Twuesday Tweetacular: We doth protest too much

A week after talks with Plan A cost Georgetown Fiore Mastroianni’s alumni dollars, Karl Rove drove away Alexa Rozell.
The Voice‘s Jackson Perry imagined a way Plan A could cause more controversy.

Hannah Pitts made us wistful when we watched the NCAA championship game.

King Georgetown got excited for Georgetown Day—which he decreed would be April 30.

We wish we knew what Eric Begoun overheard.

And we wish we knew what Pete Solecki needed those books for.

Chad Kroeger has finally made it big, judging by the fact that the Voice‘s Geoffrey Bible has him stuck in his head.

44 Comments on “Twuesday Tweetacular: We doth protest too much

  1. I’m getting really, really, really tired of alumni pledging never to donate to the school based on something as silly as the Plan A**holes or a speaker you don’t like (or, even more commonly, the fact that you got written up Freshman year).

    Hint: If something so minor makes you forsake your alma mater, you were always a terrible Hoya and chances are you were never going to give, anyway.

  2. Seconded. You may think that Karl Rove is an odious individual (I do), but you can’t deny that he had a significant impact on our country and our political system. After four years at Georgetown, really you can’t stand to listen to someone you disagree with?

    And Georgetown spending a tiny fraction of a percent of its annual operating budget to give you an opportunity (which you’re free to turn down, by the way) to listen to someone who has opposing views from yours is enough to stop you from donating money? Childish.

  3. Well, I knew I wasn’t giving money to Georgetown well before Karl Rove, so its a non-factor for me. Here is why I am not giving money to Georgetown (at least not until after some serious changes):

    SAC
    OCAF
    DPS
    UIS
    Housing

    and the list of soul-sucking bureaucracies goes on forever…though I will give props to OIP, who I think are great.

  4. As I said in my tweet, I wasn’t going to give to Georgetown *anyway* for many reasons, some of which Chris mentioned. I’ve felt neglected as a student since the moment I stepped on campus and that feeling hasn’t changed in my time here.

    When Georgetown allows groups to bring Planned Parenthood to campus and recognizes hoyas for choice and offers birth control, I’ll stop bitching about bringing right wingers like Rove. Until then, I’ll keep right on with my bitching and being an “A**hole”

  5. If and when I do give money to Georgetown, I will not give it to just the university in general. I will designate to offices (LGBTQ Resource Center, Women’s Center, Health Ed) or to students groups I support (just so long as I can be sure SAC won’t eat up that money), or just to scholarships.

  6. Bureaucracy?? At a RESEARCH UNIVERSITY??? Now, I never!

  7. Don’t mess with me Bro-ach.

    I’m not saying we don’t need bureaucracy at a University, I’m saying Georgetown suffers from an excessively inefficient and obnoxious one. In the case of DPS/UIS its a lack of funding, I don’t really hold ill will towards most of the people who work there. For the others, I have had nothing but extraordinarily unpleasant interactions with them (most of them multiple times). This is a university that actively discourages a healthy extracurricular environment.

    I agree with ‘not yet’, I could be convinced to give if I knew every cent was going directly to a scholarship and nothing directly overseen by the University.

  8. I’m really just being a tool. I agree with most of what you’ve said, although I would say that the university more discourages an active on-campus extracurricular environment…better to ship freshmen off to the Hill to lick envelopes.

    If/when I give my worthless hobo-money to Georgetown, I’m with a lot of the commenters here – it’s going to a few select programs, and not the university at large.

  9. I was just as frustrated with elements of the university experience as everybody on here. But the education (in the broader sense including classes and my peer group, etc) I got at Georgetown is one of the things I cherish most in the world, and I am forever thankful for the people I met at Georgetown, many of the classes I took, the extracurriculars I got involved with (despite the stranglehold SAC has on them sometimes), the community I was a part of (helped in no small part by our excellent athletics programs), etc etc etc.

    Not giving to the school because of something like SAC or OCAF or DPS or UIS or Housing… Please, these aren’t any better than objecting to Plan A or bringing Rove to campus. They’re all sad, sad excuses that throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.

