Is it unethical to donate to Harvard?

October 1, 2009 at 8:28 pm Leave a comment

Randy Cohen, the NYT’s ethicist, without hesitation or equivocation, says, “Do not donate to Harvard.”

To do so is to offer more pie to a portly fellow while the gaunt and hungry press their faces to the window (at some sort of metaphoric college cafeteria, anyway). Even after last year’s losses, Harvard’s endowment exceeds $26 billion, the largest of any American university,greater than the G.D.P. of EstoniaBy contrast, among historically black colleges and universities, Howard has the largest endowment, about $420 million, a mere 1.6 percent the size of Harvard’s. (Donors gave Harvard more than $600 million just this fiscal year.) The best-endowed community college,Valencia, in Orlando, Fla., has around $67 million, or 0.26 percent of Harvard’s wealth. This is not to deny that Harvard does fine work or could find ways to spend the money but to assert that other schools have a greater need and a greater moral claim to your benevolence.

More on this topic can be found here.

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Jason R. Atwood

I'm an avid trail runner and doctoral student at U.C. Berkeley who studies motivation and the relationship between the mind and body. This blog is a forum to share research, news, and musings about these topics of interest. More

Play is the beginning of knowledge.

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