UB asking current students to donate to university is slap in face

Students feel pressured into donating money for a $10,000 gift to UB

The Spectrum

UB students already pay annually increasing tuition – not to mention board for those living on campus. Now the university is asking them to pay more while calling it philanthropy.

The Senior Challenge is one of UB’s many ways to collect money from students. If UB can get 216 seniors to donate to this year’s Senior Challenge, Phil Kadet, a 1977 alum, will donate $10,000.

The idea behind UB’s Senior Challenge may have good intentions. But it’s still laughable for a university, already bringing in millions of dollars in tuition money, to ask its students to pay even more with donations.

With less than a month left for the challenge, 106 students have donated. But most students believe the whole thing is misguided and The Spectrum agrees.

If UB was asking students for money to go toward helping those in need or to some kind of charitable organization, we would be all for it. But with rising tuition every year and donations through the UB Foundation, we don’t exactly consider UB ‘needy.’

One our concerns is whether or not Kadet will still donate the $10,000 if the 216-donation goal is not met by Nov. 6. No one seems to be completely clear on this. He is clearly a successful man if he has $10,000 up for grabs, so why not donate it anyway?

Kadet is trying to teach students to be philanthropic – but we should all learn to give for the sake of giving.

The early deadline for the challenge is also questionable. At this point, seniors are focused on their classes and what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives once they leave UB.

If UB is going to focus on current students donating and not alumni, it would be more efficient for UB to ask seniors for a donation closer to the end of the year. At that time seniors are excited about graduation and are starting to appreciate their time at UB since so little time is left. The nostalgia may cause seniors to give a little more.

Students are also turned off at the idea of giving their credit card number over the phone.

Since the number of people who donate determines participation and not the amount of the gift, students are open to donating a few dollars. But they’d much rather hand over the few dollars in their wallet than take the time to read off their card number – especially since giving your card number over the phone has led to things like credit card theft.

It makes you think, is that one dollar worth it?

Barb Byers, director of constituent communications, said they don’t accept cash because it can lead to improprieties.

So, trusting a bunch of students with a list of credit card numbers won’t lead to any “improprieties?”

Byers also noted the challenge “is not about the money, but about the participation.” If that’s the case, why not create something more hands-on for students to “participate” in like fundraisers with games in the Student Union where students can hand over cash?

We don’t see how whispering your credit card number over the phone is considered participation.

Pestering students for donations also puts the student callers in uncomfortable positions. They are well aware that most callers won’t donate. They sometimes receive threats, are called “stupid” and hung up on.

Granted, a simple “no thank you” from students is appropriate, but sometimes you have to make a point.

UB also needs to be more specific about where the money is going. The callers tell students they can choose which department they’d like their donations to go to. Byers said past donations have gone toward a marble tile seal in the Student Union, flags in the flag room and a clock in Norton Hall.

Do students really want to give money to fix up UB when they’re struggling to pay their own rent? Aren’t our tuition dollars paying for things like that?

We have homework, exams, in most cases little money. So constant calls pressuring us to put a dent in our bank account can get annoying.

The editorial board can be reached at eic@ubspectrum.com.