Why Do People Still Donate to Universities?

You might as well burn the money.

There was rare good news this month. On August 4, the front page of the New York Times published an article under the headline “College Students Protest, Alumni’s Fondness Fades and Checks Shrink.”

According to the article, some alumni are awakening to the fact that their beloved alma mater is nothing like the decent, open, tolerant, committed-to-learning place they remember. Rather, nearly every college and university in America has become the least open, the least tolerant, the most hate-filled, and most anti-American (and, of course, anti-Israel) mainstream institution in America.

In the words of the article: “Alumni from a range of generations say they are baffled by today’s college culture.”

“Among their laments: Students are too wrapped up in racial and identity politics.”

Let’s put it more starkly: Colleges are America’s preeminent racist institutions. They encourage, for example, black dorms and black graduations; and they foment minority hatred of whites (through “white privilege” indoctrination seminars, ethnic- and black-studies courses, etc.).

“They are allowed to take too many frivolous courses.”

In addition, college students graduate without taking any courses that elevate their intellect or character — which was the original purpose of universities. You can get a B.A. in English at UCLA without reading a Shakespeare play.

“They have repudiated the heroes and traditions of the past by judging them by today’s standards rather than in the context of their times.”

Most college graduates are taught to see the great men who founded America not only as not great, but as bad: After all, they were white, affluent, and male. And some were slaveholders.

“And university administrations have been too meek in addressing protesters whose messages have seemed to fly in the face of free speech.”

Meek? College administrators give new meaning to the word. With precious few exceptions, they have no principle except keeping their job.

That it took these alumni so many years to realize how destructive their beloved colleges have become is as unpleasant a surprise as the fact that the New York Times published this piece was a pleasant surprise.

The article quotes, for example, Scott MacConnell, an alumnus of Amherst: “‘As an alumnus of the college, I feel that I have been lied to, patronized and basically dismissed as an old, white bigot who is insensitive to the needs and feelings of the current college community,’ Mr. MacConnell, 77, wrote in a letter to the college’s alumni fund in December, when he first warned that he was reducing his support to the college to a token $5.”

And this from a Yale graduate: “Scott C. Johnston, who graduated from Yale in 1982, said he was on campus last fall when activists tried to shut down a free-speech conference, ‘because apparently they missed irony class that day.’” Yale now competes with Brown and similar left-wing institutions in embracing students who employ fascist tactics — such as taking over deans’ offices, and shouting down conservative speakers.

But this reduction in giving probably won’t matter much. Yale has an endowment of over $25 billion. It can easily afford to have contempt for Scott C. Johnston. Yale knows that most alumni would continue to giving to Yale if the university announced that it would not admit anyone who believes that God created the universe.

Wealthy fools will continue to give money to Yale and all the other left-wing seminaries still known (inaccurately) as universities. There is no group that better embodies the famous statement attributed to Lenin: “The capitalists will sell us the rope with which to hang them.”

Can you name a more moronic group than wealthy capitalists who give tens of millions of dollars to universities so that they can teach students that capitalism is evil?

It is of course understandable that leftists give so much money to universities. But why do non-leftists?

If you give to a college, give to one that actually venerates America and the life of the mind.

Here are two key reasons: First, and most important, it makes them feel good about themselves. Universities are the secular world’s temples. Whereas long ago wealthy Americans gave to their churches, they now give to universities. Second, many of the very wealthy are savants — people who are brilliant in knowing how to make a lot of money but not about much else. And there is no connection between wealth and wisdom. There are Silicon Valley and Hollywood billionaires who have less wisdom than many seniors at Christian high schools.

So, here’s my advice to wealthy individuals who love America and do not wish to undermine the Judeo-Christian and classical-liberal values on which it is built: Give to medical research. And if you give to a college, give to one that actually venerates America and the life of the mind (Hillsdale College, for example). Or give to causes that are attempting to undo the damage of the universities. Examples include the Young America’s Foundation (YAF), the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and Prager University (which has had over 100 million views just this year, with the largest group of viewers being people under 35).

But if you love America, among the worst things you can do is contribute to 95 percent of the country’s universities. America would better off if you burned that money.

— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code, was published by Regnery. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at © 2016


Dennis Prager — Dennis Prager’s latest book, The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code, was published by Regnery. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of © 2018

Most Popular


Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More