Pa. gov calls for action from UPenn board after school head’s Jewish genocide response

Pa. gov calls for action from UPenn board after school head’s Jewish genocide response

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to note Josh Shapiro is Pennsylvania’s third Jewish governor.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) said on Wednesday the board of directors at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) needs to convene after the school president’s response to questioning at a House hearing on antisemitism.

During a hearing on Tuesday, UPenn President Liz Magill, along with the leaders of two other top universities, was asked if a call for genocide of Jewish individuals would be considered harassment under the school’s policies.

“If the speech becomes conduct, it can be harassment,” Magill said in response, prompting Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to retort, “Conduct meaning committing the act of genocide?”

None of the three academic leaders were willing to say unequivocally that such calls would violate their policies.

“That was an unacceptable statement from the president of Penn,” Shapiro said at a press conference on Wednesday, NBC Philadelphia reported. “Frankly, I thought her comments were absolutely shameful. It should not be hard to condemn genocide.”

He said Magill’s response was “failed leadership” and that she “needed to give a one-word answer and she failed to meet that test.”

Shapiro, who is the state’s third Jewish governor, said the school’s board of directors needs to “meet soon” a make a “serious decision” on if Magill’s comments represent the university’s values, according to the local outlet.

Shapiro was in Philadelphia visiting Goldie, a Jewish-owned restaurant that was recently the target of an antisemitic demonstration.

His condemnation is part of a wave of backlash the three school presidents have seen over their responses to Stefanik’s question.

Updated at 10:45 p.m.

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