While Stanford Condemns Calls for Genocide, Magill Resigns and Betting Markets Predict Ousting of Penn, Harvard, and MIT Presidents

While Stanford Condemns Calls for Genocide, Magill Resigns and Betting Markets Predict Ousting of Penn, Harvard, and MIT Presidents

Stanford’s approach to the Israel-Hamas war has put the University in the news for all the wrong reasons. But now, it seems like Stanford is a beacon of light amongst American universities… Even though our latest president resigned in disgrace, Stanford was never subject to betting markets willing to gamble on the possible ouster of our president.

In a congressional hearing on Tuesday, the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and MIT testified before the Republican-led House of Education Committee to respond to criticism that their campuses have become unsafe and antisemitic amidst the Israel-Hamas war. All three failed to condemn calls for the genocide against Jews on their campus, calling into question their leadership and willingness to protect Jewish students and opening a new betting market on whether they will lose their jobs. The market already successfully predicted the resignation of UPenn’s Liz Magill, who resigned disgracefully on Saturday, December 9, and her ouster could pave the way for future resignations of elite college presidents who have refused to take action on the issue of antisemitism. 

Republican committee members, led by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), questioned Harvard’s Claudine Gay, UPenn’s Liz Magill, and MIT’s Sally Kornbluth on their lack of action against the anti-semitism on each of their respective campuses. As the Israel-Hamas war intensifies, students on many major college campuses have become increasingly agitated and divided. Many pro-Palestine protesters can be heard chanting, “from the river to the sea,” a phrase often associated with calls for the genocide of the Jewish people and the abolition of their state. One would assume the presidents of some of the most prestigious universities in the world would have no problem denouncing such obscenities. 

The University of Pennsylvania's president, former dean of Stanford Law School, and onetime president of Yale College Democrats Liz Magill, faced the most intense backlash for failing to condemn calls for the “genocide of Jews” within the university’s community in the Tuesday hearing. When asked to respond “yes or no” to whether or not calling for the “genocide of Jews” violates Penn’s code of conduct, she dodged the question, claiming “if speech turns into harassment, it can be harassment.” New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik followed up, asking whether “calling for the genocide of Jews…constitute[s] bullying or harrassment,” to which Magill replied it’s a “context-dependent situation.” Magill soon released a statement clarifying her stance. Unfortunately for Magill, her apology was too little too late, as it seems her reputation has been irreparably damaged (as it should be). Though she’s staying on as interim president of UPenn while a new president is found, it’s unlikely that she will ever hold another administrative position at any elite institution.

On Thursday, following the hearing, UPenn’s board of trustees held a meeting to discuss Magill and potential change in leadership. At the time, their decision was inconclusive, but after the board of the Wharton School of Business called for Liz Magill’s resignation, she stepped down earlier today. Given that UPenn alumni Ross Stevens made a $100 million donation contingent on Magill’s resignation or ouster, it was undoubtedly in the university’s best interest for Magill to leave.

Immediately after the train wreck of a congressional hearing, bettors quickly began speculating on the downfall of the three presidents. Creators of online betting markets like Manifold, Kalshi, etc. hope betting markets become a sort of search engine for answering all sorts of questions. They are a place where people can put their money on the outcome of any societal question and those who are curious can see what the majority opinion is on an increasing number of issues like elections, financial markets, and technology. In the case of the Ivy League presidents, just as the market predicted, Magill was the first candidate to be ousted. UPenn is known for its large Jewish population, and the president was previously embroiled in a controversy for inviting antisemites to speak at the “Palestine Writes” literature festival. These incidents, coupled with Penn’s response to the Israel-Hamas war, has caused many major donors to cease all donations to the University.

In an attempt to stop the hemorrhage of donor money, Magill took the brave, bold, and unprecedented step of creating a task force and student advisory committee… just kidding, it was pointless. After her disastrous testimony, the board of trustees, mad enough about having slashing their price of guaranteed admission due to donor blowback, called an emergency meeting on Thursday—exactly two months after the Hamas invasion. These circumstances contributed to bettors’grim prospects of her future at Penn. As of Friday Evening, December 8th, the odds of her saying Shalom (goodbye) were roughly -900, meaning betting 90 cents on her ouster will lead to profits of only 10 cents. Magill’s resignation meant these bettors received an early payout as a gift during the second day of Hanukkah. 

Stanford alumna Claudine Gay, Harvard’s president, stands on better footing than Magill, but her future, too, is uncertain. Her attempts to walk the line at her Congressional hearing backfired spectacularly, leading her to issue a worthless groveling apology, and even led to another betting market being opened on the likelihood of a decrease in Harvard admissions numbers. 

Gay’s odds of an ouster are approximately +140 (as of today, betting 42 cents on her outster will lead to profits of 58 cents), meaning she is more likely than not to keep her post. Likewise, Sally Kornbluth of MIT has kept a relatively low profile compared to the other two presidents, and the “yes” price on Kalshi of her being booted from her post is only 30 cents. Interestingly, this price increased from 26 cents before Magill’s outster, indicating that after the first domino fell, Harvard and MIT’s presidents may be next on the chopping block. Overall though, these relatively low odds reflect the more unified institutional response of the Cambridge colleges as opposed to their Philadelphian peer.

Meanwhile, Stanford, in its typical risk-averse fashion, issued a statement that “in the context of the national discourse, Stanford unequivocally condemns calls for the genocide of Jews or any peoples.” The Stanford Jewish Voice for Peace—started as an anonymous Instagram account— balked that Stanford had the gall to “dare issue a condemnation of genocide without explicitly including Palestinians,” decrying this move as “deliberate erasure.” Leave it to Stanford leftists to decry this public relations move as enabling a genocide of Palestinians. 

On October 11, before the Ivy League troubles, Stanford had previously issued a statement condoning “offensive speech” as long as it does not become “threats or harassment” for which, Stanford claimed, “the threshold is quite high.” Clearly, Stanford got lucky. While the public was focused on the Ivy Leagues, Stanford administration was able to quickly change their stance on the issue and do what all universities should have done in the first place: condemn calls to genocide. 

While elite colleges always have a contingent of far-left activists, administrators cannot be intimidated into bending to their will. Stanford’s leadership, while perhaps overly-cautious, has gone in the right direction by preserving its moral spine while still being subjected to the demands of delusional activists, and the administration provides a clear example of the role of the university for its Ivy League competitors.

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