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DATE 2023-10-01

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MESSAGE
DATE 2023-10-15
FROM Ruben Safir
SUBJECT Subject: [Hangout - NYLXS] From under the missles in Israel
Columnists
Revolt Against Moral Confusion in the Ivy League Rocks Penn, as Huntsman
Foundation Ends Its Long-Time Support for a School It Says Has Become
‘Unrecognizable’

Influential alumni join billionaire Marc Rowan’s call for Penn’s
chairman, Scott Bok, and president, Elizabeth Magill, to resign.
AP/Rick Bowmer, file
Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. at Salt Lake City, May 20, 2020. AP/Rick
Bowmer, file
REBECCA SUGAR
REBECCA SUGAR
Sunday, October 15, 202318:25:43 pm

The revolt against moral confusion in the leadership of the Ivy League
has accelerated following news Saturday that the Huntsman family, one of
the biggest financial backers of the University of Pennsylvania, was
ending its support of the school.

Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. issued a devastating statement, calling the
school “deeply adrift in ways that make it almost unrecognizable.” The
statement calls the university’s silence after Hamas’ attacks on Israel
on October 7 “a new low” and declares, “Silence is antisemitism, and
antisemitism is hate, the very thing higher ed was built to obviate.”

“Consequently,” continues the statement by Mr. Huntsman, former
ambassador of America to both Russia and China, “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.”
Advertisement

Penn is part of a broader revolt against the the pusillanimity of
trustees and administrations of the Ivy League. At Harvard, billionaire
Bill Ackman, an alumnus, is seeking to find out the names of students
belonging to the campus organizations that side with Hamas against
Israel. He wants to avoid hiring them.

Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer quit the executive board of the Kennedy
School over the lukewarm response of the university’s new president,
Claudine Gay, to students blaming Israel for the slaughter by Hamas.
Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers criticized the handling of these
issues by Harvard, of which Mr. Summers was president.

At Columbia, a pro-Hamas demonstration on Thursday dwarfed — and shocked
— a demonstration by Jewish and other students supporting Israel. That
came three and a half years after Columbia’s president, Lee Bollinger,
issued a statement characterizing the widely held view that Columbia was
an antisemitic campus as “preposterous.”
Advertisement

In a startling development, both Harvard and Stanford were upbraided by
the chairman of Hebrew University in Israel, Asher Cohen, for
“shockingly feeble” reactions to the attacks by Hamas. Mr. Cohen called
the two schools, long revered throughout America, as “lighthouses that
have failed us.” This is but the tip of an iceberg within the Ivy
League.

This past week, Marc Rowan of Apollo Global Management, who chairs the
board of advisers of the Wharton School, Penn’s most famous unit, issued
an open letter calling for other donors to join him in stopping their
donations to the university until Penn’s chairman, Scott Bok, and its
president, Elizabeth Magill, resign.

At the end of September, Mr. Rowan organized a petition objecting to the
university’s mishandling of the “Palestine Writes Literature Festival,”
which took place on campus and featured antisemitic speakers calling for
the eradication of the Jewish state. The petition was signed by 4,000
alumni.
Advertisement

After Hamas’s massacre in Israel, Ms. Magill again shocked the Penn
community by posting online about Indigenous People’s Day and failing to
mention the murder of 1,200 Israeli civilians, the wounding of thousands
more, and the kidnapping of more than 100 men, women and children.
Rowan attends the 2022 Forbes Iconoclast Summit at New York Historical
Society on November 03, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by
Marc Rowan on November 3, 2022, at New York City. Arturo Holmes/Getty
Images

Mr. Rowan, unable to prevail upon leadership to change course, issued
his public statement. The letter went viral and led to immediate and
significant financial losses for the school.

Ms. Magill today issued a letter which makes no direct mention of Mr.
Rowan’s efforts over the last few weeks but does acknowledge that she
has heard from many in the community.

Ms. Magill specifically makes reference to the “anger and frustration”
felt after the literature festival and writes that, “While we did
communicate, we should have moved faster to share our position strongly
and more broadly with the Penn community.”

The Magill letter does not explain her failure to acknowledge the
October 7 attack on Israel with immediacy and urgency. It does reiterate
her opposition to antisemitism in her earlier statement and says there
is no justification for Hamas’ “heinous acts.” The problem remains that,
for many, faith in her leadership has already been broken beyond repair.

Mr. Rowan acknowledges that trustees previously relied on historically
strong leadership at the school to define Penn’s direction. Over the
last two years, under Ms. Magill’s weaker stewardship, key issues have
not been sufficiently discussed or debated.

Such issues range from free speech, to political diversity, to
decolonization studies. The result, Mr. Rowan believes, is moral
confusion coming from the top, which has produced a toxic environment
and a culture of fear on campus.

Now he is focused on the future. “It’s not about what Liz put out in a
letter,” he says. “She is a nice, smart lawyer who is not an
antisemite.” Mr. Rowan, though, believes Penn needs a change. “Penn has
everything it needs to win and to lead,” he says.

“Our trustees have to firmly decide on a direction. Our leadership has
to be charismatic, tireless, and fearless. We need 99 percent of our
community rowing in the same direction.” Ms. Magill is not, in his view,
the person for the job.

“A university needs consensus to win. Liz has no chance of forming this
consensus and therefore whether it is today, next week or next year she
will need to step down. I hope, for the sake of UPenn, this happens
quickly so that we minimize the damage to the University.”

________

This story has been expanded from the bulldog edition.
REBECCA SUGAR
REBECCA SUGAR

Ms. Sugar is a writer and philanthropic consultant living in New York.
She is married and has twin teenagers and an English Bulldog named
Batman.

Commenting is available to Sun Readers, Sun Members and Sun Founders
only. Comments are reviewed and, in some cases, edited before posting.
Chances of a comment being posted are increased if the comment is
polite, accurate, grammatical, and substantive or newsworthy.
--
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that Brooklyn, like Atlantis, reaches mythological
proportions in the mind of the world - RI Safir 1998
http://www.mrbrklyn.com

DRM is THEFT - We are the STAKEHOLDERS - RI Safir 2002
http://www.nylxs.com - Leadership Development in Free Software
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