Skip to comments.How to Donate to a Dying University
Posted on 12/19/2011 6:20:54 AM PST by Kaslin
Authors Note: The present column was inspired by Jim Nelson Black, author of Free-fall of the American University.
From time to time I am asked whether conservative donors should simply boycott leftist universities like my own. The answer is emphatically no. If conservative donors all stopped giving, all donations would be liberal donations. That is simply common sense. There is another, better solution born of common sense. It might not have worked a few years ago. But times have changed. The economy has tanked and it really could work today. It is a variation on the idea of directed, or contingent, donations. This involves giving money that is directed towards accomplishing a particular purpose on campus. In other words, it is money given contingent upon the institutions promise to spend it in a particular manner.
The idea of simple directed donations is a good one. But it does not always work. Some years ago, a Yale University graduate tried to donate 20 million dollars toward launching a curriculum centered on the study of Western civilization. After several years of infighting and turmoil with the Yale Department of History, no progress was made toward getting the curriculum moving. So the donor ended up demanding and getting his 20 million dollars back.
Just a few years ago, a similar effort was made at UNC Chapel Hill. It was a disaster that did not even get as far as the effort at Yale. Progressives organized to successfully prevent a center for the study of Western civilization before the effort really got off the ground. As a result, UNC Chapel Hill lost a lot of money and a lot of potential prestige. It was all because of a few tenured radicals committed to destroying the Western notion of the pursuit of truth through reasoned discourse.
Perhaps some professors and administrators resent these directed donations because they think they are being told what to do. That is both a childish and selfish motivation. But that is why a hybrid between the traditional donation and a directed donation might work better. Let me illustrate with a few hypothetical examples:
An alumnus wants to donate $160,000 to his alma mater in New York. A conservative professor wants to write a book on the history of doomsday prophecies in the natural sciences. Specifically, he wants to write about incompatible predictions used to secure government grants. His book will feature numerous scientists including one who predicted a coming ice age to secure federal grant money in the 1970s and then predicted widespread global warming to secure grant federal grant money in the 1990s. The donor offers $80,000 in undirected funds for the university. The other $80,000 sends the conservative professor on sabbatical to write his book. The book is quite successful (extremely successful by academic standards) selling thirty thousand copies in its first year of circulation. Eventually, it sells over 100,000 copies. An alumnus wants to donate $80,000 to his alma mater in California. A conservative professor teaches First Amendment law there. His area of expertise is campus speech codes and freedom of religious expression and association. The donor offers $40,000 in undirected funds for the university. The other $40,000 is given to the professor as summer research stipend money. It allows the professor to write a series of reports on university policies in place in California that directly violate the First Amendment. The reports are covered in the media. This eventually results in policy changes after the ADF and FIRE become involved. An Alumnus wants to donate $40,000 to his alma mater in Ohio. The university general fund gets $20,000. The other half is used to fund two prominent pro-life speakers on campus. After the university accepts the money, the speakers become the first and second anti-abortion speakers on campus since Roe v. Wade was decided.
Only a fool would give money to a secular university without any strings attached. That is tantamount to funding an assault on your own time-tested values using your own hard-earned money. Of course, only a foolish university would reject money because it could not control the marketplace of ideas. That is just inviting further weakness in an effort to maintain an illusion of dominance.
Now is the time to get inside enemy gates and begin to effect gradual change. The weakened enemy simply cannot survive without us. They need to realize this. We need to realize it, too.
the amount of debt a society incurs says the most about the utility of its behavior and decision-making.
The American University and The American Hospital System (not necessarily medical system) are “investments” that are basically sophisticated scams at worst, or of capital mis-allocation at best-just judging on the amount of debt each demands of those utilizing the system.
Wouldn’t it be better to donate to Conservative Colleges instead? If all Conservative money went to Conservative Colleges it would influence academia:
1. Conservative Colleges would improve with funding and would soon rival their liberal counter parts in prestige.
2. It would provide high caliber conservative students with more options.
3. As the Conservative Colleges gain in prominence; it would pull more colleges to the right.
As the article admits - you can not trust liberal institutions to spend the money you provide as you would like. Even if you are still alive and watching; how do you think they will spend the money if you leave it to them in your will?
Look what happened to the Ford Foundation! Henry Ford must be turning in his grave to watch how his fortune is being spent to undermine everything he believed in.
I usually agree with Mike - and he’s a cutie-pie, too! - but this column doesn’t make sense. Why should any conservative donate a significant amount to an ultra-liberal STATE university? Going to college there, if they have a program that you really want, is reasonable. UNC-Wilmington, batty as it is, has a highly-regarded Marine Biology program, for example.
An alumnus might make contributions for sentimental reasons. An extremely wealthy donor might buy a building or a sports team. However, affecting the ideological bent of a state institution is so improbable as to be not even worth discussing.
I graduated from Florida States (Bachelor’s) and George Washington (MBA). I donate to FSU every year but never a dime to George Washington even though George Washington resulted in me making a ton more money. George Washington is pretty liberal. FSU is a state school that is relatively at least sane. Of course it is located in the “conservative” portion of Florida.
Restrict your donation to ROTC only. My alma matter, UMass, is divided between world-class schools such as chemistry and engineering, and toxic waste pools of 85-IQ thugs like Social Justice and Women’s Studies. Choose your donation’s destination.
I would donate hippie beads, some hookahs and rolling paper. Some used Birkenstocks and used copies of the NY Times might be of interest for the professorship that will keep them on their dusty way. Money? No, too corrupting to these idealists. Let them go the way of Plato and teach in a grove.
Yes it does, read the first paragraph
And it doesn’t have to be much. $100 would do imo
Listening to a well known talk show host answer the complaints of a parent about the liberal agenda his daughters professors spouted, I truly loved his response. Why in the Hell do you continue to send your money to that school? Don’t complain if you support the rascals .
The president of Princeton, a Canadian woman, didn't used the money fund everything but the gift was for.
I don't remember the details, but Princeton may have had to give the money back.
My family does the same. We sponsor a scholarship in my father’s name. We control who gets the scholarship every year. The college sends us information on the student and we pick.
If we don’t want to give anything to the women’s studies major, we don’t have to. :)
For this coming ELECTION year....we are withdrawing ALL contributions to ANYTHING EXCEPT the candidates or issues that will help us Save this country....nothing to the Salvation Army, only exception may be on Church contributions... they are reliably very conservative.
My overtly liberal university (outside of business and engineering) always asks for money.
When the alumni magazine arrives, I always write, “Return to Sender” and “not at this address” as I tell them to not send me anything.
I paid them their tuition. They spread the Marxist word near and far, screw them.
Which is fine by me.
Why shouldn't liberals be the only ones donating to liberal universities? My checkbook has remained slammed shut to Penn State for over 20 years, ever since I realized the homos, led by Graham Spanier, had taken over control of the campus. Now, if I feel like making a donation to a univesity, it goes to Hillsdale College.
Exactly. There's no way a donor can force a university to use a donation as intended - not even a private university, and certainly not a state one. It's like putting extra money in with your tax return "to pay down the national debt." Get real.
One way around the leftists at a college is to negotiate with the school to establish (read: fund) an “endowed chair” (in Free Market Economics, for example).
Name it after yourself and your spouse, ‘The Joan and James Shmoe Chair in Political Economy,’ insist the person funded be a Constitutionalist or classical liberal scholar.
And this guy thinks some fascist university will fall for this? Sheesh.
He just finished telling us that Yale refused 20 million to do the right thing.
If you want to support the academy send your big bequests to a good school like Hillsdale.