update deskSchools & Higher Education

Donor ‘appalled’ by Penn’s ‘stance on antisemitism on campus’ pulls $100 million

Ross Stevens, founder and CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management, informed the University of Pennsylvania that he was only willing to discuss the matter under a new president at the school.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Credit: SINITAR/Shutterstock.
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Credit: SINITAR/Shutterstock.

Ross Stevens, founder and CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management, notified the University of Pennsylvania on Thursday that he is withdrawing a donation of “units” in his business, worth about $100 million, that he gifted to the university.

In a letter to the university, his lawyers wrote that he was “appalled by the university’s stance on antisemitism on campus.”

“Its 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 or rules that prohibit harassment and discrimination based on religion, including those of Stone Ridge,” they wrote.

Penn president Liz Magill testified during a House committee hearing this week that it wouldn’t necessarily violate the university’s policies to call for the genocide of all Jews. She later sought to clarify her comments.

In the letter to the university, the lawyers wrote that Magill “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.”

In light of that, the letter stated that Stevens was withdrawing his funding for the Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance, given that the university’s discrimination had violated a clause in the agreement.

“Mr. Stevens and Stone Ridge would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter further and give the university a chance to remedy what Stone Ridge believes are likely violations of the limited partner agreement if, and when, there is a new university president in place,” the letter stated.

“Until then, there can be no meaningful discussion about remedying the university’s ongoing failure to honor its obligations,” it added.

The board of advisers of Penn’s Wharton School, a business school, wrote to Magill on Thursday, stating that “our board respectfully suggests to you and the board of trustees that the university requires new leadership with immediate effect.”

The Wharton board also demanded that Penn “clarify its position regarding any call for harm to any group of people immediately, change any policies that allow such conduct with immediate effect and discipline all offenders expeditiously.”

Earlier in the year, The New York Times reported that Stevens donated $100,000 to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which he had originally intended for Wharton.

“Two friends confirmed that he had planned to give the money to Wharton, but changed his mind because he thought the school was prioritizing D.E.I.,” or diversity, equity and inclusion, “over enhancing the business school’s academic excellence,” per the Times.

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