Gawker, a media news blog, published a post yesterday by blogger Hamilton Nolan about how Ivy League schools are “the world’s worst charity.” Citing a recent $100 million dollar donation by Henry Kravis to the Columbia University Business School, Nolan argues that the large sums of money that go towards augmenting the already ginormous endowments of schools like Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and…er…Brown could be put to better use.
Another column written by Froma Harrop of the Providence Journal that expresses a similar sentiment has been making the rounds on the interwebs. Although she doesn’t argue that the money used to pay for pricey renovations ought to be going to other “charities,” she says that extravagant expenditure on the part of universities and colleges in the US is simply further inflating the already elevated cost of higher education. The first few sentences specifically call out Brown:
That was a pleasant stroll across the Ivy League campus of Brown University, in Providence, R.I. I saw the gardening crews, the maintenance trucks, the pricey restoration work on Faunce Arch. I passed the skating rink, the president’s mansion and the new Department of Facilities Management building. As I surveyed the handsome spread (tax-exempt, sadly), I wondered, “Is all this really necessary – I mean – for the education of these students?”
Well, Brown students, what do you think? Some of the donations that paid for the SteveBob Faunce renovation could have bought vaccinations for the poor in developing countries. Or, that money could have gone towards making our tuition cheaper. Is a superb quality of life for students key to the university’s goal of attracting the best and brightest admits or is the university wasting money that could be better spent elsewhere? Leave your opinion in the comments!