Insider Today: Harvard backlash – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

Insider Today: Harvard backlash

The entrance to Harvard Yard.

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Happy Friday! We’ve reached a historic moment in the age of the internet: Gen Alpha is making Gen Z feel old. In today’s big story, we’re looking at the backlash at Harvard University over comments related to the Israel-Gaza war.

What’s on deck: 

Markets: Some cities to bet on for commercial real-estate investors.Tech: What to expect from Google’s new AI model that’ll compete with OpenAI’s GPT-4.Business: The habits successful leaders practice, according to an executive sales coach lead at Google.

But first, Harvard’s latest headache.

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The big story

A campus in crisis

Brooks Kraft/Corbis via Getty Images

It’s been nearly a week since Hamas’ terror acts on Israel that sent the region into chaos.

The attacks and Israel’s counteroffensive have led to a significant loss of human life. As of Thursday, the death toll had climbed to over 2,700 people, with another 9,000 injured, according to estimates from Israeli and Gazan authorities. 

The past week’s events have also spurred wider, intense discussions about the region’s politics.

There’s perhaps no better example of this than the situation unfolding at one of the most prestigious universities in the US: Harvard.

It all started with a joint statement by Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups released on Sunday stating the Israeli regime was “entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.”

Less than two days later, Bill Ackman, the billionaire investor and an alum of the school, called on Harvard to release the names of students in the groups that signed the letter. The reason? So he and other CEOs don’t “inadvertently hire any of their members.”

The following day, a truck was spotted driving through campus with a digital billboard claiming to show faces and names of students associated with the letter alongside the title “Harvard’s leading antisemites.”

The backlash didn’t go unnoticed. Several student groups retracted support for the letter, which has since been deleted. Individual students also tried to distance themselves from the controversy, saying their groups signed the letter without them knowing.

One former student said they were doxxed over the letter despite having graduated in 2021 and having no involvement with it, according to a Harvard professor.   

Some have been quick to come to the defense of the students. 

Larry Summers, a former US treasury secretary, Harvard president, and alum, said Ackman’s request of a list of names was “the stuff of Joe McCarthy,” in an apparent reference to the controversial former US senator. Jason Furman, an Obama-era economic advisor and a current Harvard professor, also criticized Ackman’s callout, stating that “two wrongs do not make a right.”

Ackman, for his part, has not backed down. The basis for requesting names, he said, is to “understand the character of the candidates you are considering for employment.”

Harvard’s not the only elite university that’s felt the backlash from opinions shared on the Israel-Gaza war. 

Marc Rowan, the billionaire CEO of Apollo Global Management, wrote an op-ed for the student newspaper of his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, criticizing leadership’s lack of response. And an NYU law student lost their post-grad job offer over a statement blaming Israel for the Hamas attacks.

3 things in markets

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Inflation holds the line. The Consumer Price Index year-over-year growth for September was 3.7%. That’s slightly above the forecast (3.6%) and the same as August’s year-over-year change. Commercial real estate’s silver lining. The market is having a tough go of it, with high-interest rates and the future of in-person work in question. But a new Moody’s report highlighted six cities, including Albany, N.Y., and Omaha, Neb., poised to do well for investors.The Fed’s economists are still banking on a soft landing. Minutes released from a September meeting show Fed economists predicting continued economic expansion and no spike in joblessness while the pace of price growth continues to slow. Meanwhile, there’s no mention of a potential recession.

3 things in tech


The history of Microsoft Excel should give you hope that AI won’t take your job. When spreadsheets and ATMs were created, many people were worried they would replace jobs. Instead, they were overall job creators. Meet Google’s VP and general manager of Bard and Google Assistant. Sissie Hsiao said she’s “seen some pretty amazing things.” She plays a key role in developing the technology that’ll determine how Google is perceived in the AI race: a competitor or a giant that’s fallen behind.Flexport will lay off 20% of the company starting today, according to a leaked memo. You can read the internal email in full. It comes after CEO Ryan Petersen told employees on Thursday “Get back to work people!” over Slack.

3 things in business

Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images

Tesla’s dominance in the EV market is fading. The cybertruck could help Tesla claw back some of its decreasing market share. Although Tesla still boasts 56.5% of the market, that percentage is majorly down from the 79.4% it held in 2020. Hollywood strikes just hit a new snag. Negotiations between Hollywood studios and the striking actors’ union have been suspended. More than 160,000 SAG-AFTRA union members have been on strike since July 14. But the alliance negotiating on behalf of the Hollywood studios claims that “conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction.”The four habits of the most successful leaders. The executive sales coach lead at Google works with teams and leaders across the globe. He revealed that the common traits of successful leaders include being even-tempered and great at building relationships.

Israel-Gaza war

Courtesy of Noy Leyb; Ben Yellin; Itamar Friedman; Jenny Chang-Rodriguez/Insider

Israeli startup founders go to war: “We’re fighting for our home.”Gaza’s hospitals are running out of medicine, have no beds for new patients, and could turn into morgues without electricity, Red Cross and officials say.A truck drove around Harvard displaying names and photos of students it said were involved with the letter blaming Israel for Hamas’ attacks.AI chatbots are getting their wires crossed on the Israel-Hamas war.

In other news

How Sen. Bob Menendez went from being a top Senate foreign-policy chairman to being accused of acting as a foreign agent.An otherworldly image of an alien-like golden crab helped nab gold for Wildlife Photographer of the Year.Crumbl‘s most popular cookies have more calories than a Big Mac.Investors revealed the 53 most promising climate tech startups.The $1.76 billion Powerball jackpot winner might only get $575 million after taxes.Photos show what it’s like inside the all-business class airline.

What’s happening today

“Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour Concert Film” is released in theaters… Ready For It? It’ll include footage from her tour. These are the setlist songs that won’t be included in the movie.How eggciting — today is World Egg Day. The day celebrates the eggcellent nutritional value of eggs and is meant to spread awareness for the egg’s potential to combat common nutrient deficiencies.Earnings today: JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, UnitedHealth, BlackRock, Citigroup, and other companies.

News Quiz

How well do you know the news? 

Test your knowledge of the week’s top stories with Insider’s news quiz.

From Monday: The head of customer support is leaving what company amid an AI-centric shift in the division?From Tuesday: Celebrities are getting paid as much as $5 million for only a few hours of work from what company developing AI chatbots?From Wednesday: Who testified that FTX cofounder Sam Bankman-Fried thought there was a 5% he would be president?From Thursday: Who is the former fighter pilot taking aim at the dangers of self-driving cars?From Friday: What popular brand of cookies have more calories than a Big Mac?

Check Saturday’s edition of Insider Today for the answers.

The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor and anchor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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