Wharton’s donations fall after Hamas’s attack causes tension on campus

Donations have dropped at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School since Hamas’s October attack on Israel sparked tensions between the Ivy League business college and its donors, who have raised concerns over antisemitism and freedom of speech on campus.

The Wharton School’s dean, Erika James, told the Financial Times that gifts from funders dropped in recent months, though the losses were offset by extra revenues from tuition and income from the school’s other activities.

James wouldn’t give precise figures ahead of the end of the university’s fiscal year in June. Because UPenn is a private institution, its financials aren’t public.

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has had a “dip in donations,” according to the Financial Times, though that sum was reportedly offset by the school’s tuition costs and other incomes. Tada Images –

“There has been a dip in donations,” James told FT. “In any year, one [income source] will underperform. Now philanthropy is coming back. We weathered the storm.’

Wharton’s tuition costs, as well as fees, housing, food, class supplies, and other personal expenses related to living on campus, totaled $92,228 for the 2023 school year, according to the university’s website.

By contrast, undergraduate programs at Wharton cost roughly $61,000 a decade ago.

Wharton School dean Erika James has reportedly launched a fresh round of discussions with donors as she seeks to bolster funds for the business school, which had a mere 4.5% acceptance rate this past school year. University of Pennsylvania

This past school year, Wharton reportedly touted a mere 4.5% acceptance rate, meaning it admitted just 665 students out of nearly 11,000 applicants.

To bolster donations, James has launched a fresh round of discussions with donors, where she’s been stressing Wharton’s commitment to “creating knowledge useful to society” and strengthening its lessons on conflict management, productive engagement, and civil discourse, according to FT.

The business school has had a strong reputation in finance since its founding as the world’s oldest collegiate business school in 1881. Notable graduates since then have included former president Donald Trump, JD Power of his eponymous data analytics giant, Pepsi CEO John Sculley, and Wall Street legend Peter Lynch, among others.

UPenn students told The Post late last year that the atmosphere on campus was “really scary,” especially for Jewish students, who were subject to harassment from their peers. Police Free Penn

Fellow alumni Marc Rowan, who went on to be the billionaire chief of Apollo Global Management, was one of the most outspoken critics of Wharton since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, calling on tougher rules around students protesting against Israel.

He also threatened to close his checkbook after in September, when UPenn’s leadership ignored their warnings that pro-Palestinian student groups were featuring antisemitic speakers during a “Palestine Writes Literature Festival.” 

The festival took place during the Jewish high holy days and featured speakers who called for “death to Israel.” 

For many UPenn donors, a tipping point occurred in September when UPenn’s leadership ignored warnings that pro-Palestinian student groups were featuring antisemitic speakers during a “Palestine Writes Literature Festival.” Fox29

So many potential and current donors joined Rowan’s effort that the $21 billion UPenn endowment was threatened of being deprived of as much as $1 billion in funding, sources previously told The Post.

Rowan, who also chairs the school’s alumni body, the Wharton Board of Advisors, proposed a code of conduct that sought to further regulate speech at the school in December.

James did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

Marc Rowan, the billionaire chief of Apollo Global Management, sought to enact a code of conduct regulating free speech at his alma mater after an uptick in antisemitism in the wake of Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel. AFP via Getty Images

Rowan’s request came after Jewish students studying at the prestigious university told The Post that the atmosphere on campus was “really scary.”

One student, 19-year-old Claudia Tawil, told The Post late last year that Jewish students have been continually harassed on campus and subjected to chants in support of Hamas’ violence, including: “There is only one solution: intifada resolution.”

The chemistry student explained that phrase deliberately echoes Hitler’s “final solution” and calls for deadly violence against Jewish people in Israel.

The pressure from billionaire benefactors ultimately led to the resignation of UPenn’s chair of the board of trustees, Scott Bok, as well as the resignation of university president Liza Magill.

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