A $100 million donation to the University of Pennsylvania is being withdrawn by Ross Stevens, the founder and CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management, in protest of the institution's handling of antisemitism on campus.
Stevens, a Penn alum and donor, expressed dissatisfaction with the university's antisemitism response, particularly on President Liz Magill's recent congressional testimony, Axios reported.
In December 2017, Stevens contributed $100 million to establish a center for innovation in finance, using limited partnership units in Stone Ridge, currently valued at around $100 million.
Through a letter from his legal representatives to Penn, Stevens alleges that the university violated terms outlined in the limited partnership agreement, including anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. In the letter, he accuses Penn of having a "permissive approach to hate speech calling for violence against Jews" and a "laissez-faire attitude toward harassment and discrimination against Jewish students."
This marks the second time Stevens has redirected a $100 million gift from Penn. Previously, he rerouted funds from the business school to the University of Chicago due to concerns that Penn prioritized diversity, equity, and inclusion over academic excellence, as reported by The New York Times.
While Stevens has offered to discuss the matter further, sources suggest he intends to withdraw the donation.
In response to the broader issue of antisemitism on college campuses, a Republican-led House committee is launching an investigation into MIT, Harvard, Penn, and other elite institutions. The inquiry comes after presidents of these universities evaded questions during congressional testimony about disciplinary actions in cases involving calls for violence against Jews.
Lawmakers from both parties, the White House, the Democrat governor of Pennsylvania, university donors, and others have condemned the presidents' testimonies.
Magill is facing internal scrutiny for her statements during the hearing.
During the Education and Workforce Committee hearing on Tuesday, Magill and other university leaders refrained from explicitly stating that "calling for the genocide of Jews" would necessarily violate their code of conduct.
In response to the criticism, Magill attempted to clarify her position in a video posted on X emphasizing that a call for the genocide of Jewish people is a call for "some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate." She acknowledged the need to clarify and evaluate Penn's policies, asserting that, in her view, it constitutes "harassment or intimidation," as reported by CNN.
As the investigation progresses, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., House Republican Conference chair, has declared that the committee will use its full congressional authority, including subpoena power, to hold these schools accountable, Axios reported.
"We will use our full congressional authority to hold these schools accountable for their failure on the global stage," she said.
Jim Thomas ✉
Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.
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