Saturday, February 6, 2021

Who Profits From Columbia University's Teachers College?

"Non-Profit" Teachers College of Columbia University's 525 W. 120th St. building. (photo by Bohao Zhao (wikicommons))

 Since January 22, 2021, thousands of Columbia University students of the Upper West Side "non-profit" university have been withholding their tuition payments for the Spring 2021 semester, in support of the following 5 demands:


"1) Columbia must alleviate the economic burden on students by reducing the cost of attendance and increasing financial aid.


- Reduce the cost of attendance (including tuition, fees, and room & board) by at least 10%.


- Increase financial aid by at least 10%.


- Replace the "student responsibility" with grants.


- Offer financial aid for summer classes for all schools at Columbia


- Forgive all late fees and other forms of retaliation for unpaid bills for the duration of the pandemic.


- We also demand that this reduction and increased aid should not come at the expense of instructor or worker pay, but rather at the expense of bloated administrative salaries, expansion projects, and other expenses that don't benefit students and workers.


"2) Columbia must fulfill its responsibilities to the people of West Harlem by committing to provide employment, education & affordable housing, and to end expansion.


" 3) Columbia must defund Public Safety and invest in community safety solutions that prioritize the safety of Black students and West Harlem residents, and repair harm caused by prior racist practices of Public Safety.


" 4) Columbia must commit to complete transparency about the University's investments and respect the democratic votes of the student body regarding investment and divestment decisions. This includes respecting the referendums at Barnard and Columbia College to divest from companies involved in human rights violations, divesting fully from fossil fuels, and respecting the results of future referendums relating to investment decisions; and


"5) Columbia must bargain in good faith with unions on campus around their key demands for improved compensation, benefits, and protections. This includes guaranteeing protections to international students and granting union recognition for MA and undergrad student-workers."


According to the Columbia University students who initiated the 2021 tuition strike:, "these issues are united by a shared root cause: a flagrant disregard for initiatives democratically supported within the community" and the administration of Columbia University President Lee Bollinger's "unilateral decision-making process" which "has perpetuated the existence of these injustices in our community despite possessing ample resources to confront them with structural solutions."


In response to either the threat of a tuition strike or the tuition strike itself, Columbia University's Bollinger "administration announced it would freeze tuition, suspend fees on late payments, increase spring financial aid and provide a limited amount of summer grants to students," according to a Jan. 26, 2021 In These Times article, titled "Columbia Students Wage the Largest Tuition Strike in Nearly 50 Years," by Indigo Olivier. But "students who" were "withholding tuition were surprised when they learned of multiple cases in which $150 late fees appeared in students' accounts last weekend, though they have not been able to confirm whether they are expected to pay this fee," according to the same article.


In These Times also noted that, on Jan. 22, 2021, Columbia's Board of Trustees "finally formalized its commitment to divest from publicly traded oil and gas companies;" but on Jan. 20, 2021, "the Board of Trustees also quietly announced it was lifting its 2006 to 2020 policy of divestment and non-investment in `companies operating in Sudan.'"


Despite calling their Upper West Side-based private schools "non-profit" institutions, some of the administrators and professors of both Columbia University and Teachers College of Columbia University have, in recent years, apparently been pocketing total annual monetary compensations much higher than what most New York City workers who are still employed are paid; or what most Columbia students are likely to earn annually during the current decade.


According to the 2017 Form 990 financial filing of Teachers College of Columbia University (on whose board of trustees Columbia University President Bollinger has sat next to Rockefeller Brothers Fund Chair of the Board of Trustees and former "confidential assistant" to Secretary Richard Riley at the U.S. Department of Education during the first Clinton administration, Valerie Rockefeller, in recent years), for example, between Sept. 1, 2017 and Aug. 31, 2018, "non-profit" Columbia's Teachers College paid total annual compensations that exceeded $198,000 to the following folks:


