Defend Israel, Founder of Victoria’s Secret Stop Donating to Harvard Lifestyle – 3 hours ago

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Non-profit organization (non-profit), the Wexner Foundation, founded by billionaire and Victoria’s Secret founder Leslie Wexner and his wife, Abigail, decided to stop donations to Harvard University.

Launching from CNN Internationalthe Wexner Foundation, which is one of Harvard University’s largest donors, decided to stop the flow of its funds after the campus voiced its support for Palestine over Israeli attacks.

“We are shocked and disgusted by the failure of Harvard leadership to take a clear and firm stance against the barbaric murder of innocent Israeli civilians,” said the leaders of the Wexner Foundation, quoted Monday (20/11/2023).


Wexner, who is predicted to have total assets of US$5 billion or Rp. 77.12 trillion (assuming an exchange rate of Rp. 15,424/US$), also highlighted statements issued by student groups blaming Israel for the Hamas attacks.

“Harvard’s leadership has indeed moved in secret, dubious ways, and we cannot “understand the college’s failure to desegregate the university and condemn the statement” issued by 34 student groups holding Israel guilty of violent terror attacks against its own citizens,” Wexner’s letter said Foundation.

“It shouldn’t be that difficult,” the letter continued.

Citing a “loss of clear moral standards,” the Wexner Foundation announced that the Harvard Kennedy School would no longer be a “compatible” partner for its organization.

The Wexner Foundation states that it has a mission to develop and inspire leaders in the Jewish communities in North America and Israel through programs and investments in talented professionals.

Meanwhile, the Wexner Foundation has close ties with Harvard University in supporting the program fellowships at the Kennedy School of Government which opens up opportunities for government and public service professionals in Israel to study at Harvard University for a certain period of time.

Harvard Opens Up

FILE - In this Aug.  13, 2019 file photo, students walk near the Widener Library in Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.  Ismail Ajjawi, 17, a Palestinian student who was denied entry to the United States just days before he was scheduled to start classes at Harvard University, has been admitted to the country.  The university confirmed that Ajjawi was on campus as classes began Tuesday, Sept.  3, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)Photo: Harvard University (AP/Charles Krupa)

Meanwhile in a statement to CNNHarvard University opens its voice regarding the Wexner Foundation’s plans to stop the flow of funds to the university.

“We are grateful to the Wexner Foundation for its long-term support of student scholarships,” a Harvard spokesperson said in a statement.

Additionally, last week Harvard President Claudine Gay released a video statement responding to the growing criticism.

“People ask me where we stand. So, let me be clear. Our university rejects terrorism, including the barbaric atrocities committed by Hamas,” Gay said.

“Our university rejects hatred, including hatred against Jews, hatred against Muslims, hatred against any group of people based on their religion, national origin, or any aspect of their identity,” Gay continued.

Later, Gay also stated that Harvard “rejects the intimidation of individuals based on their beliefs” and “embraces a commitment to free expression.”

“That commitment even applies to views that many of us consider unacceptable, even controversial. We do not punish or sanction people who express such views,” Gay said.

“And that’s a lot different than giving her support,” he continued.

Looking at Harvard’s response to terrorist attacks and anti-Israel letters, the Wexner Foundation is speaking out again.

“Many of our colleagues no longer feel marginalized at HKS (Harvard Kennedy School), They feel abandoned,” wrote the Wexner Foundation.

Donors Crowdedly Withdraw Funds from Harvard University

Wexner University’s decision to end ties with and financial support for Harvard is one example of donors’ response of surprise and opposition to the university’s support for Palestine and anti-Israel calls.

In a different report, CNN International mentioned that The top university’s most influential donors threatened to stop giving because of campus anti-Israel speech and antisemitism. It was stated that several of the large donors were supporters of Israel.

The Role of Donors in Higher Education Finances

According to findings by researchers at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University in 2020, philanthropy has been the most important part of higher education funding in the US in recent years.

Researchers say that educational institutions are second only to religious institutions as recipients of the largest donations in the US.

According to researchers, universities received donations of US$1 million or around Rp. 15.42 billion more than other donation purposes from 2000 to 2012.

Generally, donors provide large grants to colleges to support facilities, faculty research, on-campus technology, athletics, scholarships, and financial aid for low-income students.

“There are enormous benefits to developing and nurturing relationships with donors,” says Chronicle of Higher Education writer Lee Gardner.

“Relationships with donors are very, very important for all types of universities,” he continued.

Meanwhile, philanthropy is Harvard University’s largest source of income. In 2022, philanthropy contributed 45 percent of the total US$5.8 billion or around IDR 89.45 trillion in university income.

In detail, philanthropists contributed 9 percent of the university’s operational budget in 2022 and 36 percent of the endowment fund of US$51 billion or around Rp. 786.62 trillion collected over several decades.

Harvard University Students Condemn Israel

Last October, a coalition of Harvard University student groups issued an anti-Israel statement following the attack on October 7, 2023. In the letter, the students blamed Israel for the “deadly attack” carried out by Hamas.

The letter also invited various criticisms, slander, and even encouragement to withdraw their support for Palestine.

Former Harvard University President and US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said the students’ statements were “morally implausible”. However, he said that financial threats from donors were not the right solution to influence the university’s position on this issue.

“I believe the adjustments universities make should come from conscience and conversations within their communities, not as a response to financial pressures,” Summers said.

[Gambas:Video CNBC]

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