Friday 8 December 2023

CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management Withdraws $100M Donation to UPenn Due to Pres. Liz Magill’s Anti-Semitic Remarks Before Congress


On Tuesday, the House Education Committee invited the leaders of MIT, Harvard, and Penn to testify in front of Congress.

During their testimony, Rep. Elise Stefanik asked the educators if calling for the genocide of Jews violates the code of conduct on their campuses. Not one of the campus leaders could answer the question.

Presidents of the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and MIT smilingly say that calling for the genocide of Jews isn’t necessarily against their code against harassment and bullying on campus. Penn president Liz Magill suggested it was not a violation unless it led to actual genocide. 

On Thursday, Ross Stevens, CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management, sent a letter to the University of Pennsylvania, announcing the withdrawal of a substantial $100 million donation. This move comes in response to President Liz Magill’s recent anti-Semitic comments before Congress.

Stone Ridge Asset Management is a financial advisory firm that focuses on alternatives. The company is based in New York City and was founded in 2012 by Ross Stevens. It has $21.7 billion under management and serves 81 clients.

Addressed to Wendy S. White, Senior Vice President & General Counsel at the University of Pennsylvania & Penn Medicine, the letter outlines the reasons for this drastic step. Stevens, an alumnus of UPenn, had initially earmarked these funds for the Stevens Center for Innovation in Finance.

The core issue, as stated in the letter obtained by Axios, revolves around the University’s alleged violation of the terms set in Stone Ridge’s limited partner agreement.

According to the agreement, Stone Ridge retains the right to retire the Units of a partner if they engage in conduct that is “materially injurious to [Stone Ridge’s] business, reputation, character, or standing.” This includes violations of anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, particularly those based on religion.

Stevens and Stone Ridge have expressed deep concern over UPenn’s handling of anti-Semitism on campus, particularly in light of President Magill’s recent comments and the University’s leniency towards hate speech and discrimination against Jewish students.

The letter goes on to state that these actions (or lack thereof) by the University could constitute a violation of the “Limited Partner Cause” clause in the agreement. The implication is clear: Stone Ridge sees these failures as a breach of their shared values and contractual obligations.

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