‘Resign in Disgrace’: Bill Ackman Excoriates the Failed Leadership of Harvard, MIT, and U Penn

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On Tuesday, the Ivy League secured its berth in the Hall of Shame when three top university presidents testified before Congress and couldn’t muster the moral certitude to condemn calls for genocide against Jews. As RedState’s Jerry Wilson so aptly observed: 

On December 5, the House Committee on Education and Workforce held a hearing focusing on antisemitic activity on college campuses following the start of the Israel-Hamas War. Three college presidents were witnesses for the hearing: Harvard University President Claudine Gay, Penn University President Liz Magill, and MIT President Sally Kornbluth. During the hearing, Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) asked each of the witnesses if calling for the genocide of Jews violated their university’s code of conduct or rules regarding bullying or harassment. The answers, to a one, were astonishing.

If nothing else, the above should forever lay to rest any fear among the non-college-attending populace that not going to college indicates a lack of intelligence. Snark aside, when you have the leaders of higher education institutions insisting that calls for genocide must be placed into “context” before being condemned, nothing more needs to be said regarding how this reveals their utter moral bankruptcy.

Why is it that the highly educated seemingly have so much difficulty with very basic concepts/definitions? (That’s rhetorical — the Too Clever By Half crowd has clearly prioritized the Oppression Olympics over rationality and decency.)

Bill Ackman, founder and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, has been vocal in his criticisms of the reaction from Harvard student organizations and university leadership in the wake of Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel. Shortly after the attack, he called for the members of the student organizations who blamed Israel for the attack to be outed.

I have been asked by a number of  CEOs if @harvard would release a list of the members of each of the Harvard organizations that have issued the letter assigning sole responsibility for Hamas’ heinous acts to Israel, so as to insure that none of us inadvertently hire any of their members. 
If, in fact, their members support the letter they have released, the names of the signatories should be made public so their views are publicly known. 
One should not be able to hide behind a corporate shield when issuing statements supporting the actions of terrorists, who, we now learn, have beheaded babies, among other inconceivably despicable acts.

Following the disgraceful showing of the Harvard, MIT, and U Penn presidents on Tuesday, Ackman called on all of them to resign. In a lengthy Twitter/X post, Ackman excoriated the presidents and the rampant rot that has invaded once esteemed institutions of higher education. 

The presidents of @Harvard@MIT, and @Penn were all asked the following question under oath at today’s congressional hearing on antisemitism:

Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate [your university’s] code of conduct or rules regarding bullying or harassment?

The answers they gave reflect the profound moral bankruptcy of Presidents Gay, Magill and Kornbluth. 

Representative @EliseStefanik was so shocked with the answers that she asked each of them the same question over and over again, and they gave the same answers over and over again. 

In short, they said:

It ‘depends on the context’ and ‘whether the speech turns into conduct,’ that is, actually killing Jews. 

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 of destroying that nation or group”

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. 

Don’t take my word for it. 

You must watch the following three minutes. By the end, you will be where I am. 

They must all resign in disgrace.

If a CEO of one of our companies gave a similar answer, he or she would be toast within the hour. 

Why has antisemitism exploded on campus and around the world? 

Because of leaders like Presidents Gay, Magill and Kornbluth who believe genocide depends on the context. 

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

On the bright side, our congressional leaders deserve accolades for showing tremendous leadership and moral clarity in their statements, by the questions they asked, and the respectfulness with which they conducted the hearing. 

It was a masterclass of how our government and democracy should operate. 

If you have time, please watch the entire hearing. Throughout the hearing, the three behaved like hostile witnesses, exhibiting a profound disdain for the Congress with their smiles and smirks, and their outright refusal to answer basic questions with a yes or no answer.

There’s not much I can add. Of course, none of these women will resign. It’s highly likely that they don’t feel an ounce of shame over their testimonies. Ackman pretty much sums it up perfectly when he says: “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.”

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