The responsibilities of our Penn community

Dear members of the Penn community,

College and universities across the country are experiencing disturbing acts of hate on their campuses—Penn is no different. I write to condemn all acts of hate that are perpetrated on our campus, to affirm our responsibilities as members of this community, and to make clear that we take seriously and will vigorously pursue any violation of our policies or the law.

Students, faculty, and staff choose to join the Penn community to pursue their educational interests and advance meaningful careers. As we pursue these aspirations, we are also responsible for how we conduct ourselves. Our students commit to the Code of Student Conduct, our faculty and staff commit to Principles of Responsible Conduct, and the rights and responsibilities of our faculty are further outlined in the Faculty Handbook and of our staff in the HR Policy Manual. I would encourage every member of our community to read and be familiar with these important expectations and standards.

Over the past few weeks, Penn has experienced appalling acts of antisemitism and other forms of hate on our campus—swastikas drawn on our walls, hateful antisemitic messages projected on our buildings, disturbing emails threatening violence to individuals purely based on their Jewish and other identities, viral videos of people spewing hateful rhetoric or ripping down posters. Each incident is abhorrent and has brought tremendous pain to Jewish students, faculty, and staff and to our Penn community.

Please be assured that we are investigating these and other potential acts of hate, and where relevant, are working with local and federal authorities. Individual personnel matters or student disciplinary cases are confidential, and we cannot comment on them. But I want to make clear that Penn is and will continue to take action on any violation of our policies or the law.

If anyone in our community experiences an act of bias or discrimination, please report it through Penn’s Bias Incident Reporting process. If there is any threat to your physical safety, or you are being harassed online, please contact our 24/7 PennComm Emergency Call Center at 215-573-3333 immediately. Additional information on University resources for safety and support can also be found on Penn’s website.

To move forward and to advance our academic mission, we must come together as a community that condemns hate and finds ways to respectfully debate and talk across difference. Especially in this challenging time, each of us needs to recognize the responsibilities we share to one another and to our community.


M. Elizabeth Magill
Trustees University Professor and Professor of Law
University of Pennsylvania