Donors Stay Largely Silent Amid New Wave of Campus Protests

A new wave of student protests against the war in Gaza has swept university campuses.Credit…Adam Gray for The New York Times

Campus unrest spreads

Top American colleges are in turmoil, with dozens of pro-Palestinian student protesters having been arrested at N.Y.U. and Yale amid new worries about antisemitism on campus.

University administrators have been struggling to restore calm, and have taken heavy criticism from students and lawmakers alike. The growing question is whether wealthy donors to these schools — who helped topple the leaders of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard last year — will speak out as well.

The latest: Police were called in to break up pro-Palestinian protests at N.Y.U. and Yale on Monday, days after more than 100 people were arrested at a demonstration at Columbia.

Harvard shut Harvard Yard and Columbia will make classes at its main campus hybrid until next week. Encampments were growing at other schools, including M.I.T., the University of Michigan and the University of California, Berkeley.

One major donor has weighed in on the protests. Bob Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, suggested that he would withhold donations. “I am no longer confident that Columbia can protect its students and staff and I am not comfortable supporting the university until corrective action is taken,” he said in a statement posted on X.

Kraft is an alumnus and a longtime donor to Columbia, and he’s also a supporter of Jewish causes: He helped fund the school’s Robert K. Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life and started the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism.

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