Tony Kushner Wins Award, Donates $100,000 Winnings to CUNY

12/06/2011 1:04 PM |

Tony Kushner, greeting anti-CUNY protesters back in May.
  • Tony Kushner, greeting anti-CUNY board of trustees protesters back in May.

You may recall that Angels in America (and Lincoln!) scribe Tony Kushner had a bit of a run-in with the City University of New York last semester, when the school’s board awarded, rescinded and then reinstated an honorary degree for the Pulitzer-winning playwright after one of its members, Jeff Wiesenfeld, accused him of having made anti-Israel comments. Well Kushner appears to have buried the hatchet: yesterday, receiving a $100,000 “Creative Citizenship” Award bestowed by The Nation Institute and the Puffin Foundation, he announced he would donate the entire sum to CUNY, joking: “I thought of calling it The Jeff Wiesenfeld Fellowship.”

During The Nation Institute’s Annual Gala yesterday evening at The Metropolitan Pavilion, the Observer reports, Kushner noted that while he’s still waiting for an apology from the board, he wanted to make clear that the donation is for CUNY students, who rallied around him during the dispute with the school’s board of trustees.

Kushner’s show of support for the CUNY students comes at another high-tension moment for the school following last month’s clashes between students and police on the day the trustees voted to increase tuition. Hopefully his Jeff Wiesenfeld Fellowship will help to offset those rising tuition costs for at least a few students.

One Comment

  • Interesting article, but your photo caption is wrong. The protesters in the photo were not “anti-CUNY”– they were supporting CUNY students, faculty & staff against the anti-education policies of Wiesenfeld & other members of the Board of Trustees. The attempt by Wiesenfeld & other trustees to block John Jay College from awarding Kushner his honorary degree was against all the best traditions of CUNY as a scholarly institution.