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Senior Class Gift Is Protest Vehicle

As you might recall, in 2010 there was great controversy around the senior class gift after one senior out of the entire class refused to donate even a token sum to the class effort. That student was publicly shamed and subjected to pressure from excessively enthusiastic classmates.

This year, it seems that a goodly number of ‘12’s are withholding any offering as a way of protesting the Kim’s administration’s lack of attention to undergraduate life. A Dartblog operative writes in with a report on the College’s frantic efforts to lasso people into contributing:

I am not sure if you have been following the Senior Class’s shaming of Jim Kim, but it looks like Carol Folt’s optics committee is out in full force. The College has been running around trying to do whatever it can to get kids to donate to the senior class gift as usual, but this time it appears a large group of holdouts are putting up a fight. Approximately 25% of the class is refusing to donate! The committee has lowered the requirement to receive free gifts from $20.12 to $1, but it still isn’t doing the trick.

Now they have crossed the deadline about 100 people shy of the target goal. From what I have heard from many people on the committee, many students who have refused to donate have cited the conspiracy surrounding the closure of the River Docks and the Dave Newlove LinkedIn Fiasco as primary reasons for not donating.

Senior Class Gift.jpg

The class gift has a checkered past, as we reported a year and a half ago:

A little background: as recently as 2004, only 13% of seniors contributed to the Class Gift. This figure had dropped significantly from the participation levels in the early 1990’s: in 1993, 58% of seniors had donated money to the College.

But the College is not without its resources, and following the Class of 2004’s abysmal showing, the office of Alumni Relations put in place a set of incentives and aggressive practices that raised giving to 58% in 2005, 73% in 2006, 92.5% in 2008, and an almost perfect 99.9% (one holdout) in 2010…

The real reason for the increased giving has nothing to do with the quality of a Dartmouth education and everything to do with no-holds-barred fundraising, including awards for 100% participation by organizations, barrages of solicitations to students from many different people, and the public naming and shaming of non-contributors. In addition stipends were paid to student fundraisers: of the $10,000 raised by the 2010 seniors, 60 percent was consumed by payments to other students.


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