Feb

7

Named Scholarship Reception Speaker Makes Surprisingly Ungenerous Remarks

Written by

We'll take your money, we don't want your rants
We'll take your money, we don't want your rants

We’ll take your money, but we don’t want your rants

Last night, Deantini held a reception for recipients and donors of named scholarships. One of the speakers was longtime donor Daniel Loeb ’83, the founder and CEO of an “event-driven, value-oriented” hedge fund headquartered in New York.  And apparently he held some intensely fiscally conservative views. All of our staff who were invited had, um, prior engagements, but Bwog received this tip about some “bullshit” in his speech:

They brought in a speaker who was a hedge fund manager who basically shat on liberal economic policy the whole time. The goal of these speeches, year in and year out, is to provide a vision of economic mobility, that the students on financial aid can eventually get really rich and give money to the school.

Loeb sort of started in this vein, then he got into some weird stuff about the problems with NYC schools, and ranting about charter schools. He talked about rising from poverty, then corrected himself saying something along the lines of “not poverty, income inequality, I don’t think anyone in this room came from poverty.”

He referred to “this administration” in a pejorative way several times, unfortunately I don’t remember specifics of those instances. He then, after telling us we needed to use critical reasoning skills rather than just accepting what we were told, used the example asking whether we’d considered that the minimum wage might actually kill jobs rather than helping the poor.

It was incredibly offensive not just to me, but to all the students on financial aid around me – I got texts from my friends in other parts of the room asking “did he really just say that?”. All in all it was just really, really tacky and in extremely poor taste by Columbia (and Valentini especially, who I talked to about it afterwards until, go figure, a donor who “had a plane to catch” nudged me out of the way to talk to him instead).

Of course it’s not exactly surprising that someone who was passionate about supporting students through donating his own money (rather than trusting government aid to help) would be a fiscal conservative. Still, it sounds like he was pretty harsh.

Mr. Event-driven, value-oriented from CC’s website

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

21 Comments

  1. Anonymous  

    omg i am so offended, thanks to bwog for hard hitting journalsim

    • Wilfred Chahn

      WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN WILFRED CHAN

  2. BC '14  

    I'm so sorry you had to sit through a dinner in a university setting where you had to eat free food and listen to opinions that differ from your own! That's the absolute worst. Poor you.

    • Anonymous  

      It is very distasteful for someone to talk about issues of poverty (and yes, the minimum wage is an issue of poverty) at a scholarship reception for underprivileged students (meaning not able to pay ~$67,000 out of pocket each year). And unless you were there (I was) maybe you should refrain from making such sarcastic and pointless remarks.

      • Anonymous  

        I was there and he was only speaking about some of the issues he's worked with. Instead of "weird stuff at public schools," Bwog how about explaining he has donated millions of dollars to Prep for Prep and that's why he was speaking about poverty.

        He's an incredible philanthropist who has made it possible for me, and so many others, to attend Columbia through his generous donations. Let's not criticize him for making one potentially misspoken remark at a dinner.

  3. Anonymous  

    haha how tacky!!!!!

  4. Anonymous

    I was at the event and I think this reporting is really poor.
    Mr. Loeb really cares about helping Columbia students. One of the speakers was a Columbia'08 who told us how generous of his time Loeb was with him and how Loeb helped him get started on his career.

    After the dinner he was giving advice and mentoring a whole bunch of students.

    Listen, this guy pays the tuition for a lot of students and I think you need to check your privilege and give him back a little love.

    As far as his political remarks are concerned, I looked him up on Wiki and he is very involved with helping educationally disadvantaged NYC kids. He is a supporter of charter schools. He said at the dinner that he is concerned with the Mayor's educational policy and asked the audience to do their own research on the benefits of charter schools in NYC.

    I did not agree with his opinion on
    minimum wage, but again he told the audience to do their own research and reach their own opinion.

    His whole theme was that he made a lot of money by questioning commonly held beliefs and he asked the students to also be skeptical.

    Bwog you really fucked this one up!
    Don't go out of your way to hate on a supporter of so many student!

    • Anonymous  

      I was there as well. However, I do think his comments were unwarranted. Do i agree with his comments on charter schools? Yes and No. Do I agree with him on the minimum wage issue? Not at all. I think all of us who receive financial aid are grateful for the help we get but that doesn't mean he should turn the reception in to a politically-charged speech. I think perhaps you need to check your privilege (and I do love the donors, I receive full financial aid so believe me, I am very grateful) and be more aware that his commentary was rude and unnecessary. Bwog is simply expressing the views of some individuals.

