Monday, February 25, 2008

When it comes to college fundraisers, stay the hell away from me

I am sure at one time or another some readers out there have gotten one of those pesky telemarketer calls. By now, I have reached the conclusion that no matter if you register with the Do Not Call list, something will always slip. So, for me, caller ID and an answering machine are wonderful tools. We screen every call. Unknown number? So long. Does not leave a message or identify itself? Farewell. Charities tend to be one of the loopholes in the registry, one that, as far as I am concerned should be closed like any other. By now, I am used to pretty much tuning out any unwanted phone call. So, why bother writing about it now? Well, this article on USA Today (February 22, 2008 written by Ledyard King) about how colleges are going after their graduates to hit them for money after graduation sort of got my goat, as the saying goes. In particular, this remark really got my attention:

"We don't have a lot of individuals who understand that giving is a responsibility," he said. "We have to do a better job of making sure our students understand how a university is funded."

"He" is University of Arizona Foundation President James Moore. Let me bust your bubble, Mr. Monroe. Giving is a personal choice, not a responsibility. Your campus nor any other are entitled to any extra money after graduation. You already took a lot of my money (and some from my parents) when I got my education. Not to mention that the financial aid was not exactly generous, and as a result I not only had to work a job on campus (ok, I did not mind that one as much), and I had to take out some loans. So you will forgive me if I am not feeling particularly generous since I still have some items to pay off from my education. And you can take your condescension and put it where the sun don't shine. I understand exactly how a university is funded, not only as a student, but as an employee in higher education. I am aware of how legislatures across the nation are making it a national pastime to cut funding for campuses. I can certainly sympathize, but trying to brainwash the students who are already giving you a lot of money into giving you something extra after they leave is just not right.

"They're mobile. They're going through graduate school and moving on, taking jobs outside of the country," [Jim] McKey [VP Institutional Advancement, Earlham College] said. "There's lots of reasons they're difficult to find."

Hmm, did it occur to you and your ilk that maybe a good number of us do not want to be found? Actually, considering that I do not pay any alumni dues (so not a member of any alumni associations, undergrad or grad), and you people still manage to find me goes to show your degree of perseverance to the point of annoyance. I suggest for some of those larger, well endowed campuses, that they follow the lead of some of the Ivies and spend a little more of that endowment on actually bringing good students to your campuses, you know, maybe providing a scholarship or two here or there? Considering that you folks keep raising tuition at rates that are simply alarming, it may be the least you can do.

In the end, the guilt trip is not going to work. Like many other people in this nation, I have my share of bills that need to be paid a lot sooner than writing my alma mater yet another check. They already took my money when I paid them to educate me. I suggest you find other ways, maybe learn to live within your means some more. Or maybe, convince some of those rich alumni to donate money for things that are a little more practical than a fountain, a bell tower, or a statue. You know? Like a new computer lab, or a better library. And stay away from me already.

Besides, I'll just keep ignoring you anyways when you call.

A hat tip to The Kept-Up Librarian.

1 comment:

Gavin said...

a handy tool for those 'unkown' numbers: