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Author Topic: administrators fundraising for unit  (Read 7401 times)
Senior member
Posts: 880

« on: November 19, 2012, 12:00:03 pm »

I'm trying to develop an opinion on something that bugs me (but I'm not 100% sure why it bugs me or if it should at all).  There are several units at my state university--all in student affairs/student services/academic support, come to think of it--who engage in elaborate fundraising projects every year.  For example, there's the one student support office that has a lengthy online auction.  Another has a week-long silent bidding auction every year.  Another has multiple bake sales (!).  These aren't student workers or volunteers.  They're paid administrators, manning tables at a silent auction and hawking brownies.

It bothers me that they're spending SO MUCH time on this (the auctions, especially).  Seriously--it has to take up a major portion of some mid- to high-level administrators' time for weeks leading up to these events.  The cynical, naive-about-classic-liberalism part of me says "You've been given $X by the state to do your work.  Do it.  Don't spend the time and resources you've been allotted through democratic processes to try to raise a little more money so that you can do more (?) than what the state has authorized/appropriated."  The generous, trusting part of me says "These folks really believe in what they're doing and want to leverage their resources so that they can do more."  The rational, calculating part of me says "Do the cost-benefit analysis! What a total waste of time."

Is there an overriding ethical/legal principle here?  Are these types of events normal?  Do other universities have policies to limit this kind of stuff?  Should I just be glad they're not spending this time meddling with my work and enjoy some brownies?
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 1,125

« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2012, 12:05:22 pm »

Can't say that I've seen that trend in the places I've worked, but I think it would bug me.

It might be related to how different departments at your state U are funded.  In our system, there are a number of departments that are funded by revenue (fees) and do not receive any appropriation from the state. Perhaps such departments would have more latitude in fundraising activities?  Just a thought.

Resist much, obey little.
Distinguished Senior Member
Posts: 7,821

« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2012, 3:06:35 pm »

There was a period some years ago at my large public R-1 when the football budget (that is, the money provided by the university -- not the separate "supporters/alumni body" -- for salaries, scholarships, travel expenses, hiring tutors for players, etc. etc. etc.)  was larger than the university-provided budget for the library (which paid all its expenses: salaries, acquisition, utilities, new computers, etc.). A large and significant fund-raising operation by the library staff and faculty supporters (1) raised a significant amount of money for new online resources and (2) embarassed the heck out of the university administration and annoyed the state legislature. The library has been funded much better (without extra fundraising) ever since.
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