Surprisingly, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives decided to withhold over $33 million in funding for the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) veterinary school. The move comes amid concerns regarding antisemitism on campus, marking a significant blow to the institution.
The catalyst for this decision was the resignation of former UPenn President Liz Magill and Scott Bok, UPenn’s Board of Trustees chairman, on December 9. The university had faced intense scrutiny over its handling of antisemitism on campus, compounded by Magill’s recent testimony to Congress. To address these concerns, the House of Representatives passed the funding measure in the initial two votes but failed to meet the two-thirds majority required by the state’s Constitution.
Republican House Minority Leader Bryan Cutler voiced his reservations before the vote, stating that without concrete actions from the university to combat antisemitism and make an official stance against it, he could not support the funding. While House Democrats favored the legislation, State Republican legislators largely opposed it. The funding typically receives bipartisan support and accounts for 18 percent of the veterinary school’s budget.
The university’s troubles don’t end there. UPenn also experienced a significant loss in funding from one of its major donors, Ross Stevens, founder and CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management. Stevens announced the withdrawal of his nearly $100 million donation, citing the school’s infringement upon its anti-discrimination policies.
Magill’s testimony on December 5 before the House Education and Workforce Committee further intensified the situation. She faced criticism for evading a direct answer regarding whether calls for genocide against Jews violated the university’s policy. Additionally, her initial response to the terror attacks on October 7 failed to condemn Hamas, drawing more scrutiny explicitly. The university’s decision to host a literature festival featuring speakers who have glorified Palestinian terrorism further added fuel to the fire.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ decision to deny funding to the UPenn veterinary school highlights the urgent need for the university to address and combat antisemitism on campus. It serves as a wake-up call for UPenn to take concrete actions and make a clear, official stance against such hatred. Only through this commitment can the university regain the trust of its supporters and ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all students.