Billionaire hedge fund Bill Ackman, who recently fought a high-profile battle against Harvard University, said Friday he is launching an activist organization to fight anti-Semitism and reform higher education.
“It will be a think and do tank. He’s going to be an activist,” Ackman said in an interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin on “Squawk Box.” “Very soon, I’m going to start an organization to focus on exactly what’s going on. … We’re going to study these problems. And we’re going to come up with solutions to the problems and we’re going to implement them.”
The Pershing Square Capital CEO was one of the most vocal critics of Harvard, his alma mater, as well as the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology following the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, accusing their presidents of failing to take a strong stance against anti-Semitism on campus.
Harvard President Claudine Gay later resigned following sharp criticism of her testimony before Congress in early December, where she and other academic leaders were grilled about the tolerance of anti-Semitism on campus. In addition, Gay faced accusations of plagiarism in her own published work.
Ackman’s fight took a turn when the online publication Business Insider published a story that contained similar allegations of plagiarism against his wife, Neri Oxman, who is an architect, designer and former MIT professor.
“It started with anti-Semitism on campus, and then I became interested in governance at Harvard. … Then I have broader concerns about higher education in general,” Ackman said. “I think those are very important questions. And those are the issues that need to be focused on.”
Ackman, whose Pershing Square oversees nearly $15 billion in assets under management, said he would hire a CEO and form a board for the new organization.
“This kind of activism now requires … a serious team,” Ackman said. “We will be addressing these issues in a very aggressive manner.”
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