Let’s start with delight: One of UD‘s heroes, Steven Pinker, has started a defense of free speech group among faculty there. Everyone’s got an eye on Stanford and Oberlin and multiple other stagers of politically coercive campus melodrama, and all self-respecting centers of free inquiry need to take an explicit stand against these enemies of freedom. UD’s beloved University of Chicago is a pioneer here; Harvard and other schools follow UC in strong unmitigated statements, rules, and organizations deployed to resist right and left ideologues – some of whom, grotesquely, were hired by these same universities – who are always trying to shut/shout down free thought and free expression. Harvard’s Council on Academic Freedom (which includes econ prof Jason Furman, whose Cambridge house UD knows well, because for years it was owned by her buddy Peter Galbraith) rightly anticipates, and readies itself to fight, mindless and destructive fanaticism.
On the disgust front, there’s yet another greedy egomaniac who can’t think of anything to do with three hundred million dollars other than give it to an institution worth significantly more than fifty billion dollars in order to get his name on a building and get some tax benefits. Vomit.
Not to mention.
Ah, but unlike those other institutions, Harvard struggles with a 5.4 billion dollar endowment, and cannot be expected to overcome the legal and sand blasting hurdles that other institutions have overcome.
Harvard’s goal of a one hundred billion dollar endowment is in serious jeopardy this morning, as outside pressure on the Kennedy School threatens to alienate donors. The school denied a fellowship to a distinguished human rights advocate for fear that his critical remarks about Israel would offend Jewish benefactors, which would in turn significantly set back the Hundred Bill. for Harvard! campaign. But free speech advocates are fighting back in defense of the controversial candidate for the fellowship.
Lord knows why anyone is critical of Israel.
Harvard’s response to the controversy has been quick. “We’re already well on our way to 55 billion,” commented Gerald Symington, head of the HBH campaign, “and doubling that is far from an impossible dream. Imagine what just one school with a modest enrollment could do with that sort of money! We can’t afford to let Israel critics derail us from our dream.”
Oh, okayyyyy…. We’ll give him the fellowship after all. But he better watch his mouth!
Pablo Eisenberg, a hero of this blog (UD has forever shrieked at super-icky moneybags who give their hundreds of millions to Harvard), has died.
(By the way — Harvard’s current endowment woes – it has only just reached 53.2 billion dollars – have energized its alumni network to organize a massive, unprecedented, Save Our School campaign, with outreach via Go Fund Me pages in addition to traditional methods. “Our rainy day fund is down to 10.5 billion,” warns Sam Bankman-Fried, an MIT grad who nonetheless accepted a position as head of Harvard fund-raising because “Harvard is the lifeblood of Cambridge; when it goes, the city itself is imperiled.”)
And as to how to convince people who give their money to Ivy League schools, rather than to the sort of places Eisenberg lists in my headline, to redirect their money… Well, you need to understand the cohort you’re talking about, first of all.
Let’s consider, for example, billionaire investor Marc Wolpow, who gives money to fat cat Wharton. What do we know about Marc?
Here’s our most recent information.
The wealthy head of [a] multi-billion dollar private equity firm is under investigation by Nantucket Police and the state Environmental Police for purposefully untying a 32-foot boat from a slip at Old North Wharf, allowing it to drift out of the Easy Street Basin and into the ferry lane.
The suspect is Marc Wolpow, the co-CEO and co-founder of the The Audax Group, who allegedly found an unknown boat in the slip he uses on Old North Wharf on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 16…
After Wolpow untied it, the boat drifted dangerously past Steamboat Wharf, got pushed northward in the wash of the car ferry the M/V Woods Hole, then collided with the $5 million, 70-foot Viking sportfishing boat “El Jefe” causing damage to that vessel. It eventually ran aground near 22 Easton Street.
Reached by phone this week, Wolpow declined to comment.
Here’s what’s shocking about this story:
1 Just anyone reached Wolpow by phone.
2 Wolpow declined to comment.
Why allow just anyone to get past your protection squad and reach you by phone? That’s nuts.
Even more bizarre is Wolpow’s refusal to say the obvious about his behavior.
Heard of property rights, asshole? [“Asshole” here refers to the person who got through to Wolpow’s phone.] It’s my fucking slip, I own it, and I don’t have to look at some cheap shitty boat some person decided to put in it. Do you think I want Nantucket boat owners to think I have a cheap shitty boat? It’s my right to do whatever I like to cheap shitty boats and I think the fucker who put it in my slip will think twice before he does it again. Oh, and fuck you for calling me.
