Larry Hogan latest to pull back from Harvard over student groups' anti-Israel letter


Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday became the latest notable figure to pull back from Harvard after student groups there signed a statement blaming Israel for the deadly attacks by Hamas earlier this month.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, the Republican shared a letter he sent to Harvard notifying the school he would be pulling out of fellowships with its Kennedy School of Government and Chan School of Public Health.

Hogan said that while he was “looking forward to sharing leadership lessons with the next generation of leaders at Harvard next month,” he “cannot condone the dangerous anti-Semitism that has taken root on your campus, especially by more than 30 Harvard student organizations attempting to justify and celebrate Hamas’ terrorism against innocent Israeli and American civilians.”

The backlash against Harvard began October 7 after the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee, a coalition of student groups, released a statement that held “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”

The statement said millions of Palestinians in Gaza have been “forced to live in an open-air prison” and called on Harvard to “take action to stop the ongoing annihilation of Palestinians.”

The strong response to the statement was immediate. A “doxxing truck” displaying the names and faces of the Harvard students parked out front of the school. Billionaire hedge fund CEO Bill Ackman and other business leaders called for those who signed the letter to be identified and blacklisted from employment.

Former Harvard President Larry Summers said he felt “alienated” from his alma mater over both its initial lack of response to Hamas’ attacks and the student groups’ statement.

“In nearly 50 years of Harvard affiliation, I have never been as disillusioned and alienated as I am today,” the former US Treasury secretary said in a series of posts on X.

Summers, though, later urged caution in vilifying the students. “Many in these groups never saw the statement before it went out,” he posted.

Harvard President Claudine Gay released the university’s first response two days after the attacks, saying, “I condemn the terrorist atrocities perpetrated by Hamas.”

“Let me also state, on this matter as on others, that while our students have the right to speak for themselves, no student group — not even 30 student groups — speaks for Harvard University or its leadership,” she said.

Gay then released a second statement later that week, acknowledging the “volatile situation on our campus.” She said the university “rejects terrorism,” “rejects hate” and “rejects the harassment or intimidation of individuals based on their beliefs.”

Those statements were not enough to assuage the concerns of Hogan and others.

Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer and his wife, Batia, quit a Harvard executive board in protest of how university leaders responded. And a nonprofit founded by former Victoria’s Secret CEO Les Wexner and his wife, Abigail, also broke off ties with Harvard, alleging the school has been “tiptoeing” over Hamas’ terror attacks.

“While these students have a right to free speech, they do not have a right to have hate speech go unchallenged by your institution,” Hogan said in his letter. “Harvard’s failure to immediately and forcefully denounce the anti-Semitic vitriol from these students is in my opinion a moral stain on the University.”

Hogan was first elected governor in 2014, comfortably won reelection in 2018 and left office in January with high approval ratings. A relatively moderate Republican, Hogan was elected in a Maryland dominated in recent decades by the Democratic Party. His name was previously circulated as a possible candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, though he ruled out a 2024 run in March.

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