Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Brandeis reaches agreement with university president, ending public spat

Brandeis has extended the contact of President Ron Liebowitz for another five-year term, the university confirmed today. The news ends a dust-up between Liebowitz and the Board over his tenure and ensures continuity as the university navigates the new academic world brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board had originally only offered Liebowitz a one-year contract, which he roundly rejected. In a statement to the press, Liebowitz protested, stating that 2020 was one of the best fundraising years on record for Brandeis, despite the pandemic. He called the one-year contract extension a “dead-end,” “unreasonable,” and protested that it would not allow him time to close several million-dollar pledges he was working on.

Meyer Koplow, Chair of Brandeis’s Board of Trustees, told the Forward at the time that in addition to being dissatisfied with his fundraising, the negotiations had been taking longer than they had expected, and that Liebowitz had been asking for financial compensation that they could not agree to. Liebowitz, through a press statement, denied he was making this request.

The whole episode had led several alumni to question where the university’s priorities lay, especially knowing that Liebowitz had been brought on specifically because of his fundraising success in his previous job as president of Middlebury College in Vermont. The Faculty Senate, an influential body within the university, threw its weight behind Liebowitz, strengthening his case.

In the statement today, Liebowitz said, “I am honored to have the opportunity to continue advancing Brandeis’ contributions through its top-notch teaching, research, and community engagement…“We have made good progress with philanthropy and are now well positioned to be even more successful, launching mission-critical initiatives and growing transformational support from alumni and friends of the university.”

Joel Christensen, the president of the Faculty Senate, told the Forward, “I am happy they came to terms. The faculty are looking forward to helping lead Brandeis into the future without compromising our values.”

Koplow also praised Liebowitz as “a leader who is committed to driving Brandeis forward,” adding that “the board has always recognized that Ron has fostered a strong academic culture and created a detailed plan for an agile and dynamic university of the future.”

According to the university, Liebowitz helped grow Brandeis’s fundraising by 15% over the 2019 fiscal year, as well as securing the school’s largest endowed professorship and the largest single gift to the endowment to support student financial aid.

The Forward has reached out to the Board for further comment. President Liebowitz, through a spokesperson, declined to comment further.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.