Getting a person of this sort (Marc Kasowitz, Howard Marks, Vinod Khosla, Noam Gottesman, the Heliport Guys, stop me when you’ve had enough) to give money to what he inevitably is going to consider cheap shitty recipients will be very difficult indeed.
You remember Shleifer.
Some U.S. neoliberal advisers to Russia in [the Yeltsin] era even served as role models for [oligarchic] corruption. A personal adviser to [Anatoly] Chubais was Andrei Shleifer, a Russian-born émigré and tenured Harvard professor, who ran the Moscow office of the Harvard Institute for International Development, which had the main Russia contract from USAID. Shleifer was prosecuted in 1997, after it was revealed his wife operated a hedge fund that speculated in privileged information based on Shleifer’s official work. Harvard paid fines totaling $26.5 million to settle the case, and Shleifer paid $2 million.
Shleifer must be buddies with a lot of the guys now being blacklisted all over the world. Is there a story there?
Plus “I didn’t declare it, and that’s illegal.”
UD has already, uh, sung the praises of Harvard 大人物 Charles Lieber here. He has now been found guilty (max. sentence five years) of
two counts of making false statements to the U.S. government about whether he participated in Thousand Talents Plan, a program designed by the Chinese government to attract foreign-educated scientists in China. They also found him guilty of failing to declare income earned in China and failing to report a Chinese bank account.
See, you’re not supposed to take millions and millions of OUR dollars for your scientific research and secretly subsidize it with millions of dollars from our rich, interested-in-our-secrets, non-friends.
But for UD the real fun here is the whole vulgar bag-man thing, the image of Hahvahd lugging its piles of dirty cash onto airplanes. Will the TSA discover (sweat sweat) the C-Notes in my Louis Vuitton steamer trunk?
It’s very University of Miami… And yet a closer look at Harvard yields Jeffrey Epstein’s stable of over-age girls, Andrei Shleifer’s Moscow Adventures, Larry Summers’ hedge fund presidency, etc. Let’s not give ourselves airs.
Or, in University Diaries terms, think of it as Harvard University having lost 1.5 percent of its current endowment.
Has anyone been called “disgusting” by more people than Harvard’s highest-profile professor? Does Harvard care that its best-known professor is fighting off claims that he was deeply engaged with a sex slaver, defends people who mutilate children, and praises his fellow tv news panelist who calls heroic American patriots spies? At what point in this man’s career will Harvard decide to break off the association?
But he’ll be pissed to see that he’s the very last two words – an afterthought, really.
CAMBRIDGE, MA—Emphasizing that the late billionaire [Jeffrey Epstein] was only having sex with consenting adults at the time, Harvard officials said Friday that the nearly $9 million … Epstein gave to the university was received during a brief recovery period when he did not engage in pedophilia. “I want to be clear: These donations were made only at times when Mr. Epstein was not actively involved in molesting, raping, or trafficking underage girls,” said Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, adding that the university had monitored the convicted felon’s sex life closely to ensure all checks were written and deposited during intervals in which Epstein completely abstained from intercourse with children. “While Jeffrey struggled, and eventually relapsed into pedophilia, I want to assure our community that Harvard went to great lengths not to accept his money while he abused minors. In addition, I can confirm that when Epstein was a visiting fellow in our Psychology Department back in 2005, he only had sex with women who had turned 18.” Bacow later clarified that the university’s anti-pedophile policy only applied to Epstein and would not have any effect on Harvard emeritus law professor Alan Dershowitz.
Certain universities – Louisville, USC, Yeshiva, the University of Miami – have the smell of more or less criminal enterprises. They’re always generating high-level, multifaceted, scandal; some of their trustees are crooked or even criminal financiers. Yeshiva had Bernard Madoff as treasurer; Ezra Merkin also sat on their board. Also, I believe, Ira Rennert. The school continues to have as a trustee Zygmunt Wilf. These are not pretty people.
Now, Harvard and MIT were indeed buddies with Jeffrey Epstein; Harvard even celebrates as an emeritus professor Alan Dershowitz, at least an Epstein intimate, and at most (according to one of Epstein’s slaves) a secret sharer in the sex. Its erstwhile president, who helped run a hedge fund while president, hung out with Epstein too. (He also hung out with Andrei Shleifer…) But these schools are not the rackety dives those other schools are. They’re not just in it for the money. Nor are they just in it for the sports: The heavy campus hand of plutocrat college sports fans (the recently departed T. Boone Pickens at Oklahoma State; Phil Knight at Oregon) generates scandals, too – but these are the tired, expected scandals of the jock school.
