… begins to assume a notoriety uncomfortably similar to “current Goldman Sachs partner.” One feels a twinge of concern for Barnard College’s president, the latest academic to fall for the hundreds of thousands of do-nothing dollars in personal compensation the place is going to give her just for shedding some academic respectability on the firm’s, uh, activities. (What do you get for going beyond sitting on your ass? What do you get for reading a speech someone wrote for you? “Goldman Sachs paid [ex-Harvard president Lawrence Summers] $135,000 for one speech.” Something for Barnard’s president to shoot for.)
I mean, it’s awkward. Here Barnard’s prez sits on the Goldman board of trustees, but the head of Goldman Sachs has to cancel a talk he planned to give at her school because
Students at Columbia University, across the street from Barnard, had organized a week-long protest against Blankfein called “School the Squid,” which included discussions about corporate greed and power abuse, the student-run Columbia Daily Spectator reported on its website today.
Goldman Sachs, which was the most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history before it converted to a bank in 2008 after the collapse of smaller rival Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., set a pay record in 2007 when it awarded Blankfein a $67.9 million bonus.
A 2009 article by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone magazine labeled the company “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”
Ruth Simmons, another Goldman trustee, got out while the getting was good; but Barnard’s president has just jumped right in… And why not? As Rajat Gupta and Peter Kiernan can tell her, being a former Goldman Sachs partner is pretty much as bad as being a current Goldman Sachs partner. It seems to follow you around.
Barnard College. Judge us by the company we keep.