How The University Of New Hampshire Chose To Waste An Alum's $4m Gift

How The University Of New Hampshire Chose To Waste An Alum's $4m Gift

I doubt any student will look back in ten years and say “man, that video scoreboard - that really impacted my experience at UNH in a meaningful and beneficial way.”
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College communities throughout the nation have been buzzing about Robert Morin, a librarian at the University of New Hampshire who recently left the school his entire estate of $4 million when he passed away. Morin’s selfless act is both generous and moving. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1963, and went on to work at in the school’s Dimond Library for almost half a century.

Morin set aside $100,000 specifically for the library, to fund scholarships for work-study students, support staff, and renovate one of the library’s multimedia rooms. The rest of the money was apparently designated for “funding scholarships and renovations.”

So, how exactly has UNH chosen to spend this wonderful man’s gift?

$2.5 million will be spent on developing a better career center for students and alumni. As a wildcat, I visited the campus’s career center several times throughout my four years there, and found it to be quite helpful. I have no doubt that whatever further developments they make to the center will benefit future students immensely.

But a whopping one million dollars is being used to buy a fancy new video scoreboard for the new football stadium.

The remaining $400,000 doesn’t seem to have a designation yet.

But let me just reiterate this. A librarian donated $4 million to his alma mater. $100,000 is being given to the library. $1 million is being used to buy A SCOREBOARD.

For those of you who don’t know, the UNH football stadium just received a $25 million renovation, and was re-opened on September 10th, 2016. But apparently, $25 million just wasn’t enough. The university tried to justify the purchase of the new scoreboard by claiming that Morin became a football fanatic while he was in an assisted living home during the last year and a half of his life. So clearly, that’s much more important than his life long passion of reading and literature, right? The university clearly seems to think that it makes sense for the sports department to receive ten times the amount that Morin’s own department is receiving, even after spending $25 million on a stadium renovation. The school also just recently spent almost $2 million on a new student athlete center, and $4.5 million to build a new outdoor pool.

Deborah Dutton, Vice President for Advancement and President of the UNH Foundation, said of the donation: “Unrestricted gifts give the university the ability to use the funds for our highest priorities and emerging opportunities."

Oh really? A new football scoreboard is the “highest priority?” If that’s the case, the school needs a serious priority check.

Excuse me, UNH administration, did you know that the photography department has not had reliable water in their darkroom for a whole year now? Or has anyone else noticed that there is not enough fair parking on campus? (But why would they ever fix that, seeing as the university literally rakes in hundreds of thousands of dollars every year issuing parking tickets to students?)

In the 2015-2016 school year, all UNH student publications went on the chopping block and received massive budget cuts that will most likely put some of them entirely out of commission in the coming years. Working for Main Street Magazine completely transformed my experience as a student and a writer, and it breaks my heart that future students may not be able to feel the joy of collaborating with an editorial team to put together a publication.

Did you know that UNH is one of the only public universities in the country that does not offer graphic design courses? Do you know why? Because their art department is so financially deprived, it barely manages to stay afloat, let alone grow or develop.

Ultimately, the school’s administrative decision to spend a quarter of Morin’s generous donation on a inconsequential trinket for the athletic department is a complete disgrace to the spirit and memory of Robert Morin. As a wildcat, I feel deeply saddened, and honestly completely ashamed of my alma mater for this.

But the reality is, this is just the latest and worst offense in a string of the school’s trivial and heavily criticized financial expenses.

In 2013, the school spent $60,000 on a new logo design (which is ugly, by the way. Everyone misses the clock tower logo.)

During the recent multi-million dollar renovation of Holloway Commons dining hall, the school spent $17,000 on a light-up table. Just for clarification, that is a year’s tuition for an in-state student. The university actually later admitted that buying the table was a huge mistake.

In 2014, The Huffington Post ranked UNH #3 on a list of the most expensive public universities throughout the nation. Since then, the school’s tuition rate has only climbed. Current In-state tuition costs about $17,600, while out-of-state tuition costs about $31,000. With room and board, books, meal plans, etc., the yearly total for in-state students is about $30,000, and $44,000 for out-of-state students. The average UNH students graduates with about $33,000 of student loan debt hanging over their head. And in case anyone was wondering, that is pretty close to how in debt I am after graduating last May - $30,000. I’ll be paying that back for approximately the next decade of my life, while struggling to survive in a competitive job market. A few of my fellow wildcat friends graduated with almost twice as much debt as me.

Yet, despite putting their alumni in financially crippling debt, the university still seems to find it appropriate to throw their money away into completely trivial money pits.

Just for reference, $1 million could:

  • Fund countless grants for research
  • Give a full ride (full tuition for all four years) to fourteen in-state students.
  • Give a full ride to eight out-of-state students
  • Buy 242 year-long student meal plans, and thus feed 242 hungry students.

Really, all I have to say is, who the HELL is making these decisions?!

