Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Editorial: Senior Gift Should Remain Free of Pressure

<st year, at the start of Senior Week, President Oden wrote an email to the senior class. In this email he said he would return the iPod that “gave voice” to R2D2, no questions asked, as long there was 50% participation in the Senior Class Gift to the college. The seniors response: when they accepted their diplomas from Oden, they dropped coins on his podium with the last person giving Oden a piggy bank. This method of contributing to the class gift was in good humor, and still gave students the choice to give. Unfortunately this is not always the case at institutions of higher education.

As reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education, at two Ivy League institutions, Cornell and Dartmouth, college administrators have provided student volunteers and workers with lists of students who had not yet donated yet. Administrators gave up the names in an effort to have peers pressure students into meeting the high participation goals.

What’s worse is that students at these institutions have been actively pressuring students to participate, sometimes even offering to pay on behalf of someone else. At Dartmouth, one student out of a class of 1,123 did not donate to the senior gift. The result of her action, she was singled out in the college newspaper, and her name and photo were published on a popular student blog.

Giving to an institution is a personal decision, and frankly not something that someone should be pressured into doing. Yes, colleges depend on financial support from alums and want to establish a pattern whereby alums establish a pattern of giving. But relying on peer pressure is by no means the correct way to do this. Especially coming out of college, many students have loans to pay off and for some, although they might want to donate, simply don’t have the means to. Adding peer pressure to this already messy situation will only make the situation worse.

Alumni support is what drives institutions. If you have the financial means and support the cause, then by all means you should support the alumni gift drives, but always keep in mind that it is a choice, and no one should ever force students to give. Let’s hope Carleton stays like this.

-The editorial represents the views of The Carletonian editors.

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