Last week, the authors of “Why we give” delivered a plea for continued student donation to the Senior Class Gift fund. In particular, they expressed that donating a gift to Yale “is one way of ensuring that future Yalies continue to carry on this proud legacy of addressing institutional ills.” Although I largely agree with the underlying sentiment, I cannot help but think there are many organizations better equipped to do so than Yale. Raising funds for cultural houses and scholarships for Yale will never get to the bottom of educational inequality and should not be thought of as a valiant attempt. This would be doing an injustice to organizations more deeply committed to that goal.
Most of us here were acquainted with privilege long before we came to Yale. When feeling privileged that we study at Yale, maybe we should remember our privilege of having gone to school in the first place. Yale tuition is about two hundred more times expensive than getting a child from primary through secondary school in developing countries. Clearly we can do much better than grant a few more souls access to Yale by donating to its financial aid funds.
Showing thankfulness to Yale should mean supporting its mission of “improving the world today and for future generations.” Let us commit to act immediately upon this goal rather than passing on the baton of responsibility by donating our time, resources and energy to causes and organizations that address inequality at its core.
Sebastian Quaade ’21