As you probably heard, Elizabeth Magill, president of the University of Pennsylvania, has now resigned over the antisemitism Q&A backlash. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) has responded by saying, “One down. Two to go,” referring to the presidents of Harvard and MIT who were also there that day for the questioning. This is one of those viral public episodes that we are all generally stupider for having been in any proximity to. No one has acquitted themselves well here. At least we now have the bad people clarifying who they are.
I want to just share a few thoughts on this topic in no particular order.
- I don’t know all the details. But this episode didn’t come in a vacuum for Magill. There had been a series of antisemitism vs Islamophobia-type dustups at Penn of late. And the general impression was that she had managed to offend or at least not satisfy either side with her responses. That’s not passing any judgement on her. It’s just noting that her position was likely already tenuous. This likely is the final straw in her case. That doesn’t mean it’s fair or that it was deserved. It’s just context for understanding what happened and why, at least based on what I know now, I don’t think we shouldn’t be expecting the same at the other two schools.