Rep Elise Stefanik and billionaire Bill Ackman lead calls for Harvard and MIT presidents to be FIRED – after UPenn boss resigned in wake of shameful Congress hearing on anti-Semitism

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Magill stepped down from her post at the Ivy League institution following fierce backlash to her controversial testimony over antisemitism on campus 
  • Stefanik, who repeatedly tried to get the presidents to condemn statements encouraging genocide of Jews, said in a post on X that she’s not done yet
  • ‘One down. Two to go,’ she wrote. ‘This is only the very beginning of addressing the pervasive rot of antisemitism’ 

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who led the hearings that led to the president of the University of Pennsylvania resigning, has said she’s waiting for the same from the presidents of Harvard and MIT.

Former UPenn President Liz Magill stepped down from her post at the Ivy League institution following fierce backlash to her controversial testimony over antisemitism on campus. 

Stefanik, who repeatedly tried to get the presidents to condemn statements encouraging genocide of Jewish people, said in a post on X that she’s not done yet.

‘One down. Two to go,’ she wrote. ‘This is only the very beginning of addressing the pervasive rot of antisemitism that has destroyed the most ‘prestigious’ higher education institutions in America. 

Bill Ackman, the billionaire hedge fund manager and Harvard alum who has led the movement to get rid of the progressive university leaders, had similar words.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who led the hearings that led to the president of the University of Pennsylvania resigning, has said she’s waiting for the same from the presidents of Harvard and MIT

‘There is hope for Penn,’ he wrote. 

‘Now the focus turns to Presidents Gay and Kornbluth and the boards of Harvard and MIT,’ Ackman added.

Similar sentiments came from other members of Congress, including Long Island Representative Lee Zeldin. 

‘Penn’s President Liz Magill is out! Harvard and MIT must follow suit. Any university president harboring and protecting students calling for the genocide of Jews should be thrown out of office immediately.’

Florida’s Congressman Carlos Gimenez followed: ‘President Liz Magill of the University of Pennsylvania RESIGNED as did the President of the Board of Trustees. 

‘Former President Magill should take Harvard’s Claudine Gay and MIT’s Sally Kornbluth along with her,’ he added. ‘Their failure to condemn genocide is beyond disgraceful!’

Magill, alongside the president’s of Harvard and MIT, was summoned before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday by lawmakers concerned by reports of a rise in antisemitism at leading universities. 

They faced heated questioning from committee chair Stefanik but failed to assert that calls for genocide against Jews on campus would definitively constitute harassment. 

Bill Ackman, the billionaire hedge fund manager and Harvard alum who has led the movement to get rid of the progressive university leaders, had similar words

Bill Ackman, the billionaire hedge fund manager and Harvard alum who has led the movement to get rid of the progressive university leaders, had similar words

Following international outcry, including more than 70 lawmakers calling for her resignation, Magill stood down on Saturday. 

Pressure is now growing for the president’s of Harvard and MIT whose testimony largely mirrored Magill’s, with congresswoman Stefanik writing ‘One down. Two to go’ on X. 

‘This is only the very beginning of addressing the pervasive rot of antisemitism that has destroyed the most ‘prestigious’ higher education institutions in America’ Stefanik wrote on Saturday evening. 

Adding: ‘Harvard and MIT, do the right thing. The world is watching.’

Just minutes after Magill’s statement the chair of the Upenn’s board of trustees, Scott Bok, also resigned. 

Bok’s Vice Chair, Julie Beren Platt, has been named interim chair of the board.  

In a statement issued Saturday evening Magill wrote: ‘It has been my privilege to serve as President of this remarkable institution. 

‘It has been an honor to work with our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to advance Penn’s vital missions.’

The president of the University of Pennsylvania Liz Magill has resigned from her post following fierce backlash to her controversial congressional testimony over antisemitism on campus

The president of the University of Pennsylvania Liz Magill has resigned from her post following fierce backlash to her controversial congressional testimony over antisemitism on campus

U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik during the tense House Education and The Workforce Committee hearing

U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik during the tense House Education and The Workforce Committee hearing

Scott L. Bok, Chair of the school's Board of Trustees, later announced his own resignation following Magill's decision to step down, effective immediately

Scott L. Bok, Chair of the school’s Board of Trustees, later announced his own resignation following Magill’s decision to step down, effective immediately

In his own resignation statement Bok defended Magill as a ‘good person’ who is ‘not the slightest bit anti-Semitic’ but had made a ‘misstep’ after ‘months of relentless external attacks.’ 

‘Today, following the resignation of the University of Pennsylvania’s President and related Board of Trustee meetings, I submitted my resignation as Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, effective immediately,’ he said in a statement. 

‘While I was asked to remain in that role for the remainder of my term in order to help with the presidential transition, I concluded that, for me, now was the right time to depart.’ 

He acknowledged that Magill had made an error during her disastrous Congressional testimony and described it as a ‘dreadful 30-second sound bite’.

Bok added: ‘Former President Liz Magill last week made a very unfortunate misstep—consistent with that of two peer university leaders sitting alongside her—after five hours of aggressive questioning before a Congressional committee.

‘Following that, it became clear that her position was no longer tenable, and she and I concurrently decided that it was time for her to exit.’

