CUNY should not ask enrolled students to donate to school

Many students at Baruch College may be familiar with the emails and mail that the administration sends out to encourage them to donate to the college. Some may also remember the multiple emails and fliers sent out throughout the first half of the semester, which aggressively advertised the ability to purchase a paver that would be located on the renovated 25th Street Plaza.

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, Baruch students received yet another email that advertised the existence of CUNY Tuesday—CUNY’s version of Giving Tuesday. According to CUNY Tuesday’s website, the event was a 24-hour campaign that aimed to raise a total of $1 million to use for student programs, scholarships and support. Benefactors were given the opportunity to choose both their donation amount and to which school they would want the money to go.

“CUNY is part of #GIVINGTUESDAY the global day of giving in support of all CUNY students,” the email read. “To be part of #CUNYTUESDAY go to the college of your choice and be an ambassador! Encourage your social network to support #CUNYTUESDAY and the students of CUNY. Your efforts will help us achieve the CUNY-wide $1 million dollar [sic] goal!”

Asking current students to donate money to fund scholarships for other students is, in CUNY’s case, hypocritical.

In the past few weeks, CUNY made headlines for all of the wrong reasons. On Nov. 16, DNAinfo New York published a critical review of CUNY’s financial conduct, which was based on a preliminary report published by the state Office of Inspector General. The report calls CUNY’s financial system, along with the foundations affiliated with it, “ripe for abuse.”

Unfortunately, financial abuse is already taking place. Lisa S. Coico, former president of City College of New York, was found to have misused $150,000 of CCNY’s funds. Another $36,000 was wasted to pay for Brooklyn College president’s part-time housemaid and an additional $35,000 was used to fund a retirement party. While other colleges were also audited, new cases of misused funds have not yet been made public.

As noble as the idea behind CUNY Tuesday may be, an entity that was found guilty of fund mismanagement should not be asking its students, plenty of whom are from working class families and rely on financial aid, to contribute to a scholarship fund. Instead, CUNY should search for donations elsewhere or, at the very least, try to fix the system that is currently in place and search for the funds within its own budget.

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