NYC Business Leaders Pressuring Mayor for Increased Security at Columbia University

NYC Business Leaders Pressuring Mayor for Increased Security at Columbia University

Alessandro Rossi
2 min read

Wealthy Business Leaders Pressure Mayor to Increase Police Presence at Columbia University

Several influential business leaders, namely Joseph Sitt, Len Blavatnik, and Daniel Loeb, have reportedly lobbied Mayor Eric Adams to enhance police presence at Columbia University during pro-Palestine demonstrations. The endeavor involved utilizing a Zoom call and WhatsApp group to deliberate on leveraging their influence to sway the university's president and even contemplate potential political contributions. Notably, Blavatnik, a Columbia alumnus, had previously contributed to Adams' reelection campaign. Resulting from these discussions, police were redeployed to the university's campus on April 30. The WhatsApp group, which counted Howard Schultz, Michael Dell, Bill Ackman, and Joshua Kushner as prominent members, was initiated to bolster Israel's stance following a terrorist attack on Oct. 7 and collaborated with the Israeli government on various initiatives. However, decreased participation led to its suspension in May.

Key Takeaways

  • Wealthy business leaders pressured Mayor Eric Adams to dispatch police to Columbia University amid pro-Palestine rallies.
  • Notable figures hinted at potential political donations to Adams, with Blavatnik already having made contributions to his reelection campaign.
  • The group explored the possibility of utilizing their influence to sway Columbia's president and funding investigative endeavors to assist the city.
  • The WhatsApp group, initiated to bolster Israel's narrative post the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, ceased operations in May due to waning member participation.


The exerted pressure from these business leaders could potentially strain the relations between Columbia University and its alumni donors and politicize the campus atmosphere, consequently affecting students, faculty, and the broader academic community. Moreover, the increased police presence may provoke escalating protests and potential violence, prompting broader conversations about the influence of money in shaping public policy and campus politics. This occurrence could have far-reaching implications, potentially impacting diplomatic relations and the perception of the US.

Did You Know?

  • Joseph Sitt: A prominent American businessman and real estate developer, recognized as the founder and CEO of Thor Equities, a global real estate investment and development firm, with a significant presence in the New York City real estate market.
  • Len Blavatnik: A distinguished Ukrainian-born American businessman, investor, and philanthropist, renowned as the founder and chairman of Access Industries, boasting a diverse portfolio in natural resources, media, telecommunications, and real estate, and ranked among the world's wealthiest individuals with a net worth exceeding $35 billion.
  • Columbia University: A prestigious private Ivy League research university, renowned globally for its research initiatives and distinguished learning environment for students across various fields.
  • Political Donations: Contributions made to political campaigns, parties, or political action committees to support a candidate or cause, regulated by the Federal Election Commission in the US.
  • WhatsApp Group: A feature of the WhatsApp messaging app facilitating group conversations, used in this instance by wealthy business leaders to advocate for Israel's narrative and collaborate with the Israeli government.

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