‘Bastion Of Preferred Speech’: Former Wharton Chair Shreds UPenn Over Antisemitism


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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CEO of Apollo Global Management Marc Rowan, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, called out the school’s tolerance of antisemitic behavior during an interview Thursday.

Rowan was apparently encouraged to give up his chairmanship at the Wharton School over his choosing to publicly disagree with UPenn’s silence regarding the rise in antisemitism across the campus, according to a post shared on Twitter. The disagreement between UPenn and Rowan started after the school hosted a Palestine Writes Literature Festival, which featured known antisemites who spoke about ethnic cleansing, Bloomberg reported.

Rowan called upon alumni to halt donations until President Elizabeth Magill and chair of the board of trustees Scott Bok resigned from their positions over the choice to not condemn the hatred toward Jews heard at the festival. “We unequivocally — and emphatically — condemn antisemitism as antithetical to our institutional values. As a university, we also fiercely support the free exchange of ideas as central to our educational mission. This includes the expression of views that are controversial and even those that are incompatible with our institutional values,” UPenn said in a statement at the time. (RELATED: NYPD Orders All Cops Report In Uniform Amid Threats From Hamas)

“Universities, at the end of the day, we think of as bastions of free speech. That’s, in theory, how they hold themselves out,” Rowan told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday. “The reality is not the case. We are, at Penn, a bastion of preferred speech.” Rowan went on to compare the actions of UPenn’s leadership to hosting a white supremacist rally in the wake of the George Floyd murder and subsequent riots.

“My guess is the university would have found its voice, as the university … has found its voice every time it has wanted to. Unfortunately, with respect to Jews, in respect to antisemite,” Rowan continued.

UPenn stood by Magill and Bok following Rowan’s calls for resignation, Bloomberg noted in a follow-up article. (RELATED: Doctor Describes ‘Carnage’ At Music Festival Attacked By Hamas)

“We’re not talking about arguments over a two-state solution or the political division of land. We’re talking about Hamas. We’re talking about terrorists. We’re talking about a Penn professor outsourcing this conference to a known antisemite, who then does exactly what we expect them to,” he stated. “They call for ethnic cleansing. They call for rounding Jews into cantons. They sanction violence. And the best we can do, lacking moral clarity at the university, is to say, ‘we stand for free speech,’ really?”

“Law & Order” creator Dick Wolf concurred with Rowan, saying UPenn’s leadership “inadequately represented the ideals and values of our university and they should be held to account.” A further 4,000 people signed an open letter to Magill and Bok in which they disagreed with the direction the school was taking.