Thursday, February 05, 2009

Brodhead, Chronicle Spin Same Take On Duke’s Giving Drop

President Richard Brodhead, Duke trustees and “Dick’s senior team” will all tell you most everything’s fine at Duke.

What's “fine,” they say, includes fundraising “under Dick’s outstanding leadership.”

O sure, there’s been a more than 20% drop in giving this FY, but that's all because of the current recession.

In no way, they'll tell you, is that drop influenced by reduced giving or no giving at all from alums and others disgusted and angered by Duke's Brodhead/Steel “throw the students under the bus” response to Mangum’s and Nifong’s gang rape lies.

That's the Allen Building line which yesterday The Chronicle
endorsed in an editorial which began:

On Tuesday The Chronicle reported that halfway through fiscal year 2009 private donations to the University are down about 20 percent from the same point last year. This is undoubtedly a serious situation, even though in the current context this alarming statistic is probably not as bad as it sounds.

Indeed, the major drop in University donations can likely be attributed to a confluence of two extraordinary factors.

First, the precipitous decline in the state of the economy that began soon after the start of FY 2009. . . .

Second, FY 2008 was a record-breaking year for donations: in all, the University took in $351.6 million. The University is now in the aftermath of the $309 million Financial Aid Initiative, which followed on the heels of the $30 million DukeEngage project, announced in 2007, and a $40 million gift from the Duke Endowment to endow 30 new faculty positions in 2008.

It is not shocking that donations might lag following a major capital campaign. As The Chronicle noted, a similar drop occurred during FY 2004, following the conclusion of the Campaign for Duke.

Interestingly, in the wake of the lacrosse scandal, it was widely predicted that donations to the University would decrease due to dissatisfaction with the administration's handling of the case. In short, this did not happen. (emphasis added) . . .
The entire editorial’s here.

Brodhead, the trustees and “Dick senior team” must have been pleased with TC’s editorial, particularly its unqualified and emphatic conclusion “a decrease [in donations] due to dissatisfaction with the administration’s handling of the case … did not happen.”

But Brodhead and his supporters surely noticed what many of you who read the editorial noticed:TC editors didn’t cite a single fact to support their conclusion “a decrease [in donations] due to dissatisfaction [etc., etc.] did not happen.”

TC editorial ended with this:
In short, this recent drop in donations is disappointing yet unsurprising. And that is about all that can be said.
If the editors bother to read the comment thread that follows their vapid editorial, they’ll see the first commenter, Fact Checker, provides important information, makes serious accusations and asks probing questions the editors are either unaware of or chose to ignore when writing their editorial.

Here’s part of Fact Checker’s comment - - -

[The] Brodhead administration is blaming the world wide financial meltdown for the crumbling of donations [when in fact] this trend was setting in well before the meltdown and has more to do with the way alumni perceive of the leadership of this school than Wall Street.


-- in the last two fiscal years, starting way back on July 1, 2006 and ending June 30 2008 (in other words ALL before the financial meltdown which dates from July 1, 2008) the Annual Fund failed to reach its self-set, low-balled goal for the first and second times in decades. Neither of these totals was disclosed.

-- in the last fiscal year, the Annual Fund failed to raise more money than in the previous year -- this for the first time in its modern history. This still has not been disclosed.

-- the 10 classes holding 5 year reunions last year (Class of 1958, 1963, 1968 etc. ) failed miserably in fund raising. Only 4 of ten classes reached benchmarks which were low-balled. And not one class contributed a record breaking amount. (See Honor Roll of Donors, Duke Reunions, 2008)

-- In the Financial Aid Initiative, Brodhead and Friends blamed the worldwide financial meltdown for a shaky finish. Chase down the figures and you will see that after an initial surge, the effort languished for three years.

Did it occur to the Chronicle which has proclaimed this Initiative a "success," to look at the prediction the editorial board made when the Initiative was announced and refer to that standard?

The editorial at that time said Brodhead would have to move the goalposts several times because he'd be such a magnet for money!

I repeat, the Financial Aid Initiative was NOT a success. Do you hear Brodhead updating the figures he had the provost talk about so much before the initiative -- that a goal was to have endowment move to paying for 50 percent of financial aid vs. the ten percent that we had been seeing. What is your report card on this, Dick?

[All] the Annual Fund and alumni donation figures -- and the Financial Aid Initiative -- are being reported by the Brodhead minions as PLEDGES; the annual total of donations as listed in the Chronicle today is for money actually received. Big difference when you want to stretch your results!

The careful observer will note a line in the university budget that wipes away pledges that were not forked over. Conclusion: the situation is worse than worse.


Folks, you can see why I said Fact Checker “provides important information, makes serious accusations and asks probing questions.”

But can you explain why The Chronicle ignores them? Why doesn’t TC investigate what Fact Checker says and report back to readers?

If it did, TC would have some salient facts to ponder when deciding whether to opine again in support of the Brodhead & Co. claim its "management response" to the Duke/Durham frame-up attempt and its cover-up have had no significant effect on financial giving to Duke.


Anonymous said...

The ghost of David Graham is haunting.

Anonymous said...

Exactly right. I found the comments more informative than the article.

Sometimes I wonder why I continue to follow the "Duke" story (from far off Texas) when I have absolutely no connection to any of it. Then I read the attacks on anyone who tries to bring the truth to light and I know, I'm still around because "they" want me to forget about it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:31 PM.

I agree, I've followed the case from Australia where only the very first bit was news.

I know of no one personally that follows it or cares. But to me it has always seemed of major importance. Showing which way the west is going (we have PC garbage here too).

But the biggest thing for me has always been the hipocracy of it all. I dislike hipocracy (even though virtually everyone at some time induldges in it), but I really hate it in people who are self righteous.

Like priest that molest, racists that call good people racists, the hard core left winger, etc. And this whole thing has been and continues to be full of it. So I'll follow it as long as people like John and DIW report on it.

Scott S.

Anonymous said...

Because they are riding primarily on "Dead Men's Chests," Duke can spin and deny their alumni-esteem collapse for many years to come. If they had to depend solely on voluntary contributions from the living, they would never have even started on the path they have. It would have been ridiculous to contemplate seeking world-class status in the Gender and Ethnic Studies Imaginary Studies. Let alone allow these to meddle, manipulate, and belittle their students. It's unfortunate that the med school and engineering school can't break away from Trinity. I've told the fundraising callers from Engineering that I don't expect to visit Duke or give them any more money, ever. Duke deserves to be severely spanked, and only the living have the power. EM