Published On: Sat, Dec 9th, 2023

You Don’t Yell ‘GENOCIDE’ On A Crowded Campus! Liz Magill Resigns As President Of Penn

This president had a problem with clarity that was costly to the university where I got my master’s degree, which wasn’t easy to do working nights as a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter.

Why couldn’t President Elizabeth Magill have provided a clear yes or no answer to whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated my alma mater’s code of conduct?  Now she has tendered her resignation as president of the University of Pennsylvania.

How could she not have consulted the experts in public relations at the Annenberg School of Communications, where I studied at Penn, whom I’m sure would have coached her to come down hard on calls for genocide of Jews, comparing them to shouting fire in a crowded theater leading to harassment, violence and even deaths.

Her appearance in the House caused the University of Pennsylvania to face a significant setback as major donor Ross Stevens withdrew a $100 million grant.

Magill, alongside Harvard President Claudine Gay and MIT’s Sally Kornbluth, faced criticism for evading questions regarding the punishment of students advocating for the genocide of Jews during the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

The backlash from the testimony given by the leaders of Penn, Harvard and MIT   intensified after the hearing in the House of Representatives. All three failed to provide a clear yes or no answer to Rep Elise Stefanik’s question about whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated their university’s code of conduct or rules regarding bullying and harassment.

She should have taken a quick course at Annenberg School, which is just down the campus corridor from Wharton, the school to which President Trump transferred after spending two years at Fordham University in New York and graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics.

In a video released on the university’s website, Magill apologized for her initial response during the hearing, acknowledging that she should have focused on the undeniable fact that a call for the genocide of Jewish people is a call for severe violence, and definitely in violation of the university’s code of conduct.

Here is an excerpt from the letter I just this minute received digitally from Scott L. Bok, Chair, Board of Trustees, University of Pennsylvania:

Dear Members of the Penn Community,

I write to share that President Liz Magill has voluntarily tendered her resignation as President of the University of Pennsylvania. She will remain a tenured faculty member at Penn Carey Law.
On behalf of the entire Penn community, I want to thank President Magill for her service to the University as President and wish her well. We will be in touch in the coming days to share plans for interim leadership of Penn. President Magill has agreed to stay on until an interim president is appointed.   
President Magill shared the following statement, which I include here: 

“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.”

Tom Madden’s code of conduct is to tell it like it is in his articles, blogs and books, including his latest, WORDSHINE MAN, full of tips on how to make writing inviting. He also is CEO of TransMedia Group, a high-powered PR firm that offers such services, including one he would like to provide his alma mater, University of Pennsylvania—crisis management. 

About the Author

- Sharing timely, newsworthy weekly blogs by the one and only Thomas J. Madden at and other newsworthy topics from his mighty PR firm TransMedia Group.

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