Take the Pledge: Let's Take A Year Off From Giving To Our Universities

I have written both here and here about my issues with my own University. Many folks are frustrated with the state of college campuses nowadays.  Your issues may be different, but mine include:

  • Lukewarm support for, or even opposition to, free speech
  • Substitution of posturing, virtue signaling, and even violence for dialog and rational discussion
  • Unwillingness to teach students the need to engage opposing points of view
  • Utter lack of intellectual diversity in faculties and administration
  • Absurdly low standards for scholarship in many of the humanities and social sciences, where regurgitating the "right" politics is more important than doing good research
  • Outright discrimination against Asian-Americans in admissions
  • Diversity cultures that have gone beyond nurturing tolerance for all into promoting intolerance against new groups

Despite years of mounting criticism on these issues, the response of many universities to such criticism has not been reform but a doubling down on their illiberal policies.  Shaming is not working and not going to work, for the simple fact that the smug, elite culture that dominates Universities does not consider you and I to be woke enough to credibly criticize them.  The very failing of universities that we are trying to criticize -- that they are promoting a culture of ignoring, no-platforming, and even doing violence against anyone who disagrees with them -- makes them simultaneously immune to criticism.  Anyone who criticizes their actions is automatically someone not worth engaging.

So I am suggesting another approach.  Hit them in the pocketbook.  I know my University carefully monitors alumni giving - both dollars and percentage participation.  Even a five or ten percent drop in a year is going to get their attention.  So just take the pledge -- this year, I am not giving to my school.  Give the money to someone else.  I gave mine to Teach for America, but there are an almost unlimited number of good causes out there that could use your money, likely more productively that your University (which will probably just use your money to add a nicer television to the men's football locker room).

This pledge is carefully crafted both to have impact and not to ask folks for more than they are willing to give.  For example, it stops short of asking folks to stop giving forever.  For a really long time, I loved my alma mater and would like to love it again, and so I couldn't pledge never to support it.  The pledge also stops short of asking folks not to send their kids to such and such school.  College admissions tend to be a one-time shot at age 18, and deferring that chance for a year might close off opportunities forever.  Besides, if your son gets into Yale and can keep his head down for four years (maybe stay celibate?) and avoid the worst of the social justice craziness, the Yale diploma is still really valuable even if he does not learn a thing.

  • J_W_W

    I've always held the position that we, the US, allows free speech and that means that yes, Communists get to speak freely here.

    I've always realized that if Communists ever took power, they would eliminate the right to free speech for everyone else.

    I just never though the country or its institutions would actually completely fall for all this Marxist drivel (for completeness I specifically include the grievance based ... liberation theories foisted by marxists and consumed by groups like BLM).

    These academic marxists at some of these schools must have secretly been bawling their eyes out in the early nineties when communism proved a complete abysmal failure. Oh well, they bided their time and waited to indoctrinate a generation that hadn't seen that failure. I consider them traitors to the nation...

  • Shane

    If your son or daughter never learns a thing and attends Yale (or whatever school) and walks away with something "valuable" how long do you think that that will last in a free market (or even a semi-free market)? Also if four years are gone from your child's life and they gain nothing from it, how is that valuable? I like you Coyote, but I think it is time to let go.

  • Bram

    I already took a lifetime off.

  • sean2829

    My gosh that's harsh. Think of the administrators who might lose their jobs! Oh wait. Not to worry, just replace a few more full time faculty with part time adjuncts and everything will be fine.

  • roystgnr

    This seems to show a lack of judgement, in both the common and the literal senses of that phrase.

    Are there any ways for us to judge between one university and another, based on the criteria you name? If not, then "stop giving forever" would have been the correct response; anything so completely decoupled from feedback would be a lost cause.

    But if so, why not use them? FIRE warns that the universities I give to both have a couple too-vaguely worded student conduct rules, which is worth correcting, but which seems to pale in comparison to e.g. the Star Chamber trials and blackshirt-mob faculty which exist elsewhere. Is it more productive to punish them for being at the high end of what may be a slippery slope, or to support them as they offer a superior alternative for students looking to avoid the low end?

  • STW

    I received a funding raising call the very day the national news reported that the student newspaper at my school published an article claiming that milk was racist. I laughed, told them why I wasn't donating, and hung up. Easiest no I've ever given anyone.

  • Petri

    Giving money to subsidize privileged university students is the least of my concerns.

  • Peabody

    Ditto.

  • Jackrabbit

    I stopped giving to both my alma maters 2 or 3 years ago, mainly because it was disgusting to me how much money they already had and yet they want more. My meager contributions could have hardly mattered but that doesn't stop the consistent dunning. Last month, my reasons were reinforced when I noticed that my undergrad school here in Los Angeles was publicly supportive of the ballot measure to increase sales taxes allegedly for homeless housing. I naively think the school should be neutral in such things. The initiative passed btw.

  • donmac

    I'm surprised that it took this far down the comment list to respond to the most salient assertion in his post. I have read coyote for years, and that last sentence was easily the stupidest thing he ever said.

  • SamWah

    I never donated to mine, and a couple years back there was a riot/incident/"protest" to seal my decision and place it in a vault for the rest of my life.