On Tuesday, December 3, there was a senior class reception held by SWAG (Seniors of Wesleyan Annual Gift) in Beckham Hall. At the reception, a number of administrators gave speeches about why students should give to Wesleyan.
And then, Josh Krugman ’14 got up and gave a speech about need-blind, how the University handles donations, and why you maybe shouldn’t give to Wes.
The video is above and a rough transcript is past the jump, courtesy of Josh. When you watch the video, notice the how the administrators and those planning the event try and pressure Josh off the stage and how the student band begins playing to try and drown out his speech. Also, unseen in this video is Michael Roth bolting out of the room when Josh got up there.
BZOD EDIT 12/9/13, 1:50 PM: For some much-needed clarification on that 68% figure, check out this article.
Hello Class of 2014! So good to see everyone here!
All of us know that last year Wesleyan changed its admissions policy from “Need-Blind” to “Need-Aware”. This means that before, admissions decisions were made without knowledge of applicants’ financial situation, but now, under the new policy admissions are made partly on the basis of the financial status of the applicants.
Many of you may know that this year’s freshman class, the first admitted under the new discriminatory policy, looks pretty different from other recent classes. The class of 2017 contains 6% fewer students receiving grant-based aid than the previous year, 4% fewer first generation college students than the previous year, 3% fewer black students than the previous year, and fewer students from every region of the US outside New England than the previous year.
President Roth, SWAG, Alumni relations and the rest tell us that if we love Wes, if we want Wes to be the best it can be, and if we want to increase access for poor students, what we need to do is all donate more.
On the contrary, the University needs to change its priorities to be more ethical and inclusive.
And we will not change the University’s priorities by donating. When alumni and students have come to President Roth and to members of the Board of Trustees, expressing their concern about the effects that the decision to end Need-Blind admissions may have for the demographics of the student body, President Roth and members of the Board have responded: “Alumni can’t be THAT concerned: they’re giving in record numbers.”
What Roth and the Board are telling alums to do in order to improve access, Roth and the Board then turn against concerned alumni as evidence that their worries are not widely held, and therefore that the University doesn’t need to re-evaluate its priorities.
Did you know that 68% of any donation earmarked for financial aid gets swept into the general operating budget, and that only 32% of such donations goes to improving the financial aid budget?
Given these things, it is clear that donating to the University at this time constitutes no more than a vote of confidence in the University’s misguided priorities.
It is clear that the University will only change its priorities when we demand this change by refusing to donate.
I want to propose that we can best express our love for Wes and do the most to make Wes the best it can be by VOCALLY refusing to donate, and by calling on the administration to ask us again for our money when they are ready to commit to a set of priorities that inspires us.
This STARTS with ceasing to openly discriminate against poor students in the admissions process!
Let’s support Wesleyan by demanding the best from it!
Bring Back Need-Blind!