    If you think that, on balance, Georgetown was a positive experience for you, you should give.

    If you received any financial aid or scholarship, you should give.

    Even if you didn’t receive any financial aid or scholarship, about one-third of the cost of educating you was paid for by alumni via the endowment. You should give.

    Chris D and Alexa, either you had a really bad time at Georgetown (just absolute misery), or else you’re not giving Georgetown enough credit for the many things it did right.

    There are reasons I could see someone not giving back to the school. One is extreme poverty. Another might be, say, if the university were racist or homophobic. I could see not giving to Georgetown back when it didn’t allow blacks to enroll or if it expelled gays. So maybe, Alexa, you’re concerned about those issues. But considering how massively progressive Georgetown is on LGBT issues for a Catholic school, I think you should reward it rather than punish it. Maybe there are racists at Georgetown, but I don’t think you can say that Georgetown is in any way a racist institution. (Quite the opposite.)

    Nobody yet has offered a good reason why they shouldn’t donate. Again, I assume you’re just stingy, or a bad hoya, or both.

  10. PS – I’m fine if you want to donate to a specific program rather than give the university unrestricted gifts. But that’s very different from “the university isn’t going to get any of my money.”

    One other thing you should consider… Money is fungible, so if you give $100 to the LGBT Center, the university can decrease the Center’s budget by $100. If you give enough money that the LGBT Center can be completely run off of donations, guess what, the university will stop funding it through its general use funds.

  11. Or maybe Hoyas would rather donate their disposable income to an institution, organization or non-profit that would have a greater marginal benefit from the funds. A $5000 donation to Georgetown would probably not have the same impact on the average student’s learning that a similarly sized donation to the National Resources Defense Council would on its various wildlife initiatives or staffing capabilities. If you’d rather see your money have the most impact, then a cause like microlending is a better choice than donating to a university; that hardly equates to stinginess or being a terrible alum.

  12. So, being racist or homophobic is an okay reason to not give to a university, but refusing to give voice to ALL viewpoints or refusing to give basic health care services to its students are not legitimate reasons?

    That doesn’t really make sense.

  13. Hoya, not all of us are as rich as you obviously are. Just because I like something or think it does a good job, or had a positive experience somewhere, doesn’t mean I’m going to throw money at it. Georgetown is one of the most expensive schools in the country and has taken enough of my money already. No one has any obligation to give money just because they had a “positive experience” on balance. And if you received financial aid, that means you couldn’t afford to go here otherwise, so why would they be able to afford to donate now? College seniors typically have even less money that incoming freshmen because their parents don’t subsidize them as much.

  14. I agree with Julie: there are certainly places/organizations where our donations would have more of an impact. As a student from a developing country, actually, that $5000 donation could go towards primary education for ten children, even.

    At the same time, I do feel I have a responsibility to Georgetown, because while it was by no means a perfect experience, it was certainly an overall positive and beneficial experience.

    Though, @Hoya, are donations to scholarships fungible as well? Because that’s disappointing to know: I would not want alumni donations to get the university to believe its own administrative and financial responsibilities towards something are over just because it’s getting enough alumni support. To me the whole point of donations is to help programs at the university that are proportionately underfunded, not to donate just so the university can redirect that amount of money to the football program or something!

  15. Hey hey, I never said you should tithe to Georgetown or give huge amounts of money, you made that assumption. I’m not rich, yet. Hopefully one day I will be. To your point, Julie, I agree that it’s perfectly fair to give a $5,000 donation to the NRDC rather than Georgetown. But even a $50 donation to Georgetown can have a positive impact — even a $1 donation. It raises the alumni giving rate, which in turn impacts Georgetown’s US News ranking (which itself has many benefits), also makes it easier for Georgetown to access credit (credit ratings are based in part on alumni giving rates), factors as a part of Georgetown receiving philanthropic grants, etc etc. Even giving $1 a year has an impact. And, while I’m all for giving to the NRDC or any other worthwhile charitable institution, I’m sure you could find something high-impact for your $5,000 at Georgetown. Maybe not the general fund, but if you give to one of the CSJ programs or sponsor a speaker to campus or pay for a kid’s books for four years, you can have a big impact. Again, I’m not saying you shouldn’t give to these other charities. You make a good point that there are other worthwhile causes.

