Critical Readability

My critical readings of the best and worst of online media

Alumni Donations?


I understand that in the grand scheme of things giving money to my former universities will ideally provide younger students with the same opportunities that I had. I also understand the urge to give money, especially to my undergraduate department.

But right now, nothing makes me more irate than getting a letter from the alumni associations of the universities I attended. Can’t you coordinate with the financial aid databases and find out how much debt a student has before asking us to give you more money? Maybe I will consider donating money to your university when (and if) my loans are ever paid off. Right now it’s insulting for you to ask me for money when college degrees are no longer preparing students for the real world and when more and more college graduates (and Ph.D.s) are unemployed.

After you check with financial aid, maybe you could telepathically determine if we are employed before sending us these letters. And if telepathic communication is in fact possible, maybe you should resist the urge to send letters soliciting donations from contingent faculty.

I might consider donating money to your university if you stop using donor money for football stadiums, fancy (and completely unnecessary) student unions, and luxury dorms. Maybe instead of using donations for these things, you could pay all of your faculty livable wages and provide them with health benefits. Then you should consider putting us on renewable contracts and providing us with pay comparable to tenure-track faculty (or at least within the same general ball park). If I had an extra dollar to give your institution from my contingent faculty salary, I would want it to actually go to instruction.

As long as I know that’s not going to happen, your letters insult me as a former student with debt, and as contingent faculty working at a peer institution.


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