Harvard reportedly lost more than a billion dollars in donations for its weak stance against antisemitism

The Harvard president's actions are creating serious consequences for the university, says billionaire Bill Ackman.

The influential billionaire Bill Ackman has published a letter on his X account (formerly Twitter) that he sent to the Harvard Board of Overseers in which he condemns the actions of the university president, Claudine Gay, in response to the advance of antisemitism on campus. Noting that Gay’s actions have disturbed the peace of the university, supporting antisemitic groups instead of condemning them and failing to enforce the university’s rules of conduct, Ackman states that: “President Gay catalyzed an explosion of antisemitism and hate on campus that is unprecedented in Harvard’s history.” 

As a consequence of these actions, and in some cases lack of action, several different investors have withdrawn their donations, according to Ackman:

“President Gay’s failures have led to billions of dollars of canceled, paused, and withdrawn donations to the university.” “I am personally aware of more than a billion dollars of terminated donations from a small group of Harvard’s most generous Jewish and non-Jewish alumni.”

Gay’s shameful testimony in front of Congress

In addition to the criticism that President Gay has received for several weeks now for her actions, last week, a hearing took place in Congress on the fight against antisemitism in universities, in which her statements caused particular rejection and indignation.

In an exchange between Rep. Elise Stefanik and Gay, the Republican asked: “At Harvard, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment?”

“It can be, depending on the context,” Gay responded.

The congresswoman insisted it was a yes or no question and pressed for an answer. Still, President Gay failed to specify, adding: “Antisemitic speech when it crosses into conduct that amounts to bullying, harassment, intimidation—that is actionable conduct, and we do take action.”

Stefanik persisted by asking her directly if the answer was “yes”: “So the answer is yes, that calling for the genocide of Jews violates Harvard code of conduct, correct?”

“Again, it depends on the context,” Gay said.

After stating before Congress that calling for the genocide of Jews violates the rules of intimidation and harassment depending on the context, a wave of criticism arose calling for her resignation and that of the other presidents of prestigious universities, who were also in the audience and responded similarly.

The president of the University of Pennsylvania resigned after the outrage generated by her response at that hearing. When questioned by the Republican representative about whether calls for the genocide of Jews would violate the university’s code of conduct, Liz Magill assured that “it is a context-dependent decision.”

Gay wrote a letter claiming she had not chosen her words carefully at that hearing. She added that in that long exchange, she didn’t “return to my guiding truth, which is that calls for violence against our Jewish community—threats to our Jewish students—have no place at Harvard and will never go unchallenged.”

But her lack of action, for months, in the face of rising antisemitism at Harvard, as well as her inability to respond before Congress that calling for the genocide of Jews does violate the university’s code of conduct, already generated great consequences for the students, who no longer enjoy a safe environment, and for the university, which is losing prestige and donors.