UPenn Leadership Fights To Keep Jobs After Donor Backlash Over Weak Hamas Statement

University of Pennsylvania (Wikimedia Commons)
October 27, 2023

Leaders at the University of Pennsylvania are fighting to keep their jobs after donors closed their checkbooks over the school's failure to quickly condemn the Hamas terror attack earlier this month.

Members of the school's board of trustees and the school's president Elizabeth Magill are justifying their positions after donations have begun to dry up.

"Our existing leadership team, with the guidance of our large and diverse trustee group, is best suited to take the university forward," board chair Scott Bok told Bloomberg following backlash from donors and demands that he and Magill resign. "Change, particularly if perceived as being forced by the withholding of contributions, would serve to only increase division within the broad university community."

Bok and Magill have been calling up board members in an attempt to shore up support, Bloomberg reported.

Magill condemned the attack days after it occurred but did not call it terrorism, instead referring to "escalating violence" in the region.

One donor, former U.S ambassador to China and Russia Jon Huntsman, announced this month that his family would no longer give money to the school over its muted response to the attack.

"The University’s silence in the face of reprehensible and historic Hamas evil against the people of Israel (when the only response should be outright condemnation) is a new low," Huntsman told Magill in an email this month. "Consequently, Huntsman Foundation will close its checkbook on all future giving to Penn."

The Huntsman family had given over $50 million to the university.