University News

Banner criticizing Corporation removed by students

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, February 14, 2011

A banner reading “Corporate Criminals Run Brown” appeared on Wayland Arch facing Wriston Quadrangle Friday evening, a day before this weekend’s meeting of the Corporation. Less than 24 hours later, the banner had been taken down.

The banner included a small “TM” for “trademark” beside the word “Brown.”

Julian Park ’12 — a Herald opinions columnist — Ben Sadkowski ’14 and Alex Dean ’14, all members of Students for a Democratic Society, hung the banner from the windows of a dormitory room to provoke campus dialogue, they said.

Dean said she and her companions disapprove of the University’s investment policies and strategies. “There is a known corporate criminal” on the Corporation, she added, referring to fellow Steven Rattner ’74 P’10 P’13. Rattner has settled allegations with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Attorney General’s Office that he performed illegal favors to garner business for the private investment firm Quadrangle Group by paying multi-million dollar fines and accepting temporary bans from the securities industry. He has not been convicted of a crime and has admitted no wrongdoing.

Some Wayland residents were displeased with the banner and removed it on Saturday afternoon, Park said.

Students for a Democratic Society put up a similar banner the weekend before the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center opened at the beginning of this academic year. The group hung a banner from Faunce House exhorting the University to “renovate your investments.” It was taken down within “a couple hours,” Dean said.

Park said he has seen other banners hang from Wayland Arch for weeks before being taken down.

“We don’t want to vilify the students who took it down,” Dean said. “Sometimes it’s difficult to address the student body as a whole because there are many communication methods … but, like, almost everyone walks through Wayland Arch, and we figured that was a pretty effective way to get people talking about the issue.”