Hype for swipe: Alumni ID not worth it

At Baruch College, graduates need to make a mandatory donation to the Baruch College Fund in order to receive an alumni identification card. This card gives alumni a host of Baruch-related benefits, such as discounted membership to our fitness center, 15 percent off on the School of Continuing and Professional Studies and partial access to the Newman Library.

A donation would be a reasonable requirement to get an alumni card considering how many advantages having one gives students, if it weren’t for a lack of clarity on just how much one has to donate.

On Baruch’s Department of Public Safety webpage, it is written that to obtain an alumni ID, “Graduates of prior years may obtain or re-activate an alumni ID by making a gift of any amount to the Baruch College Fund,” in addition to other requirements.

According to this, an alumnus can make a donation of any size, which means that a person could go as high or low as they’d like — whatever they're able to afford. This is an understandable condition, considering that the Baruch Fund benefits future students and the school as a whole. However, in a different location of the school’s website, something else is written.

As stated on the Baruch College Alumni website, under the subheading “Alumni ID Card,” “Graduates of prior years may obtain or re-activate an alumni ID card by making a contribution of $20 to the Baruch College Fund” — the same sentence, except for the gift amount. Here, it says that a former Baruch student looking to get an alumni ID must make a donation of $20, despite the other webpage saying that the amount of the donation is up to the alumni.

The discrepancy is unfair to students in two ways — the first being that it makes the process of receiving an alumni card more difficult because it’s unclear which webpage is accurate.

Secondly, it’s petty for a school that has just charged a student thousands of dollars in fees and tuition — and possibly housing, too — to then tell that same student they must pay $20 a year to receive a card that will give him or her a limited access to its services. A student who is still likely paying off student loan debt and could be on a job search.

To mandate students to pay $20 yearly, in addition to the rest of the costs for the athletic center and meetings with alumni career specialists that aren’t covered by the card’s discounts, while living in one of the most expensive cities in the country, is just bad business. For a school that prides itself on being one of the leading business schools in the state, that is just sad. The amount itself may not be high, but it's the principle that matters here.