I’m not sure where the idea of taking someone hostage to coerce others to take action and meet the demands set forth first came from, but Drexel’s latest iteration of fundraising could not have felt more like being held over a barrel. I am, of course, speaking of Drexel 24, Drexel’s Day of Giving, which, before you get excited or proud, did not mean that the University was going to give back to its students in any way. In a bold, yet not entirely unexpected move, Drexel had asked for donations from alumni, faculty … and students? Yes, Drexel had asked students, already paying their life’s savings and more into getting an education, to contribute just a ‘little’ bit more from their pockets.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand the idea behind begging alumni for money; every university does it to some degree, but most at least have the decency to wait until their student loans are paid off. I suppose it is hard for Drexel to wait that long; 50 years takes quite a bit of patience. The students cannot handle yet another attempt to gouge out what little reserves that have managed to stay untapped all this time. Perhaps the University would like to beg the homeless for their last few pennies while they are at it, at least the homeless can claim to actually have a net positive. The emails made it out to be an inspiring thing, built around the greater good; to make history in the process of saving something that is held truly dear. Those emails failed to mention exactly what the donation was even for, an omission that does not speak well for a fundraising program. It seems that the idea of giving was pushed much more than the purpose and while noble in its simplicity, that is also the way the least effective charities in the world operate. I do get where the name comes from, this Drexel 24, because even Jack Bauer would be proud of the brutal, results-driven tactics.
Asking the professors for the same donation places a similar burden on them as they are now not only dedicating their time and energy into actually caring for the intellectual well-being of the future, but also give a portion of their hard-earned paychecks. This deplorable request is the equivalent of asking the professors if they would like to have their wages garnished or at least decide to work for free for a little while. The influx of emails had most feeling a bit beleaguered, but Drexel was secure in the knowledge that none would dare go on record complain of the unjust burden on themselves and their families. I am hesitant to cry fascism, but I call them how I see them.
I cannot even imagine who in their right mind would pitch an idea so forward in its nature, but they clearly did not think of the impact it would have on the students here, just the impact it would have on their bottom line. The people in charge seem to be thinking more of their wallets than preserving the tradition of learning that was the core of what this school was founded on. Perhaps one day, I will be able to give back to the school that took the time and expended the energy to build me into the person I am will become, but for now, I have nothing left to give.