- Bill Ackman has had it with the presidents of Harvard, MIT and UPenn.
- The presidents were grilled by Congress over their colleges’ response to the Israel-Hamas war.
- Ackman said all three should “resign in disgrace” for saying that “genocide depends on the context.”
The billionaire singled out the three college presidents in a post written on X, formerly Twitter, after their testimonies on Capitol Hill.
“The presidents’ answers reflect the profound educational, moral and ethical failures that pervade certain of our elite educational institutions due in large part to their failed leadership,” Ackman wrote on X.
“They must all resign in disgrace,” he added.
Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate [your university’s] code of conduct or rules regarding bullying or harassment?
— Bill Ackman (@BillAckman) December 5, 2023
The three presidents were repeatedly asked by Rep. Elise Stefanik during the Tuesday congressional hearing if calling for the genocide of Jews violated their universities’ rules on bullying and harassment.
“If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment,” said University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill.
Harvard and MIT presidents Claudine Gay and Sally Kornbluth replied similarly to Stefanik’s question.
“It can be, depending on the context,” Gay replied when asked the same question.
“I have heard chants which can be antisemitic depending on the context when calling for the elimination of the Jewish people,” Kornbluth said earlier when Stefanik asked if she’d heard chants of “Intifada” on campus. The term is a reference to previous Palestinian uprisings in Gaza.
Ackman wrote in response to the clip: “If a CEO of one of our companies gave a similar answer, he or she would be toast within the hour.”
“Why has antisemitism exploded on campus and around the world? Because of leaders like Presidents Gay, Magill and Kornbluth who believe genocide depends on the context,” Ackman continued.
The hedge fund manager added in a later post that the three institutions would be far better off if they ditched their presidents — quickly.
“The world will be able to judge the relative quality of the governance at @Harvard, @Penn, and @MIT by the comparative speed by which their boards fire their respective presidents,” he wrote on X.
Ackman has spent the last two months being vocal on social media on what he believes to be the rise of antisemitism on college campuses. The billionaire has recently become an avowed critic of the response by colleges toward the Israel-Hamas war.
Ackman also offered his services to Gay, saying in an open letter on November 4 that he could help address antisemitism at Harvard.
But Ackman had clearly soured on Gay after Tuesday’s hearing.
“To think that these are the leaders of Ivy League institutions that are charged with the responsibility to educate our best and brightest,” he wrote in his post.
On Wednesday, Gay issued a statement clarifying her remarks at the congressional hearing.
“There are some who have confused a right to free expression with the idea that Harvard will condone calls for violence against Jewish students,” Gay said.
“Let me be clear: Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic group are vile, they have no place at Harvard, and those who threaten our Jewish students will be held to account,” she continued.
Representatives for Ackman, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.