Former Harvard president Larry Summers thinks Bill Ackman asking for lists of student names is the ‘stuff of Joe McCarthy’ – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

Former Harvard president Larry Summers thinks Bill Ackman asking for lists of student names is the ‘stuff of Joe McCarthy’

Former Harvard president Lawrence Summers (left) and billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman (right).

Nicholas Kamm/AFP and David Orrell/CNBC via Getty Images

Bill Ackman wants Harvard to disclose the names of students blaming Israel for Hamas attacks so potential employers can avoid hiring them.
Former Harvard president Larry Summers told Bloomberg he thought Ackman was “getting a bit carried away” with his call.
“Asking for lists of names, that’s the stuff of Joe McCarthy,” he told Bloomberg TV.

Billionaire investor Bill Ackman has doubled down on his call for Harvard to release the names of all the students whose organizations were involved in writing a letter that blamed Israel for Hamas’ violent attacks. Ackman wanted the list so that employers could avoid hiring them.

But Larry Summers, the former treasury secretary and president emeritus at Harvard, disagreed with Ackman’s take.

Summers told Bloomberg in an interview on Wednesday he thought Ackman was “getting a bit carried away” with his call for the university to release students’ names. 

Summers, who was the president of Harvard University from 2001 to 2006, said: “asking for lists of names, that’s the stuff of Joe McCarthy, not the stuff of strong business organizations or universities like Harvard,” without explaining further the reference to McCarthy.

For context, Joseph McCarthy was a US senator from 1947 to 1957. The American Heritage Dictionary defines “McCarthyism” as the political practice of “publicizing accusations of disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence.”

However, Summers caveated his comment, saying he agreed with Ackman in wanting to do due diligence while hiring.

—Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) October 11, 2023

“This letter was issued 6 hours after the attacks. Many in the groups had no idea there was even going to be a letter,” Summers said during the interview.

Summers even seemed to defend the students, saying: “Some who probably signed their groups on didn’t fully know what they were signing. Some I’m sure were naive and stupid. I don’t think this is a time for individual vilification.” 

The former Harvard president echoed some of these sentiments in a post he published on X shortly after the interview.

He wrote that though he found the contents of the letter repulsive, everybody should “take a deep breath.”

—Lawrence H. Summers (@LHSummers) October 11, 2023

The letter at the heart of the controversy was co-signed by over 30 Harvard student groups. “The apartheid regime is the only one to blame. Israeli violence has structured every aspect of Palestinian existence for 75 years,” the letter read.

Since its release, the letter has drawn significant backlash from many figures, from Summers himself to Senator Ted Cruz. A growing number of CEOs and investors have also backed Ackman’s call for Harvard to release the names of the students whose groups co-signed the letter.

However, students and faculty — like Harvard professor Boaz Barak and the University’s Jewish center, Harvard Hillel  — have since spoken out against doxxing those connected to the letter.

Ackman and Summers did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider, sent outside regular business hours.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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