The latest issue of Vanity Fairchecks out what's been a' poppin' over in Cambridge, i.e. Ivy League ass bleeding. The endowment has lost $11 billion (and counting), a few professors have been laid off, some traitorous shrews are thinking the unthinkable ("there is a real chance that Harvard will no longer be considered the best there is"), and, worst of all, dining services will no longer be providing the Larry Summers Special (bacon, egg 'n cheese, banana split and a diet Coke). Really, the only thing the Harvard has going for it is the rage of one HBS professor but he's only one man and he's only got so much scalding hot coffee at his disposal. And yet. Some people don't think the institution truly gets it. They know the facts but the facts haven't truly penetrated. Sounds like a job for a hedge fund manager who, if we were talking about his own fund, would be dictating lines to his secretary a la "We are all good in the hood, this isn't our problem, it's the market's problem," but is more than happy to fuck someone else up with a little dose of truth.
If Harvard were a serious business facing a liquidity crisis, it would have made drastic changes as its endowment tanked: say, axing senior employees, shuttering departments, and selling real estate. But elite universities don't like shaking things up. "None of these schools has the ability to cut expenses fast enough" is how a hedge-fund manager who counts Harvard among his investors describes the situation. VF writer Nina Munk asked the hedge fund manager to look at Harvard's finances and assess the extent to which its endowment will be able to keep pace with its immovable costs. The hedge fund manager's conclusion: "They are completely fucked."