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