Huffpost College

At Dartmouth And Cornell, Students Shamed For Not Giving To Class Gift Funds

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Members of the Cornell and Dartmouth senior gift committees shamed their peers who opted not to contribute to senior class gift funds, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

At both institutions, names of those who did not contribute to the gift funds were circulated beyond those who worked on the respective campaigns and were, at times, personally targeted.

At Dartmouth, only one member of the class of 2010 did not give to the senior class fund, endangering a pledge from the class of 1960, which said it would contribute $100,000 to the school if each graduating senior donated to the fund, reports the Chronicle. The student consequently become the subject of a derisive column in the college's newspaper. Zachary Gottlieb, the article's author, addressed Laura DeLorenzo directly without publishing her name, writing that she had "symbolically shown the Class of 2014 that [she did not] consider their chance at happiness valuable."

The next day, another student -- writing under a pseudonym -- revealed DeLorenzo's identity on the Little Green Blog, writing that her decision not to donate could prevent $100,000 in scholarships for disadvantaged students from being disbursed, among other things.

In response, DeLorenzo sent out an e-mail that was posted on the Little Green Blog. She wrote that her decision not to donate was personal, and reflected "that the negative aspects of Dartmouth outweigh the positive, and nothing more."

At Cornell, members of sororities and athletic teams were heavily targeted by volunteers. One student, Erica Weitzner, reported getting four or five emails in addition to phone calls imploring her to contribute. "I understand the theory behind the Cornell campaign is they want their seniors to donate, but pushing this hard makes it seem like it's no longer really a donation but more like part of tuition," Weitzner told the New York Times.

Administrators overseeing fund raising efforts at both institutions said that they offered student volunteer solicitation training and trusted that they would act appropriately, though neither mentioned changing practices in the future. Executive Director of the Dartmouth College Fund Sylvia Racca did offer DeLorenzo an apology on behalf of the college.

Officials at Cornell and Dartmouth emphasized the importance of creating a "habit of giving" among students while they are still undergraduates. And a habit is all they can reasonably hope for -- the absolute value of both gifts was negligible, according to one Slate blogger, who points out that the $10,000 senior gift at Dartmouth makes up .001 percent of the money lost by Dartmouth in the recession, and Cornell's $80,000 a mere .006 percent of the endowment lost in 2009.

Do you think students should feel obligated to contribute to class gifts, or did solicitors at these schools push too hard? Let us know in the comments section.