University President Bans MAGA Official From Campus

The University of Pennsylvania faced scrutiny during a recent House hearing on antisemitism. Representative Jim Banks questioned President Liz Magill about the university’s handling of antisemitic incidents on campus and the invitation of controversial speakers.

Banks raised concerns about a Penn professor who called for an “intifada” against Israel and still retained his job. He also mentioned other instances where antisemitic speakers were allowed to host events on campus. Banks pointed out that speakers who held opposing views, such as former ICE Director Thomas Homan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were prevented from speaking due to student protests.

One specific event Banks highlighted was the Palestine Writes Literature Festival hosted by Penn. He criticized the inclusion of speakers like Marc Lamont Hill, who CNN fired for calling for the destruction of Israel, and Roger Waters, the former Pink Floyd vocalist known for his controversial statements and actions. Banks questioned why Penn would invite someone like Waters to speak at a Palestinian Rights Literature Festival.

President Magill emphasized that antisemitism has no place at Penn and that the United States Constitution guides the university’s free speech policies. However, Banks pressed Magill about specifically condemning Roger Waters and his actions. Magill initially mentioned issuing a statement calling out the antisemitism of some speakers at the conference but struggled to address the inclusion of Waters directly.

Banks then highlighted Penn’s memo on free speech policies, which stated that the university does not regulate speech content. However, Banks pointed out previous instances where Penn canceled events or targeted faculty members for their views. He accused the university of selectively regulating speech it disagrees with.

Banks further questioned Magill about a Penn professor who led students in chanting for the “intifada revolution” and other professors who made controversial statements about Jews. Magill responded by stating that Penn’s approach to speech aligns with the United States Constitution and that she cannot discuss individual disciplinary processes.

The hearing also provided an opportunity for a senior at Penn, Eyal Yakoby, to share his experience of an antisemitic incident on campus. Yakoby described classmates and professors chanting for the genocide of Jews and defacing school property. He expressed disappointment in Penn’s silence compared to a neighboring university, which swiftly denounced a similar incident.

The House GOP Conference allowed individuals from Penn, Harvard, and MIT to speak before the hearing, shedding light on the issue of antisemitism on college campuses.

The questioning and testimonies during the hearing highlighted concerns about Penn’s response to antisemitism and its commitment to free speech.