Columbia University responds after Robert Kraft says he’s pulling support over antisemitic violence

April 23, 2024

Columbia University told Fox Business on Tuesday, April 23, that it is “grateful” for Robert Kraft’s “years of generosity and service” after the New England Patriots team owner announced he is pulling financial support from his alma mater over the antisemitic protests unfolding there.

On Monday, Kraft—through a statement released by his philanthropic organization, Foundation to Combat Antisemitism—said he is “deeply saddened at the virulent hate that continues to grow on campus and throughout our country” and that he is no longer “comfortable supporting the university until corrective action is taken.”

When asked to respond to his remarks Tuesday, a Columbia spokesperson told Fox Business that “Columbia is grateful to Mr. Kraft for his years of generosity and service to Columbia.”

“This is a time of crisis for many members of our community and we are focused on providing the support they need while keeping our campus safe,” the spokesperson added.

Last week, the New York City Police Department arrested 108 protesters after they had set up an encampment on the campus lawn. On Tuesday, students at Columbia were instructed that classes have shifted to virtual or hybrid, as concerns linger about campus safety stemming from the anti-Israel demonstrations.

Another top donor to Columbia, billionaire investor and Omega Advisors CEO Leon Cooperman, was cited by the New York Post as saying that he would stick with a pause on donations to the prestigious institution that started shortly after the Israel-Hamas war began on Oct. 7.

Omega Advisors did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox Business on Tuesday, but Cooperman told Fox Business last October that “These kids at the colleges have s— for brains.”

“We have one reliable ally in the Middle East. That’s Israel. We only have one democracy in the Middle East. That’s Israel. And we have one economy tolerant of different people, gays, lesbians, etc. That’s Israel. So they have no idea what these young kids are doing,” Cooperman said during an appearance on ‘The Claman Countdown.’

“Now, the real shame is, I’ve given to Columbia probably about $50 million over many years,” he continued. “And I’m going to suspend my giving. I’ll give my giving to other organizations.”

Research contact: @FoxBusiness