In ’08 donations, Yale trails Harvard

Yale employees, who in quarter three exclusively favored Democratic over Republican presidential candidates, are outspent heavily by professors and staff at other Ivy League universities when it comes to donating to presidential campaigns, Federal Election Commission filings indicate.

Other schools’ contribution totals were largely buoyed by higher donation rates from their public-policy professional school affiliates, Yale and Harvard University faculty members said in interviews with the News.

The filings, which are from the third quarter of 2007, indicate that 11 members of Yale’s faculty and staff gave a total of $9951 between July 1 and Sept. 31, distributed among four Democratic presidential candidates. No University faculty or staff gave money to Republicans.

Sen. Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 brought in $7350 from Yale affiliates, while Sen. Barack Obama received $1900. John Edwards and Rep. Dennis Kucinich received single donations of $500 and $201, respectively.

The contributions to candidates were analyzed by reviewing all donations given in the third quarter of 2007 by individuals listing Yale as their employer. The findings are not precise because not all contributors list their employer on their filings, and some faculty and staff may have primary appointments outside Yale.

Campaign donations across the Ivy League outnumbered Yale employees’ donations vastly. Forty-six Harvard employees gave a total of $59,000 in the third quarter, most often to Harvard Law School alum Obama, who received $27,050, almost half of their donations.

Harvard faculty and staff donations were also more varied than Yale’s. Clinton, Obama, Edwards, and fellow Democratic candidates Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Joe Biden all received money from Harvard employees, as did Republicans Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain and Rep. Ron Paul.

In addition, 32 Princeton employees gave a total of $26,500 in the third quarter, with just under half — $12,050 — going to Obama and $5600 going to Clinton. Connecticut senator Chris Dodd, who received no donations in the third quarter from Yale employees, received a single $2100 donation from a Princeton employee.

Columbia University employees gave more to Rudy Giuliani, New York City’s former mayor, than the staff and faculty of any other school reviewed. Giuliani received $17,200 from the university’s affiliates, while Obama raised $31,350 and Clinton — New York state’s junior senator — received $51,150. Columbia employees — 110 of them — gave a total of $118,200.

Professors from Harvard and Yale attributed Yale’s low donation rate to practical factors, rather than an institutional attitude that might discourage campaign contribution.

Yale College Dean Peter Salovey, whose name did not appear on FEC filings for this year, speculated that the disparity may be attributed to a more active Democratic party in Massachusetts than in Connecticut.

“Are the candidates, and especially the political parties, mounting more vigorous fundraising efforts in Massachusetts than they are in Connecticut?” Salovey asked.

The answer may be yes. Alan Solomont, who is currently heading Obama’s New England fundraising campaign and served as the Democratic National Committee National Finance Chairman in 1997, said Boston is one of just a handful of places in the country that has a history of robust political contributions.

“There are much stronger fundraising organizations in Massachusetts and in Boston than there are in New Haven,” Solomont said.

Solomont, who said he was “not at all surprised” to hear that Harvard professors had outdonated their Yale counterparts, said Connecticut is often lumped in with New York as a single “target area” by candidates, who focus on southern cities in the state such as Greenwich and Stamford and largely ignore the middle of the state.

Yale and Harvard professors pointed out Harvard’s larger staff and faculty as another possible reason for the difference in giving. According to the schools’ Web sites, Harvard employs around 15,000 staff and faculty while Yale employees number just under 12,000. Additionally, 3,392 employees work at Columbia University, and 1,126 faculty are at Princeton. Total staff numbers for Princeton were not available.

Harvard’s professional schools, particularly the Business School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, may also be a factor driving the school’s donation numbers upward, professors at both Harvard and Yale said.

Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs may be playing a similar role, they said, because these professional schools tend to attract faculty more willing to donate to political causes.

“You’ve got two graduate schools at Harvard — neither is quite matched by something at Yale,” said Marty Linsky, an adjunct professor at the Kennedy School. “[They] are going to be pretty attentive to political affairs in a way that others are not.”

Records show Linsky donated $250 to Barack Obama in the third quarter.

Out of the 46 Harvard employees who donated in the third quarter, 11 are professors, lecturers or deans at the Kennedy School, and five are professors at the Harvard Business School.

Yale political science and Law School lecturer and former Kennedy School professor David Simon said the Kennedy School attracts non-academics who might be more apt to give to political campaigns because of their public-service experience.

“There’s a certain portion of the Kennedy School that acts as a waystation for out-of-office politicians,” Simon said.

Yale School of Medicine professor James Comer, who gave $2000 to Clinton’s campaign, said Harvard’s higher numbers may be explained at least partly by its more adversarial history.

“Yale always seemed to be a little more collaborative and collegial, just in [comparison to] battles around women in law school at Harvard and the [African-American] Studies program and a number of other things,” Comer said. “I’m probably biased.”

Quarter four numbers will be released by mid-February.

-Isaac Arnsdorf contributed reporting.


  • Anonymous

    How many times does Harvard appear to be the focus of articles in the Yale Daily News? Examine these headlines culled from YDN:

    December 10, 2007: "After Harvard aid move, Yale makes 'major' promises"

    December 12, 2007: "Unlike Yale, Harvard recognizes its societal sway"

    December 12, 2007: "Again, Yale plays catchup to Crimson"

    December 12, 2007:"Harvard unveils new vision for aid"

    January 15, 2008: "Yale follows Harvard in sweeping financial-aid reform targeting middle-class families"

    January 15, 2008: "Following the Crimson leader"

    January 17, 2008: "At Harvard, Princeton, a growth in applicant pool"

    The Yale Daily News needs to increase its coverage of Harvard; the current level is clearly inadequate.

  • Anonymous

    This Harvard-centrism is a chronic affliction at Yale. Here is a classic essay on the topic that appeared in the YDN 3 years ago, captioned "In A Tale of Two Schools, Second Best Is Far Better:

    An exerpt:

    "We perceive our awesome dominance over (almost) all else, but humbly recognize the existence of One above us. Thus is life; how good things get is never how good we would wish them to be… It's the tragedy of human existence, and the sooner we can appreciate it, in Yale and in ourselves, the better off we will be. And if not, we can always look down on Princeton."

  • Anonymous

    This reminds me of an amusing (and perhaps uncharitable) letter sent to the YDN on this topic when I was a freshman, by a Yale Law student who had graduated from Harvard:

    "As a recent alum of (Harvard) and a new student at (Yale Law School), I've been amazed at the one-sided nature of this supposed rivalry. At Harvard, few people ever mentioned Yale, let alone in a competitive spirit. Yet here, and on the pages of this publication in particular, more attention is paid to the Cambridge counterparts than is healthy or appropriate. It is rare to read an entire issue of the News without coming across the word "Harvard." I can assure this paper's readers that Harvard's daily, The Crimson, mentions Yale far less frequently.

    I think the explanation for this phenomenon is as simple for Harvard kids to understand as it is painful for Yalies to hear. Harvard is better, plain and simple. If Harvard-Yale was a sibling rivalry, Harvard would be the older, more successful and accomplished child. Yale, on the other hand, would be the modestly talented younger sibling who has grown up, ever envious, in the shadow of its older brother…"

  • ShelbyR

    I was just recently asked to apply through Quest Bridge, I hoped it wasn’t a scam, so i just looked it up. Yale is my top choice, so when I saw this article and realized that it was credible I went directly to the website and started filling out the application. I am so excited to apply. This opportunity is helping so many people with the application fees, which are sometimes up to $75 each. I hope that one day I will be proud to call myself a Yalie!!!