Austria’s Lauder Business School severs ties with Harvard over the rise of anti-Semitism on campus and president Claudine Gay’s failure to condemn it during damning congressional hearing

Photo of author
Written By Maya Cantina
  • Lauder Business School in Vienna cut its ties with Harvard Business School 
  • The school said it stood ‘in solidarity with the Jewish student community’
  • It was founded by Jewish businessman Ronald Lauder, heir to Estée Lauder

A prestigious Austrian university has severed ties with Harvard in the latest blow to the university over its response to the Israel-Hamas war and the rise of anti-Semitism on campus.

Lauder Business School in Vienna announced the bombshell decision to pull its partnership with the Ivy League as a show of ‘solidarity with the Jewish student community at Harvard.’

Founded by Jewish billionaire Ronald Lauder, 79, who is the heir to the Estée Lauder cosmetics empire, the school announced it would be ‘forming new partnerships that are more closely aligned with our core values and standards.’

The move came on December 14 in the immediate aftermath of the Harvard Corporation’s decision to stand by President Claudine Gay amid calls for her to resign. 

It’s the latest in a series of hits to Harvard, which reportedly lost a staggering $1 billion in donations thanks to Gay’s ‘failures’, according to billionaire alumni Bill Ackman, who campaigned for her removal. 

Lauder Business School in Vienna announced the bombshell decision to pull its partnership with the Ivy League as a show of ‘solidarity with the Jewish student community at Harvard’. (Pictured: founder Ronald Lauder) 

Lauder Business School (pictured) said it has been 'a proud affiliate of Professor Michael Porter's Microeconomics of Competitiveness Network at Harvard University' since 2014, but its leaders felt compelled to withdraw amid the anti-Semitism furor enveloping Harvard

Lauder Business School (pictured) said it has been ‘a proud affiliate of Professor Michael Porter’s Microeconomics of Competitiveness Network at Harvard University’ since 2014, but its leaders felt compelled to withdraw amid the anti-Semitism furor enveloping Harvard

Lauder is the latest in a long line of donors to cut ties with Harvard amid calls for the Ivy League's president, Claudine Gay (pictured), to resign

Lauder is the latest in a long line of donors to cut ties with Harvard amid calls for the Ivy League’s president, Claudine Gay (pictured), to resign

Lauder Business School said it has been ‘a proud affiliate of Professor Michael Porter’s Microeconomics of Competitiveness Network at Harvard University’ since 2014, but its leaders felt compelled to withdraw. 

The network provides a microeconomics course for students at Harvard’s Business School, along with pupils at ‘over 100 universities around the world,’ according to its website. 

It explores what drives competition in economies around the world, from groups of countries to cities. 

New York-born Lauder also previously told the University of Pennsylvania he would ‘re-examine’ his financial support of the school over its lackluster response to anti-Semitism on campus.

He condemned the Ivy League’s decision to host a ‘Palestine Writes Literature Festival’ last month, which featured several speakers he said publicly hold and promote anti-Semitic views. 

The president of the University of Pennsylvania Liz Magill resigned over her testimony, which mirrored Gay's

The president of the University of Pennsylvania Liz Magill resigned over her testimony, which mirrored Gay’s 

The magnate, who has a net worth of $4.5 billion according to Forbes and previously served as the US Ambassador to Austria, penned a long public letter eviscerating the university for hosting the event. 

UPenn’s president, Liz Magill, resigned from her post following her own disastrous congressional testimony where she spoke alongside Gay and the leader of MIT.  

Lauder decision to end his Austria’s school ties with Harvard is the latest in is the latest in a long line of wealthy donors to pull their support amid the anti-Semitism firestorm fanned by its president’s own public statements. 

Billionaire Len Blavatnik, whose family foundation has given the Ivy League at least $270 million, has also halted donations to his alma mater until it addresses what they see as ‘rampant anti-Semitism on campus,’ as first reported by Bloomberg. 

Others who have paused donations include Leslie Wexner, the former CEO of L Brands – the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer and his wife Batia, and Bill Ackman.

Ackman accused Gay of ‘doing more damage to Harvard’s reputation than anyone in the university’s history’ and demanded the board also review her personal history, including plagiarism allegations and discrimination. 

‘President Gay’s failures have led to billions of dollars of cancelled, paused, and withdrawn donations to the university,’ Ackman wrote.

‘I am personally aware of more than a billion dollars of terminated donations from a small group of Harvard’s most generous Jewish and non-Jewish alumni,’ he added.

