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University of Pennsylvania Faces $100 Million Donation Withdrawal Over Antisemitism Controversy

In a bold move, Ross Stevens, the founder and CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management and a major donor to the University of Pennsylvania, is withdrawing a substantial donation worth approximately $100 million. The protest is aimed at the university’s perceived mishandling of antisemitism on campus and the contentious testimony given by UPenn President Liz Magill on the subject.

Donor’s Protest Hits $100 Million Donation

Stevens had initially donated partnership units in his firm, valued at around $100 million, to aid in establishing a financial innovation center at the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. However, attorneys representing Stevens claim that the university breached Stone Ridge’s limited partnership agreement by failing to adhere to anti-discrimination and anti-harassment rules.

Allegations of Antisemitism Mishandling

According to a letter sent to the university by Stevens’ legal team, both Stevens and Stone Ridge express their dismay over UPenn’s handling of antisemitism on campus. The letter accuses the university of adopting a permissive approach to hate speech against Jews, allowing harassment, and discrimination against Jewish students. It asserts that such actions violate both the university’s policies and the rules set forth by Stone Ridge.

Controversial Testimony by UPenn President

The protest is further fueled by President Liz Magill’s testimony before the House Education and Workforce Committee. Magill’s statement that the permissibility of antisemitic chants and calls for the genocide of Jewish people is “context-dependent” has stirred controversy. The letter from Stevens and Stone Ridge criticizes Magill’s stance and references her subsequent clarification on social media, suggesting that her statements implied acknowledgment that such rhetoric constitutes harassment and discrimination.

President Magill Responds to Backlash

In response to mounting backlash, President Magill released a video addressing the situation. She clarified that her testimony focused on university policies and free speech constitutional protections. Magill acknowledged that a call for the genocide of Jewish people is threatening and should be considered harassment or intimidation. She committed to reviewing and clarifying Penn’s campus policies to ensure a safe and supportive environment.

Donation Reconsideration Linked to Leadership Change

Stevens’ letter to the University of Pennsylvania makes it clear that the withdrawal of the $100 million donation may be reconsidered under one condition – the replacement of President Liz Magill. The donor’s dissatisfaction extends beyond financial concerns, emphasizing the need for a change in leadership to address the perceived mishandling of antisemitism on campus.

As the university grapples with this significant financial blow and the broader implications for its handling of sensitive issues, the spotlight remains on UPenn’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and safe environment for all its students.

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