The Wexner Foundation has made the choice to withdraw its support from Harvard University in light of the university’s handling of the Hamas rocket attack on Israel, which has led to the loss of more than 1,200 lives and numerous injuries. The philanthropic organization, under the leadership of Leslie Wexner and Abigail Wexner, communicated its position through a letter directed to the Harvard Board of Overseers.
In this written communication, the foundation formally announced the termination of its financial and programmatic association with the university. Currently, the Wexner Foundation sponsors the education of up to 10 government and public service professionals from Israel annually, facilitating their pursuit of one-year degrees at the Harvard Kennedy School.
The letter expressed the foundation’s deep shock and disappointment with what it perceived as Harvard’s insufficient response to the tragic deaths of innocent Israeli civilians at the hands of terrorists on a recent Saturday, a day traditionally associated with rest and celebration.
Harvard President Claudine Gay, who assumed her role in July, has grappled with the challenge of addressing concerns from various quarters, including former university president Larry Summers, as reported by Bloomberg.
Summers voiced his indignation at Harvard’s initial silence in the wake of a statement from over 30 student groups, which attributed the violence solely to Israel while omitting mention of Hamas, an organization designated as a terrorist entity by both the US and the European Union.
Harvard and the Kennedy School have unequivocally denounced the terrorist actions carried out by Hamas, as evident in statements issued last week by President Claudine Gay and Kennedy School Dean Doug Elmendorf.
The Kennedy School expressed its appreciation to the Wexner Foundation for its enduring support of student scholarships.
It’s noteworthy that some US colleges have witnessed a discontinuation of support from donors and alumni due to their responses to the Hamas attack on Israel. The most recent case follows the decision of Israeli businessman Idan Ofer and his spouse to step down from board positions at the Kennedy School in the preceding week.