Ivy League Schools Face Funding Loss as Billionaires Withdraw Support Over Hamas Controversy

Ivy League Schools Face Funding Loss as Billionaires Withdraw Support Over Hamas Controversy

The Funding Dilemma

Ivy League institutions, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, are grappling with the potential loss of substantial financial support due to their perceived failure to condemn Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Israel.

The controversy surrounding their response to the Israel-Palestine conflict has sparked a significant backlash, with numerous alumni withdrawing their financial contributions.

Billionaires Withdraw Support

Two prominent billionaires, Ken Griffin and former US Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr., have taken a decisive step by revoking their financial support for Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania.

Their actions are a direct result of their dissatisfaction with the institutions’ positions on the ongoing conflict.

Griffin had pledged a substantial $300 million to Harvard but threatened to retract it following concerns about the university’s response to the situation.

Additionally, the Wexner Foundation, a long-time supporter of Harvard, has entirely ceased its backing, citing disappointment at the university’s lack of a clear and unequivocal stance against the violence targeting Israeli civilians.

Prominent Donors Express Their Dissatisfaction

Notably, billionaire couple Idan Ofer and Batia have resigned from an executive board at Harvard after previously donating $20 million to the institution.

Their decision is a reflection of their disappointment with Harvard’s leadership and its inability to take a resolute stance against the terrorist organization Hamas.

Alumni Groups and Business Executives Join the Controversy

The controversy escalated when 34 Harvard student groups signed a letter attributing blame to Israel for Hamas’ actions.

This ignited a counter-response from over a dozen business executives who advocated for blacklisting the students.

This increased tension has led to prominent donors like Bill Ackman, who donated $17 million to Harvard in 2014, taking a firm stance against the college’s inaction, indicating a likelihood of reduced future funding.

Calls for Action at the University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is also facing calls for action. Apollo CEO Marc Rowan has urged donors to withhold their funding or send just $1 in protest.

This move comes as the college grapples with allegations of “anti-Semitic” comments made by two senior staff members.

A Reverberating Impact on Future Donations

Former US Ambassador Jon Huntsman, a Penn graduate, has criticized the university’s response to the conflict and pledged to halt his family’s donations.

Huntsman’s father, Huntsman Sr., had previously contributed $50 million to the school, and Jon has made it clear that the foundation will cease making future contributions.

In a letter addressed to Penn President Liz Magill, Huntsman expressed his dismay over the university’s handling of the situation, asserting that Penn has become “deeply adrift” in its response.

Addressing the Concerns

In response to the backlash, Penn President Liz Magill condemned Hamas and emphasized the university’s position against anti-Semitism.

She labeled the violence from Hamas as a “terrorist assault,” marking a shift from her initial statement.

University Leadership Faces Criticism and Support

As the controversy continues, individuals holding key positions at the University of Pennsylvania, including President Liz Magill and Chair Scott Bok, have faced calls to step down due to the handling of anti-Semitism on campus.

Despite this, Vice-chair of the University of Pennsylvania’s board of trustees, Julie Platt, expressed her support for President Magill, highlighting the university’s commitment to combating anti-Semitism and condemning the attacks on Israel by Hamas.

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