"It depends on the context," Malley, director of the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, said during the hearing Tuesday.

Her statements provoked strong reactions and prompted, among other things, one of the university's top donors to threaten to revoke a planned gift of $100 million, CNN reports.

Malley apologized afterward, explaining that she focused on constitutional freedom of speech and the idea that no one should be punished for their words.

But on Saturday night, she threw in the towel and announced that she will resign as soon as a new manager takes office.

Several universities in turmoil

The storm of criticism has been directed not only at Elizabeth Malley but also at the heads of Harvard and MIT, Claudine Gay and Sally Kornbluth, who spoke in similar terms during the hearing.

However, the pressure has been harder on Malley due to previous controversies over anti-Semitism at the university. In September, people who expressed themselves anti-Semitic participated in a Palestinian literature festival at the university, which aroused internal criticism, writes CNN.

Founded in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is one of the country's most prestigious universities. It is counted as one of eight universities in the Ivy League, which also includes such institutions as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.