Borough President Vito Fossella sent a message to the University of Pennsylvania, which is his alma mater -- and to all institutions of higher learning -- that there should not be any hesitation in condemning terrorist attacks and that it is time for universities and colleges to revisit and re-affirm their core values.
Shortly after the Hamas attacks on Israel, a festival on the Penn campus showcased Palestinian art and culture. Though it was not sponsored by the University, it led major donors -- from billionaire hedge fund managers to high-profile television and movie producers -- to pull their funding.
“In the wake of these attacks, I couldn’t believe the expressions of support for the Hamas massacre on the campuses of some of our most prestigious universities and colleges, including Penn, Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia,” said Borough President Fossella at a press conference outside of the Penn Club of New York. “As a proud Wharton graduate, and someone who cares deeply about the University of Pennsylvania, I believe we must speak out when we see something so wrong like we did recently -- the University’s failure to immediately condemn the Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel. When Penn provides a platform, space, and facilities with some faculty participation to host an event, even if that event is not officially sponsored by the University, there is a reasonable perception on the part of many that Penn shares most of the positions voiced at the event.”
Borough President Fossella said his “true desire is that Penn -- and other institutions of higher learning -- use this opportunity as a pivot point to reaffirm their responsibility to offer a town square for free speech, but also make it clear that there should be no hesitation in condemning this terrorist attack.”
“Together, we all need to pull together to stop evil in its tracks,” he said. “There are many donors and others who recently announced that they would no longer give money, but to me this is about more than money, but about getting Penn and other universities to re-establish their core sense of values. As we’ve all been forewarned, teach your children well.”