‘I have been copied and blind copied on numerous letters and emails to the University from alums who have written scathing letters to Gay and/or the Board withdrawing donations.’ 

Founded by Jewish billionaire Ronald Lauder (pictured), 79, who is the heir to the Estée Lauder cosmetics empire, the Lauder Business School announced it would be 'forming new partnerships that are more closely aligned with our core values and standards'

Founded by Jewish billionaire Ronald Lauder (pictured), 79, who is the heir to the Estée Lauder cosmetics empire, the Lauder Business School announced it would be ‘forming new partnerships that are more closely aligned with our core values and standards’

Billionaire Bill Ackman, who has donated hundreds of millions to his alma matter, also paused donations following the breakout of the war, and has since led a campaign to replace Gay

Billionaire Bill Ackman, who has donated hundreds of millions to his alma matter, also paused donations following the breakout of the war, and has since led a campaign to replace Gay

Gay, who took the reigns at Harvard on July 1, has faced intense scrutiny since the October 7 terror attack in Israel, following her failure to immediately condemn students who justified Hamas' actions

Gay, who took the reigns at Harvard on July 1, has faced intense scrutiny since the October 7 terror attack in Israel, following her failure to immediately condemn students who justified Hamas’ actions 

The school, the country’s richest, heavily relies on its endowment – it’s largest revenue source by far. 

But Harvard has been fierce in its commitment to stand by Gay, even after fresh accusations of plagiarism moved from conservative media to more liberal outlets like CNN and The New York Times.

Gay, who took the reigns at Harvard on July 1, has faced intense scrutiny since the October 7 terror attack in Israel, following her failure to immediately condemn students who justified Hamas’ actions.

She subsequently issued two apologies that offered more vociferous condemnation of Hamas, the Palestinian terror group behind the atrocities. 

Fuel was poured on the fire on December 5, when she testified before Congress about antisemitism on campus, and equivocated on whether calling for the genocide of Jews was hate speech.

Many students at the top university responded to the October 7 attack by placing the blame on Israel. 

A group of 31 student groups released a letter to the public as a ‘Joint Statement by Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups on the Situation in Palestine’ saying that the attacks ‘did not happen in a vacuum’. 

‘We, the undersigned student organizations, hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,’ the groups wrote. They did not condemn the terrorist group’s actions or express sympathy for the 1,200 victims. 

Several pro-Palestine protests erupted around campus in the weeks that followed, including some which escalated into physical confrontations. 

In Palestine, more than 20,000 people have been killed in Israeli airstrikes which have pummeled the Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the bombing will continue until Hamas releases the remaining hostages. 

The Harvard Corporation admitted that she should have condemned Hamas’ attack in Israel sooner, but gave its full support for her continuing in her role. 

‘Our extensive deliberations affirm our confidence that President Gay is the right leader to help our community heal and to address the very serious societal issues we are facing,’ the board said in a statement. 

It added: ‘So many people have suffered tremendous damage and pain because of Hamas’s brutal terrorist attack, and the University’s initial statement should have been an immediate, direct, and unequivocal condemnation.

On Tuesday, a data scientist also challenged her analytical methods. It was then revealed that she had refused to share her data, raising eyebrows in academia.

The Palestine Solidarity Committee holding banners outside the prestigious college

The Palestine Solidarity Committee holding banners outside the prestigious college 

Gay, who has apologized for her testimony, is also facing accusations that she plagiarized about half of the 11 journal articles on her resume

Gay, who has apologized for her testimony, is also facing accusations that she plagiarized about half of the 11 journal articles on her resume

Jonatan Pallesen, a Copenhagen-based data scientist working for the Confederation of Danish Industry, tweeted that he had examined her use of data in her PhD thesis, and a 2001 American Political Science Review (APSR) paper.

The 2001 paper –  ‘The Effect of Black Congressional Representation on Political Participation’ – was one of four peer-reviewed political science articles which secured her 2005 tenure at Stanford.

Gay has found her academic record pored over, and accusations of plagiarism in works listed on her resume have emerged. The university launched an investigation into this on November 2. 

Gay had received an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard, before returning to Stanford to teach.

In 2006, she joined Harvard’s faculty, serving as a professor of government and of African and African American studies. She became dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 2018.

Pallesen found that the 2001 paper was misleading, and incomplete.

‘I am not a political scientist, but I am pondering about the whole approach of her study,’ he said.

Harvard is the most influential university in U.S. politics, having produced eight former presidents and four of the nine current Supreme Court Justices. 

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

Leave a Comment

shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw shw