University of Michigan Business School alumni – named Stephen Ross – rally against investor over reports of his ties to Trump


  • Stephen ross – the investor at the center of nationwide boycotts against his holding companies Equinox and SoulCycle – donated over $ 378 million to the University of Michigan.
  • Boycotts erupted on Wednesday when The Washington Post reported that Ross would organize a fundraising event for President Donald Trump at his Hamptons home on Friday, with tickets selling for up to $ 250,000.
  • Ross’s name is ubiquitous on the Ann Arbor campus, where it is the namesake of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus.
  • In a letter sent to students Thursday and obtained by Business Insider, Ross School of Business Dean Scott DeRue spoke out against Ross’s actions, writing: “We do not endorse or support this event or any event. fundraising campaign for political candidates.
  • Students and alumni urge Ross to cancel his Trump fundraiser in an open letter, citing plans to urge university officials to remove Ross’s name from all buildings and signage on campus.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

University of Michigan students and alumni beg Stephen Ross cancels fundraiser for President Donald Trump, or they’ll urge authorities to remove Ross’s name from buildings and signs around the school’s Ann Arbor campus.

Ross – the investor and real estate mogul mired in controversy after a Washington Post Report detailed plans to hold a fundraiser for Trump at his home in the Hamptons on Friday – donated over $ 378 million at his alma mater, the University of Michigan. His name is displayed around campus, as the namesake of the Stephen M. Ross School of Business as well as the Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus, which is home to athletes on campus.

“Stephen Ross is a tremendous supporter of a wide range of programs at the University of Michigan,” University of Michigan spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen wrote in a statement to Business Insider. “His long-standing support is most evident at Ross School of Business and UM Athletics.”

However, as patrons of Ross-owned businesses like Equinox and SoulCycle have dropped their memberships en masse, University of Michigan students and alumni express equal levels of discontent.

Read more: These 34 companies are funded by Stephen Ross, owner of Equinox and SoulCycle who faces controversy over his ties to Trump

In a letter sent to students Thursday and obtained by Business Insider, Scott DeRue, dean of the Ross School of Business, expressed concern over Ross’s ties to Trump, writing that the school “will reject all attempts to divide our community And “will rise above the hateful rhetoric and live the values ​​we aspire to.”

“We are a community where people from all walks of life and perspectives are both welcome and encouraged to share their views,” DeRue wrote in the email. “We do not endorse or support this event or any other fundraising event for political candidates.”

The Ross debate now places the University of Michigan as the last school to grapple publicly with its handling of controversial donors and notable figures with campus connections. In 2017, Yale University deleted the name of well-known slavery lawyer James C. Calhoun of one of his colleges, after massive student-led protests.

Yet in its statement to Business Insider, the University of Michigan maintained that political affiliations and the actions of its donors do not belong to the police.

The university has thousands of active donors who have a wide range of political affiliations, ”wrote Broekhuizen, spokesperson for the University of Michigan. “Their personal opinions are theirs. What they all share is the love of the University of Michigan. And we thank them for that. “

Several current and former students have taken to social media to share their concerns about Ross’s connection to the school. Among them is Kumar Rao, New York-based lawyer and Ross School of Business alumnus, who published an open letter to the University of Michigan Thursday, which had more than 500 signatures at the time of publication, according to Rao.

In the letter, Rao writes that it is a “unprecedented moment, which calls for unprecedented action “and urges Ross to cancel the Trump fundraiser. If Ross does not, Rao says in his letter that he will ask the university administration to remove Ross’s name from the campus buildings and “solicit the opinions of students and alumni on whether and how to reconsider one’s philanthropic contributions to the University. “

“Stephen Ross is not just an average voter or supporter. His support for Trump, regardless of Trump’s racist ideology and policies, cannot be ignored,” the letter reads.

In an interview with Business Insider, Rao said he was inspired to write the letter after speaking with friends and alumni who were “angry and outraged” to learn of Ross’s support for Trump.

“The fact that Stephen Ross, as a former Michigan student and proud supporter of the university, is devoting his own resources to Trump’s re-election and aligning himself with what is happening has come as a real shock to many. between us, ”Rao said. “His support for Trump is not just a vote, he is literally investing millions of dollars in his campaign and all the infrastructure that could get Trump reelected.”

Rao said he was optimistic that in the hours leading up to Ross’s fundraiser, scheduled for Friday night, he might “do the right thing” and choose to cancel the event.

“The heart of this letter, after speaking to many people who have signed it, is less anger but more disappointment and shame because we know that Stephen Ross has been a friend and beneficiary of the university.” , did he declare.

Editor’s Note: The author of this article is a University of Michigan alumnus Ford School of Public Policy.


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