Ithaca College Giving Day was met with conflicting opinions by the members of the college community in the face of the Academic Program Prioritization (APP) process. Nonetheless, the event raised over $1 million.
It feels disrespectful to ask campus community members to donate when current students, alumni, faculty and staff have raised concerns over the APP and the resulting eliminations. There was little consideration or sensitivity when the college asked the faculty, students and alumni impacted by the cut programs to donate. Although Giving Day helped organizations, teams and funds raise money to provide students better experiences and opportunities, it is difficult to imagine how these programs are going to look when students do not have their mentors and professors.
Still, despite the challenges of this year, the college raised a total of $1,856,496 from 3,459 donors. The college did not have any issue with having an open flow of communication with its constituents when asking for money for the weeks leading up to the big day. Meanwhile, when some members of the campus community raised their voices and questioned the administration throughout this year, they were met with silence. Where do the college’s priorities lie?
It feels disingenuous that the college thinks money is what will make a fractured community better. There is no denying that this money will help the college, and it is important to give back to the institution so the student experience can be improved. However, the timing of such an effort — one that is in the middle of a pandemic when many are also struggling — seems off.
Money may be what draws people into the college, but in reality, it is not what makes them stay. It is the people. Investing in the college is of the utmost importance, but it is hard to do so when it feels like the college is not investing in us.