Yet again, the Wall Street Journal has missed the point. Leveraging up on just two recent instances of alumni activism, they have woven a nonexistent canard of donors pulling strings to advance their agenda. Here is my letter to the editor (unpublished) addressing this.
To the Editor:
Yesterday (December 14, 2023) you published an article, “Bill Ackman’s Clash with Harvard over Stock Gift reveals the Messy World of Big Donations.” The article’s author cited two examples of donors using their “leverage” on universities: the Bill Ackman matter with Harvard and the Ross Stevens gift to University of Pennsylvania. The pressure these donors exerted was not to take some outrageous public position or to get their kids into college. It was to condemn antisemitism. How “messy” is that? The further implication of the article was that rich donors can manipulate the recipients based on the conditions of their donations. Well, if the universities don’t want those conditions, they can refrain from taking the money.