Jewish students at UPenn say Magill’s resignation isn’t enough


Jewish students at the University of Pennsylvania said the resignation of President Liz Magill and Chairman Scott Bok was not enough to make them feel safe following a series of antisemitic incidents, arguing that further “change” at the school was necessary.

“There’s a realization that one step is over,” junior Akiva Berkowitz told USA Today outside of Steinhardt Hall, home to the school’s Hillel club. “But the process is not and I don’t want people to think this is the end.”

The student was reacting to Magill and Bok’s resignation on Saturday, adding: “Many things still need to happen. A lot still needs to change.”

Sophomore Jack Cohen said despite Magill and Bok’s resignation, “It’s not comfortable here” and demanded that more be done.

“At the end of the day, we want to see more change,” he said. “We want to feel more supported.

“‘Change’ is the key word — change for the better.”

Jewish students at the Ivy League institution have previously called out school officials for doing nothing while they experienced several antisemitic incidents.

University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill resigned from her position on Saturday, following her disastrous testimony before Congress. Getty Images

In September, one month before Hamas launched its surprise attack on Israel, pro-Palestinian student groups hosted a weekend literature festival on the campus billed as an event to “explore the richness and diversity of Palestinian culture.”

But the event — which featured more than 100 speakers — also hosted some who have been accused of pushing antisemitic agendas, including one person who called for “death to Israel.”

Following the terrorist attack in Israel, pro-Palestinian demonstrations have taken over the campus, featuring chants for “intifada” or uprising, which has also been sprayed as graffiti across the campus alongside “Avenge Gaza.”

A property next to a Jewish fraternity house was also vandalized with the words “Jews R Nazis” at the end of October.

“The protests have not been fun,” Berkowitz said as he left Penn Hillel.

Jewish students at the Ivy League institution have previously called out school officials for doing nothing while they experienced several antisemitic incidents. Police Free Penn

The Maryland native said he wears a yarmulke on campus and has never felt personally threatened, but was taken aback by some of the language he heard during the pro-Palestine rallies.

Megan Singleton, a graduate student at the school, also claimed that after a swastika was found at the Hillel “nothing was really done.”

She said students felt their concerns and suggestions were being ignored by administrators, whose responses were “weak.”

“No one wants to go to an institution not feeling safe to practice their beliefs,” she told USA Today, adding that she was glad to see Magill resign.

Several Jewish students at the university said more needs to be done to make them feel safe. Robert Miller

The university president had come under pressure from donors and even from members of the school’s administration to resign after testifying that calls for genocide against Jews would only violate the university’s code of conduct depending on the “context.”

Immediately following her Congressional appearance, a federal lawsuit was filed accusing the campus of being a hotbed of antisemitism well ahead of Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault.

The suit — brought by undergraduates Eyal Yakoby and Jordan Davis — claimed Penn broke federal civil rights law when it decided to selectively enforce its rules to “avoid protecting Jewish students from hatred and harassment,” according to Bloomberg Law.

The school has also ignored students’ pleas for protection and hired “rabidly antisemitic professors,” Bloomberg said.

A federal lawsuit claims the school has ignored students’ pleas for protection and hired “rabidly antisemitic professors.” Robert Miller

“Emboldened by years of Penn’s tolerance and enabling of antisemitism, and deliberate indifference to Jewish students’ complaints, Penn students and faculty openly support and extol Hamas’s atrocities,” the complaint read.

The lawyer representing the two students in their suit said Sunday that Magill’s resignation is only the first action in making the school a safer place for students.

“This resignation is the first of many necessary steps toward rebuilding a Penn free of antisemitic abuse and harassment,” Marc Kasowitz told USA Today.

“The lawsuit we have brought on behalf of courageous Penn students will ensure that that goal is achieved.”

Pro-Palestine protests have taken over the campus since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. Robert Miller

Meanwhile, at a rally in support of Israel and the Jewish people at the historic Rodeph Shalom synagogue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro spoke about Magill’s resignation.

He said that since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, he has seen Pennsylvanians “take actions big and small” to support Israel and its Jewish community, including the one at the university “where students raised their voices, where students made sure they were heard by their university and they made sure their leadership was held accountable.

“The students did that,” the Jewish governor said.

Magill will continue as interim president and will remain on the law school faculty, university officials have said.

Jewish leader Julie Platt is taking over as chairman of the board of trustees until a permanent replacement can be found.

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