In case you’ve never heard of Len Blavatnik (more properly, Sir Leonard Valentinovich Blavatnik), he is a Ukrainian-born businessman and a noted philanthropist. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his philanthropy work in 2017. He is also Jewish. When his family emigrated to the United States in 1978, he studied engineering at Columbia University, later graduating from Harvard Business School. He went on to be fabulously successful and Forbes this year estimated his net worth at $29.6 billion. He has also been one of Harvard’s most generous donors. But now, as with many other vastly wealthy alumni, Blavatnik has shut his checkbook to Harvard. (NY Post)
Another billionaire has slapped his checkbook shut to Harvard University.
Businessman Len Blavatnik and his family foundation have paused their millions of dollars in funding to the Ivy League as it stands behind President Claudine Gay despite accusations she stood by as students spewed antisemitic rhetoric on campus, according to a report.
The Harvard Business School alumnus will halt his funding until the university directly addresses what he sees as rampant antisemitism at the school, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.
Let’s offer up a quick question to the senior faculty and administrators at Harvard who continue to support President Claudine Gay despite her poisonous testimony before Congress and in the press at large. How many more hits like this can you take? Blavatnick and his wife have donated more than a quarter of a billion dollars to the university, with more than $200 million of that going directly to Harvard Medical School. They are part of an elite club of people who reliably write checks in the seven-figure range to Harvard each year. And that club includes a lot of Jews and people who strongly support their Jewish colleagues and the state of Israel. Now the waterfall of cash is slowing to a trickle. Shouldn’t this be telling you something?
If the current toxic environment was the sole fault of Claudine Gay, that would be one thing. We would at least have a villain to pursue and the chance to celebrate if she were forced from the stage. But this isn’t about one college president or even one college. As the editorial staff at the Washington Free Beacon points out this weekend, the Harvard scandal is much bigger than just Claudine Gay. Further, this is no longer a mere question of rampant antisemitism. It’s also not simply about the increasing pile of plagiarism that has turned up in her history. She is emblematic of the deeper poison that’s been seeping into the veins of higher education for some time now.
In one sense, Gay has become a distraction, which is exactly the sort of cliché one might expect a scandal-ridden leader like her to deploy if she calls it quits.
In another, though, L’affaire Gay is not a distraction. It has cast a light on the conduct of her bosses, the school’s board of directors, known as the Harvard Corporation, and shown them to be as high-handed, corrupt, and brittle as she is. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. (That’s Shakespeare. Do they still study him at Harvard?) …
The group learned about the accusations of plagiarism against Gay on Oct. 24 through an inquiry from the New York Post. They responded by hiring the “leading defamation firm in the United States,” which repped noted defamation victims like the NBC News pervert Matt Lauer and Putin crony Oleg Deripaska, to threaten and intimidate the Post. (It worked.)
The Harvard Corporation’s instinctive move to circle the wagons around the university’s president is instructive in several ways. In reality, Claudine Gay is a woman of limited academic accomplishments, a thin collection of published, peer-reviewed literature, and a history of “duplicative language without appropriate attribution.” (This apparently no longer passes the smell test as simple plagiarism at Harvard, or at least not for Ms. Gay.) That was never the issue for the Harvard Corporation. Gay checked all of the right boxes and was always willing to be a spokesmodel for the leftist, globalist, elitist agenda that has seeped into most of the Ivy League and infected generations of students who graduated from those formerly hallowed halls. If some rampant antisemitism wound up being stirred into the recipe, what’s the harm?
Well, now the harm is on display. And those chickens are coming home to roost and leaving their very fat checkbooks back at their nests. It’s possible that there might still be time for schools like Harvard, Columbia, and Cornell to sharply change course and recover. Having financial hammers such as the one Len Blavatnik wields raining down on their collective heads might prove to be the nudge toward enlightenment they require. If not, the people running those institutions may want to go back and switch their majors to paleontology because they may all be history.