The investment managers of Harvard, Columbia, Duke and other universities are offloading assets and considering other radical steps to brave the credit crunch, Dow Jones reported Friday. Harvard and Duke have hired a firm, Cogent Partners, to sell off some of their assets at a significant discount on secondary markets. Bids for the Harvard portfolio could be worth between $1.3 billion and $1.5 billion, secondary buyers told Dow Jones. Similarly, Columbia hired UBS to sell at least $600 million in private equity holdings. The universities are coming up short on cash because their most liquid assets, stocks and bonds, are sinking in value. Unlike these schools, Yale outsources the direct management of its investments.