Jewish billionaire Henry Swieca quits Columbia University board - Hindustan Times
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‘Moral cowardice’, Jewish billionaire Henry Swieca quits Columbia University board over growing ‘antisemitism’

Nov 10, 2023 02:39 PM IST

Jewish billionaire Henry Swieca has resigned from Columbia University Business School's board, argues that university's response to antisemitism is insufficient

Jewish billionaire with net worth of $1.9 billion, Henry Swieca, has become the latest corporate honcho to detach himself from Ivy League university over the ongoing Israel-Hamas unfolding in the middle-east. Swieca left Columbia University Business School's board this week, citing 'blatantly anti-Jewish student groups and professors,” according to a letter.

People walk past Columbia University in New York, U.S., October 30, 2023. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon(REUTERS)
People walk past Columbia University in New York, U.S., October 30, 2023. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon(REUTERS)

Swieca has claimed that university has allowed its students and professors to work in complete ‘impunity’ and “sends a clear and distressing message that Jews are not just unwelcome, but also unsafe on Campus”. A 1982 batch alumnae of the Columbia Business School has argued that its reputation and integrity “have been significantly compromised by a moral cowardice that appears beyond repair." He labeled the pro-Palestinian rallying cry “from the river to the sea,” as antisemitic.

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Swieca wrote that statements from the University criticizing antisemitism on campus carry little weight, and that “any other minority group on campus would never have to face anything close to this level of intimidation and hatred of Jewish and pro-Israel students.”

A Business School spokesperson confirmed Swieca’s resignation, “Columbia Business School received a letter from Henry Swieca on October 30 announcing his resignation from the Board, and the administration thanks him for his service to the School.”

Swieca is not the first Jewish billionaire cutting ties with the Ivy League school earlier another billionaire hedge fund founder Leon Cooperman late had cut off donations to Columbia in the wake of student-led pro-Palestinian protests, telling Fox Business he thinks those students “have sh** for brains.”

Previously billionaire hedge fund CEO Bill Ackman had exhibited his discomfort and trust deficit in its management’s abilities to provide safety to Israeli students and curb anti-semitic activities on its campus. He also claimed situation at Harvard is, ‘dire and getting worse, much worse than I had realised’.

Columbia’s students groups belonging to Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace had organized two pro-Palestinian demonstrations, the first on Oct. 12 followed by a walkout on Oct. 26.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vertika Kanaujia is Editor Audience Growth at Hindustan Times and oversees the website’s coverage of business news, health, technology and internet culture. She is a Chevening Scholar and a Columbia Journalism University Fellow. Vertika has been a journalist for more than 18 years. After starting her career as a business journalist in TV she has worked with various leading news channels. You can email her at vertika.kanaujia@htdigital.in.

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