On 28 August, Professor Bo Rothstein tendered his resignation through a letter to the School’s dean, that was widely quoted in international media.
Ngaire Woods, dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, said:
“I am very sorry that Bo Rothstein has resigned. Professor Rothstein’s research and writing about the quality of government is hugely valued by the Blavatnik School of Government and we have greatly respected him as a colleague. I regret that he has chosen to resign over the political donations made by Len Blavatnik, which are completely separate from the School and its work.
“As an American citizen, Mr Blavatnik is entitled to make donations and give support to whichever politician he chooses. The School would never try to influence the political preferences of its donors or comment upon them. We believe that people should have freedom to express their preferences within established political processes. Our mission is to promote good government, not any particular programme. Equally, Mr Blavatnik has always respected the academic independence of the School and never attempted to direct what we do, how we do it, whom we hire or with whom we work.
“Access Industries has clarified that neither Mr Blavatnik nor any of his companies have ever made a political contribution to President Trump or his campaign. After the November election, Access Industries made a donation to the Presidential Inaugural Committee which is responsible for organising public and private events during the week leading up to the Inauguration.
“The School respects that Professor Rothstein’s decision to resign is based upon his strongly held principles. However, we do not agree that the political donations cited by Professor Rothstein associate the School with the current US President, nor compromise our ongoing mission to improve the quality of government around the world.
“I regret Professor Rothstein’s departure. I hope he will continue to work closely with the School to advance our shared mission.”