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5 Dec, 2023 08:00

Billionaire graduate accuses Harvard of discriminating against white males

The policies of the Ivy League college undermine America’s competitiveness in its standoff with Russia and China, hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has said
Billionaire graduate accuses Harvard of discriminating against white males

Harvard University has “lost its way” and discriminates against white males as well as (East) Asian and Indian men, who are also perceived to be successful, billionaire alumnus Bill Ackman has said.

Ackman made headlines in October when he called upon Harvard President Claudine Gay to release the names of students who had signed a letter blaming Israel “for all unfolding violence” in the wake of the Hamas attack on the country earlier that month.

The CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management argued that it should be done so that he and other executives can make sure not to ever hire those people.

In a new address to Gay, which he published on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday, Ackman argued that “anti-Semitism is the canary in the coal mine for other discriminatory practices at Harvard.”

“The problems at Harvard are clearly not just about Jews and Israel. It is abundantly clear that straight White males are discriminated against in recruitment and advancement at Harvard. That is also apparently true to a somewhat lesser extent for men who are Asians or of Indian origin,” he wrote.

Such unfair treatment is taking place because Harvard's Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (OEDIB) “sees the world in a framework of oppressors and the oppressed, where the oppressor class includes white males, Asians, Jews and other people perceived to be successful and powerful,” the billionaire argued.

The discrimination at the Ivy League college “is not just illegal, but it is extremely damaging to our nation’s competitiveness, which is critically important in a world with growing geopolitical conflict and turmoil,” he said.

According to Ackman, Harvard shouldn’t be giving preferences to any groups, but be “an institution for our best and brightest, taught by our best and brightest.”

“Russia, China, and our other competitor nations are not selecting their scientific and educational leaders using Harvard’s diversity, equity, and inclusion metrics,” he stressed.

The entrepreneur backed his accusations against the college with accounts from unnamed senior members of the Harvard faculty.

One of them said, “Whiteness at Harvard is deemed fundamentally oppressive. Indigenous peoples are presented as in need of justice and reparations. Jews are presented as white people. It is, therefore, OK to hate Israel and Jews as they are deemed to be oppressors.” 

Another described the college as a place where “loud, hate-filled protests appear to be encouraged, but where faculty and students can’t share points of view that are inconsistent with the accepted narrative on campus.”

On Tuesday, Gay and the heads of several other colleges are slated to testify before the US Congress over manifestations of anti-Semitism at their campuses amid the current Israeli-Palestinian escalation.

“When 34 Harvard student organizations came out in support of Hamas’ barbaric terrorism, it was a wake-up call for me. I hope that having to face the Congress… will be a wake-up call for you,” Ackman wrote, addressing the Harvard president.