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Oops! Magill Approves Penn's First Fleet of Fighter PILOTs

/ Photo by U.S. Airforce

The University of Pennsylvania has become the first American university to hire several fighter pilots and launch an Air Force, as newly appointed President Liz Magill attempts to appease activists long demanding that Penn pay PILOTs (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) to the Philadelphia city government.

The move was met with immediate backlash and bewilderment.

In an official statement, Magill responded to critics: “To our activists of color, I hear you. I am listening. Next time, I will try and listen a little more closely, though — I think I know what PILOTs are now.”

Progressives on campus have been swift and fierce in their opposition to the newly funded fighter pilots, demanding that Magill resign. Students have been petitioning the Biden administration to find an ambassadorship for Magill, joining her with ex-president Dr. Amy Gutmann. Some reports indicate that Kosovo could be in the cards. 

Notably, despite the majority of students protesting Magill’s Air Force initiative, she has found an unlikely ally in the Penn College Republicans, who have applauded the unprecedented investment in Penn’s university defense. Additionally, the members of the Class of 2026 who cheered for Magill as she shouted down UC Townhomes protesters during convocation are also in her corner.

Despite partially accepting fault, Magill doubled down later in her official statement: “We are nevertheless fortunate and grateful to have partnered with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman on this historic leap forward. To those who say we should pay PILOTs and not pilots, I say — why not at least start with pilots?” 

It is not immediately clear what the University aims to use their new Air Force for. It is rumored that rising tensions with Harvard following Forbes’ recent college rankings and the DP’s subsequent boasting might provoke an arms race — of which Penn now has the ostensible upper hand. 

Magill is set to meet with student protest leaders later this week, though expectations for the meeting remain low. The administration is claiming that they misplaced the receipt for the planes, and have no choice but to proceed with Air Force plans.