UPenn president will step down, but it will be quite a cushy landing

December 11 – After a Congressional hearing on anti-Semitism on college campuses around the country last week, three presidents of big colleges didn’t come out looking all that great.  

Liz McGill, president of the University of Pennsylvania, as well as presidents from Harvard and MIT, spoke to legislators, but their responses concerning death threats to Jewish students on campus was lackluster. 

Because of that, calls are coming from a number of organizations and individuals for the presidents to stop down. 

McGill will be doing just that when UPenn can find a replacement for her. 

However, she will retain her tenured spot on campus as a professor at the law school. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “Yeah, don’t feel too sorry for her. She is absolutely fine financially. That professorship I’m sure pays well. The chairman of the board resigned as well. Going into the weekend, the reporting was Saturday morning, Penn’s board was quietly meeting without her for a couple hours. Clearly they were laying the groundwork to fire her. Then they announced Saturday morning that the board was going to do an emergency meeting on Sunday at five o’clock. Presumably that would have been to formally vote to fire her. We know how these things often go. My guess is she caught wind of this, she may have even got a call from someone on the board, who said either you can resign or we’re going to fire you and of course resigning is the much easier off ramp. She may be even getting some contract benefits by resigning instead of being fired. So all around it was the right thing to have happened. Still remains to be seen what happens to those presidents of Harvard and MIT. The pressure is also turning up on them and just like at Penn you see big donors at Harvard and MIT pulling donations and pledges, not clear what those boards may do. If anything’s going to happen, it’s likely going to happen here within the next few days.”

State Senator Doug Mastriano said, “I’m hearing from a lot of folks, well they’ll just replace her with another left wing hack. Well, this sends a message. When you have Liz McGill, the president of UPenn, a school that receives $35 million a year from taxpayers and when she’s asked before Congress by Representative Stefanik, whether calling for the genocide of Jews breaks the rules of a school and this is nothing about free speech. There’s rules and codes of conduct at UPenn. For any other group that is calling for genocide would be a big deal and she’d condemn it and she prevaricated. She refused to condemn it. On her campuses, they have held numerous events with people calling for the genocide of the Jewish people and the elimination of Israel. She had to go. What a lack of moral clarity. She has no moral compass, and I just was appalled by all three of those school presidents that were speaking before Congress. So I’m glad she’s gone.”

These kinds of events hit particularly hard with state funded schools. 

Mastriano said, “It’s appalling to me. We’re sending our kids to these schools that are state subsidized. Some are completely subsidized by the state. They’re being indoctrinated. We want to send our kids to be educated, not indoctrinated and so there’s this message that it’s okay to call for the elimination of the Jewish state and the code word and the dog whistle now for the left wingers instead of coming out and saying anything against the Jewish people specifically, it’s we’re anti Zionist. Well, that’s the same thing. This is Orwellian newspeak here. You’re just changing words around but you still have this thread of anti Semitism. I don’t think in our lifetime that we’ve seen it so bad across the nation where Jewish people are being singled out and attacked and assaulted. Anti Semitism is real and it’s horrific what we’re seeing in Europe, and it’s horrific what we’re seeing in the states and we’ve got to draw a line in the sand.”

There will probably be further hearings in Harrisburg to dig into other institutions of higher learning and anti Semitism. 