    @Hoya, again I’m not saying you should give huge amounts of money. But given that even for those paying full tuition a third of their education is paid for by alumni dollars, I do think that we owe something to the school, because if it weren’t for alumni we wouldn’t have had the experience we did. It wouldn’t be possible. I don’t think it has to be a donation all the time or every year. Maybe you never donate financially. Maybe you decide to give back of your time and be an admissions interviewer. But at the very least I don’t think you should rule out giving in the sense of “Georgetown will never get any of money, ever,” which, remember, is the sentiment I’m objecting to. Deciding to give to the Haiti fund this year instead of Georgetown is fine. But saying you’ll never give to Georgetown because of SAC is unreasonable and stupid.

    Alexa, there is a major difference between expelling homosexual students (which I don’t think Georgetown has ever done) and restricting public protests to Red Square, or not giving the exact health care plan you want. If you can’t see that, Georgetown should refund your tuition because clearly it failed to educate you.

    On top of that, I reject your premise. Georgetown does allow every viewpoint to be shared on campus, exemplified by the recent event where ONLY pro-choice panelists spoke, with university funding. I reject the idea that Georgetown refuses to give voice to all viewpoints or that it doesn’t give basic health care services to its students. Maybe Georgetown’s not perfect in these regards (I admit it isn’t perfect in any regard), but your characterization is an exaggeration and anyway it doesn’t compare to something like banning minorities or expelling gays. You make a false comparison.

  16. @notyet,

    I don’t think you have to worry about donations for scholarships being diverted to administration right now. Right now Georgetown is pouring as much money as it can into financial aid. It already spends more money out of its operating budget on financial aid than any comparable school (because of our small endowment). It’s also focusing on the “1789 Imperative,” raising $500 million in five years to permanently fund 1,789 scholarships a year at $25,000 each. At the moment it’s pretty much ONLY asking for money for scholarships.

    In sum, if you give to scholarships right now you should feel confident that the money will go towards scholarships. That being said, as Georgetown’s scholarship endowment grows, the university will probably contribute less of its operating budget to financial aid — which is good, it means that it can start doing things like paying DPS more or improving the Health Center. I guess my point is, you can’t REALLY help any one part of the university without indirectly helping the entire university, including the bureaucratic part.

    One other quibble – yes $5,000 can go really far in a lot of other places, but I wouldn’t discount how far it could go at Gtown. Again there are many programs at Gtown (CSJ programs, for example) that could make $5,000 go very far. And the long-term impact of helping educate a Georgetown student can be massive, because the students you’re helping go on to have lifetimes of high impact themselves.

  17. Does the Office of Advancement hire people to post blog comments encouraging (future and present) alumni to donate to Georgetown?

  18. @Hoya By the way, with regards to not expelling gay students (btw, can you please not use homosexual? It sounds so clinical), it may not have expelled them outright, but the university treated gay students frightfully badly in the 60s and 70s. Just try asking anyone who went here then and is gay.

    Also, is there a way to track where our $s go if we do donate to the university? I’d really not want my money to go towards a football program or towards the Knights of Columbus, but I would want to help the university financially if and when I’m able to do so.

  19. Alexa, Haha sorry can’t help you there.

    @Hoya (not the same), not as far as I know but that’s an interesting idea. Based on the response I’m getting though, I doubt it would be effective.

    “Not yet”, I don’t think there’s a system but that’s a great idea! I think it would go a long way towards reestablishing some of the trust that is obviously lost between the university and its alumni.

    Regarding the gay students issue, I agree Georgetown’s history on this isn’t great (as most universities’ aren’t), and I could see a case for some people not giving to Georgetown 20 or 30 years ago based on this behavior. But the university has come a long way since then, and to me that’s something to appreciate and encourage. I mean, 50 years ago the Ivies had an active policy to keep from accepting “too many” Jews, so practically all universities have skeletons in their closets, but once they’ve significantly reformed I think it’s important to give them credit.

