Riley Scripps Ford gave a terrible portrait of activism and engagement in his column stumping for the Senior Class Gift (“Giving Back, Paying Forward,” Feb. 16). Ford pitched the gift to seniors who feel disconnected or dissatisfied with Yale as a way to make a positive impact. But donating $5 to Yale’s general funds is not real engagement, and it does nothing to resolve objections to University policy. The real way to make positive change is working to reform what you find intolerable.
It’s ironic that Ford’s article ran on the same day as the News’ cover story on Brown ceasing its investments in a hotel chain that has been accused of abysmal labor practices (“Brown Halts New Investment in HEI,” Feb. 16). That change happened because activists at Brown and elsewhere put pressure on the university and raised awareness. Yale’s Undergraduate Organizing Committee has been carrying out sit-ins and protests for over a year to shame Yale into withdrawing its support for HEI. UOC understands what Ford seems to have missed: activism takes time and commitment. It must be focused and aggressive.
Your $5 contribution to financial aid will have no impact on Yale’s decision to raise the expected work contribution without expanding student jobs. To make a difference, you’ll need to sign up with UOC or another group and organize for something a little more critical than the Senior Class Gift.