Magill Defender Overseeing Search for Penn's Next President

Julie Platt, interim chair of school's board, expressed 'full confidence' in Magill amid anti-Semitism scandals

Liz Magill (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images), Julie Platt (Randy Shropshire/Getty Images)
December 11, 2023

One of the top defenders of ousted University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill has been tapped to oversee the search for the school's next leader.

Julie Platt, a prominent Jewish leader who repeatedly defended Magill as anti-Semitism surged on campus, will serve as interim chair of the Board of Trustees during the search for a new president. Platt, who was previously vice chair, will replace the board's outgoing leader, Scott Bok, who resigned alongside Magill on Saturday.

"As current Vice Chair, Julie was the clear choice, and we are grateful to her for agreeing to serve in this capacity during this time of transition," the board said in a statement on Sunday.

Critics told the Washington Free Beacon last week that Platt—who is also chair of the Jewish Federations of North America's board of trustees—leveraged her Jewish community leadership role to protect Magill's position at the university for months.

Platt stood by Magill when the school hosted the "Palestine Writes" festival in September, an event that featured anti-Semitic speakers. One of the speakers, former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, has dressed in a Nazi uniform during concerts.

Platt also said she had "full confidence in the leadership of President Liz Magill and Chair Scott Bok" after the university in October declined to condemn Hamas terrorism. Platt's comments came after Apollo CEO Marc Rowan, a Wharton School board member, called for Magill's resignation.

Pressure on Magill to resign ramped up last week after the Penn president testified to Congress that student calls for the genocide of Jewish people don't violate the university's code of conduct. Platt declined to comment on Magill's remarks when contacted by the Free Beacon last week.