Harvard Business School Loses Partnership with Lauder Business School Amid Backlash Over Campus Antisemitism


The Lauder Business School announced earlier this month that it would cut ties with the Harvard Business School amid fierce backlash over University President Claudine Gay’s handling of antisemitism on campus.

In a Dec. 14 statement on Facebook, Lauder Business School announced the severance of its nearly decade-long affiliation with HBS and expressed “solidarity with the Jewish student community at Harvard University.”

Lauder Business School spokesperson Daniella Sheinfeld wrote in a statement to The Crimson that the withdrawal “stands as our action and response towards our on campus Jewish student body and alumni community.”

The Austrian university was one of more than 100 around the world teaching the Microeconomics of Competitiveness course through the MOC Affiliate Network, an HBS initiative providing materials to teach the course globally.


HBS spokesperson Mark Cautela declined to comment on the termination of the relationship.

Lauder Business School’s founder and president Ronald S. Lauder — a billionaire heir to the Estée Lauder Companies and the president of the World Jewish Congress — has been an outspoken critic of antisemitism on university campuses. Following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, Lauder announced he would halt donations to the University of Pennsylvania.

Lauder did not respond to requests for comment through spokespeople for the World Jewish Congress.

Lauder is the latest in a series of billionaires distancing themselves from Harvard amid its greatest crisis in nearly two decades. Gay has faced numerous calls for her resignation following a disastrous congressional testimony and allegations of plagiarism in her scholarly work, with billionaire investor Bill A. Ackman ’88 emerging as among Gay’s most outspoken critics.

Earlier this month, Leonard V. Blavatnik — whose $200 million gift to the Harvard Medical School in 2018 remains the largest gift in the school’s history — ceased further donations to Harvard over its handling of antisemitism on campus.

In October, the Wexner Foundation, led by billionaire businessman Leslie H. Wexner and his wife Abigail S. Wexner, terminated its more than 30-year relationship with the Harvard Kennedy School, criticizing the University’s response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel as a “dismal failure.”

In the Dec. 14 statement, Lauder Business School announced that it is “forming new partnerships that are more closely aligned with our core values and standards.”

Though the MOC course remains actively taught globally, it does not appear in the HBS course catalog for the 2023-24 academic year. In an automatic email reply, HBS and University Professor emeritus Michael E. Porter, who founded the course platform through the HBS Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, said he had retired and “will not engage in new projects.”

Porter did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

—Staff writer Frank S. Zhou can be reached at Follow him on X @frank_s_zhou or on Threads @frank_s_zhou.