Over 900 University of Pennsylvania faculty members signed a letter opposing external influence from trustees and donors following the resignation of former President Liz Magill.
The letter emphasizes the faculty’s role in academic governance and expresses concern over attempts to alter the university’s governance structure.
“We oppose all attempts by trustees, donors, and other external actors to interfere with our academic policies and to undermine academic freedom,” the letter read. (Trending: Prominent LGBTQ Activist Arrested Over Disturbing Charges)
“The current efforts of some members of the broader Penn community to reverse our longstanding governance structure threatens the freedom of the faculty to conduct independent and academically rigorous research and teaching,” the letter added.
“Penn’s academic excellence is built upon decades of shared governance in which the faculty play a central role in crafting policies around teaching, research, and all other aspects of our University’s academic mission, grounded in the principles of academic freedom and open expression.”
The letter was passed around after Wharton Board of Advisors Chair Marc Rowan sent an email to the Board of Trustees, labeled “Moving Forward.”
“What are the Board’s criteria for the instruction of students and recommendations for degrees in course and in faculty?” Rowan asked. “What are the Board’s criteria for the instruction of students and recommendations for degrees in course and in faculty?”
“What are the Board’s criteria for the instruction of students and recommendations for degrees in course and in faculty?”
Rowan noted that the institution has a “culture” problem.
“While antisemitism has received the most attention, I believe this is just a symptom of a larger problem…,” Rowan wrote.
“A culture that allowed antisemitism to take root and be accepted inside UPenn, that has allowed for preferred versus free speech, and one that has distracted from UPenn’s core mission of scholarship, research, and academic excellence.”
Magill’s resignation came after a congressional hearing on antisemitism, where her response to a question about genocide sparked controversy.
She later clarified her stance in a video, acknowledging the severity of advocating for violence against Jewish people.