Board Chair Penny Pritzker dodges questions on Harvard's anti-Semitism problem

Rebel News attempted to ask Corporation Senior Fellow Penny Pritzker about Harvard University's troubles with antisemitism, but she refused to provide direct answers.

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Harvard University remains in the bad graces of prominent donors and alumni alike. Front and centre is Corporation Senior Fellow Penny S. Pritzker, 64, the head of its highest governing body.

University president Claudine Gay stepped down earlier this month over plagiarism allegations and inaction to quell the rampant antisemitism on campus.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, an advocate of her dismissal, has since turned his sights on Pritzker for backing Gay in spite of her shortcomings.

Ackman attributed Harvard’s recent failures "to create a discrimination-free environment" to its obsession with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

He has repeatedly advocated for Harvard’s Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging to be shut down over its inability to quell anti-Semitism on campus. It could pose legal and financial trouble for the school, claims the hedge fund manager.

Rebel News attempted to ask Pritzker about the university's troubles with anti-Semitism, but she refused to provide direct answers.

In spite of the internal turmoil, Pritzker’s decision to stay on as Board Chair remains puzzling. It contrasts to her counterpart at the University of Pennsylvania, who resigned soon after Elizabeth Magill stepped down as university president.

The former U.S. commerce secretary under President Barack Obama has been with the Corporation since 2018 and later assumed the title of senior fellow in 2022. 

Ackman has called for a new board to be selected and be "composed of the most impressive, high integrity, intellectually and politically diverse" people.

"Harvard must once again become a meritocratic institution which does not discriminate for or against faculty or students based on their skin color," said Ackman, urging a return to better days when diversity of thought was cherished. 

Harvard’s board has not commented on the request. Pritzker did not speak to his letter to the board.

Following Gay’s departure, Pritzker will now spearhead Harvard’s second presidential search in less than three years — a process which faces intense scrutiny. 

The board investigated Gay and uncovered "a few instances of inadequate citation," but no violation of the university’s standards.

Hailing from one of Chicago’s wealthiest families, Pritzker currently serves the Biden administration as a special representative for Ukraine’s economic recovery.

"I'm hear representing the State Department doing work on Ukraine," she told Rebel News.

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