1. Teachers College President and later President Emerita Susan Fuhrman's total annual compensation was $1,059,181;


2. Teachers College VP Suzanne Murphy's total annual compensation was $533,206;


3. Teachers College's then-newly-installed President Thomas Bailey's total annual compensation was $468,469;


4. Teachers College VP Harvey Spector's total annual compensation was $465,600;


5. Teachers College Provost & Dean Thomas James's total annual compensation was $465,250;


6. Teachers College Professor Sharon Kagan's total annual compensation was $423,098;


7. Teachers College Enid & Lesk Morse Chair Ruth Vinz's total annual compensation was $373,390;


8. Teachers College Professor Andrew Gordon's total annual compensation was $362,407;


9. Teachers College Professor Jeanne Brooks-Gunn's total annual compensation was $356,392;


10. Teachers College VP Janice Robinson's total annual compensation was $350,941;


11. Teachers College's former Vice-Provost William Baldwin's total annual compensation was $334,607;


12. Teachers College Professor Anne Lin Goodwin's total annual compensation was $330,646;


13. Teachers College Assoc. VP Nancy Streim's total annual compensation was $318,679;


14. Teachers College Vice Provost Catherine Embree's total annual compensation was $279,550;


15. Teachers College Chief of Staff Katharine Conway's total annual compensation was $230,181;


16. Teachers College Vice Provost Steven Goss's total annual compensation was $225,955; and


17. Teachers College's former General Counsel Lori Fox's total annual compensation was $198,594.


In 2018 the "non-profit" Teachers College of Columbia University also had over $149 million invested in "non-public equity funds" and over $28 million invested in "private equity and real estate funds," according to its 2017 Form 990 financial filing.


Between Sept. 1, 2017 and Aug. 31, 2018, the total revenues of Columbia University's Teachers College exceeded $241 million, which included over $47 million that came from "contributions and grants" and over $4 million that came from its investment income. In addition, Teachers College of Columbia University spent $1 million on "lobbying" between Sept. 2017 and August 2018.


So, not surprisingly, in July 2020,the privately-controlled Teachers College of Columbia University was awarded $6.3 million in two publicly-funded U.S. federal government grants from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Science for a "study of the Federal Work-Study program." And in October and November 2020, Multi-Billionaire U.S. Oligarch Bill Gates's Gates Foundation also gave four "charitable" grants, totaling over $1.2 million, to the Teachers College of institutionally racist Columbia University; including, ironically, a $499,000 tax-exempt "charitable" grant "to advance knowledge of which advising reforms disproportionately benefit students of color and students experiencing poverty" and a $100,000 "charitable" grant "to support reporting on racial inequities in education."

Monday, January 4, 2021

Who Profits From `Non-Profit' Columbia University Inc. In 2021?

Columbia University Graduate School of Business Uris Hall (wickicommons)

Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, tax-exempt Columbia University claims to be a “non-profit” institution. Yet according to the Trustees of Columbia University’s Form 990 Financial Filing for 2017, between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, Columbia’s total revenues of $5,888,095,558 exceeded its total expenses of $5,022,865,551 by over $865 million; and the value of “non-profit” Columbia’s net assets increased from $14.6 billion to $15.7 billion during the same period.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are accumulated by “non-profit” Columbia University as a result of its investment of endowment funds in things like corporate stocks and hedge funds, from which it obtains dividends or additional income from selling some of its corporate stocks at stock market prices higher than the prices it paid at the time the corporate stocks were purchased. Between July 2017 and June 2018, for example, Columbia University’s annual income from its investments exceeded $683 million. In addition, during the same period, Columbia University’s annual rental income from its real estate property exceeded $33 million and its annual income from “royalties” exceeded $24 million.

