I recently received a call from an Ohio State student employee that left me exasperated. (And note to self — this is why you don’t answer unknown numbers). The caller was asking for $20.11 to be put toward the class of 2011’s gift, a rain garden.
I balked at the idea but the caller was persistent. She said she could put it on my OSU account, and even offered to take my credit card number and defer the payment for a month if I didn’t have money available. How kind, but I felt like she was trying to back me into a corner so that I could not say no. Ultimately I firmly declined, and the conversation ended on an uncomfortable note.
I disagree with what I consider to be the predatory tactics that OSU uses to procure donations, especially from students. After all of the tuition we have paid, and the hard work we have put into earning our diplomas, OSU really thinks we should give THEM a gift? And lucky me, I know that as an alum I have a lifetime of these phone calls to look forward to.
I get it, class gifts are symbolic. I’m sure someday down a very long road, my future children will be dying to see The Cunz Hall Rain Garden at their mother’s alma mater. But the graduate debt rate is high and jobs are scarce. Maybe it’s just me, but in these financially trying times, a rain garden seems slightly superfluous. It would be a different story if the gift was something such as a scholarship and not just another effort to polish OSU’s image, which seems to be high on the university’s priority list — too high in my opinion.
Four buildings are being demolished to the tune of nearly $2 million, and the overall development project is estimated to cost $126 million. The board of trustees recently proposed an indoor golf facility that would cost the university $6.1 million. And in case you didn’t already hear, we are paying our new football coach $4 million a year, and he gets to use a private jet (among many other costly perks)! Oh, and OSU managed to find some leftover pocket change and is putting between $75,000 and $80,000 toward measures to increase student safety.
I can only hope that OSU does not lose sight of its duty as a public university. It seems to have forgotten its motto is, disciplina in civitatem, or education for citizenship. Funny how it doesn’t mention anything about football. I truly hope that in the coming years, OSU refocuses its priorities back to education and its students.
Oh, and OSU, if you still need more funding for that rain garden, you might want to try Urban Meyer, I hear he’s getting a pretty hefty paycheck.