Billionaire Former Harvard Donor Calls On University To Embrace ‘Western Values’

Renowned billionaire investor Kenneth Griffin made a fervent appeal to his alma mater, Harvard University, urging it to embrace what he termed as “Western values” amidst what he described as a cultural upheaval in U.S. education. Griffin, the founder of the U.S. hedge fund Citadel, emphasized in an interview with the Financial Times that the essence of education in pursuit of truth and knowledge has been overshadowed over the past decade.

“Harvard should prioritize standing for meritocracy in America,” asserted Griffin, who has generously donated over half a billion dollars to the institution. He emphasized the importance of Harvard, and by extension, other educational institutions, embracing the principles that have contributed to the greatness of the nation.

Griffin’s call for Harvard to champion these values comes in the wake of his decision to suspend further donations to the university earlier this year, citing concerns over its handling of antisemitism on campus.

In his interview with the Financial Times, Griffin lamented the current state of American education, attributing the unrest on college campuses to what he described as a cultural revolution. He criticized the protests on campuses, likening them to “performative art” and stressed that freedom of speech should not be misconstrued as a license for anarchic behavior.

The backdrop to Griffin’s remarks includes the recent wave of escalating anti-Israel protests at universities across the United States, particularly concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The demonstrations, advocating for a cease-fire in Gaza and urging divestment from companies with ties to Israel, have led to numerous arrests.

Since the initial mass arrests at Columbia University in April, over 2,600 individuals have been detained in connection to protests across 39 states and Washington, D.C., according to The Appeal, a nonprofit news organization.

Griffin’s critique of elite universities and their educational agendas, particularly their focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, was reiterated during his speech at the Managed Funds Association conference in Miami earlier this year. His statements underscore a broader conversation about the role of universities in shaping societal values and the ongoing tensions within academic communities.