[Fox Business] UPenn donor withdraws $100M donation after president’s congressional testimony on antisemitism

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A major donor to the University of Pennsylvania is withdrawing a donation worth roughly $100 million as a protest against the college’s handling of antisemitism on campus and the controversial testimony by UPenn’s president on the subject.

Ross Stevens, founder and CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management, donated to Penn in 2017, a gift that consisted of partnership units in the firm which are now valued at around $100 million to help the university establish a financial innovation center. Attorneys for Stevens sent the university a letter indicating the school violated Stone Ridge’s limited partnership agreement through its failure to adhere to anti-discrimination and anti-harassment rules. The news was first reported by Axios. 

The letter said that Stevens and Stone Ridge “are appalled by the University’s stance on antisemitism on campus.” 

It added that Penn’s “permissive approach to hate speech calling for violence against Jews and laissez faire attitude toward harassment and discrimination against Jewish students would violate any policies of rules that prohibit harassment and discrimination based on religion, including those of Stone Ridge.”

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It also took issue with President Liz Magill’s testimony before the House Education and Workforce Committee this week in which she said that whether antisemitic chants and calls for the genocide of Jewish people are prohibited speech on campus are “context-dependent” and would violate Penn’s rules against bullying and harassment if it was “directed,” “pervasive” and “severe.” 

The letter from Stevens and Stone Ridge noted that Magill’s testimony and her subsequent clarification posted on social media seemingly conceded that such antisemitic rhetoric would violate Penn’s rules as harassment and discrimination.

“President Magill’s December 6, 2023 post on X admitted as much, when she belatedly acknowledged – only after her Congressional testimony went viral and demands for her termination amplified – that calls for genocide of the Jewish people constitute harassment and discrimination,” the letter said.

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In response to the backlash, Magill posted a video on Wednesday in which she said that her testimony during the hearing was focused on university policies and the constitutional protections of free speech, but that she wanted to be clear that “a call for genocide of Jewish people is threatening, deeply so.” 

She added, “In my view, it would be harassment or intimidation,” and that Penn’s campus policies should be “clarified and evaluated” and that as president she’s “committed to a safe, secure, and supportive environment so all members of our community can thrive. We can, and we will, get this right.”

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Stevens’ letter to Penn indicated that he and Stone Ridge would be willing to reconsider the withdrawal of his donation only after the university has replaced Magill in the role of president.

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