QuickSpec: Brave New World Edition

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Madonna Constantine sues TC
, drama proves to be as eternal as Columbus’ legacy…oh wait…

Farewell, evil Columbus Day! Hello, Indigenous Peoples Day!

New Yorkers pay a lot of money for food; seem “more than willing to enjoy a bit of gastronomic luxury.”

The economy, Columbia’s endowment are “mildly disheartening”: Spec-er has “vague impression” that  “theoretically things could go very wrong.”

Students can’t be sick all the time in order to do well at school.  

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  1. On the endowment...

    What students don't understand about the endowment (and it's not their fault entirely) is the pressure that Narv Narvekar (along with the other PMs of CIMC, including Vikram Pandit and Daniel Ziff, among others) faces with the $7B he's given. I actually got the chance to sit with him (among other members of the USenate), and the biggest point that he stressed about the endowment is that while they have a significant amount to invest, they have to be EXTREMELY cautious (blame the upper ranks at CU, seriously) with it.

    It's tough that students haven't been informed of the company's overall progress, but then again, we have to have confidence in Narv (a JPM product, btw). Look at it this way: when the whole storm happened, he was still able to earn a significant ROI!

    • On the endowment...

      Oh, and the "blame the upper ranks at CU" part is my opinion, not Narv's, sorry

    • ...  

      endowments are like pension funds. they don't seek fast growth, they seek stable long term small returns and minuscule risk. it's pretty hard to ask people to give you money if you gamble it away on the stock market.

      and on the topic of health: if you're sick, STAY THE FUCK HOME. do not come to class. do not get everyone else sick. stay home. get better and ask someone for notes and it will all be okay. PLEASE.

      • more endowment speak  

        Typical spec column. Lot's of pondering, few hard facts (that are easily available and useful.)


        1) Endowments are already shrinking. The University of Pennsylvania reported a net loss for the last fiscal year. How does that reflect on where we're going to end up? This would be great information for framing the discussion against the background we want to hear about: other Ivy League schools.

        2) Columbia is one of the last schools in its peer groups to release its financial information. Remember, Fiscal years for the school end on June 30. Whatever number does finally gets around to releasing won't reflect gains or losses sustained from July-October. Why is Columbia always so damned late in reporting this information?

        3) Columbia's endowment performance has lagged behind the ridiculous pace of some of its peers for a number of years. This could be in part because Columbia relies in part on outside funds to manage its investments (i.e. Columbia invests its money in hedge funds who invest it) as opposed to setting up their own funds and hiring a team of managers. As a result they probably lose a chunk of many in management fees no matter how the investments turn out.

  2. yikes  

    people who write op-eds for spec are not always--indeed, often aren't--reporters. the distinction matters, even for the purpose of snarky commentary.

  3. EAL  

    That "Indigenous People's Day" column is disgusting. Who is this girl, the Native American version of Anthony Kelley? Why does the Spec insist on publishing this trash?

    • Moderate  

      Let's not call it trash. She has the right to her opinion.

      Ends justify means. We should be allowed to celebrate Columbus day. The New World provided immense resources and helped those in western society (I'm of asian ancestry) expand and move society towards new progress.

      As callous as it sounds, there is a price to every crowning achievement of mankind (for example Hiroshima/Nagasaki resulted in a new age of nuclear power). America is possibly one of man's best achievements - the first great democracy and the source of countless innovations which revolutionized society.

      Finally, she can't reasonably say that any other explorer would not have started the mortality rate increases so why target just Columbus? There were certainly others who did worse things (small pox infected blankets etc).

      Should we forget that many Native Americans died? Of course not. Can we ever compensate the Native American community? No. But that is a sunk cost in history (for non-economists, that means that shit happened but you can't do anything about it so just look at the variable costs of today and don't pull more shit). Don't react on knee-jerk emotion. Rely on reason to see that while it was horrible, the benefits to society ended up being immense.

      • well  

        are you saying i can give your mother smallpox if i promise society will get immense benefits?

      • I think  

        what she was getting at was lets not celebrate this as though its a one-sided, glorious issue, while neglecting the bad things that happened. I don't think she was opposed to celebrating America as much as it was turning a blind eye to the bad things Columbus did.

        Unfortunately, the logical extension of what you're saying with your sunk-cost/variable-cost analogy was that the slave-trade was good because some African-Americans now live in better conditions that they would have in Africa, or that the establishment + success of Israel and the Jewish people around the world is enough (or could in the future be enough) to nullify the terrible things that happened during World War 2 (since the Holocaust precipitated the creation of Israel and forced migration of Jewish people).

        And EAL should just shut the fuck up. Your partisan comments and your strange world-view is barely tolerable, but your arrogance, self-righteousness and consistently smug delivery makes me want to kick your ass. Who the fuck do you think you are?

  4. all I want  

    is a Monday off. Call it Columbus Day or call it Indigenous People's Day, I don't care. We need more vacations.

  5. Anon.

    I agree with the article about medical care: last year I had a bad leg injury and Columbia tried to send me back to Barnard to get it taken care of -- forget the fact that I couldn't walk.

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