Colleges should expect more vocal board members and less generous donors if they continue letting students force "woke" decisions on administrators, a former University of Pennsylvania trustee said following widespread anti-Israel rallies. "A university is not run by the students, the university is run by the board of trustees who represent all the alumni," the former trustee, CSMI CEO and charter school magnate Vahan Gureghian, told Fox News. "Presidents of these universities need to take heed before they make these woke decisions that adversely impact the reputation of these elite institutions because they have awakened the sleeping giant of donors who are now saying, ‘I'm not just going to write a check anymore and automatically give them money no matter what they say or do.’" Several top universities, including UPenn, have drawn criticism for allowing pro-Palestinian student groups to rally and express anti-Israel sentiments. Several major donors have cut off support from the Ivy League school, and drove Gureghian and a board of advisors member to resign. WATCH MORE FOX NEWS DIGITAL ORIGINALS HERE UPenn faced criticism prior to Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel for hosting a "Palestine Writes Literature Festival" featuring speakers with a history of antisemitism despite alumni and students' appeals to cancel or condemn the event, Fox News previously reported. Gureghian, who was still a trustee at the time, was surprised the university's president, Liz Magill, let the Sept. 22 event proceed after concerns were raised. "There's plenty of people on the board, all of whom are substantial men and women, that you could get advice and counsel from, and clearly they would give you the advice and counsel to cancel," he said. "That didn't happen. She let it go on." But then Magill took three days to release a statement in response to Hamas' attack, which killed around 1,400 Israelis and included women and children. Gureghian felt that was too slow — particularly after her decision about the Palestine Writes event just weeks earlier — and resigned as a trustee after nearly 15 years. "She was very, very slow to the draw for any kind of condemnation after she made that gigantic mistake of allowing the festival to occur," he said. "And no outcry by anybody on the board, by the chairman or anything. In fact, people came to her defense." "And I thought, 'okay, I'm going to resign, this is crazy,'" he added. EX-UTAH GOV. JON HUNTSMAN ENDS DONATIONS TO UNIVERSITY OF PENN, CONDEMNS SCHOOL'S ‘MORAL RELATIVISM’ ON HAMAS Magill's office pointed Fox News to a statement from the board of trustee's chair, Scott Bok, about a meeting where trustees condemned the Hamas attacks and in which the president outlined plans to "enhance education and training" to combat antisemitism. "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," the statement reads. Still, some of UPenn’s largest donors agreed with Gureghian. Several wealthy alumni called for Magill and Bok's resignations and either dropped their contributions or cut them to $1. Gureghian said he opposed Magill's hiring in July 2022, arguing that she was unqualified. "The true mark of a top president is to handle controversy, but to also take advantage of the strength that you have behind you with the board," he said. "Liz is not up to the task of being that person at this university." "And she made a mistake, and the mistake was a big mistake," he said. GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS PROJECT PRO-PALESTINIAN ACTIVISM ON SCHOOL LIBRARY On Thursday, Fox News obtained the resignation of Matt Nord, a donor who was appointed chair of the Weitzman School of Design's advisory board this summer. In his Oct. 20 letter, Nord mirrored calls for Magill to step down as president and said it's clear "Penn is in a state of existential crisis." "The University’s reputation has been built over close to three centuries, but we are at risk of permanently impairing that reputation," Nord wrote. "I do not say that to be provocative but because I truly believe it." Nord added that the calls for more stringent action to counter antisemitism on campus should be heeded, and quickly. "In my experience, a crisis will continue to spiral and swift decision-making is imperative to limit the long-term damage," he continued. "Time is of the essence, and we need a path forward to limit further reputational damage and start to heal as a community." Nord did not respond to Fox News' request for comment. Gureghian said university administrators across the country have given students too much power in their decision-making and allowed extreme views to fester without pushback. "They let it get out of hand," he told Fox News. "We're in a time of cancel culture? They need to cancel things. They need to cancel things that are this controversial." Gureghian said in his experience, boards vote unanimously "99.9% of the time," but if these institutions continue down their current path, universities should expect more dissent from its trustees. "You're going to see more and more board members now speak up and not just vote unanimously yes for everything and allow these educational institutions to take these woke positions, positions which are not consistent with the alumni and their boards," he said. "I think you're going to see more controversy in these closed-door board meetings, and you're going to probably start to see a whole different kind of person running these universities."
28 Ekim 2023 - 12:30
After college gave anti-Israel activists a pass, former Penn trustee issues warning to university admins
Vahan Gureghian, who resigned as a UPenn trustee over the school's response to the Israel-Hamas war, says universities need to stop letting students run their schools.
28 Ekim 2023 - 12:30