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Harvard Needs the Money

DISSENT

By Jonathan Samuels

While the staff writes that the "Senior Gift is inherently flawed," instead it is the staff's own reasoning which suffers from such a malady.

It's a shame that my fellow editors think the Gift should be "entirely given up" and graciously suggest it continue only because students have already worked so hard on it this year.

The staff's only argument, exaggerated if not faulty is that the Gift organizers resort to "high pressure" and "strong armed" tactics--such as sending out a letter explaining the Gift, having friends call friends for donations and identifying seniors who might be able to give more money.

Welcome to the world of fundraising. Similar ideas have been used for years in many preparatory schools, universities and other organizations.

Furthermore, please give Harvard seniors some credit. Surely they are capable of telling their friends and other fundraisers exactly how much they want to contribute this year, whether it be nothing or a sum of their choice. And whatever the seniors decide, I doubt the process make any of them fell that they're not "a part of their class."

Not only does the staff vent unwarranted concerns over these common, ethical fundraising strategies, but it entirely misses the fundamental principle behind the gift.

Although the staff acknowledges that participation is the primary goal of the Gift, it fails to recognize that participation whether a $10 gift or a larger sum) is crucial so that the soon-to-be alumni get in the habit of giving money for years to come--when they have more money to give.

And while it is nice that the staff encourages alumni to "give back" to Harvard without opening their check books, the fact remains that monetary contributions--starting with the Senior Gift and building upon that spirit--are essential in limiting the cost of a four year education to about $100000. And, of course, they also allow the majority of students who can't foot that $100000 bill to come here anyway.

I commend A. Jabbar Abdi '94, Samantha A. Ettus '94 and the other members of the Senior Gift committee for their hard work. I'm sure generations of Harvard students will someday do the same.

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