A major donor to the University of Pennsylvania is withdrawing a gift worth approximately $100 million in protest at the school's handling of antisemitism on campus and the Penn president's controversial statement on the matter.
Ross Stevens, founder and CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management, donated to Penn in 2017, a grant consisting of partnership units in the company, now valued at about $100 million, to help the university establish a financial innovation center. Stevens' attorneys sent the university a letter indicating that the school violated Stone Ridge's limited partnership agreement by failing to adhere to anti-discrimination and anti-harassment rules. The news was first reported by Axios.
The letter said Stevens and Stone Ridge “are appalled by the University's stance on anti-Semitism on campus.”
It added that Penn's “permissive approach to hate speech that calls for violence against Jews and laissez faire attitude toward harassment and discrimination against Jewish students would violate any rules policies that prohibit harassment and discrimination on the basis of religion , including those at Stone Ridge”.
It also questioned UPenn President Liz Magill's testimony before the House Education and Workforce Committee this week, in which she said that if anti-Semitic chants and calls for the genocide of Jewish people are prohibited, speech on campus is “context dependent” and would violate the Penn agreement. rules against bullying and harassment if it is “directed”, “pervasive” and “severe”.
Stevens and Stone Ridge's letter noted that Magill's testimony and subsequent clarification posted on social media apparently admitted that such anti-Semitic rhetoric would violate Penn's rules as harassment and discrimination.
“President Magill's December 6, 2023 post on X admitted this, when she belatedly acknowledged it – only after her Congressional Testimony went viral and demands for his resignation were amplified – that calls for the genocide of the Jewish people constitute harassment and discrimination,” the letter said.
PFIZER CEO CALLS ELITE COLLEGE PRESIDENTS FOR 'DESPICABLE' ANTI-SEMITISM
In response to the backlash, Magill posted a video on Wednesday in which he said his testimony during the hearing focused on university policies and constitutional protections of free speech, but that he wanted to make clear that “a call for the genocide of Jews people are threatening, deeply.”
She added, “In my opinion, it would be harassment or bullying,” and that Penn's campus policies should be “clarified and evaluated” and that, as president, she is “committed to a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community can thrive. We can, and will, get it right.”
GET THE FOX DEAL ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE
Stevens' letter to Penn indicated that he and Stone Ridge would be willing to reconsider withdrawing his donation only after the university replaced Magill in the role of president.