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Austrian business school cuts ties with Harvard University ‘in solidarity with the Jewish student community’

By Ramishah Maruf, CNN

New York (CNN) — The Lauder Business School in Vienna, Austria, has severed ties with Harvard University “in solidarity with the Jewish student community,” according to a statement from the institution.

“Since 2014, Lauder Business School has proudly been an affiliate of Professor Michael Porter’s Microeconomics of Competitiveness Network at Harvard University, and we have valued and enjoyed the productivity of this cooperation over the years,” said Daniella Sheinfeld, head of communications for Lauder Business School, in a statement. “However, due to recent events, Lauder Business School has decided to withdraw from this network.”

The statement initially appeared in a Facebook post earlier this month. Jerusalem Post earlier reported the severed ties. A spokesman for Harvard did not respond to requests for comment.

Harvard is embroiled in a series of crises, including its response to rising antisemitism on its campus, accusations of plagiarism against President Claudine Gay and a drop in early admissions applications.

Lauder Business School, founded by billionaire Ronald Lauder, incorporates Judaism into its curriculum, according to its website, saying it wants to offer its Jewish students a place for spiritual development.

“In addition, students at the Lauder Business School will have a chance to gain a deep knowledge of Judaism along with courses in liberal arts, creating a dynamic and electric environment,” it reads.

Billionaire Ronald Lauder founded the school in 2003. Lauder, one of the heirs to the Estee Lauder cosmetics company, is exerting his influence onto other Ivy League Schools.

Lauder is also a powerful financial backer at the University of Pennsylvania. In October, the billionaire threatened to cut off donations to the school if it doesn’t do more to combat antisemitism.

Lauder Business School said it does not have a relationship with the University of Pennsylvania. A representative for Lauder did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Penn, like Harvard and many other schools across America, has encountered rising antisemitism on campus. But Penn in particular has struggled, even before Hamas’ October 7 attacks against Israel. Donors grew furious with the administration because of a Palestinian literary festival that took place on campus. Lauder joined the backlash from prominent donors such as Marc Rowan and former US ambassador Jon Huntsman.

After months of pressure, UPenn president Liz Magill resigned, following a widely criticized Congressional hearing with Gay and MIT president Sally Kornbluth.

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