The London School of Economics' student union has criticized the university's decision to accept a donation that will require it to name a lecture hall after the late ruler of the United Arab Emirates, Zayed bin Sultan, who was allegedly an anti-Semite.
Harvard University rejected a donation from the emir's family in 2000 because a think tank that he funded had published a report claiming that Zionists caused the Holocaust and that Jews celebrate Purim by murdering people and drinking their blood.
LSE is currently building a Middle East studies center in cooperation with the UAE. In addition, a donation of 2.5 million pounds from the bin Sultan family financed some 20 percent of a new lecture hall that is due to open this month.
The student union said that taking donations from the dictator of a state with a long history of human rights violations was unacceptable, while naming a lecture hall after "a dead dictator with suspected links to Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism is completely beyond the pale." The university is under no pressure to accept the money, students added, as it has a budgetary surplus of 26 million pounds. They therefore demanded that the lecture hall be renamed.
The LSE's director, Howard Davies, was quoted in the union's newspaper as saying in response that no complaints had been lodged against the decision since it was first announced 21 months ago, and that other renowned universities, like John Hopkins, had accepted donations from the bin Sultans.