protests for a variety of causes were “formative political experiences.”

On May 4, Falleti published an op-ed in the DP alleging that the pro-Israel billboard trucks that have been on campus since last semester are part of a "concerted, external political campaign against higher education institutions."

The trucks were parked at 36th and Walnut streets on the morning of May 3, playing a four-minute video loop of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. This marked the first time the trucks have been seen near campus since the fall semester.

She added that the billboards stand against "academic freedom, against open expression, and, in the case of our University, against a peaceful protest of students, staff, faculty, and local community members."

The Faculty Senate was established in 1952 as the "representative voice for full-time teaching faculty at the University of Pennsylvania." The chair is part of the Senate Executive Community, which engages in substantive investigation and consideration of matters of import with the University administration. The SEC plays a role in consulting with senior administrators, reviewing and changing formal policy that fall under Senate responsibility, and initiating consideration and exploration of issues that are "of concern to the SEC membership."

Feldman, a professor at University of Pennsylvania Carey Law school, is currently the chair-elect of the Senate. It is unclear if he will assume the role as chair immediately.