Malcolm Gladwell is taking aim at Stanford University’s request for charitable donations.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday he lambasted the elite school, linking to a request from Stanford for gifts to help support student financial aid.
“Stanford has $US22.4 billion in the bank, tax free,” he tweeted. “You might as well send your check to the Sultan of Brunei”
Never one to mince words, the famed author has frequently excoriated charitable giving to wealthy universities.
In 2015 after Wall Street billionaire John Paulson donated $US400 million to Harvard, he similarly pounced on the news, insinuating that Paulson’s money could have been put to better use.
The gift from Paulson was Harvard’s largest gift of all time and added to the university’s already mammoth $US36.4 billion endowment.
“If billionaires don’t step up, Harvard will soon be down to its last $US30 billion,” he wrote at the time.
In Gladwell’s criticism on Tuesday, he raised the point that as a nonprofit institution, Stanford doesn’t pay taxes on its multi-billion dollar endowment. “Why should I send them money if I’m already subsidizing them?” he wrote.
Critics of colleges receiving money tax free argue that exemptions provided to private colleges can essentially be thought of as American taxpayers subsidizing private endowment funds. At a simplified level, they say, any exemption in one area increases taxes in another area, ultimately falling on the back of the American taxpayer.
Btw. If Stanford, with $US22 billion in the bank, still has needy undergraduates, how are they spending the billions they ALREADY have? https://t.co/P6cCO5EnFB
— Malcolm Gladwell (@Gladwell) February 21, 2017