No, MIT and Harvard are great schools, serious schools, productive schools – they are among the world’s greatest intellectual institutions. They fuck with plutocrats because of their professors’ smokin’ ambition to understand, to invent, to cure. They want money, money, and more money to fund their projects. To be sure, some of this generative creative activity makes some of their professors personally wealthy — the ex-head of MIT’s Media Lab took money from Epstein for his own investments, which adds to the embarrassment of it all… More commonly, professors monetize their medical and technical breakthroughs, producing all kinds of conflict of interest trouble at cutting edge places like Stanford…
We little people, looking in at all of this from the outside, are assured that COIs can be “managed” – the word is always managed – and we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads. Yessir!
Now look. Most people are pretty greedy; many putrid plutocrats realize that a university affiliation can clean them up real good. It’s a marriage made in heaven. But here’s what UD finds remarkable: MIT’s endowment is close to 17 billion; Harvard’s is close to forty billion. In ten years or so, Harvard’s wealth will be, say, a hundred billion. Harvard is a superplutocrat.
These schools are currently in trouble for promiscuous plutocrat fraternization; but given how INSANELY – not to say unconscionably – rich they are, why is this sort of thing happening at all? Just make an appointment with the “super-secret and dictatorial Harvard Corporation” and explain to them that you’d rather dip into the school’s billions and billions and billions than have to take research money from a guy in jail for sexually enslaving fifteen year olds. The worst they can say is no!
And while we’re at it – Why do superbillionaires like Harvard feel compelled to appoint rich turds like Epstein visiting fellows? We know that legacy parents can pay their kids’ way into Harvard; we know that rich parents can bribe coaches to get their kids into schools like Harvard and Yale. I’m not sure we knew that profit-oriented Harvard faculty can gift generous rich guys official appointments. Not a good look. Not a good look at all. But when Larry Summers spends his presidency running a hedge fund, losing $1.8 billion of Harvard’s endowment on market gambles, and defending a faculty crony who misused, for personal gain, government funds to Harvard, whadaya expect? That crony cost Harvard tens of millions in federal penalties, and it made not one bit of difference in terms of his high-profile position in Harvard’s economics department. That’s the way plutocracies work, kiddies. Plutocracies are even smart enough to know when their workings have become too public, which is why right after Larry Summers, Harvard appointed preachy anti-materialist Drew Faust (‘And while you’re at it, find me a woman, for crap sake!”) to maintain the non-profit theatrics.
Skeptical of the clean-up crew function of women when plutocrat sausage parties get out of hand? Read and learn. As FIFA went, so went Harvard – when things get truly desperate and you can’t hide what you’ve been doing any longer, Find A Woman, Pronto. You can always go right back to men when it all blows over.
As ever, sing it.
[Before and after his conviction in 2008, Epstein was a regular on the masturbatory tech gadfly circuit — an attendee and sponsor of “billionaire dinners” and related sausage-factory soirees at which ultrawealthy men (among them the founders of Amazon and Google), elite scientists and various other male luminaries discussed the future they were collectively trying to build (or, depending on your perspective, squander.)]
The party’s over
It’s time to find us a dame
Until we start up again
I’m going to miss our game
It’s time to wind up
There’s no more Epstein
To keep us paid…
… but you’re not focusing on what really excites me. Not so much How soon can we legally fuck them? But How soon can we cut off their clits?
Too bad, by the way, the burqa is legal here. I’d love for my legal career to go out in a blaze of glory (I’m eighty!) by defending parents who have not only genitally eviscerated their eight year old daughters but forced them to wear face and body shrouds!
What else can we do to little girls? Down, wanton, down!
By the way — Elie Honig thinks just because he’s handsome and decades younger and all over tv he can write HAVE YOU LOST YOUR DAMN MIND? to me and I’ll just sit there and take it. That’s what he thinks.
Oh, and I also have a boner to pick with Joe Patrice at Above the Law:
The problem [with Dershowitz] isn’t a warped view of how the law should treat girls, but a warped view of the law and women writ large.
Listen. I’ll put my perfect, perfect sex life up against his any day.
