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A number of high profile donors have pulled their financial backing from the University of Pennsylvania over the Ivy League school’s embrace of Palestinians.
Jonathon Jacobson, a multi-seven-figure donor to UPenn, wrote a letter to the school announcing that he would only pledge one dollar in future donations until President Elizabeth Magill resigns or is removed from her post.
“Enough,” he wrote. “It is time to reverse this trend and restore our ‘elite’ universities to the principles upon which they were founded: as places of inquiry, where lively debate, diversity of opinion and communication across lines of difference is not only cherished, but actually mandated.”
Last month the university hosted a “Palestine Writes Literature Festival.” The event enraged donors and alums who accused the university president of endorsing anti-Semitism.
Billionaire Ronald Lauder, one of the heirs of the Estee Lauder, threatened to pull all of his funding from the school.
“The conference has put a deep stain on Penn’s reputation that will take a long time to repair,” Lauder wrote to UPenn President Liz Magill on Monday in a letter obtained by CNN.
“I have been very proud of my family’s relationship with The Lauder Institute, and I am so sorry that the graduates…will now be tainted by their school’s new reputation.” “You are forcing me to reexamine my financial support absent satisfactory measures to address antisemitism at the university.”
The university chose to stand with the president and defended the festival – noting that they did not agree with any of the vile or anti-Semitic rhetoric that was uttered on campus. That explanation caused even more furor.
“I have spent the past 40 years of my life fighting antisemitism all over the world and I never, in my wildest imagination, thought I would have to fight it at my university, my alma mater and my family’s alma mater,” Lauder wrote in his letter to Magill.
Wall Street CEO Marc Rowan is calling on fellow alums and donors to close their checkbooks over the university’s failure to condemn antisemitism and hate.
Rowan, the CEO of private equity giant Apollo Global Management, wrote in an op-ed posted online Wednesday that UPenn failed to condemn an event held on campus last month that the university acknowledged included speakers with a history of making antisemitic remarks.
“Why is UPenn repeating tragic mistakes of the past? Words of hate and violence must be met with clear, reasoned condemnation, rooted in morality from those in positions of authority,” Rowan wrote.
“I am deeply ashamed of my association with the University of Pennsylvania,” David Magerman wrote in a public letter. “I refuse to donate another dollar to Penn.”
“There is no action anyone at Penn can take to change that. You have shown me who you are, my only remaining hope is that all self-respecting Jews, and all moral citizens of the world, dissociate themselves from Penn,” he said.