The Right Coast

April 28, 2005
Sixties Affirmative Action, Part II (Strange Career Paths)
By Gail Heriot

It truly is a crazy old world. In 1969, one of the leaders Cornell University's radical Afro-American Society, rifle in hand, bellowed to a crowd of about a thousand, "In the past it has been the black people who have done all the dying. Now the time has come when the pigs are going to die, too.… We are moving tonight. Cornell has until 9 o'clock to live." He and about eighty other armed students then took over Cornell's Straight Hall and held it until Cornell President James A. Perkins spinelessly capitulated to their demands.

The speaker was Thomas W. Jones. Do you know what Mr. Jones is doing these days? No, he's not in the pokey. He and his fellow terrorists never went to prison. C'mon guess.....

He's currently Chairman and CEO of Citigroup's Global Investment Management. Recently, he was President and Chief Operating Officer of the Teachers Insurance Annuity Association-College Retirement Equities Fund. It is the largest pension fund in the world with assets of $130 billion plus. That's a pretty extraordinary career path, no? When asked about his role in the armed incident on the 25th anniversary of the take over, he reportedly replied, "I did what I had to do."

Your correspondent's pathetic retirement savings are, like most academic's, in TIAA-CREF. I did not know until today that they had been managed by a hot-headed ex-felon. I suppose I ought to have worried about that a bit ....

For other interesting career paths for 1960s radicals, see here.