In today’s YDN, I question whether unrestricted donations are the best gift seniors can give Yale:
The Alumni Fund’s literature asks both too much and too little of students. Too much, in that by choosing cash as the measure of commitment, it obscures those students working now not to make a charitable donation to Yale but to pay off tuition or pay down debt. Too little, in that by suggesting that providing more resources to Yale is enough to leave a mark, it obscures our responsibility to take part in determining how those resources are used to pursue the mission of the University.
The same issue offers this news piece on the latest stage of our financial aid campaign, which includes a 2,000 signature petition supporting our platform, letters to alumni, and an installation those of you in New Haven can check out on Beinecke Plaza.
I’m posting here my letter to the editor in response to Josh’s column.
To the Editor:
Josh Eidelson is right about two things: First, that students on financial aid shouldn’t be the only ones with jobs at Yale; second, that seniors should donate to Yale (“Seniors: In donations, look beyond just cash,” 2/7). I’m even willing to go so far as to agree with him that seniors should earmark their donations for financial aid; it’s as good a cause as any.
That said, Eidelson is wrong about nearly everything else. First, his (and the UOC’s) ridiculous assertion that student employment somehow interferes with extensive extracurricular involvement is utterly false. I was employed five to 10 or more hours a week, graduated with distinction in one of Yale’s most intensive and time-consuming majors, had a more than healthy dose of extracurricular activity and held together a relationship — and I’m much better at time management as a result. I personally know leaders of popular undergraduate organizations who work 15-20 hours per week or more. Just about the only thing that suffers when students are employed is the number of idle hours spent in front of an Xbox (my rage that students I know who got a free ride from Yale could afford an Xbox, a Playstation and a 32-inch TV and surround sound system is the subject of another column).
Second, and much more importantly, Eidelson supplies the wrong solution. Simple economics suggests that students who are required to financially contribute to their own education are more invested in it. Rather than dropping the work requirement for students on financial aid, we should instead universalize the student work requirement. All students, regardless of financial aid package, would be required to have jobs at Yale — and to have paychecks deposited directly towards tuition. Yale should get rid of the distinction between “parental” and “student” contributions, and allow parents and students to work out the distinction themselves. All undergraduates should be required to invest personally and financially in their Yale education, and no student should be entitled to a completely free ride from his or her parents — or from Yale.
-L. David Peters, Yale College 2005