Billionaire alumn says UPenn Hamas response inadequate, calls on donors to 'close checkbooks,' leaders to resign

The UPenn graduate called for university leaders to resign.

‘Join me and many others who love UPenn by sending UPenn $1 in place of your normal, discretionary contribution so that no one misses the point,’ Apollo Global Management CEO Mark Rowan wrote.

CEO of private equity firm Apollo Global Management Marc Rowan slammed the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) for not taking a stronger stance against anti-Semitism in light of Hamas’ attacks on Israel.

The billionaire, a UPenn graduate, called for UPenn leaders to resign in an op-ed that The Daily Pennsylvanian has not published yet. He ordered alumni to “close their checkbooks” until UPenn’s president, Elizabeth Magill, and the chairman of its board of trustees, Scott Bok, resign.

“Join me and many others who love UPenn by sending UPenn $1 in place of your normal, discretionary contribution so that no one misses the point,” he wrote.

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In an email sent to students Oct. 10, Magill and Provost John L. Jackson Jr., wrote, “We are devastated by the horrific assault on Israel by Hamas that targeted civilians and the taking of hostages over the weekend. These abhorrent attacks have resulted in the tragic loss of life and escalating violence and unrest in the region. Many members of our community are hurting right now. Our thoughts are especially with those grieving the loss of loved ones or facing grave uncertainty about the safety of their families and friends.”

In September, UPenn hosted the Palestine Writes Literary Festival. More than 4,000 people, including Rowan, signed a letter to Magill saying the “platforming of outright antisemitism without denunciation from the university is unacceptable.”

UPenn responded to that letter, “We unequivocally — and emphatically — condemn antisemitism as antithetical to our institutional values.”

“As a university, we also fiercely support the free exchange of ideas as central to our educational mission,” the statement continued. “This includes the expression of views that are controversial and even those that are incompatible with our institutional values.”

University Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok allegedly pressured four trustees who had criticized UPenn for not strongly responding to the festival to resign, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported. One of those trustees included Rowan.

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“President Magill’s allowing of UPenn’s imprimatur to be associated with this conference, and her failure to condemn this hate-filled call for ethnic cleansing, normalized and legitimized violence that ranged from the targeting of Jewish students and spaces here at UPenn to the horrific attacks in Israel,” Rowan wrote.

“Four thousand of us have already sent a strong message to Magill and Bok about their moral failure to condemn Palestine Writes, but that is just the tip of the iceberg,” he added. “Ultimately, it is about changing a culture that allowed this to take place.  “

Pershing Square Capital Management CEO Bill Ackman recently called on Harvard to release the names of students in groups holding Israel solely responsible for Hamas’ violence. Ackman tweeted his support of Rowan’s letter.