Tag Archives: finance

A University Lecture on Mathematics, Data Science, Finance, and Public Life

CathyONeilPoster-page-001Economics Professor Abigail Hornstein writes in:

Cathy O’Neil earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Harvard University, was a post-doc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mathematics Department, and was a professor at Barnard College, where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry. She then switched over to the private sector, working as a quant for the hedge fund D. E. Shaw in the middle of the credit crisis, and next for RiskMetrics, a software company that assesses risk for the holdings of hedge funds and banks. She left finance in 2011 and started working as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene; she then launched the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia in 2014. O’Neil is a weekly guest on the Slate Money podcast. She co-wrote the book Doing Data Science (2013) and is the author of a new book, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (Random House, September 2016), about the dark side of big data.

Please contact the organizers with any questions: David Constantine (math), Abigail Hornstein (economics), and Chris Rasmussen (math)

Date: Thursday, April 21
Time: 8-9 PM
Place: Ring Family Performing Arts Hall (CFA)

Speaking the Language: What You Need to Know About Finance and Accounting

Raining-money
Whether you start your own organization after college or join someone else’s, at some point you’re going to have to know stuff about money. The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship wants you to come talk finance with Carl Byers ’93:

Entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and changemakers of all kinds must learn to speak the language of finance in order to clearly communicate their vision and plans. This session will explain essential ideas related to for-profits, non-profits, finance, and accounting, so you can articulate ideas in a format — with precise terminology — that will be compelling to colleagues, funders, and other stakeholders. In addition to terminology, this session will cover the process of developing financial plans and documents that make your vision credible to those who have the resources needed to enable your work.

Carl Byers ’93 is an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Venture Partner at Fidelity Biosciences.

Date: TODAY
Time: 6 – 8 PM
Place: Allbritton 311
Cost: Free! Register Here.

All Student Meeting on Budget Priorities, Part Two [Live]

And we’re back. For the second day in a row, the All Student Meeting on Budget Priorities is streaming, live on USTREAM, courtesy of Ben Doernberg’ 13. As I write this, WSA President Zachary Malter ’13 is giving an introduction; you can watch him above or on USTREAM.

As Syed noted yesterday, these are some of the hypothetical budget-cutting options that the Task Force is considering:

  • Increase faculty teaching load from 4 courses to 5 courses a year
  • Replace fifteen tenure-track professors with visiting professors
  • Eliminate 13 staff members
  • Reduce library acquisition budget by 29%
  • Reduce facilities maintenance budget
  • Sell faculty/staff and graduate rental units
  • Eliminate half of woodframe houses
  • Change housing system so that most frosh are n triples and most sophomores are in doubles
  • Reduce athletics
  • Reduce co-curricular programs
  • Raise tuition more rapidly than inflation
  • Draw more money from the endowment every year
  • Eliminate the no loan policy for students from families making less than $40,000 a year

F0r more detail on any of these, watch the stream.

Today: Trustees Debate End to Need-Blind Admissions

Also: Roth discusses plan to link tuition increases with inflation, encourages three-year graduation.

Earlier this month, in the wake of the Affordability Forum with President Roth, I posted a brief history of need-blind activism at Wesleyan. In particular, I included an interview with Ben Foss ’95 about the 1992 occupation of North College following President Chace’s proposal to modify Wesleyan’s need-blind status. Wesleyan, I explained then, is today considering instituting a cap on financial aid, a policy under which the University would remain need-blind for 85%, maybe 90% of admitted students in the Class of 2017. Once that cap is reached, admissions would begin to take financial need into account in its acceptance decisions.

So Robert Alvarez ’96, a fellow activist and former member of Wesleyan Republicans, wrote in with additional reflections:

These were not exclusively “radical” undertakings by any means. Rather, they truly united the campus. [ . . . ] In fact, the Wesleyan Republicans that year wound up spending most of our budget faxing out press releases the day of the North College takeover (yes, go ahead  and snicker, but you didn’t email stuff like that back then and faxing was actually pretty expensive). That type of broad-based organizing is tons of hard work, but it is also powerfully effective when you pull it off. I truly hope that a similarly broad-based coalition can come together and protect Wesleyan’s proud financial aid tradition once again.

Turns out Judgment Day is sooner than I realized. Today, at 9:30 a.m. in the Daniel Family Commons, Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees will meet to discuss Roth’s budget proposals for the coming academic year. When the proposed budget passes, it will spell a short-term end to longstanding need-blind admissions practices at Wesleyan. It will also mean linking tuition increases with inflation and encouraging a three-year graduation route. The Affordability Forum hinted at a willingness to include Wes students in the ongoing discussion. So where is all the fanfare, the chanting, the debating?

Discussion with Prof. Stewart: Big Finance and Environmental Justice

Ross Levin ’15 writes in about “Bank of America,” a pressing new release by avant-garde Wesleyan band Chilly Phoenix a discussion taking place at 200 Church:

Join students and faculty at 200 Church on Tuesday at 4:15 PM for an open discussion on the troubled relationship between the American finance industry and the environment, facilitated by Professor Brian Stewart. What role does the finance industry currently play in climate change, pollution, and other environmental problems? Can the finance industry be reformed to play a positive role in moving towards a sustainable economy? What can we, as students, do to speed up this process?

This is part of Bank Transfer Week, a series of events leading up to Bank Transfer Days on Thursday, Friday, and Monday, when representatives from local credit unions will be on campus to help students start accounts and leave the big banks behind. In addition to the Inside Job screening last week and this discussion and the Bank Transfer Days, we will be having a march to the local branch of Bank of America to let them know we don’t want our money supporting their corrupt practices–stay tuned for more info on that, and for more information on Bank of America, look at the links below:

Date: Tuesday, April 24
Time: 4:15 pm
Place: 200 Church
Cost: $15 in monthly fees from Bank of America