Press Release

BUCKS COUNTY − December 6, 2023 − Today, State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D 10, Bucks) called on Elizabeth Magill to resign as the president of the University of Pennsylvania in the wake of her congressional testimony on December 5, 2023, in which she failed to express, without qualification, that should Penn students call for the genocide of Jews they would violate the university’s code of conduct. 

“In her congressional hearing yesterday, President Magill was given several chances to clearly state what should be obvious:  that should any student call for the genocide of the Jewish People they would not only violate university policy but would be condemned in the strongest possible terms and face expulsion,” Santarsiero explained.  “She refused to do so, choosing instead to give what appeared to be a coached response that utterly failed to express the moral clarity that the question demanded.  For that reason, I call upon her to resign from her post immediately.  To be clear, I will not vote for any state funding for the university until she does so.”

“In the early 1950s, when my late father-in-law was a freshman at Penn, the university required all students to pass a swimming test,” Santarsiero added.  “If they failed to do so, they were made to take swimming lessons for a semester.  That year, the swim test was administered on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism.  When my father-in-law asked to be allowed to take the test another day, the university declined the request.  As a result, he refused to take the test and, despite being a lifeguard, was forced to take swimming lessons for the rest of the semester.”

“It amazes me that 70 years since antisemitism was sanctioned policy at Penn that the university has a president, who, rather than express outrage at the very thought of one or more students calling for the murder of the Jewish People, sought to parse her answer, claiming that the ‘context’ of the statement mattered.  For that, Ms. Magill must go.  We have come too far for someone who would respond in such a manner to be the leader of one of our country’s great research universities,” Santarsiero added.