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Patriots owner pulls funding for Columbia University over pro-Palestine protests

Kraft said he no longer recognizes his alma-mater and cannot donate to a school that he feels can no longer keep Jewish students and staff safe.

Published: April 22, 2024 7:46pm

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft withdrew his funding for Columbia University on Monday, claiming he was no longer “comfortable” supporting his alma mater amid its ongoing pro-Palestinian protests. 

The protests on Columbia’s Manhattan campus have been going on for almost a week, and have brought the school widespread criticism, including from GOP members of Congress. Roughly 100 protesters were arrested at the university last Thursday after they refused to dismantle their “Gaza Solidarity Encampment,” and Columbia University President Minouche Shafik moved classes online on Monday morning.

Kraft, who has been a major donor to the university and created the Kraft Center for Jewish Student Life at Columbia, said he no longer recognizes his alma mater and cannot donate to a school that he feels can no longer keep Jewish students and staff safe.

“I am deeply saddened at the virulent hate that continues to grow on campus and throughout our country,” Kraft said in a statement through his Foundation to Combat Antisemitism.“I am no longer confident that Columbia can protect its students and staff and I am not comfortable supporting the university until corrective action is taken. It is my hope that Columbia and its leadership will stand up to this hate by ending these protests immediately and will work to earn back the respect and trust of many of us who have lost faith in the institution.”

Kraft has increased his efforts to combat antisemitism since the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel. His foundation even ran a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl in February, and he has donated more than $25 million to raising awareness about the increase in antisemitism, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

The Columbia alum, who is worth $11.1 billion, also donated $5 million to the school’s athletics program, which led to an athletics field being named the Robert K. Kraft Field at the Baker Field Athletics Complex, the New York Post reported.

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