University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill resigned last Saturday following pathetic testimony at the congressional hearing and renewed calls from the Wharton Board of Advisors, donors, and Governor Josh Shapiro. While this is a step in the right direction, it is barely the tip of the iceberg in addressing not only antisemitism on campus but the larger issue of the state affairs on Penn’s campus.

The fact that Magill will remain a tenured faculty at Penn’s Carey Law School is indicative of the institution’s lack of commitment to actually addressing the root cause of the antisemitic behaviors and actions. In corporate America, the highest ranking official of the company is held accountable for their mistakes and misjudgements. Unlike higher education, they are not typically offered a different position when removed from their leadership role.

Last Tuesday at the hearing in Washington, several members of the House Education and Workforce committee questioned Magill about Penn’s stance on diversity, education, and inclusion. Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) called the universities “liberal sewers” that do not promote diversity of intellectual thought.

Wilson was not alone in that view. Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI) said that the universities’ “commitment to free speech was subjective.” Glenn Grothman (R-WI) hammered the presidents with questions. “Do you really think your political ideology is diverse?” Several House members asked about the breakdown of conservative versus liberal professors. None of the presidents could answer that question.

Yet based on Magill’s testimony and the current situation on Penn’s campus, at least part of the answer is easy to discern. Similar to just about every institution of higher education in the country, Penn has a diversity statement on their website: “Penn is a place with deep-seated values that reflect respect for all and a sincere commitment to service, to diversity in all its forms, and to creating conditions where all can thrive so we can as a Penn community have our greatest impact on the world.” (Emphasis added)

Penn’s statement declares that “diversity in all its forms” is important so that “all can thrive.” Based on testimony from Magill and a Penn student, the House members were correct to ask questions about selective diversity. Diversity of thought, particularly political ideology, is neither welcomed nor encouraged at Penn.

For example, in 2020 after the death of George Floyd, Penn immediately issued multiple statements condemning the incident and calling for an end to systemic racism. The previous president issued this statement. “The tragic and senseless death of George Floyd is a vivid reminder of the inequalities and unacceptable indignities that so many of our citizens constantly endure.”

In addition to the president’s statement, the School of Nursing, the Penn Carey Law School, the Department of Public Safety, and other schools issued separate statements with similar messages. Carey Law School said specifically in their statement, “we reaffirm that Black lives matter.”

None of these schools or departments, with the exception of the Public Safety Department, issued statements following the vicious attacks in Israel by Hamas. Following the death of Floyd, the Superintendent of the Penn police posted a lengthy statement, opening with this paragraph. 

“On May 25th the world witnessed the horrible and cruel death of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis Police Officers. I say four officers, because three officers stood by and watched their colleague take Mr. Floyd’s life over a very painful eight minutes, forty-six seconds, while Mr. Floyd begged for his life, and called upon his deceased mother to help him. Every time I watch that video I feel both rage at the actions of these ex-police officers and a deep sadness that this man died such a public, painful, and illegal death.”

Contrast that opening with their statement regarding the Hamas attacks. “Throughout the past week, many members of our community have expressed concern for their sense of safety given the continuing violence in Israel and Gaza and the growing activism on campus and more broadly in the world.”

There was no condemnation of the actions of Hamas, nor sympathy expressed for the victims or their families. No one at the Carey Law School wrote that Jewish lives matter. Where was the moral outrage from Penn administrators and board members over these heinous deaths? 

The answer is simple and not one that liberals want to hear. As long as the moral outrage aligns with the institution’s progressive political views, then it falls under their diversity, equity, and inclusion mission. Hence, the strong call to action and condemnation of systemic racism following the death of one man. Three years later, 1,200 Jews are brutally murdered, but Jewish students and their families are not afforded the same affirmations under their mission. 

Magill’s resignation is one small step towards addressing the systemic problems at Penn. First and foremost, the board should have fired her prior to the hearing in Washington, and absent that, they most certainly should have fired her after her testimony. And when I say fired, I mean fired from the university completely, not only her position as president. 

As the leader, Magill was responsible to represent the institution and exemplify their values. Since she was incapable of doing that, she should no longer remain at the university. This is the difference between the business world and academia. In the Carey Law School, she will continue to teach and influence another generation of students. Will Jewish students feel safe in her classes?

If Penn is truly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, then it is time to clean house. Faculty who cannot discern the difference between free speech and the call for genocide of a race of people should not continue to be employed. If a Penn employee called for the eradication of a race of people who are viewed as oppressed, I imagine they would be fired immediately. The same standard should apply to all groups.

As an Ivy League school, Penn should be the gold standard for the country in exemplifying the balance between safety and free speech. They should provide the blueprint in navigating the culture wars and acting consistently when responding to political events. Theoretically, Penn should employ the brightest scholars capable of civil discourse who foster a climate of inquisitiveness and open dialogue without fear of repercussions. As well-intentioned as their diversity, equity, and inclusion mission and policies may be, they are in truth misguided and create more problems than they solve.

It is time for Penn to get its house in order and remove those faculty and administrators who do not value or recognize the importance of diversity in all of its forms, not just the ones with which they personally agree.

Beth Ann Rosica resides in West Chester, has a Ph.D. in Education, and has dedicated her career to advocating on behalf of at-risk children and families. She covers education issues for Broad + Liberty. Contact her at

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