Harvard in Trouble: Billionaire Ken Griffin Shuts Wallet Over 'Whiny Snowflakes'

By Olivia Weaving February 2, 2024

High profile donor Ken Griffin withdraws funding support amid concerns over Harvard University's handling of antisemitism and deviation from foundational educational values.

Billionaire business tycoon Ken Griffin, who has contributed over half a billion dollars to Harvard University, announced that he’s ceasing his donations, blaming the institution’s deviation from its initial focus of educating American children and critiqueing student's behavior.

Griffin made the startling statement at an event hosted by the Managed Funds Association in Miami earlier this week, where he labeled students at Harvard and other top-tier colleges as "whiny snowflakes." Known as the founder and CEO of hedge fund giant Citadel, Griffin boasts an estimated worth of nearly $37 billion, positioning him as the 35th richest individual globally according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

This sudden withdrawal comes in the wake of a national debate regarding how antisemitism is handled on college campuses, a controversy that caught fire following the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Harvard President Claudine Gay stepped down from her position earlier this month, facing backlash over her testimony in a December congressional hearing related to the university's response to rising antisemitism on campus. Allegations of plagiarism in her own academic work also added to the controversy.

Speaking at the conference, Griffin questioned, "Are we going to educate the future members of the House and Senate and the leaders of IBM? Or are we going to educate a group of young men and women who are caught up in a rhetoric of oppressor and oppressee and, 'This is not fair,' and just frankly whiny snowflakes?" Griffin questions the future direction of elite education in America.

Up till now, there's been no feedback from Harvard regarding Griffin's comments.

Furthermore, the congressional hearing in December sparked off the resignation of University of Pennsylvania's President Liz Magill. Along with Gay, she and MIT's President Sally Kornbluth faced criticism from those who claimed they failed to clearly clarify whether calls for genocide against Jewish people would breach their institutions' policies.

Griffin, a Harvard alum with an economics degree from 1989, mentioned that he is keen to resume his financial support to his alma mater, but it hinges on whether the university retracts to its primary mission.

"Until Harvard makes it clear they are going to resume their role of educators of young American men and women to be leaders, to be problems solvers, to take on difficult issues, I'm not interested in supporting the institution," he firmly divulged.

Griffin isn't the only affluent Harvard alumnus critical of its student body and leadership. Earlier in October, hedge fund mogul and CEO Bill Ackman urged the university to make public the names of students involved in organizations that support blame on Israel for the October 7 Hamas attack on Israeli citizens. Via a statement on X (formerly Twitter), Ackman expressed his wish not to "inadvertently hire any of their members."