Mastriano said, “I know when people hear that they just kind of roll their eyes. The hearings are fact finding, where we as the primary people, like the president of the schools, as you saw with Congress, and the effect of that hearing was that Miguel is no longer there. So these fact finding things are necessary as part of our job, as a legislative body with oversight. I do have a bill to defund schools that actively promote anti Semitism. We’re looking at over $1.2 billion going to colleges and universities across the state annually, taxpayer money, and I don’t think we should enable anything that attacks our country or calls for the genocide of any people.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “The other thing we need more transparency on is the money coming from foreign governments. I did some research into that myself. There’s tens to hundreds of millions of dollars that come in from foreign governments and a lot of these are the Muslim countries, including the Palestinian territories, interestingly enough, and some of the money supports scholarships for students coming from those areas into our school. That’s where you get that whole thing that happened with students who should be being punished for some of the anti Semitism, but they held back on punishing them because oh, they would lose their Visas, oh, they would have to go back to their home countries and oh, how much money would the universities lose if that did happen with these contracts? And I also have to comment on President Claudine Gay, Harvard president. The Daily Signal piece on it, but this is a quote from what she said and then their take on it. She said ‘anti Semitism is a symptom of ignorance and the cure is knowledge.’ Well, then why is it, as Daily Signal points out, that most of the anti Semitism comes from her school and others like it? Is she admitting that their students and faculty are ignorant?”

There were more pro-Palestinian rallies at colleges over the weekend. 

Barkdoll noted, “UPenn’s current endowment is over $21 billion. Some of the other Ivy League schools it’s even more. These are major, major enterprises and we talked about the $100 million donation that was pulled, that’s a huge loss. But again, in the context of their endowment, 21 plus billion dollars, these are larger than many of your big corporations in America and that’s what a lot of these institutions of higher education have become.”

Pat Ryan of Newstalk 103.7FM added, “To that $100 million donation, this is a hedge fund if I got this right here. If that donor now that the president is gone, if that donor really had some juice, or he really thought that he wanted to make a difference, it starts at the top and if she remains on scene, I’d like the donor to say you know what? No. No more of this nonsense. She has got to go completely or I will hang on to my 100 million dollars. Don’t give me a little lip service going I’m going to hold on to my 100 million until I get my way. You didn’t get your way. She’s tucked away very carefully. Her nonsense lives on on that campus. Let’s see you put your money where your mouth is, hedge fund boy.”

Barkdoll said, “I will be curious to see if that donation is now reopened. You’re pointing out one of the real problems in higher education and really education at all levels. Once someone has tenure, so she was a tenured faculty member already before she became the president, it is virtually impossible to remove someone with tenure. I mean, there would have to be a really compelling reason, some kind of criminal conduct to remove them. Short of something like that, they can ride this out forever and because she already had that status, the board’s unable to remove her.”

Jansen said, “Maybe these institutions of higher learning, especially places like Harvard, should make a real point of changing the kind of teaching that’s going on that might support this. There was another professor on UPenn’s campus, Amy Wax. Now she’s considered controversial, controversial all the way to the other side of the spectrum and there were calls for her to be removed, a tenured professor. So they’re going to have to try to find some consistency here with how they’re dealing with controversy. I’m all for, very much, free speech. I don’t want students just to say because I feel uncomfortable, you’re going to have to squash people and censor people. That’s what’s been happening to conservative speakers on these campuses for decades now and especially in the last five to 10 years. So I’m not for that. I’m not for the canceling but I am for when somebody calls for genocide or commit such an atrocious grievances, make locking people and making them be locked in libraries and banging on the doors for there to be consequences. But also, did you catch the story on the A’s that are being handed out at institutions of higher education, including especially our Ivy League colleges? That story came out, too. They’re handing out A’s like never before. So are they really getting educated?”

Barkdoll confirmed, “Grade inflation is a huge problem in schooling all over the country, even at the lower levels, but certainly at the college level. A lot of these colleges now, graduate programs, they’ve even gone on to just pass or fail. So they don’t want any more class rankings. Everyone has to be treated the same. So there’s no way to really discern who the top performers were and who the bottom performers were because either you just graduate or you don’t. So this is yet another layer of issues and all of this. You mentioned Amy Wax. It’s another good example. She’s been very controversial, another UPenn law professor has made some really incendiary comments about things over the years. My guess is they just can’t get rid of her. There have been a lot of calls to get rid of her but she has tenure and once you get tenure, you are greatly insulated from any actions being taken against you.”