Some of the $5.8 billion in annual revenues that the administration of Columbia University pocketed between July 2017 and June 2018 was then passed on to “sub-recipients” of Columbia’s tax-exempt government and foundation grant money like NYU, Johns Hopkins University, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, M.I.T., Harvard University, Stanford University, Northwestern University, University of Pittsburgh, Yale University, University of Michigan, Georgetown University, Emory University, California Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, Cornell University, JH Piego Corporation and The Rand Corporation for “research,” in the form of “sub-recipient” grants. The Columbia administration, for example, gave:

$2,225,976 in sub-recipient grant money to NYU;

$1,985,135 in sub-recipient grant money to Johns Hopkins University;

$1,849,519 in sub-recipient grant money to Duke University;

$1,835,855 in sub-recipient grant money to University of Pennsylvania;

$1,524,713 in sub-recipient grant money to M.I.T.;

$1,285,545 in sub-recipient grant money to Harvard University;
 
$1,276,330 in sub-recipient grant money to Stanford University;

 $1,139,952 in sub-recipient grant money to Northwestern University;

 $1,098,060 in sub-recipient grant money to University of Pittsburgh;

$960,611 in sub-recipient grant money to Yale University;

$863,723 in sub-recipient grant money to University of Michigan;

$741,411 in sub-recipient grant money to Georgetown University;

$736,807 in sub-recipient grant money to Emory University;

$685,038 in sub-recipient grant money to California Institute of Technology;

$622,477 in sub-recipient grant money to University of Chicago;

$609,593 in sub-recipient grant money to Cornell University;

$511,313 in sub-recipient grant money to JH Piego Corporation; and

$329,639 in sub-recipient grant money to The RAND Corporation.

And much of Columbia University’s $5.8 billion in annual revenues between July 2017 and June 2018 was used to provide total annual compensation payments to some Columbia University administrators and professors that exceeded by a lot the annual average salaries paid to most people who live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Total annual compensation payments that exceeded $450,000, for example, were made by Columbia University to the following university administrators or professors:

Columbia University Executive Vice-President of Investment Management Peter Holland received a total annual compensation of $6,523,075;

Columbia University Clinical Professor David Silvers received a total annual compensation of $4,225,843;

Columbia University Professor of Surgery Craig Smith received a total annual compensation of $4,119,778;

Columbia University Professor of Surgery Lawrence Lenke received a total annual compensation of $4,119,778;

Columbia University Professor of Surgery Kiehyun Riew received a total annual compensation of $3,343,152;

Columbia University President Lee Bollinger received a total annual compensation of $2,648,682;

Columbia University Professor of Surgery Ronald Lehman Jr. received a total annual compensation of $2,455,483;

Columbia University Executive VP for Health Sciences Lee Goldman received a total annual compensation of $1,930,675;

Columbia University Provost John Coatsworth received a total annual compensation of $834,731;

Columbia University Senior Executive VP Gerald Rosberg received a total annual compensation of $801,407;

Columbia University Executive VP for Finance and IT Anne Sullivan received a total annual compensation of $786,051;

Columbia University Executive VP of University Development and Alumni Relations Amelia Alverson received a total annual compensation of $778,731;

Columbia University Executive VP of Arts and Sciences David Madigan received a total annual compensation of $765,451;

Columbia University General Counsel Jane Booth received a total annual compensation of $707,781;

Columbia University Executive VP of Facilities David Greenberg received a total annual compensation of $551,922; and

Columbia University Trustees’ Secretary Jerome Davis received a total annual compensation of $464,575.

In addition, 5,716 other administrators or faculty members of “non-profit” and corporate tax-exempted “Columbia University Inc.” each individually received--between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018--total annual compensations that exceeded $100,000.

According to its Form 990 financial filing for 2017, between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, "non-profit" Columbia University was also the "direct controlling entity" of business firms like the following:

Merit Energy Partners LLP;
Sanjeevini Investment Holding;
GCM Grosvenor Blue LP;
India Equity Fund Limited;
Canaan Resources Partners Drilling Fund;
Vectra Energy Drill Fund LLP;
Star Asia Opportunity Fund;
Fathom Knowledge Network; and
Freezer Box Inc.

And in addition, the Cayman Islands-based FPCM Inflation Linked Opportunities Ltd. investment firm was another business firm in which Columbia University was also the "direct controlling entity," between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.

Perhaps it’s now time for the Upper West Side’s “non-profit” Columbia University to finally begin to start paying a fair share of municipal, state and federal taxes during the 2021 fiscal year?