Friday, February 23

Republicans Reject Funding for Penn’s Veterinary School

Republicans in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives voted this week to withhold millions of dollars from the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school amid an uproar over the school’s response to antisemitism on campus.

The money, more than $30 million, would have been part of an annual appropriation to the School of Veterinary Medicine, which is partly funded by the state. The rest of the private university does not receive state appropriations.

The war between Israel and Hamas has created a firestorm at several American universities, as administrators have sought to balance the free-speech rights of pro-Palestinian demonstrators with concerns about growing antisemitism.

Penn’s president, M. Elizabeth Magill, resigned on Saturday, four days after a congressional hearing in which she appeared to evade the question of whether students who called for the genocide of Jews should be punished.

The presidents of Harvard and M.I.T. also faced fierce backlash for their responses at the hearing but have managed to keep their jobs.

The House Republican leader, Representative Bryan Cutler, called Ms. Magill’s resignation a “good first start.” But he said he could not support the annual funding request for the veterinary school until more was done “in terms of rooting out, calling out and making an official stance on antisemitism being against the values of the university.”

In comments before the House vote on Wednesday, Mr. Cutler also pointed out that Ms. Magill remained a tenured member of the university’s faculty.

The State Senate had already approved the funding for the school, which is often referred to as Penn Vet, and Democrats in the House voted in favor of it on Wednesday. Some Republicans did, too, but not enough to secure the two-thirds majority required for it to pass.

Some of the state’s budgetary decisions, including for state-supported universities, have been delayed for months. The decision to withhold funding for the veterinary school applies to the current fiscal year, and the state money would have represented about 18 percent of the school’s budget, The Associated Press reported.

A spokesman for Penn Vet, Martin J. Hackett, said in a statement that the school was “a vital part of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry,” and that the state had a shortage of veterinarians. He added: “We hope the State House will reconsider this vote when it reconvenes in 2024.”