NEW YORK, OCT. 14 -- Naked greed inspired discomfort inside the hallowed walls of an Ivy League business school here today.

Much to their consternation, the dons of staid Columbia Business School endured a day-long media flap over this $100,000 question: When is it, to borrow stock speculator Ivan F. Boesky's memorable phrase, okay to be greedy?

At issue was Dean John C. Burton's decision to cancel an offer by Asher B. Edelman, the well-known corporate raider and an adjunct professor at Columbia, to pay $100,000 to any university student who found a company for Edelman to take over.

Burton made his decision under pressure from the business school's faculty, which felt Edelman's six-figure incentive plan -- offered in a popular course he teaches titled "Corporate Raiding: The Art of War" -- threatened Columbia's academic integrity.

Addressing Edelman's class Tuesday, Burton told the students the finder's fee offer would be revoked immediately, but Edelman would continue to teach his class and would return as an adjunct professor at Columbia next semester.

"The business of educational institutions such as ours is the exchange of ideas and the development of thinking," Burton said today. "My concern is that this {$100,000 offer} would interfere with the examination of ideas. ... The faculty who made this decision were concerned also that a great deal of attention was going to be paid {by students} to one course as opposed to the rest of the program."

Edelman dismissed such criticism as jealousy and defended his offer as a way to stimulate entrepreneurial thinking in his students.

"There's no question that my class has been a very big hit," he said, noting that a straw vote taken in class on the finder's fee issue went 14 to 1 in his favor.

Referring to Columbia's Master of Business Administration program as "a trade school" for Wall Street, he suggested students are more in touch with the world than the faculty. "The school would prefer to get grants from General Motors and keep the money and make the students do the work," he said.

"The structural wrong at Columbia and other universities is that in general, professors tend to use their students without rewarding them -- and yet the professors get rewarded outside with their consulting contracts," Edelman said.

Academics at rival business schools sharply criticized Edelman's offer, saying he was grossly exploiting his students, but graduate students at Columbia not enrolled in Edelman's class were divided over what constitutes an acceptable level of greed in an MBA candidate.

"There's an ulterior motive to taking half the courses here anyway," said Paul Grinberg, a business graduate student. "All the finance seminars are taught by big shots on Wall Street and students take them looking for possible employment. The difference {with Edelman's offer} is that there's an equity kickback at the end of it."

Grinberg also noted that "$100,000 is a lot of money. You've just paid for your M.B.A." Tuition at Columbia Business School is about $6,500 per term, and four terms are required for graduation.

Other students were not so sanguine about Edelman's offer. "We have plenty of time to make money without being exposed to it in school," said Rachel Baskins, a second-year M.B.A. candidate. "In my ethics classes, I was really shocked to hear what some of the people said and how they think. People are ruthless because aggression is definitely rewarded here."

Edelman expressed dismay that students and academics would accuse him of exploitation. "The reason I did this should be made clear because it had nothing to do with crass commercialism," he said. "It had to do with ... thinking of oneself as an owner. I teach a class that tries to bring these kids closer to the world of business reality."

Samuel Hayes, a professor at Harvard Business School, said Edelman's error lay in the size of his incentive plan, not its underlying principle. "He put a carrot out there which was so large and so luscious-looking, it would have to incite an inordinate reaction on the part of his students," Hayes said. "That created the impression that he was trying to bend the students' will."

A slim majority of the students attending today's session of "Conceptual Foundations of Business," disagreed with Burton's decision to cancel the offer, according to Grinberg, who attended the class.

"The professor {of ethics} didn't take a stand on the issue," Grinberg said. "What bothered the professor the most was that Edelman {had} called Columbia a trade school." Staff researcher Marianne Yen contributed to this report