The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Debate club clashes with fundraising policy

By Matea Wasend

Plans to get a Macalester policy debate club team off the ground have hit a roadblock in the form of a poorly articulated fundraising policy. Macalester’s policy debaters spent the summer and early fall planning and chartering a club team after the official debate team scrapped policy debate last semester due to coaching constraints. The last paperwork hurdle they faced was a fundraising proposal, which they submitted in late September.

To their surprise, Campus Programs declined the proposal.

Michael Freedman ’11, one of the students spearheading the club, said Associate Director of Campus Programs Robin Hart Ruthenbeck failed to shed much light on the reasons why the proposal was denied when he met with her in early October.

“Because the fund raising policies were recently revised, I am finding that there is a need to clarify some of the language to more clearly convey the intent behind the policy,” Hart Ruthenbeck wrote in an e-mail. “For the Policy Debate Society, this has resulted in frustration because of the way that they interpreted the policy.”

Freedman said Hart Ruthenbeck cited problems with the team’s plan to “solicit cash donations,” rather than raise money by selling goods.

He explained that they had originally planned to raise money from debate alumni and other supporters through some exchange of goods, like selling cookies. But after the fundraising policy underwent an annual rewriting in the spring, Freedman was under the impression that under the new rules the team could directly collect money donations.

“We are all busy college students and would prefer to not have to make and ship baked goods on top of school work and debate if we don’t have to,” Freedman wrote in an email. “The rules say we don’t have to, and so we were not planning to.”

The problem, explained Associate VP for Development Beth Giese, is in the terminology. The debate club thought that because the people they were soliciting were mainly alumni, their efforts would qualify as “off-campus fundraising.”

“Off-campus” fundraising can include the direct solicitation of donations or grants-the policy defines it as “solicitation of individuals or businesses outside the campus community for resources.”

But Giese said alumni count as part of the “campus community”-along with students, faculty, staff and parents-so any attempt to solicit gifts from anyone in the Macalester College community counts as “on-campus fundraising.” And “on-campus fundraising” is limited to the sale of goods or services.

In other words, the rules say that students can’t solicit money donations from alumni (or students, faculty, staff or parents), only earn money through some exchange.

However, nowhere does the fundraising policy actually say that “campus community” includes alumni. In fact, the only place where alumni are mentioned is in the definition of “off-campus donations/grants,” which seems to contradict the characterization of alums as part of the “campus community.”

“They appear to be making this up as they go along,” Freedman said.

“I could understand how students could have trouble interpreting this,” Giese said. “We are certainly amenable to amending the wording to make it more clear.”

Even if the wording of the fundraising policy isn’t always clear, Giese said, the writers agreed upon at least one meaning: students cannot solicit funds from alumni.

“The problem with soliciting cash gifts [from alumni] is that we have established fundraising directives,” Giese said. “We want to prioritize our fundraising projects.”

If the administration allows one student club to solicit cash gifts from alumni, Giese said, then they’d have to allow them all. If they did, those groups might end up taking alumni dollars that would otherwise have gone towards institutional fundraising.

“Students often do not have a sense of the college’s long term fundraising plan nor do they usually know of past student requests to alumni and others,” Vice President for Student Affairs Laurie Hamre wrote in an email. Hamre was consulted about the policy after Freedman met with Hart Ruthenbeck about the rejection of the fundraising proposal.

“Instead of trying to argue that up is down, the administration should be asking themselves why they are in a situation where alumni might feel giving their dollars to a student org run by undergrads will do more to foster debate at Mac than giving their money to the administration,” Freedman wrote in an email.

The club team will have to find a new way to raise money-one that follows Advancement’s rules, both written and unwritten. Giese suggested fundraising with vendors, selling goods or soliciting local businesses.

“I’m not in the business of saying no to students,” Giese said. “We are here to help.

View Comments (8)
More to Discover

Comments (8)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • A

    Anthony WilsonSep 12, 2019 at 6:51 am

    I simply wanted to compose a remark to be able to express gratitude to you for some of the wonderful tips you are posting at this website. My considerable internet search has at the end been rewarded with pleasant insight to exchange with my company. I ‘d admit that we visitors actually are unquestionably fortunate to exist in a good website with so many brilliant individuals with great methods. I feel somewhat happy to have used your entire web pages and look forward to tons of more thrilling moments reading here. Thank you once more for a lot of things.

  • T

    Tim ManningSep 11, 2019 at 12:06 am

    This article is genuinely a pleasant one it helps new internet viewers, who are wishing in favor of blogging.

  • M

    Michael NashSep 7, 2019 at 6:29 am

    Asking questions are in fact pleasant thing if you are not understanding something entirely, except this paragraph presents nice understanding even.