The University of Pennsylvania lost the support of one major donor and saw one board of trustees member resign, both out of protest against the rise of anti-Semitism at the university in the wake of the massive Palestinian attacks against Israel.
As reported by Breitbart, Jon Huntsman, a former Governor of Utah, former U.S. ambassador, and former presidential candidate, announced publicly that he would not be donating to the school any further, due to the school’s refusal to issue a statement of any kind on the matter.
“The University’s silence in the face of reprehensible and historic Hamas evil against the people of Israel (when the only response should be outright condemnation) is a new low. Silence is antisemitism, and antisemitism is hate, the very thing higher ed was built to obviate,” said Huntsman in his written statement. “Consequently, 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.”
Around the same time as Huntsman’s announcement, an emergency meeting of the board of trustees was held that lasted for over three hours. Upon the meeting’s conclusion, board member Vahan Gureghian announced his resignation for similar reasons.
“Just as at so many other elite academic institutions, the Penn community has been failed by an embrace of antisemitism, a failure to stand for justice and complete negligence in the defense of our students’ wellbeing,” said Gureghian in his resignation letter.
In the aftermath of both developments, university president Liz Magill put out a statement clarifying that “I stand, and Penn stands, emphatically against antisemitism. We have a moral responsibility—as an academic institution and a campus community—to combat antisemitism and to educate our community to recognize and reject hate.”
In the days immediately following the large-scale assault against Israel on October 7th, anti-Israel and pro-Palestine protests suddenly began appearing all across the United States, particularly on college campuses. Although anti-Semitism had become an issue in universities in recent years due to the rise of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, such protests and anti-Semitic tendencies have become significantly more prominent in the wake of the recent conflict.