A war between the President of the United States, Donald Trump, and Harvard University which eventually returns the money received from the US Government. The story has sparked endless controversy.
Harvard refuses, but then returns the money
The facts are the following. The US government is issuing a $2.2 trillion package to tackle Covid-19. The measures are called Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES). Of this amount, 12.5 billion are for education to be distributed according to a special formula. A formula that assigns about 9 million to Harvard, known to be one of the richest universities, with a budget of 40 billion dollars. And it was here that the controversy broke out involving the President himself, the one who signed the aid package.
During a press conference, the president was clear:
“They are one of the richest institutions in the world, I want Harvard to pay the money back, okay?
The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., was also involved:
“So rather than going to a small business that actually needs the money, Harvard, with a $40 billion endowment and professors that keep getting arrested for giving research secrets to the Chinese Government takes $9,000,000 they don’t need so a small business can’t. What a joke!”
So rather than going to a small business that actually needs the money, Harvard, with a $40 billion endowment and professors that keep getting arrested for giving research secrets to the Chinese Government takes $9,000,000 they don’t need so a small business can’t.
What a joke! https://t.co/ozZmLp0pRM
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 20, 2020
At first, the prestigious university said it would not return the money. On the contrary, it had announced that the funds arrived from the CARES act would be reserved 100% for the financial assistance of students. In short, they would have increased what the university was already doing to help students in need.
But the dispute has not subsided, because a fund intended to help companies in need cannot go to an institution that has a 40 billion fund.
Eventually, Harvard gave in:
“Harvard has decided not to seek or accept the funds allocated to it by statute”.
This is the announcement of the prestigious university that has thus decided not to undermine the efforts made by Congress and the President in promoting a direct action to support institutions and students struggling with the serious economic challenges created by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The controversy between Novogratz and Pompliano
The debate has involved everyone. Not even exponents and fans of the cryptocurrency world were exempt, who clashed on Twitter.
For example, Mike Novogratz pointed out that the Harvard case was actually common to other universities that have a large budget and yet will be awarded millions of dollars from the CARES act. As in the case of the University of Texas, which has a budget of 30 billion and will receive 172 million.
The conclusion of Novogratz is that:
“I think the govt screwed up in handing out 2 tr dollars. To be fair it’s not easy to do it under pressure but lots of mistakes”.
Anthony Pompliano came off as shocked by the news of the 9 million going to Harvard:
Most small businesses in America have not received their financial relief but Harvard is getting $9 million, although they have tens of billions of dollars in their endowment.
— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) April 15, 2020
To Donald Trump’s tweet in which the US President demanded the money back, Pompliano responded harshly:
“They’re not schools. They’re asset management firms masquerading as schools for tax benefits”.
A tweet that in turn triggered Novogratz’s response:
“That’s a bit much. They use the returns for research and scholarships. America’s higher education system is one of the foundations to our success”.
However, according to Pompliano, the point is that systems like Harvard, which manage $40 billion in funding, only partially cover the school fees that are otherwise borne by the students. That’s why they shouldn’t have tax breaks.
Something that Novogratz would also agree with, which at this point proposes to extend the concept to churches.
In any case, the clash has ended without winners or losers: Harvard will not have the 9 million and the university can only hope that the money will be directed to students in difficulty.