The president of the University of Pennsylvania has called in the FBI to investigate antisemitic emails sent to staffers.
President Elizabeth Magill announced police presence will be heightened on campus and the FBI has been contacted about a potential hate crime after a “small number of Penn staff members received vile, disturbing antisemitic emails.”
The emails allegedly “threatened violence” against Jewish members of the school, specially those working at Penn Hillel — a Jewish organization on campus — and Lauder College House, Magill revealed in a statement Monday.
“These messages also included hateful language, targeting the personal identities of the recipients,” she wrote. “Threats of violence are not tolerated at Penn and will be met with swift and forceful action.
“The perniciousness of antisemitic acts on our campus is causing deep hurt and fear for our Jewish students, faculty, and staff and shaking their sense of safety and belonging at Penn. This is intolerable. I condemn personally these vicious and hateful antisemitic acts and words.”
Although campus police scoured school grounds and did not find a “credible threat,” authorities are still working “urgently” with the FBI to ” identify the individual or individuals who are responsible for these hateful, threatening emails and to ensure they are apprehended and punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
Magill’s statement comes after an alleged UPenn student was videoed saying she felt “so empowered and happy” by the Oct. 7 terrorist attack by Hamas against Israel which killed over 1,400 people including the elderly and babies.
The clip, circulating online and reshared by Bronx Rep. Ritchie Torres, shows the back of a woman as she spoke at a pro-Palestine rally, saying:” I remember feelings so empowered and happy, so confident that victory was near and so tangible.
“I want all of you to hold that feeling in your hearts. Never let go of it. Channel it through every action you take.”
In the aftermath of the Hamas attacks, UPenn’s leadership were criticized for taking too long to disavow the attacks.
Apollo Management CEO Marc Rowan led the charge, demanding Magill and Scott Bok, chair of the board of trustees, step down. High-powered donors like Ronald Lauder — who has a $4.6 billion net worth and heads up the World Jewish Congress — and hedge fund billionaire Cliff Asness, have also withdrawn their support.
UPenn had been heavily criticized since even before the Hamas attacks for holding a Palestine Writes literature festival, which inlcuded a number of speakers and invitees previously accused of making antisemitic statements.
The school has also seen a rise in antisemitic acts on campus, including “swastikas and hateful graffiti.”
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