Life Sciences or Student Services: A Question of Fundraising Priorities
In early April, the University’s Development Office will announce the start of another major fundraising campaign. The most recent, completed in the 1990’s, was titled “The Margin of Excellence,” and raised in excess of $1.4 Billion, used to fund the University’s academic programs, endow professorships, and meet a variety of other financial needs. In the 1980’s, a similar campaign raised early $300 Million, and in the 1960’s, the University raised $50 Million.
If administrators take their commitment to all types of campus diversity seriously, they should include in the campaign a major effort to fund the Student Services Offices which have seen their budgets slashed in recent years: the Sexual Assault Prevention & Awareness Center (SAPAC), the Office of Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Affairs (LGBTA), and office of Multi Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA). In addition, funds should be raised to dramatically increase funding to the Native American Student Association’s Annual Pow Wow, renovate and endow the Trotter Multicultural Center, and further fund efforts to recruit and retain students of color.
These offices and programs should be endowed – meaning the University should make investments whose dividends would go exclusively to specific student services programs. As it currently stands, the University is leading their promotional material with information about the Life Sciences Institute – however, I would argue these rather small offices are just as important to the life and future excellence of the University as the Life Sciences.