University Faces Costly Backlash to President’s Testimony

University Faces Costly Backlash to President's Testimony

( – With the rise in antisemitism occurring on campuses all across the country, universities are starting to feel the pressure — and not just from the students. A significant donor to the University of Pennsylvania recently announced he’s withdrawing a partnership worth $100 million due to the way the university has handled antisemitism on their campus unless the university gets rid of current President Liz Magill.

The donor in question is Ross Stevens, who founded and runs Stone Ridge Asset Management. Attorneys representing Stevens sent a letter informing the University of his intention to withdraw his donation unless the university replaces the current president, suggesting they are “appalled” at how she handled questions from Congress.

Liz Magill appeared in front of Congress earlier this month to report on how she and her university are handling the rising tide of antisemitic speech and actions on UPenn’s campus, and many were dissatisfied with her answers. When directly asked whether calling for Jews to be exterminated violates UPenn’s policies on bullying or harassment, Magill said it was a “context-dependent decision.”

The letter from Stevens and his attorneys suggests that Magill’s lax approach to antisemitism on campus violated the terms of his donation agreement, specifically their anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. The letter-writers criticized Magill and the university’s “permissive approach to hate speech.”

Both Pennsylvania Senators, Doug Mastriano and Steve Santarsiero, have called for Magill to resign her position. The Board of Advisors for the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania has also called on Magill to resign. The Wharton board said they had met eight times in the last month to discuss the issue, which has never happened before. Ordinarily, Magill and the chair for the Board of Trustees attend meetings that the Wharton board holds, but they either chose not to attend or were not invited to do so.

After Magill’s appearance in front of Congress on December 5th, the Wharton board officially called for her resignation. Four days later, she stepped down from her position.

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