Zach Schonfeld ’13 is bringing it back, baby. The topic, I mean. Not the actual thing. The topic.
Remember way back when the campus was all talking about need-blind and stuff? Man, when was that? Oh oh, only three months ago?! Are you sure? What happened?!
Need-blind has been conspicuously absent from campus discussion lately. (I would have put a link in that last sentence but really, nobody’s talked about it much in months.) Many of need-blind’s most fervent and vocal advocates have burned out, have moved on, have grown hoarse from what seems to be a stagnant discussion. (Have forgotten?)
Fortunately, Our Most Glorious and Dear Leader Zach is having none of that. His recent article in USA Today College focuses on recent activism taking place among alumni rather than students, describing a “poignant patchwork of alumni perspectives” manifesting themselves in a plethora of petitions recently circulating amongst alumni. First there was one asking alums to withhold donations (for reasons involving sexual assault as well as need-blind), then came Lana Wilson ’05’s more recent Change.org petition. Zach’s bit discusses the general alumni response, covering both sides of the donation argument and everything in between. There is also a quote from President Roth, responding to the alumni voices:
“I respect those who signed the petition to retain need-blind, but I’ve been focused instead on trying to supply the largest sustainable amount of scholarships we can,” President Roth said in an email. “We simply do not have unlimited resources, and I’m unwilling to compromise the quality of the student experience to keep the need-blind label.”
Particularly relevant is the big, long-running fundraising campaign the University is just now making public. Though donations have thus far been fairly on track with the campaign’s hoped-for growth schedule, it remains to be seen whether the need-blind discussion, now running its eternal course through still-limited alum circles, will have any major impact on the campaign. Indeed, any judgments on that matter would be rather dubious. Who is to say that donations might be quicker, steadier, greater if our admissions policies had not changed? Who is to say that aggrieved alums, withholding their donations, will prevent us from reaching our goals on time?
Too many variables.
Regardless, it’s good that alums are voicing their thoughts and asserting their participation in campus affairs. I hope more of them do, now and going forward. I hope more of us on campus pick the conversation back up, too.
Give Zach’s article a read.