Pennsylvania lawmakers defeat funding for Penn amid criticism over school’s stance on antisemitism #Pennsylvania #lawmakers #defeat #funding #Penn #criticism #schools #stance #antisemitism

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives on Wednesday night defeated legislation to send more than $33 million to the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school after the university’s president resigned amid criticism that the school has tolerated antisemitism.

The legislation won a majority in two different votes, but it failed to reach the two-thirds majority required by the state Constitution.

Most Republicans opposed the funding, while every Democrat voted in favor of it. The House Republican floor leader spoke against it, saying the resignation of President Liz Magill was a start but that the university must do more to make it clear that it opposes antisemitism.

“Until more is done at the university in terms of rooting out, calling out and making an official stance on antisemitism being against the values of the university, I cannot in good conscience support this funding,” House Minority Leader Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, said during floor debate.

Magill resigned Saturday amid pressure from donors and criticism over testimony at a congressional hearing last week where she was unable to say under repeated questioning that calls on campus for the genocide of Jews would violate the school’s conduct policy.

The funding is an annual appropriation that normally draws strong bipartisan support because of the school’s frontline role in helping train veterinarians and fight infectious disease outbreaks in Pennsylvania’s agricultural sector. It represents about 18% of the budget of Penn’s veterinary school.

However, Republicans have begun drafting legislation to require that institutions of higher education in Pennsylvania that receive state aid first adopt codes of conduct that make it clear that calling for genocide is bullying or harassment.

Penn last month launched a task force to write a plan to fight antisemitism on the campus, led by the dean of Penn’s dental school, and a separate presidential commission to fight hate on campus.

Universities across the U.S. have been accused of failing to protect Jewish students amid rising fears of antisemitism worldwide and fallout from Israel’s intensifying war in Gaza, which faces heightened criticism for the mounting Palestinian death toll.

Even before her congressional testimony, Magill had been under fire from some donors and alumni this fall over the university’s handling of various perceived acts of antisemitism. That included allowing a Palestinian literary arts festival to be held on its campus in September featuring speakers whose past statements about Israel had drawn accusations of antisemitism.

#Pennsylvania #lawmakers #defeat #funding #Penn #criticism #schools #stance #antisemitism

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