Billionaire Donor Calls on UPenn President to Resign for Failure to Condemn Antisemitic Hatred

Marc Rowan, chief executive officer of Apollo Global Management Inc., during a Bloomberg T
Benjamin Girette/Bloomberg via Getty

A billionaire University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees member has called for the resignation of his alma mater’s leaders and for donors to withhold funds in response to the school’s failure to quell antisemitism in the wake of Hamas’s attacks on Israel.

Apollo Global Management CEO Marc Rowan (pictured above), a Wharton Business School graduate who has contributed over $50 million to the institution, penned a letter to the school’s newspaper demanding the resignations of President Liz Magill and Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok. 

The letter, which ended up being published by the Jewish Insider instead of UPenn’s Daily Pennsylvanian, called out the university for holding a literary festival which featured writers who have called for “death to Israel,” shortly before Hamas terrorists killed over 1,300 Israelis last Saturday.

“It took less than two weeks to go from the Palestine Writes Literary Festival on UPenn’s campus to the barbaric slaughter and kidnapping of Israelis,” Rowan wrote.


Rowan, who is the chair of the Board of Advisors of Wharton, went on to blast the festival for focusing on Jews instead of Palestinian literature:

The polarizing Palestine Writes gathering featured well-known anti-Semites and fomenters of hate and racism, and it was underwritten, supported and hosted by various UPenn academic departments and affiliates. At a gathering supposedly focused on Palestinian arts, culture and poetry, the presenters focused on Jews, Israel and Zionism.

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, who is worth $5.8 billion according to Forbes, is one of UPenn’s largest benefactors, and called on other contributors to stop providing financial support. 

“I call on all UPenn alumni and supporters who believe we are heading in the wrong direction to ‘Close their Checkbooks’ until Magill and Bok resign,” he advised in his letter. “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.”

The billionaire also claimed that over 4,000 alumni have already signed an open letter that argued the university, under Magill, is heading in the wrong direction.

In a Thursday interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Rowan told host Andrew Ross Sorkin that Magill “is just not capable of exercising moral leadership here because she feels academic pressure, peer pressure.”

He also complained that university officials were trying to silence criticism, even going so far as to pressure trustees into leaving the board.

“We are, at Penn, a bastion of preferred speech,” instead of free speech, Rowan said.

In response to the public backlash from one of their own members, the university responded by saying they will battle anti-Jewish sentiment on campus.

“The university has publicly committed to unprecedented steps to further combat antisemitism on its campus, reaffirmed deep support for our Jewish community, and condemned the devastating and barbaric attacks on Israel by Hamas,” Vice Chairwoman Julie Platt said in a statement.


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