Photo Credit: Paul Elledge
Ken Griffin

Ken Griffin, founder, chief executive officer, co-chief investment officer, and 80% owner of the multinational hedge fund Citadel LLC, who is a graduate of Harvard University and has given the school more than half a billion dollars, called on his alma mater in a Financial Times interview to embrace “western values.”

“What you’re seeing now is the end-product of this cultural revolution in American education playing out on American campuses, in particular, using the paradigm of the oppressor and the oppressed,” Griffin said, noting that “The protests on college campuses are almost like performative art, and we’re not actually helping Palestinians or Israelis with these surreal protests.”

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As of April 2023, Griffin, 56, had an estimated net worth of $35 billion, making him the 38th-richest person in the world. He was ranked 21st on the 2022 Forbes 400 list of richest Americans. He was included in Forbes’s 2023 list of the United States’ Most Generous Givers, according to which he has donated $1.56 billion to various charitable causes, primarily in education, economic mobility, and medical research.

Griffin has contributed tens of millions of dollars to political candidates and causes, usually Republican or conservative Democrats. 

In January, Griffin suspended his donations to Harvard over its handling of antisemitism on campus which he blamed on the school’s “DEI agenda,” and called its students “whiny snowflakes.”

Griffin compared the US campus protests to the Black Lives Matter protests, saying that when social media users posted black squares on Instagram in solidarity with BLM, saying, “You didn’t help a single child learn that day how to read, write, or do math better. You want a pat on the back for posting a black screen on your Instagram account? Give me a break. It’s embarrassing.”

Bill Ackman, another billionaire hedge fund manager, spearheaded a victorious movement calling for the departure of Harvard’s president. Meanwhile, Marc Rowan, the leader of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, has ignited a heated discussion regarding governance at the University of Pennsylvania. This comes as the Wharton School of Business, part of UPenn, has noted a decline in contributions.

Asked what Harvard should do next, Griffin told the Financial Times: “Harvard should put front and center that it stands for meritocracy in America and will educate the next generation of leaders in American business, government, healthcare, and the philanthropic community. Harvard will embrace our Western values that have built one of the greatest nations in the world, foster those values with students, and ask them to manifest these values throughout the rest of their lives.” 

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.