“Your comment is awaiting moderation…”: an alumni response to Michael Roth
Calls for a boycott of the administration’s capital campaign have re-emerged this week as President Michael Roth continues to solicit donations in the name of financial aid. Alums are refusing to contribute on the grounds that doing so would be a vote of confidence in increasingly reactionary, discriminatory policies. As of now, there remains no plan for Wesleyan to return to need blind admissions.
The following statement was submitted in response to Roth’s latest blog post – where it is still “awaiting moderation” (don’t hold your breath). We are posting it here in the meantime so you can see it. A similar statement has emerged on a Facebook group for recent alumni.
Support Wesleyan — Refuse to Donate!
President Roth mentions twice in his “Giving Tuesday” appeal that we can support financial aid at Wesleyan by donating to the University today.
What Michael Roth doesn’t mention is that 68% of every gift earmarked for financial aid gets drafted into the general operating budget, and only 32% of such gifts actually goes to improving the University’s financial aid budget. This is a dismaying betrayal of trust.
It is brazen for Michael Roth and the Wesleyan PR folks to encourage us to support financial aid at Wesleyan the year after Roth and the Board took unprecedented steps to erode access and decrease spending on financial aid, by ending Wesleyan’s policy of admitting students on a “Need-Blind” basis (wherein students were admitted based solely on their promise as applicants, without knowledge of their ability to pay).
This year’s freshman class, the first admitted under the new “Need-Aware” admissions policy, which actively discriminates against poor students, contains 6% fewer students receiving grant aid, 4% fewer first generation college students, and 3% fewer black students, as well as smaller percentages of students from everywhere outside of New England than the previous year’s class. (Citation)
Given Wesleyan’s diversion of financial aid contributions to the general operating budget, and given President Roth and the Board’s historic erosion of access for poor students in the last year, I cannot believe that their appeals for donations to financial aid are in good faith.
Moreover, I think it is clear that any donations we alumnae make this year constitute no more than a vote of confidence in the University’s priorities, which are at present profoundly misguided.
I would like to encourage my fellow alums, seniors, parents, and others in the extended Wesleyan family that this year we can do more to make Wesleyan the best it can be by vocally refusing to donate to the annual fund, than by donating.
I am convinced that vocally refusing to donate is the best way to convince Wesleyan that it is in it its interest to listen to its progressive alumnae, and to adopt a more inclusive and ethical set of fiscal priorities.
I encourage you fellow alums to call or email Michael Roth (mroth[at]wesleyan[dot]edu 860-685-3500), John Meerts (jmeerts[at]wesleyan[dot]edu860-685-2607), and Alumnae Relations (860-685-3933), explaining why you’ve chosen not to donate this year, and to advocate for a change of priorities.
Let’s encourage these decision-makers at the University to ask us again to donate when they are ready to commit to a set of ethical priorities for the University that inspires us and that makes us believe once again that Wesleyan is a cause worth supporting.
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Open Forum on the Endowment [Liveblog]
Need Blind Wes: Updates and Organization
Trustee Occupation Aftermath
Need Blind Activists Storm Football Game
Argus: The Endowment Faces Major Challenges
University Endowment Increases by $4 Mil in First Part of 2012 Fiscal Year
Wesleyan 2020 Blog: Wesleyan’s Endowment
MRoth Blog: Wesleyan Fundraising Campaign: This is Why
Wesleyan Endowment FAQ