Harvard University has not gotten much slack from students for the bin Ladin fellowship at the law school. Andy Tiedemann of the Harvard Development Office told the Harvard Crimson that no students have contacted him objecting to the fellowship.
In late September, the University was criticized by Cambridge City Councilman Kenneth Reeves who demanded that the University donate the bin Laden endowment to victims of the September 11 attacks. The Council voted to request that the University donate $5 million to the victims, but dropped any reference to the bin Laden endowment. The bin Laden family has created endowed fellowships at the design and law schools worth more than $2 million.
Adbullah Mohammed Binladin, the half-brother of Osama bin Laden (they spell their surnames differently), graduated with an S.J.D. from HLS and provided the link between the school and the family. After the attacks, Binladin, whose brother has been disowned by the family since 1994, told the Boston Globe: “I felt sad, that this is a tragedy for humanity. And I felt, this is a tragedy for our family. How will people look at our family?”
Prof. Frank Vogel told the Globe that while he was at HLS, Binladin researched Islamic approaches to finance and banking law. Vogel in 1994 went to Saudi Arabia to negotiate with the family the $1 million donation to the University. The money is used to bring fellows from the Middle East to the Law School.