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HomemediaUniversity of Pennsylvania grapples with donor crisis after 'Palestine Writes' event causes...

University of Pennsylvania grapples with donor crisis after ‘Palestine Writes’ event causes uproar

A prominent University of Pennsylvania donor sent his alma mater a $1 check with an annual pledge for the same amount as long as UPenn President Liz Magill remains at the school, joining a handful of other mega-donors who continue to withhold donations over the school’s response to the Israel-Hamas conflict and accusations of excusing antisemitism.

He’s just one of several major donors that’s calling for changes at the top as the elite university grapples with the fallout of a recent on-campus event. It’s gotten to the point that alumni president Michael Barrett penned a letter to his fellow Quakers reaffirming support for Magill, defending the school’s handling of the situation and criticizing the “misinformation” and heavy scrutiny the school has faced this month. 

On Sunday, Magill released a statement saying the school didn’t move fast enough to address criticism of the “Palestine Writes” event and strongly condemned the Hamas “terrorist assault” on Israel; her initial statement to the school didn’t refer to Hamas a terrorist group, although it called its attack “abhorrent” and “horrific.”

Here are the donors who are speaking out against the university.


The Wexner Foundation, a nonprofit started by Victoria’s Secret founder Leslie Wexner and his wife Abigail, announced in a letter this week that they will be stopping their funding to Harvard, saying they were “sickened and stunned” by the school’s “dismal failure” to take an unequivocal stand against the “barbaric murders of innocent Israeli civilians.” They accused the school of “tiptoeing” around the issue and announced a hard stop to their financial and programmatic support of the university in a letter obtained by Fox News.

On Monday, Scott Bok, the Chair of the Penn Board of Trustees, released a statement about a meeting with Magill where Trustees condemned the Hamas attacks and Magill in turn outlined plans to “enhance education and training to combat antisemitism on campus.”

“The unanimous sense of those gathered was that President Magill and her existing University leadership team are the right group to take the University forward,” he said.

For her part, Magill released a statement Tuesday, “Alumni are important members of the Penn community. I hear their anger, pain, and frustration and am taking action to make clear that I stand, and Penn stands, emphatically against the terrorist attacks by Hamas in Israel and against antisemitism. As a University, we support and encourage the free exchange of ideas, along with a commitment to the safety and security of our community and the values we share and work to advance. Penn has a moral responsibility to combat antisemitism and to educate our community to recognize and reject hate in all its forms. I’ve said we should have communicated faster and more broadly about where we stand, but let there be no doubt that we are steadfast in our beliefs.”

Reached for comment, a University of Pennsylvania spokesperson directed Fox News Digital to Bok and Magill’s recent comments and statements on the matter.

Fox Business’ Breck Dumas and Eric Revell and Fox News’ Hanna Panreck contributed to this report. 

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Yael Halon is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to


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