He wished Magill ‘well in her future endeavors’ and praised her as a ‘good person and a talented leader who was beloved by her team’.

He continued: ‘She is not the slightest bit anti-Semitic. Working with her was one of the great pleasures of my life. 

‘Worn down by months of relentless external attacks, she was not herself last Tuesday.

Magill resigned on Saturday following calls for her to quit which only ramped up after she appeared before Congress to explain her response to the anti-Semitism

Magill resigned on Saturday following calls for her to quit which only ramped up after she appeared before Congress to explain her response to the anti-Semitism

Harvard President Claudine Gay at the congressional hearing on antisemitism on campus

Harvard President Claudine Gay at the congressional hearing on antisemitism on campus

MIT President Sally Kornbluth - who is Jewish - was equally condemned for her remarks

The hearing also saw widely criticized testimony from MIT president Sally Kornbluth

‘Over prepared and over lawyered given the hostile forum and high stakes, she provided a legalistic answer to a moral question, and that was wrong.’ 

Magill was slammed for her testimony, in which she said that reprimanding students who call for a Jewish genocide was not paramount – but ‘context’ specific.

She was asked a ‘yes or no’ question on whether calls for the genocide of Jews counted as hate speech, and repeatedly said it depended on the context.

On Wednesday she attempted to clarify her comments, but the damage was done: a wealthy alumnus withdrew a $100 million donation, and her remarks were roundly condemned by the ADL, the White House and politicians across the board.

Magill issued a groveling video statement attempting to explain her failure to condemn calls for the genocide of Jewish people on campuses.

She said she was not ‘focused’ on the issue, and said she wanted to ‘be clear’ that calls for genocide were ‘evil, plain and simple’ – although she said the blame lay with her university’s policies and the constitution, rather than with her.

Magill said: ‘There was a moment during yesterday’s Congressional hearing on antisemitism when I was asked if a call for the genocide of Jewish people on our campus would violate our policies.

‘In that moment, I was focused on our university’s long-standing policies – aligned with the U.S. Constitution – which say that speech alone is not punishable.

The former president will remain a tenured faculty member at Penn Carey Law

The university's board held crisis talks on Tuesday but 'nothing' happened, according to sources. A second meeting was set for Sunday before the announcement came

The university’s board held crisis talks on Tuesday but ‘nothing’ happened, according to sources. A second meeting was set for Sunday before the announcement came

‘I was not focused on, but I should have been, the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate. It’s evil, plain and simple.’

Magill said she hoped to draw a line in the sand, and clarify her position.

‘I want to be clear: a call for genocide of Jewish people is threatening, deeply so,’ she said.

‘It is intentionally meant to terrify a people who have been subjected to pogroms and hatred for centuries, and were the victims of mass genocide in the Holocaust.

‘In my view it would be harassment or intimidation.’

But, Magill said, it was not officially classed as harassment – a policy she said was outdated and needed review.

Magill pledged to work to update the existing rules.

‘For decades under multiple Penn presidents and consistent with most universities, Penn’s policies have been guided by the Constitution and the law,’ she said.

‘In today’s world, where we are seeing signs of hate proliferating across our campus and our world in a way not seen in years, these policies need to be clarified and evaluated.

‘Penn must initiate a serious and careful look at our policies.’

She concluded that she was ‘committed to a safe, secure and supportive environment so all members of our community can thrive. We can, and we will, get it right.’

On Thursday, as the House Education Committee said they were investigating the issue further, the board of Wharton – the world’s first business school, founded in 1881 at the University of Pennsylvania – said Magill needed to resign.

In a letter addressed to her, they said leadership of the university needed to change ‘with immediate effect’.

Magill on Wednesday tried to explain her equivocation when asked if calling for the genocide of Jewish people was hate speech

Magill on Wednesday tried to explain her equivocation when asked if calling for the genocide of Jewish people was hate speech

In a letter addressed to Magill, the Wharton Board said leadership of the university needed to change 'with immediate effect'

In a letter addressed to Magill, the Wharton Board said leadership of the university needed to change ‘with immediate effect’

‘As a result of the University leadership’s stated beliefs and collective failure to act, our Board respectfully suggests to you and the Board of Trustees that the University requires new leadership with immediate effect.’

The board, in a letter first obtained by The Daily Pennsylvanian, describes their concern about ‘dangerous and toxic culture’ at Penn that they said the University leadership has allowed to exist.

The letter added that the University leadership ‘does not share the values of our Board.’

The House Education and the Workforce Committee said it will probe the elite schools with the ‘full force of subpoena power,’ after presidents Claudine Gay, Sally Kornbluth, and Magill’s astonishing words and actions.

Her resignation comes after crisis talks where ‘nothing’ happened were held earlier in the week.

The Board was due to meet again Sunday to discuss Magill stepping down before she offered to go.

At the time of her resignation, a petition calling for her to be sacked had received more than 26,000 signatures. 

Magill had been in post since July last year, but her and it appears her poor stewardship of clashes between Pro Palestine and Israel supporters will become her legacy.

Several high profile donors threatened to withdraw or have already removed their funding amid the controversy.

Among them was Ross Stevens, the founder and CEO of New York-based Stone Ridge Asset Management, who said he withdrew his $100 million donation in disgust over Penn’s handling of anti-Semitism.

Bill AckmanPennsylvania

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