‘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.’

By Matthew Xiao, Washington Free Beacon

The Russell Berrie Foundation, which has donated tens of millions of dollars to Columbia University, has suspended its funding for the Ivy League university amid rising anti-Semitism on campus, the New York Times reported on Friday.

The Jewish foundation—run by Angelica Berrie and named after her late husband—halted its donations to Columbia in late April, three months after warning in an email that its continuing financial support would depend on the university administrators “taking appropriate steps to create a tolerant and secure environment for Jewish members of the Columbia community.”

Columbia president Minouche Shafik in her response to the email did not explicitly address the foundation’s threat of pulling the plug on donations, only stressing that it was her “highest priority” to create “a safe and respectful environment” for students.

The foundation did not like what it had seen on Columbia’s campus since its January warning, according to the New York Times, causing it to cancel a scheduled transfer of more than $600,000 and suspend all future donations to Columbia. The foundation has reportedly given the Ivy League university a total of around $86 million over the years.

“It’s a painful decision for us to have come to this point where we have to tell them, ‘There’s a disconnect between your values and ours,’” Angelica Berrie told the Times, adding that the sharp rise in anti-Semitism at Columbia has made her “weigh the passion my husband had for diabetes against the greater values of our foundation about pluralism, bridge-building and the fact that our Jewish values infuse our philanthropy.”

Columbia spokeswoman Samantha Slater said the university is “grateful for [the foundation’s] generosity and support of innumerable and impactful diabetes initiatives throughout the years.”

“We are committed to sustained, concrete action to make Columbia a community where anti-Semitism has no place and Jewish students feel safe, valued and are able to thrive,” the spokeswoman added.

The foundation’s funding suspension came after New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on April 22 said he would no longer donate to Columbia, his alma mater, due to the “virulent hate” on campus against Jewish people.

“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,” the NFL team’s billionaire owner said.

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