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University of Pennsylvania Faces Calls for President’s Resignation Amidst Antisemitism Controversy

Former U.S. Ambassador and University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) alum, Jon Huntsman, has added his voice to the growing chorus demanding the removal of UPenn President Liz Magill from her position. This comes after her contentious appearance at a House hearing on antisemitism, which many have deemed disastrous.

Huntsman expressed his unequivocal stance, stating, “It’s not even debatable,” insisting that the trustees sever all ties with the current leadership for the institution to regain its luster. The former governor of Utah went further, suggesting a need for a “simple IQ test” to address the issue.

In October, Huntsman announced a halt to his family’s donations to UPenn, citing the school’s perceived “silence” following the Hamas terrorist attack against Israel. The Huntsman family has been a significant contributor to UPenn over the years, with multimillion-dollar donations, including a historic $40 million gift to the Wharton Business School in 1998.

This development follows a trend of high-profile donors withdrawing their support from UPenn, accusing the leadership of inadequate responses to antisemitism on campus. Magill’s controversial responses during the House hearing intensified the criticism, as she, along with presidents from Harvard and MIT, refused to acknowledge that calls for the genocide of Jews on their campuses violated rules and amounted to harassment.

Magill attempted to address the backlash through a video statement, emphasizing her focus on university policies and constitutional protections of free speech during the hearing. Despite acknowledging the severity of a call for genocide, her attempts at clarification have failed to quell the mounting pressure for her resignation.

In a significant blow, another major donor withdrew a $100 million donation from the university, expressing reconsideration only if Magill steps down. The Wharton Board of Trustees has also entered the fray, issuing a letter calling for Magill’s resignation.

As UPenn grapples with this controversy, the future of its leadership and financial support remains uncertain, posing challenges to the institution’s reputation and stability. The call for change echoes through the halls of academia, emphasizing the delicate balance between freedom of speech and the responsibility of educational institutions to ensure a safe and supportive environment for all.

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