Posted on December 10, 2023

Billionaire and Harvard Grad Bill Ackman Suggests Harvard President Was a DEI Pick

Breck Dumas, Fox Business, December 7, 2023

Billionaire and Harvard graduate Bill Ackman suggested in a social media post Wednesday that the university’s president had landed her job due to the institution’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies, and criticized the practice of narrowing candidate pools by refusing to consider some applicants based on criteria like race and gender.

Ackman, the CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, wrote on X that “someone with first person knowledge” of Harvard’s presidential search had informed him that “the committee would not consider a candidate who did not meet the DEI office’s criteria.” He said that other top schools have likely done the same thing in recent years.

“Shrinking the pool of candidates based on required race, gender, and/or sexual orientation criteria is not the right approach to identifying the best leaders for our most prestigious universities,” Ackman wrote. “And it is also not good for those awarded the office of president who find themselves in a role that they would likely not have obtained were it not for a fat finger on the scale.”

Ackman’s comments came a day after he publicly called on Harvard President Dr. Claudine Gay, UPenn President Liz Magill, and MIT President Dr. Sally Kornbluth to “resign in disgrace” following their appearances at a House committee hearing on the rise of antisemitism on college campuses, where all three refused to say that calling for the genocide of Jews on their respective campuses breached their rules and amounted to harassment.