  20. Hoya, could you please explain why you feel the need to tell people how to spend their money? @alexarozell has every right to express her sentiments in the hopes that others will follow in her stead. why is it so wrong to make a donation to a club of georgetown students that will greatly benefit from the funds, and use those funds to help the less fortunate? i’m just curious as to what your orwellian reasoning is. i was unaware you are “the decider” of how all alumni money should be spent, should i expect a notice in the mail or something?

  21. I echo the frustrations of Chris D on the bureaucratization of Georgetown that is simply unparalleled in many of its peer (and non-peer) institutions. Georgetown admits some of the best and brightest, but then immediately turns around and decides to treat us like five year olds who need to be put on a baby leash lest we stumble and scrape our collective knees. SAC and OCAF are just two of the many examples.

    That having been said, that’s no reason not to donate to the University. It’s just a reason not to donate to the bureaucracy of Georgetown. With the groups that have set up non-profit trusts like IRC and the Philodemic, you can directly contribute to them and know the prying hands of Georgetown’s Chekists won’t get to your donation. Frankly, a $200, no-strings-attached donation to students / groups themselves will probably go a hell of a lot farther than an $800 donation to Georgetown University earmarked for those groups, who then have to go through the arduous process of requesting the money from SAC, justifying their expenses, reserving space and tables through OCAF, so on and so forth.

    So, if Alexa wants to give to Hoyas for Choice (or any other organization or student) — great. That’s still giving to Georgetown. It just benefits the students of the University in a more direct way than an amorphous donation to “The Georgetown Fund”.

  22. “h*ya”,

    Not sure what you’ve been reading. I’m not telling her not to give to H*yas for Choice, Plan A, or any other group, I’m 100% for giving to those groups. When did I say otherwise? The more giving the better, whoever it’s to! I fully support H*yas for Choice and what they do in Red Square and throughout the dorms. I made use of their services plenty of times.

    The only thing I’m doing is stating my opinion that saying that “Georgetown will never get any of my money” because of SAC or Karl Rove speaking on campus is stupid. I’ve never said how people should or shouldn’t give their money.

    Funny that you mention that she has “the right to express” what she wants. I agree, and I haven’t been saying otherwise. I hope you realize that means that I have the right to express that I believe not giving to Georgetown because of SAC or Housing is stupid.

  23. everything you give to the university can be designated. as long as you stipulate where you want your money to go, it will never go to groups you don’t support (e.g. knights of columbus). and there are people whose entire jobs consist of tracking and reporting to donors where their money has gone.

  24. This isn’t really related, but if I have to read one more argument where someone prefaces their statement by reiterating their support for the first amendment or turns an argument about one thing into a discussion of the right to express themselves, I’m probably going to stab myself in the eye. First the Alex Knepper thing, now we’ve turned a conversation about alumni donation about whether or not you have a right to express yourself on Twitter. Ugh.

  25. Amen. I nominate El Presidente for… El Emperor? I don’t know what the Spanish word is for whatever comes after President.

  26. @Hoya. By the time I’m done with law school, I’ll have graduated from three private institutions of learning. Beyond that, there are a lot of charities that are as/more worthy of my money than an expensive private university.

    Even if I do achieve some level of economic comfort throughout my career, am I forbidden from prioritizing my donations, or do I have some moral compulsion to donate to every single cause worthy of my money? I can say that I’d much rather see my money in the hands of my high school and anticipate feeling the same way about law school (though this could be wrong). Just because something was a net positive for you (which Georgetown unequivocally was) doesn’t oblige you to give them money. Its entirely a matter of where you feel your money is being used in a way most in line with your own desires/priorities. For me, Georgetown fairs poorly on that front.

    No one “has” to give to Georgetown. In fact, Georgetown, until recently, had a notoriously low donation rate from alumni and continues to still fare worse than peer schools. Perhaps there is a reason for that.

    Gtown at 25% (20th out of top 25 schools). Princeton is at 60%.

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/569540-usnwr-2009-looking-top-strata-vi-alumni-giving.html

  27. Chris D,

    I agree with all of your points. I never said that everybody “has” to give to Georgetown, just that I think by and large we should, when we can, what we think appropriate. I’m not for compelling people to do it. I also don’t think that people should feel that they “should” give outrageous sums to the school. As I said earlier, I don’t think anybody should feel that they have to make Georgetown a major part of their philanthropy. But I think a small token donation, to boost the giving rates, would be the least someone could do.

    The statistics you cite are well known and in fact are exactly why I am making this argument! Georgetown having a notoriously low alumni giving rate is exactly why I think more people should give, even if it’s just $1. Giving rates have a huge impact on schools, from being a major factor in the US News rankings, to affecting their credit rating (which has major impacts on being able to finance things like the new science school construction), to being a factor considered by private foundations when deciding where to put their money. I would hope that for the vast majority of hoyas, giving $1 a year is at least commensurate to their “priority list” of where to place Georgetown. Aka, that their time at Georgetown was worth at least $1 a year, which in and of itself can make a major impact.

    Let me reiterate: I haven’t said that anybody “has” to donate to Georgetown, or that they should donate to Georgetown above other priorities or commitments, or that they should donate a lot of money to Georgetown.

    THE ONLY things I have been saying are that 1.) it’s stupid to say you will “never” give Georgetown money because of something like frustration with SAC or the fact that Karl Rove is speaking on campus, and 2.) that there is a good case to be made for why people “should” consider giving something, financial or otherwise, to Georgetown, in any amount, at some time in their lives.

  28. Hoya, why are you so interested in this topic that you’ve posted several times defending yourself in a few hours? What department do you work for?

  29. @Chris D

    And among the remaining 5 schools that are below us, 3/5 are public universities. The fact that UCLA (undergrad population: 26,000) has a 14% giving rate is frankly nothing short of astounding. Clearly Georgetown’s Office of Advancement needs to re-evaluate its priorities, or Georgetown’s administration needs to think out why alums aren’t donating, and their paternalistic student life policies are a large reason, I’d bet.

  30. @@Hoya, You caught me. This is Jack — Jack DeGioia. Posting on Vox is my new fundraising strategy. Don’t worry, you’re in good hands.

    @Matt, I think you’re right about the paternalistic student life policies being a large reason for crappy donation rates. Georgetown should fix that and change those policies. But in the meantime, do you think those policies SHOULD be a large reason? My argument is that, yes, I know those paternalistic policies are terrible, but that’s not enough to make su forsake Georgetown and pledge never to donate.

  31. @Hoya:

    A reason to never donate? Certainly not. But it is a leverage. As I said before, I am much more willing to donate privately and directly to student groups — not through the earmark ability through my donation, but directly to the groups themselves (or its student leaders). So my money is still going to Georgetown students and groups, just not through Georgetown.

    I recognize that my giving in this way underreports donation rates. That’s the trade-off and the leverage. If Georgetown wants to capture more otherwise-unreported donations (or get new donations), it must change its policies.

  32. @Matt,

    That’s fair. It’s still helping students/Georgetown groups, which is the most important thing. Though I think it’s incumbent upon people taking this approach to make it clear to the university what they’re missing and what they have to do to get the donations flowing through official channels. Otherwise, it’s undermining the university without giving it a chance to correct its course. It’s not really leverage unless the other person knows what you’re doing and why.

  33. @Hoya:

    No offense, but were I the office in charge of getting alumni donations and noticed that we were in the bottom of the barrel of alumni giving compared to peer schools, I’d probably want to go and actively find out why alums aren’t giving, and then present that to the President and Board of Directors of the University. The fact that no one seems to have noticed this and is OK with the anemic giving rates, well, says something about GU in general.

  34. Only on Vox Populi would someone encouraging people to give to the university be considered a controversial position, and not the other way around.

  35. “No offense, but were I the office in charge of getting alumni donations and noticed that we were in the bottom of the barrel of alumni giving compared to peer schools, I’d probably want to go and actively find out why alums aren’t giving, and then present that to the President and Board of Directors of the University. The fact that no one seems to have noticed this and is OK with the anemic giving rates, well, says something about GU in general.”

    Do you honestly think that this has not been noticed by Advancement and the administration. Believe me, it has and continues to be the source of a great deal of concern and hand-wringing. Many of the initiatives on campus, like NSO, the revamped Class Gift campaign, the senior lecture series, even traditions day, were all conceived with stimulating a higher rate of giving as one of their goals.

  36. I think the point, though, is that rather than increase feel-good programming they should tackle the things that upset students, like the lack of transparency and paternalistic attitude of the student-facing administration (Student Affairs, SAC, Housing). NSO and Traditions Day are great, but they’re peripheral to the actual problem that poisons the well for many students.

  37. Frankly, I don’t really care what any of you choose to do with your money. That’s your personal choice. I donated a fairly small amount to the scholarship fund when I graduated, but I definitely don’t feel that everyone should do that, and I think that people who choose to give to groups directly like HFC are also doing good for the community.

    However, I do have one thing to add that I feel hasn’t been addressed (amazing considering the size of this comment thread): Chris D, you said in one of your earliest comments, “In the case of DPS/UIS its a lack of funding, I don’t really hold ill will towards most of the people who work there.” I don’t understand. You’re upset with the quality of service you’ve received from departments like UIS and DPS that are underfunded, so you’re… deciding not to donate money which you could even earmark for those departments that you feel need some help? That just doesn’t make sense to me. And yes, I read your later posts, and I realize this is not your only reason for not wanting to donate; after all, you have/will have spent a lot of money on private education! I just wanted to point out that this seems like a strange line of reasoning.

  38. @Trust Me

    The very response seems to be in line with Georgetown’s paternalism. What, there’s a problem with alumni giving? Should we actually get input from current students and recently-graduated alums on why they aren’t giving? No, of course not! Let’s revamp some bullshit programming initiatives instead!

    I’m not saying things like NSO and Traditions Day aren’t valuable — I certainly enjoyed them. But, like @Trust me said, they’re peripheral to the real problems.

    What’s the best way to foster giving? A direct connection. Knowing that your donation actually means something and can make a difference.

    Look at other schools. Take Harvard. The Hasty Pudding, the Crimson, the Harvard Lampoon, their final clubs — and on and on and on — are all amazing organizations of wide renown. Did they get that way by administrative molly-coddling? No. They got that way because they were allowed to make their own decisions. And students appreciated that. And after graduation, they gave and contributed, because they knew their donations would go directly to helping current students make their own decisions.

    Look at our own school. What are the most successful organizations? The ones with the most independence — The Corp, GUAFSCU, Mask & Bauble, the Philodemic Society, IRC, and so on (actually, there aren’t that many more). Should this come as any surprise? You wouldn’t think so, but the administration apparently remains clueless.

    And thus, one of the lowest donation rates among our peers. No surprise.

  39. “Look at our own school. What are the most successful organizations? The ones with the most independence — The Corp, GUAFSCU, Mask & Bauble, the Philodemic Society, IRC, and so on (actually, there aren’t that many more).”

    You forgot SAC! They’re pretty independent. In fact, they’re unaccountable to anybody!

    Whammy.

  40. Matt, I’m fairly certain that the Harvard institutions you named are, in fact, independent from the university. That makes it a slightly different ballgame.

    In any case, I’m certainly not going to disagree with the general point, which is that many offices on campus appear to have an allergic reaction to the concept of customer service. It sort of reminds me of the attitude many find Metro employees to have. And when you have a monopoly/100% of the marketshare on the “customer base,” there’s not as strong of an incentive on the part of management – or anyone else – to demand that customer service and helpfulness be institutional priorities.

    At the same time, I can assure you that administrators are aware of this, to a greater or lesser degree. Just because they haven’t asked you about why you do or don’t give doesn’t mean they haven’t asked anyone. There’s nothing Advancement loves more than focus groups and surveys.

  41. Pingback: Vox Populi » Comments of the Week: The meta-Brogan edition

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>