    • Anonymous

      if nobody ever says "check your privilege" again, it'll be too damn soon

  5. GOOGLE HIM!  

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_S._Loeb

    Read this. Definitely not the best guy in the world. Hedge Fund Manager. But he also donates to Obama for America and Democratic Senate. He prides himself in not going to a private school. He cites his love of art from taking art hum. His letter writing strategy on Wall Street is v interesting. Perhaps he has a way of explaining his views that rub people the wrong way, probably on purpose. His huge donations are an indication of his billion dollars of wealth, but it could be argued that he is making his dollars count. Interesting figure, but I don't think the original tip was really just a knee-jerk reaction that probably did not quote too well, but she also is a named scholar! So what do I know?

    P.S. Only what Wikipedia tells me.

  6. As a poor kid...

    ...at Columbia, nothing surprises me.

  7. Below the Poverty Line

    Ah, complaining because you've heard something that you didn't agree with? Please continue! My ears are yearning for your cynicism. No.

    If a professor had said what Bwog is accusing him of saying, or your text book displayed a similar belief, would you have believed it - especially if you were forced to memorize it, and then graded on it?

    Seriously, think about that.

    Don't believe everything you read [Ex. Bwog (esp. hearsay)], are taught (textbooks, etc) or hear (the aforementioned speech).

    Moreover, don't be afraid of it if you disagree. Your defense mechanism kicks in (which is happening about) - and then all "reason" goes to hell.

    If past generations believed everything they read/studied/heard - there would have been no progress. If we fight against anything that isn't inline with our beliefs - how can WE expect to progress?

    Everyone who was there last night was lucky to have been exposed to something that wasn't so curated by this faculty or administration. Whether you agreed with it or not.

    Our views will change, in one way or another, on MANY issues by the time we are his age - maybe we shouldn't be so combative when we hear something that we don't agree with.

    in medio stat virtus - can I haz dat?

  8. Gerald White

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca8Z__o52sk

    worth watching this video for a perspective on minimum wage

  9. What did he say?

    Does anyone actually know what Loeb said during his speech. Besides the incredibly vague remarks by the person who left the "tip" (e.g. "He referred to “this administration” in a pejorative way several times, unfortunately I don’t remember specifics of those instances."), I see no effort being made to actually figure out if he said anything offensive at all.

    You can't throw a Hamilton Deli sub around college walk without hitting someone who will be "offended" by the action. It could very well be the case that the offended party is someone who would be well served to use some critical thinking.

    Things Bwog may want to consider investigating:

    1) What did Loeb mean when he said "I don't think anyone in this room came from poverty."? Was he saying that poverty doesn't exist? Was he suggesting that no one at Columbia lives off the earnings of, say, farmers in rural Asia? Is this just some sort of effort to establish himself as a Dickensian villain?

    2) What is Loeb referring to when he says "this administration?" This is unclear. Is he talking about the Obama White House or the Bollinger house-next-to-Wien? I could see why the former would piss people off more than the latter. All the same, there were absolutely zero examples of what he actually said.

    3) Why would asking if it is possible that raising minimum wage will kill jobs offend so many people? Is this just a kneejerk reaction? Was it a rhetorical question that was followed up with, "We should bring back indentured servitude and poor houses, poor people just need to work harder."?

    Loeb may be a jerk. I wasn't at the speech. His charitable work does not excuse him from being called a jerk. At the same time, all I've gathered is that one person at the speech was offended. And when asked to provided further detail about the event, was unable to say more than "this was bullshit and my friends agree." That means nothing to me.

  10. I was there  

    And heard his remarks, I admit I was a little insulted by this remark whether it was inadvertent or not. Columbia had great racial diversity, but we definitely need to work on socio-economic diversity. I'm reminded every day here that I'm low income.

  11. That's nice and all, but

    I get your concerns, but can we point out the big elephant in the room? Daniel Loeb is quite dishy! Who knew Columbia had such a hot alumni base! I'd totally tap that.

  12. King  

    "We’ll take your money, but we don’t want your rants." If I were him and I saw that was what the students I was helping were saying to me, I would immediately stop donating. Honestly, people, have some respect. He is not an ATM. He is allowed to have an opinion; he does not need to shut up and fork over the cash. If he had made comments from the other perspective, you would have all been cheering for him.

© 2006-2015 Blue and White Publishing Inc.