Harvard, Penn apparently dealt financial blows over their responses to Hamas terror attacks

News & Politics

The Wexner Foundation is severing its relationship with Harvard University, accusing the Ivy League school of failing to unequivocally condemn the brutal attacks Hamas terrorists perpetrated in Israel.

“We are stunned and sickened at the dismal failure of Harvard’s leadership to take a clear and unequivocal stand against the barbaric murders of innocent Israeli civilians by terrorists last Saturday,” the Wexner Group’s message to the Harvard board of overseers declares, according to a screenshot of the message posted on social media by Judah Ari Gross of eJewishPhilanthropy. The message is dated October 16.

After the Jewish state was attacked by Hamas terrorists, a collection of Harvard student groups issued a statement blasting Israel. “We … hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,” the student groups said in a statement. “For the last two decades, millions of Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to live in an open-air prison.”

The Wexner Foundation’s message suggested that the school’s administration had failed to condemn the statement issued by Harvard student groups.

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“While we intend to develop new strategies and initiatives to develop Israel’s civil service leaders, The Wexner Foundation is formally ending its financial and programmatic relationships with Harvard and the Harvard Kennedy School. The current class of Wexner Israel Fellows, Class 34, will be the last to complete the MPA Program and we will no longer send Wexner Senior Leaders for the Executive Program,” the message declared.

Harvard President Claudine Gay has condemned the Hamas terror attacks against Israel. “As the events of recent days continue to reverberate, let there be no doubt that I condemn the terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas. Such inhumanity is abhorrent, whatever one’s individual views of the origins of longstanding conflicts in the region. Let me also state, on this matter as on others, that while our students have the right to speak for themselves, no student group … speaks for Harvard University or its leadership,” Gay said in a statement.

The Wexner Foundation gave around $1.8 million to Harvard in fiscal 2021 for a fellowship program, plus $667,000 to the university, the Boston Globe reported, citing fiscal 2021 tax filings.

The University of Pennsylvania is also facing criticism. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. has notified the school that the Huntsman Foundation will not be donating in the future.

“The University’s silence in the face of reprehensible and historic Hamas evil against the people of Israel (when the only response should be outright condemnation) is a new low. Silence is antisemitism, and antisemitism is hate, the very thing higher ed was built to obviate,” Huntsman wrote in a message to Penn President Liz Magill that was obtained by the Daily Pennsylvanian. “Consequently, Huntsman Foundation will close its checkbook on all future giving to Penn – something that has been a source of enormous pride for now three generations of graduates. My siblings join me in this rebuke.”

Magill and Penn Provost John L. Jackson Jr. have called the Hamas attacks “abhorrent.”

“We are devastated by the horrific assault on Israel by Hamas that targeted civilians and the taking of hostages over the weekend. These abhorrent attacks have resulted in the tragic loss of life and escalating violence and unrest in the region,” they noted.

The Daily Pennsylvanian reported that Jon Huntsman Sr., who passed away in 2018, had donated millions to the institution.

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