Pennsylvania GOP vs. UPenn Funding
Republican legislators in Pennsylvania have just blocked millions of dollars in funding for the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school. This act came in response to the university’s lackluster response to the anti-Semitic incidents that occurred on its campus.
The decision voted upon in the Pennsylvania House, took place just four days following the resignation of Penn President Liz Magill. The cause of Magill’s departure is her recent testimony at a congressional hearing, in which she stated that calling for the genocide of Jews would be considered a violation of bullying and harassment rules only if it materialized into physical acts. At the same time, the overall response from the university towards the matter was perceived as tame and insufficient.
The decision acquired overwhelming support from Republican representatives who exercise a majority in the House. Bryan Cutler, a representative and the former GOP speaker in the house, stated that other moves must also be undertaken within the university to address the rising anti-Semitism. He cites the recent resignation as insufficient for the university’s fight against the growing moral relativism and hate.
Cutler further added that he takes his decision solely based on conscience. The representative who practices the Christian faith shares the story of his early life when he had to take care of his ailing family members. Till the demise of his parents caused by ALS, he remained their caregiver, struggling with life as a high school student. He concluded with a statement that the absence of other more stringent measures, along with Magill’s resignation, persuaded him to vote against the pending funding for the veterinary school.
Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers defeated legislative that would’ve given $33.5 million of state funding to the University of Pennsylvania.
This punishment is in response to UPenn tolerating ‘antisemitism, hate and discrimination.’
— 🇺🇸ProudArmyBrat (@leslibless) December 18, 2023
On the other hand, every Democratic representative supported the legislation, meaning that they would cross the required two-thirds majority and pass the legislation. However, 76 Republican votes against the proposal obstructed their plans, leaving the university at a loss of an estimated $33.5 million, which is equivalent to 18% of the entire budgetary requirement of the veterinary school.
Pennsylvania’s ongoing love-hate relationship with Penn University has been on a hostile level for a while now. It started in the midst of the Israel-Hamas war, with major donors cutting their purse strings from the university. Just a week after 1,200 Israelis lost their lives during the momentous October 7 massacre by the Hamas, Marc Rowan, the CEO of Apollo Management, a University of Pennsylvania alumnus who donated $50 million to the business school in 2018, demanded both President Magill and Scott Bok, the board of trustees chair, to resign. The donor also stated that all Penn alumni ought to suspend donations until both resign.
In the same period, Jon Huntsman Jr., a former Republican presidential candidate, US ambassador to Russia, and governor of Utah, made the same demands to Magill over the same issue, all before he revealed that his family would cease all financial aid to Penn until Magill resigns. Huntsman Jr. happens to be a Penn alumnus and has served on the university’s board of trustees in the past. His father is also an alumnus and has donated considerably large sums of money to the university since 1959.