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Wexner Foundation cuts ties with Harvard over response to Israel-Hamas war

Wexner Foundation cuts ties with Harvard over response to Israel-Hamas war

Higher Ed Dive

Natalie Schwartz
October 17, 2023
Dive Brief: 
  • A major donor to Harvard Kennedy School has cut ties with the Ivy League university, alleging that the institution’s leaders have failed to take a “clear and unequivocal stand against” the Hamas attack on Israel earlier this month.
  • In a Monday letter to Harvard’s Board of Overseers, its second-highest governing board, the Wexner Foundation said it was ending its 34-year relationship with the university. It accused Harvard’s leaders of “tiptoeing” and “equivocating” in their response to a recent statement signed by 30-plus student groups that held Israel entirely responsible for the violence.
  • The decision will deal a blow to Harvard Kennedy School, which partnered with the Wexner Foundation in 1989 to create a fellowship that supports up to 10 public service professionals from Israel each year in their pursuit of a public administration master’s degree at the university. The current class of Wexner Israel Fellows will be the last to complete the master’s program, the letter said.
Dive Insight: 
Harvard is one of many universities facing public criticism — and loss of donor funding — over its response to the latest Israel-Hamas war.
The University of Pennsylvania, a fellow Ivy League institution, recently lost the support of donor Jon Huntsman Jr. His family will cut off financial support because of the “the University’s silence in the face of reprehensible and historic Hamas evil,” Huntsman wrote in a recent email to the university’s president, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian, a student newspaper.
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