Well, the hit piece is out, and though my threats seem to have watered it down a bit (no reference to my penchant for nude beaches), it’s still plenty nasty, painting me as a legal whore/publicity hound/status obsessive who might be guilty of sex trafficking.
Dershowitz, according to longtime friends, has an enduring fascination with fame, society, and wealth. Charles Fried, a distinguished jurist who taught with Dershowitz at Harvard Law School, told me, “If you get a chance to go to fancy places with lots of rich people and fly around on private planes – I think he probably finds that hard to resist.”
That makes me sound superficial. Do you know what Jeffrey Epstein read in prison?
While he was in jail, a friend asked what he was reading. ‘De Profundis,’ he replied, referring to the letter Oscar Wilde wrote from prison to his lover Lord Alfred Douglas.
From the depths! From the depths! I’m attracted to wealth, sure; but my wealthy friends are deep.
Okay. So this from Lawrence Tribe.
“He revels in taking positions that ultimately are not just controversial but pretty close to indefensible.”
What? Like female genital mutilation? Someone has to defend the cutters – if we let the feds come after infant clits, the next thing you know they’ll be coming after infant foreskins.
“He has squandered his position as a Harvard law professor and a civil libertarian – for the sole purpose of being on TV.”
See the Fried comment above. I’m certainly not squandering it solely to be on tv. There’s money and status at stake.
(For Part One, go here.)
Tradition! Tradition! Circumcision, female genital mutilation, nude beaches – these are just a few traditions worth keeping. I’ve written and/or litigated on behalf of the first two, while I’ve long lounged naked at the local beach. Why not? Why is the New Yorker so prudish as to mention my nude beach-going in its forthcoming hit piece on me? As I write in an open letter to that publication:
You could interview others who have been on the Martha’s Vineyard nude beach with my wife and me and find out that it has a tradition of occasional skinny dipping by people of all shapes and sizes, including judges, doctors, professors and political activists.
I only ever go with my wife, and I can certify that all the nudists are high achievers with bad bodies. Only the best people; only the worst naughty bits…
What I mean to say is, here’s one thing you’ll never see on a Martha’s Vineyard nude beach: a nubile fifteen-year-old girl. Never!
So do me a favor and read this first. Everything Frank Rich says there about Ma Ingalls’ rancid hypocrisy in her NYT anti-materialism screed goes quadruple now that Harvard’s been exposed as Mr. Epstein’s main squeeze. Harvard has spent decades sucking up so much money – dirty and semi-dirty and semi-clean and clean – that its endowment alone is $40 billion (Harvard’s wealth goes significantly beyond its endowment, kiddies). It sucks it up and it doesn’t spit it out (see this notorious cartoon); it hoards it. One assumes the goal (why? why is this the goal?) is a $100 billion endowment. Harvard, everyone jokes, is a “hedge fund with a university attached to it”; this non-profit paid each of its fund managers $35 million dollars a year until a few people squawked and it ended up on the front page of the NYT...
Why should Harvard – the world’s most powerful reputation-launderer – give a penny of that shit back? Why should they do anything with what they’re sitting on, you son of a bitch? It’s their money and fuck you.
[His cadre of intellectuals] could also catch Epstein at Harvard, where so many of them taught and where he became so prolific a donor that one whole academic program seemed to be run like his private Renaissance atelier.
Frank Rich, who years and years ago condemned Epstein pal Larry Summers for his hedge fund activities while Harvard’s president, compiles a long list.
On which, of course, the moral conscience of a nation and the late lamented president of the rapeabilliest and most Baptist campus in the country, appears.
… Kenneth Starr chose to join Jeffrey Epstein’s defense team in 2007, after his moral fulminations against Bill Clinton’s sexual perfidy. His obsessive pursuit of President Clinton made him a folk hero on the right, representing the defense of traditional sexual virtue and the notion that it was under assault by Bill Clinton and the liberal elite. His special-prosecutor exploits propelled him to the presidency of the conservative Baptist Baylor University. During his tenure, the football program engaged in a horrific pattern of sexual abuse that led to the dismissal of the football coach and the removal of Starr after an investigation found “actions by University administrators that directly discouraged some complainants from reporting or participating in student conduct processes.”
It is perhaps coincidental, but Starr has tracked the broader conversion of the religious right from sexual shaming to sexual shamelessness. In an era when Donald Trump has exposed the hollowness of so many values conservatives allegedly hold dear, it is fitting that this Zelig of right-wing sexual hypocrisy has made yet another cameo.