Last Updated on October 19, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Major Donor and Alumnus of University of Pennsylvania to Halt Donations Until Anti-Semitism Issue is Addressed
In a significant move highlighting his concerns towards the University of Pennsylvania’s handling of anti-Semitism on campus, Clifford Asness, a major donor and alumnus of the institution, has announced that he will cease all future donations until the issue is effectively tackled. Asness, who has been a highly influential figure within the University’s alumni community, expressed his disappointment, citing a noticeable deviation from the values of genuine freedom of thought that the university once upheld.
One of the key factors that prompted Asness to take this stance was the university’s decision to host an anti-Semitic literature festival. He viewed this as a tipping point, indicating a worrisome shift away from supporting freedom of expression and fostering an inclusive and respectful environment for all members of the community.
Furthermore, Asness criticized the university’s response to the recent terror attack by Hamas on Israel, accusing them of making ambiguous comparisons between intentional murder and unintentional harm caused during the conflict. This drew attention to what he perceives as a failure to take a strong stance against terrorism and provide unequivocal support for the victims of such acts.
Although Asness remains hopeful for meaningful change, he firmly stated that he will not be considering any further donations until tangible progress in addressing these issues becomes evident. This decision has gained support from other prominent alumni, including Apollo Global Management CEO Marc Rowan, who has also called for UPenn President Elizabeth Magill’s resignation.
President Magill has faced mounting criticism for her handling of the Palestine Writes Festival and her response to the Hamas attacks. However, she has released statements denouncing acts of anti-Semitism on campus and condemning the terrorist attacks in Israel. Despite growing pressure, the Penn Board of Trustees has expressed their unwavering support for Magill and her leadership team, believing they are the right group to guide the university forward.
In response to the ongoing controversy, President Magill has made it clear that the university will not tolerate any form of incitement to violence. She emphasized that Penn prioritizes the safety and well-being of its community and remains committed to addressing the issue of anti-Semitism head-on.
The issue of anti-Semitism and freedom of expression on the University of Pennsylvania campus continues to be a contentious and divisive topic. The university is under scrutiny for its handling of these matters, with alumni and donors demanding swift and decisive action to ensure a more inclusive and respectful environment for all members of the community.