Bill Ackman claims Harvard president was hired because of DEI initiative

by NEW YORK DIGITAL NEWS



Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has accused Harvard of hiring President Claudine Gay solely because of its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative — instead of “identifying the best leaders for our prestigious universities.”

The 57-year-old, who has made a name for himself by publicly announcing that he would refuse to hire students who express anti-Israel views, made the claim as he blasted Gay — as well as the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts Institute of Technology — for refusing to condemn calls for genocide on their campuses at a Congressional hearing.

“I learned from someone with first-person knowledge of the Harvard president search that the committee would not consider a candidate who did not meet the DEI office’s criteria,” Ackman wrote in a post on X Thursday of the university president, who is Black.

“The same was likely true for other elite universities doing searches at the same time, creating an even more limited universe of DEI-eligible presidential candidates.

“Shrinking the pool of candidates based on required race, gender and/or sexual orientation criteria is not the right approach to identifying the best leaders for our most prestigious universities,” Ackman argued.

“And it is also not good for those awarded the office of president who find themselves in a role that they likely would not have obtained were it not for a fat finger on the scale.”

Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman accused Harvard of hiring President Claudine Gay due to its DEI initiative. REUTERS

Ackman went on to say that he has “been called brave for my tweets over the last few weeks” calling out antisemitism at colleges.

“The same could be said for those [who] called out [former Sen.] Joseph McCarthy during the Red Scare,” he claimed.

“I don’t think it will be long before we look back on the last few years of free speech suppression and the repeated career-ending accusations of racist for those who questioned the DEI movement.

“We are shortly going to realize that the DEI era is the McCarthy era Part II,” Ackman warned. 

“History rhymes, but it does not repeat.”

The Post has reached out to Harvard University and President Claudine Gay for comment.

Ackman made the claim as he blasted Gay — as well as the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts Institute of Technology — for refusing to condemn calls for genocide on their campuses at a Congressional hearing. REUTERS

Ackman had earlier called on Gay, as well as University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill and Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Sally Kornbluth to “resign in disgrace” from their positions after they refused to call out the antisemitic protests that have taken place on their campuses during a Congressional hearing.

“In short, they said: It ‘depends on the context’ and ‘whether the speech turns into conduct,’ that is, actually killing Jews,” he said in a post on X.

“This could be the most extraordinary testimony ever elicited in the Congress, certainly on the topic of genocide, which to remind us all is: ‘the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim to destroy that nation or group,’” Ackman wrote.

“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,” he continued.

The Post has reached out to Harvard University and Claudine Gay for comment on Ackman’s accusations. @RepStefanik / X

“They must all resign in disgrace,” he said, adding: “If a CEO of one of our companies gave a similar answer, he or she would be toast within the hour.

“To think that these are the leaders of Ivy League institutions that are charged with the responsibility to educate our best and brightest,” he said.

Ackman later reposted Elon Musk’s response, which read: “Let me help them out here: “Calling for the genocide [death] of anyone obviously constitutes harassment.”

In another post Ackman shared, Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, said he was “ashamed” by what he heard the university presidents say.

“In my personal opinion, it was one of the most despicable moments in the history of US academia,” Bourla wrote, noting that it made him think of his family who died in the Holocaust.

Ackman had earlier called on Gay, as well as University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill and MIT President Sally Kornbluth to “resign in disgrace.” @BillAckman / X

“The memories of my father’s parents, Abraham and Rachel Bourla, his brother David and his little sister Graciela, who all died in Auschwitz, came to mind.

“I was wondering if their deaths would have provided enough ‘context’ to these presidents to condemn the Nazis’ antisemitic propaganda.”

Even the White House spoke out against the university presidents’ testimony.

“It’s unbelievable that this needs to be said: calls for genocide are monstrous and antithetical to everything we represent as a country,” senior communications adviser and deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement.

Amid the backlash, Harvard President Gay backtracked on her own testimony by saying the university will start to punish calls for genocide.

“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 in a statement on Harvard’s official X account Wednesday.

Amid the backlash, Harvard President Gay backtracked on her own testimony to Congress by saying the university will start to punish calls for genocide. AP

“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.”

University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill also offered a groveling apology in which she appeared to blame the school’s policies and even the US Constitution.

“There was a moment during yesterday’s Congressional hearing on antisemitism when I was asked if a call for the genocide of Jewish people on our campus would violate our policies,” Magill began the two-minute-long video Wednesday.

“In that moment, I was focused on the university’s long-standing policies — aligned with the US Constitution — which say that speech alone is not punishable.

“I was not focused on — but should have been — the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate.

“It’s evil, plain and simple,” she said.





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