University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill walked back her rhetoric on whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated the Ivy League school’s code of conduct on bullying or harassment after she faced backlash.
“There was a moment during yesterday’s congressional hearing on antisemitism when I was asked if a call for the genocide of Jewish people on our campus would violate our policies. In that moment, I was focused on our university’s long-standing policies aligned with the U.S. Constitution, which says that speech alone is not punishable,” President Magill said in an X post on Wednesday evening.
“I was not focused on, but I should have been, on the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate,” President Magill said.
“It’s evil. Plain and simple,” President Magill said.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, blasted the president’s video, calling it a “pathetic PR clean up attempt.”
“This pathetic PR clean up attempt by Penn shockingly took over 24 hours to try to fix the moral depravity of the answers under oath yesterday,” Rep. Stefanik wrote in a post on X. “And there was not even an apology. By the way, the questions were asked over and over and over again.”
“No statement will fix what the world saw and heard yesterday.”
The Ivy League president said that a call for genocide of the Jewish people would be classified as harassment or intimidation, despite her previous comments saying that it would “depend on the context.”
“A call for genocide of Jewish people is threatening, it is intentionally meant to terrify people who have been subjected to hatred for centuries and were the victims of mass genocide in the Holocaust. In my view, it would be harassment or intimidation,” President Magill said.
President Magill said that due to the unprecedented “signs of hate,” the university’s policies on hate speech and intimidation “need to be clarified and evaluated.”
“For decades under multiple UPenn presidents and consistent with most universities, Penn’s policies have been guided by the Constitution and the law,” President Magill said. “In today’s world where we are seeing signs of hate proliferating across our campus and our world in a way not seen in years, these policies need to be clarified and evaluated.”
“As president, I’m committed to a safe, secure and supportive environment, so all members of our community can thrive,” President Magill said, finishing the address. “We can, and we will get this right.”