I absolutely loved my time at UNH. I had an incredible experience there as a wildcat, and I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. I love the school and its spirit. I loved most of my professors and enjoyed my classes, and I made amazing friends. But I do not love the administration, and I do not support some of the choices that they make.

I am honestly ashamed of and embarrassed by my alma mater’s decision to waste Morin's generous gift on a frivolous toy. The money could be spent on a cause that would truly, positively impact the lives of the university’s students. It could have changed lives. I doubt any student will look back in ten years and say “man, that video scoreboard - that really impacted my experience at UNH in a meaningful and beneficial way.”

Cover Image Credit: mic.com

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Thank you for inspiring me.

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To The Educators Who Are Discouraging Their Students' Learning, It Needs To Stop

To the educator who is telling their students how they will fail, why don't you try telling them how they well succeed?

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No matter your education level, career path, opportunities given and so on you have experienced an educator who has been less than pleasant. We have all encountered that teacher or professor who talks down to you or makes you feel like a lesser person. Well once in for all it needs to stop, this is not okay.

To the educator who is telling their students how they will fail, why don't you try telling them how they will succeed?

It is all about communication and not always being negative. If you walk into a class on day one and tell students how they will do well they are more prone to actually follow through with it. But when you walk in guns a blazing and telling your students all the ways they will not pass, your instilling a stigma that they will struggle.

To the educator who is clouded with doom and gloom, don't spread that to us. We pay the university to get knowledge and insight into the careers we hope to go into. We are looking to you for guidance on how we can be the best we can be. When we walk into a class we do not want you to tell us everything negative that could possibly happen.

We are in a vulnerable state and need to hear some positivity amongst all the stress in obtaining a diploma. We do not need to hear all the bad things that happened to you, we need to hear about the days that made you keep going.

To the educator who tells you, you should change your major. It is not their place. They have no right to tell you how you should spend your life. Professors should give you advice and tools on how you can do better. They should not jump to conclusions and assume you will fail in life.

Just because I am struggling in your ONE class does not mean I will fail in my career. You are a teacher and are suppose to be a role model, there is no reason you should be telling me that I am not good enough. People in our society wonder why certain professions are dwindling and this is why. Because of negative, pessimistic teachers.

To the educator who is not putting in effort into their course, please try. Not only do we pay a lot of money to be heard but I want to learn. I want to succeed. And I do not want to look at your class as a joke.

When you are not creating assignments, giving constructive feedback or even caring if people show up it is only going to hurt me in the future. I need the handouts, the lectures and for you to go that extra mile so I feel prepared in the coming years. I should not have to come to class and feel like you threw it together five minutes before.

I need to see your passion, I need to know how you got through what I am dealing with right now. If you do not have a passion for your own class why should I?

To the educator who treats me as if I am disposable, it is not your place. When I walk into a class and you talk down to me it is completely uncalled for. You demand respect but do not give out any yourself.

You have no right to treat me as if I don't matter because I should. I should be a priority to you during the semester of your class, it is your job. You have no right to try and scare me out of your class or make me feel like if I do not get an 'A' I am incompetent.

I am trying. I am putting in all my effort and If I am not reaching your standards then you should coach me so that I am. Instead of talking to me like I am a child who will go nowhere in life.

To the educator who sets up their course with unreasonable expectations, remember we are only human. We are taking several classes along with yours and are just trying to balance life. If I miss one day there is no reason to treat me like a pariah I promise I just needed a minute.

If I ask for one extension I am not taking advantage of you I am just struggling and need a helping hand. Remember we are here because we want to learn so please set up your class that way. There is no need to act like your class is better than anyone else's of that we should put it over others. You should want us to respect all our professors just as you want us to respect you.

But most importantly if you are an educator who hates their job, please get out of it. It shows when you hate your job and that creates a bad stigma for our class. You will not give me everything I need if you have no interest in the class yourself.

Teaching is hard and teaching multiple classes isn't meant to be easy, but it is what you chose to do. No one is making you do this. I should not have to sit through several hours a week of a bitter professor who doesn't want to be there. If you do not have the heart for it anymore then go do something else.

I know college is supposed to be hard, I am not denying that. But I cannot condone the fact that some professors treat students as if they do not matter. I pay a lot to be here and do not deserve to be in a class where a teacher makes light of that.

A college degree is an investment and I feel like I am loosing out on that due to the lack of quality professors. It would be nice if they put more effort into the structure of their class, but at the very least just caring and showing heart for what they are doing.

To all the people who wonder why some students drop out or change degrees a million times, this is why. When you are constantly dealing with educators who seem like they want you to fail it is hard to want to keep going. If you have had experiences like this you are not alone.

Try not to let it get to you and discourage your learning. Do not change your degree and push through it. It might be terrible now but that professor in the years to come will not matter. I know its hard but they are not worth your tears or stress.

You got this and I promise, you have plenty of people in your corner who do want to see YOU succeed!

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