Bill Comes Due For Universities Coddling Leftwing Radicals

[Occupy Harvard, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

Elite universities may finally be experiencing a backlash for their leftwing insanity right where it hurts them the most: the pocketbook. Major donors have become incensed over the rise of antisemitism on campus in the wake of the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel earlier in the month.

After the initial attack, for example, over 30 Harvard University student organizations released a letter blaming Israel for the murder and rape of over 1,300 of its citizens by Hamas.  

In a letter titled “Joint Statement by Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups on the Situation in Palestine,” reported The New York Post, “31 student organizations — including the Ivy League’s affiliate of Amnesty International — condemned Israel, even as its residents are kidnapped and more than 700 have been killed by the terrorist organization.

The groups claim Hamas’ attack ‘did not happen in a vacuum, ‘and the Israeli government has forced Palestinians to live in an ‘open-air prison for over two decades,’ according to the letter.”

“We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,” the letter reads.

Billionaire CEO Bill Ackman announced that he would be blacklisting all of those who signed the pro-terror letter. 

Ackman wasn’t alone. A top law firm withdrew employment offers from three Ivy League students due to their involvement with letters that endorsed the Palestinian cause and attributed responsibility for the Hamas attacks to Israel.

Davis Polk & Wardwell said the views “are in direct contravention of our firm’s value system.”

It added that student leaders who signed onto the statements are “no longer welcome in our firm.”

Now, donors are taking on the universities themselves for not standing up to their radical, antisemitic students. 

Top universities such as Harvard and Penn are facing backlash from alumni angry about the schools’ reactions to the attacks and their aftermath. The alumni say their schools didn’t move quickly and forcefully enough to condemn Hamas and denounce antisemitism after the Oct. 7 attacks, and that they have done a poor job since then protecting Jewish students as on-campus tensions rise.

The pullback could dent the finances of some universities that rely on big givers to fill their coffers. People giving $1 million or more made up less than 1% of donors but 57% of total donations across surveyed U.S. universities, according to a study by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education covering the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022.

Penn faces perhaps the biggest donor revolt. Prominent alumni such as cosmetics tycoon Ronald Lauder and Apollo Global Management chief executive Marc Rowan had already clashed with the school last month when it hosted a Palestinian literary festival they believed showed the university was tolerant of antisemitism.

Jon Huntsman Jr. sent Magill a letter saying that his family is halting contributions. One of the most prominent buildings on campus is named after his father, businessman Jon Huntsman Sr. Lauder, after whom a university degree program is named, sent a letter saying he is reconsidering future gifts. Investor Jonathon Jacobson said he would donate $1 a year until Magill “find[s] employment elsewhere.”

The university lost out on two donations worth more than $150 million combined in the past year over the school’s policies, Rowan said.

High-profile leaders have also announced that they are abandoning the Ivies over antisemitism. Fox Business writes that “former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday announced that he is withdrawing his offer to participate in Harvard’s fellowship programs over the antisemitism of student groups and the university’s failure to denounce the hatred on campus following Hamas’ terror attack on Israel earlier this month.

Hogan, a Republican, wrote on X that he was due to start fellowships at both the Kennedy School of Politics and the Chan School of Public Health at Harvard next month, but could no longer participate due to the overwhelming antisemitism on campus. 

Fundraising from billionaires has become a vital source of income to universities, especially elite, private ones. “In 1980,” according to CNN, “U.S. colleges and universities received $4.2 billion in private donations from alumni, corporations, foundations, nonprofit groups and religious organizations. By 2022, private donations exploded to $59.5 billion, unadjusted for inflation, according to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Ultra-high net worth donors, with $30 million or more in liquid assets, account for a larger percentage of money given to higher education than they did in the past.”

The rising of antisemitism has not just stayed on Ivy League campuses, however. Over the weekend, Michigan State University flashed a picture of Adolf Hitler on its football stadium scoreboard as part of “trivia” before the Spartans took on their rivals from the University of Michigan.  

Tim Scott recently introduced a bill to “ban any federal student aid from going to colleges and universities that facilitate or promote events with an antisemitic message,” reported Fox News.

“The new legislation introduced Thursday comes in the wake of dozens of anti-Israel rallies hosted by student groups, and in some cases encouraged by faculty, following the devastating Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack that killed the most Jews in a single day since the Holocaust.

The Stop Antisemitism on College Campuses Act would keep those schools from eligibility for Title IV funds, which includes federal student aid. As a reference point, in the 2020-2021 school year, the total Title IV funding dispersed by the federal government was roughly $125 billion.”

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