The recent resignation of University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill and board chair Scott Bok has thrown Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro “into a national debate over when constitutionally protected speech veers into impermissible hate speech,” The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend.
“Pennsylvania is a perennial electoral battleground where Republicans and Democrats have found success over the past decade,” wrote the Journal. “In recent weeks, Shapiro has drawn plaudits from across the political spectrum for his outspokenness on Penn, after ruffling feathers on both sides of the aisle here over education policy.”
Shapiro, who is Jewish and who holds a non-voting role on the Penn board, is seen as a moderate voice within the Democratic Party, according to the paper.
In the interview, he raised several items with university leadership: updating policies to hold accountable professors who make students feel unsafe and the need for “a more robust response” to “campus crimes such as ripping down an Israeli flag or putting stickers on private property.”
The governor also discussed “the potential for Penn to develop programs aimed at teaching students as young as middle school to be savvier at spotting falsehoods on social media,” the Journal reported.
Bryan Cutler, minority leader of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, called for the Philadelphia-based Ivy League school to issue “an unequivocal public statement” that it violates the university policy to issue calls for the genocide of Jews.
Republican state lawmakers have held up $33 million in annual funding for the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. “Penn Vet has received some form of state funding since 1889, and the $33 million in state money accounts for about one-fifth of its annual budget,” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.