Stanford University officials are coming under increasing criticism for not openly condemning Hamas attacks on Israel and recent acts of anti-Semitism on campus.
Until now, More than 1,400 people have signed an open letter sent to the interim president, Richard Saller, and the rector, Jenny Martinez. The list includes Shawn Carolan, partner at Menlo Ventures, and personalities from the Latin American technology sector, such as David Vélez and Marcos Galperín.
“As students, graduates, faculty, and staff of the university, we have proudly represented Stanford around the world as an inclusive institution that fosters community, excellence, and leadership,” the letter said. “Their inaction in this case has shaken our belief in the moral resolve of Stanford leaders and in your ability to adhere to these values and guide your community to their light during our darkest hours.”
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College campuses across the United States have been hit by divisions over free speech, academic freedom and allegations of anti-Semitism since the October 7 attack on Israel and its response in Gaza. The letter to Stanford cited several incidents that occurred on campus, such as messages of “hate and anti-Semitism” displayed on banners and written in chalk, and the removal of posters with images of people kidnapped during the attack.
At the University of Pennsylvania, a group of donors and alumni are demanding the resignation of the leadership. At Harvard, billionaire donors have withdrawn their support, while Harvard Business School alumnus Mitt Romney and hedge fund manager Seth Klarman led an open letter accusing the school of ignoring the safety of Jewish students amid pro-Palestinian protests in the campus. Investor Leon Cooperman said he will stop donating to Columbia University because of anti-Israel protests.
Stanford’s letter called on Saller and Martinez to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism and the Hamas attack, and to take concrete measures to ensure the safety of Jewish and Israeli students, faculty and staff. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the US and the European Union.
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Stanford did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The university management issued a statement on October 11 condemning “all terrorism and mass atrocity. “This includes the deliberate targeting of civilians this weekend by Hamas.”
A non-teaching instructor at the Palo Alto, California, school was also suspended this month for allegedly singling out students based on their origins while discussing events in Israel.
The letter stated that Stanford’s actions are now inconsistent with his previous statements, including “the plight of Black people in the United States following the brutal murder of George Floyd,” when former President Marc Tessier-Lavigne demonstrated his deep understanding about the topic.
Tessier-Lavigne resigned in July after scrutiny over failings in his scientific research and the university is currently searching for a new president.
Translated by Paulina Munita.