Wesleyan University made national news this past February when 12 students were hospitalized for drug overdoses and five were arrested on drug-related charges, amid fears that the drug culture was far advanced at the school.
The university chose last month–a nice, quiet time, with no students on campus–to ramp up its long-term war on fraternities in a quiet way. It announced a revision of the student handbook to prohibit students “from using any…property that the University informs students are off-limits for health, safety or conduct reasons at the University’s discretion. These prohibitions include using such houses or property as residences, taking meals at such houses or property, and participating in social activities or otherwise being present at such houses or property.”
Translated into English, this was an attempt to deprive one former fraternity and two existing fraternities – one male and the other co-ed – of any ability to generate income, so the university would be able to acquire their historic structures at distress-sale prices. As Wesleyan President Michael Roth wrote to Board Chairman Joshua Boger on August 20, 2014– in what he expected to be a confidential email– “If we don’t close the houses with the hopes of acquiring them, then we shouldn’t go down this road at all.”
Now it seems that decades of PC zealotry and drug culture are hitting Wesleyan where it hurts – in its fund-raising pocketbook. In a July 30 email to “Wesleyan Fund Volunteers,” the university’s Director of Annual Giving, Charles Fedolfi, said he shares the worries of the Fund’s co-chairs. “We face a challenge in convincing our classmates to contribute EVERY year…. Our year-over-year giving has fallen to the low 40% to high 30% range…[and] we had approximately 400 [sic] fewer donors than the prior year (9,712 v. 10,209) due primarily to the number of alumni who did not renew their gifts.”
The obvious question is why 497 donors, nearly 5% of the alumni donor base, decided not to give. Maybe they think their alma mater is off course, and are voting with their wallets.