In light of the University’s recent, controversial naming decisions — which many members of the Yale community argue were motivated by the preferences of wealthy donors — two Yale College alumni are asking their peers to donate to Yale organizations that promote diversity and inclusion rather than to the University generally.

Emma Janger ’15 and Emma Hills ’14 launched a petition Sunday evening after learning that Yale would establish Benjamin Franklin College and maintain the namesake of Calhoun College, John C. Calhoun — a former vice president and fierce slavery advocate who graduated from Yale College in 1804. Since then, 70 Yale alumni have signed the pledge, committing to direct any potential donations to organizations like the Afro-American Cultural Center, the Yale Women’s Center, La Casa, Dwight Hall and the Yale Gay and Lesbian Organization.

The apparent influence of Charles B. Johnson’s ’54 $250 million gift on the naming of Franklin College pushed Janger and Hills to establish the petition. In his announcement email to the Yale community, University President Peter Salovey noted that Franklin is a “personal role model” of Johnson, whose record-breaking donation was announced in September 2013.

“For us, giving money to Yale right now is unthinkable,” the petition reads. “As an institution, Yale placed the wishes of one donor above the lived experience of its student body.  At the same time, we are blown away by the amazing students on campus organizing protests, creating discussion spaces, and pushing this conversation while in the midst of finals and the end of year.”

Hills told the News that she and Janger are asking alumni to focus donations on student-run organizations that advocate for inclusion and are at least somewhat financially independent of the University. These fall into three categories: cultural houses, other on-campus organizations and alumni organizations, such as the Yale Black Alumni Association.

Janger said that while she disagrees with the Yale Corporation’s naming decisions, alumni can still support students working to make campus a “better place.” The pledge enables alumni to enhance the voices and passions of those students, she added.

“There wasn’t really anything we could do as alumni besides not give money, but that didn’t feel like enough,” Hills said. “This is a way to take action so that we don’t feel like we’re on the sidelines. It comes from a place of love.”

  • Tim Steele

    oh my, it strains credulity to call this newsworthy. This reporter is scraping the bottom of the barrel to keep this story alive. Couple of items for Mr. Shimer:

    1. Please disclose any connection between the YDN, yourself, Emma Janger, and Emma Hills, because logic has it that without a connection there would not be a story here. My goodness, how is starting a petition with 70 signatures newsworthy, other than that it advances a position supported by the author of this article?

    2. Presumably, Emma Janger and Emma Hills are alumni with some influence. Please disclose more details on the way of their previous support for Yale. In other words, have they ever even made a donation to Yale since their combined 3 years since graduating?

    “Hills told the News that she and Janger are asking alumni to focus donations on student-run organizations that advocate for inclusion and are at least somewhat financially independent of the University. These fall into three categories: cultural houses, other on-campus organizations and alumni organizations, such as the Yale Black Alumni Association.”

    As an alum, what I’ll do instead is make my annual Yale donation to the Athletics department rather than to general operating funds which help pay for the financial aid packages for these ungrateful students. Oh, and could you check to see if Ms. Janger and Ms. Hills received financial aid (loans or grants) while attending Yale. I think that would be an interesting data point.

  • td2016

    This article is yet more tendentious YDN drivel.

    So for Emma Janger ’15 and Emma Hills ’14 giving to Yale is “now unthinkable?”

    Really? Why did I finish reading this article with the distinct impression that these two sound more like “taking” types that anyone prone to charitable giving in the first place? Could it have something to do with their basic message – “do as we say even if you disagree in good faith, or we’ll cut you off” – is not exactly the way of, say, Mother Teresa, but sounds a lot more like the product of too much narcissistic entitlement?

    Did these two worthies happen to mention just how much they have given to Yale in the past, or how much they will be giving to “Yale organizations that promote diversity and inclusion” this year? Is it more than $10,000? Or $1,000? Or even $10? Did anyone at the Yale Daily News bother to ask, or would that pop the bubble? It’s hard to miss that Access Yale, specifically designed to increase and support financial aid, is not mentioned as one of the sacred exceptions blessed by Saints Janget and Hills. Why is that?

    And “70 Yale alumni have signed the pledge?” Wow. No doubt they had all been hugely generous to Yale in the past. Why, this pledge has likely cut off a good $100 a year from the grasp of nefarious Yale. No wonder the YDN is giving the story such prominence!

    • Ferto

      “Why, this pledge has likely cut off a good $100 a year from the grasp of nefarious Yale. No wonder the YDN is giving the story such prominence!”

      Excellent!

  • jeffJ1

    The current naming controversies notwithstanding, I’ve always been surprised that there isn’t more of a movement to do stuff like this. I would never make a substantial gift to a university without specifying generally where I wanted it to go. This is not some modest nonprofit that needs all the unrestricted operating support it can get. To give money “to Yale” as opposed to “to Yale’s music department” or “to Yale’s intramural athletic program” or whatever seems crazy to me.

    • Tim Steele

      Do you know where most “unrestricted operating support” goes? Around 50% of it to pay for financial aid for students like the ones starting these protest petitions to divert donations elsewhere. They’re hypocrites but the saddest part is they don’t even realize it…

  • polls yale

    great idea. donate directly to any student group that is taking care of student affairs. help yale college council with initiatives (particularly for increasing extra-curricular opportunities for students on financial aids).

  • Ralphiec88

    The conceit that the protesters created “conversation spaces” is simply remarkable. In reality the protests were for the most part a frontal assault on two centuries of Yale conversation, other than conversation that conforms to a particular story line. As usual this hypocrisy is swathed in self-congratulation and SJW doublespeak. Perhaps Ms. Janger and Ms. Hills would care to comment on something concrete, like how much of the donations should be allocated to disbursement of “discretionary funds” as demanded by Next Yale.

  • Yale1984

    Organization-specific donations cut both ways.

    • Ferto

      I’d wager that the donors willing to donate the most are not of the opinion that this article represents…

      • Tim Steele

        I think that’s safe to say!

  • sy

    Mr. Yale was a slave owner. Have these alumni started working to make Yale a “better place” by changing its naming decision?

  • Anthony G.

    Interesting that “diversity” has resulted in these racist, sexist demands that funds be allocated according to skin color and gender. They used to call thus bigoted intolerance but hey, what’s a little intolerance in the name of “diversity”?

  • Richard Saunders

    A new article (Safe from “safe spaces”) sums up the current environment very nicely:

    http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Safe-from–safe-spaces–8411

    Enjoy!

    RS

  • 4OurMissBrooks

    Wait, I at least UNDERSTAND the Calhoun controversy, but what’s wrong with Ben Franklin again?

  • 4OurMissBrooks

    “As an institution, Yale placed the wishes of one donor above the lived experience of its student body.” The lived experience of its 19-20 year median-age student body? Oh, glory be. All of their deep thoughts no doubt expressed in 140 characters.