Faculty, students and administrators vehemently discussed the issue of charity giving at yesterday's University Council meeting, but all of the speakers were on the same side. Virtually every member who spoke at Council's monthly meeting was in favor of a combined campaign at the University, which would allow faculty and staff members to donate money directly to charity organizations selected by the University. The discussion was the last one scheduled in the two-year debate about whether it is best to have a United Way-dominated campaign on campus, or a combined campaign. University employees will vote on the issue in a referendum in early March. President Sheldon Hackney prefaced the discussion by asking Council members to consider two issues -- whether the University should continue to have a fundraising campaign at all, and whether the campaign should be United Way only, or a combined campaign. Faculty members supported the combined campaign because they said "it allows for choice." Some supporters accused the United Way of denying services to charity organizations that perform abortions, or that have philosophies different from United Way organizers. Microbiology Professor Helen Davies pointed to Women's Way, a fundraising organization she said was founded because it provides services the United Way considered "divisive." According to Davies, the United Way still does not fund all areas of Women's Way. "The issue of a combined campaign is an issue of choice vs. life, and not just abortion," Social Work Graduate Student Celeste Yeager said. Council members also criticized the United Way for removing 10 to 20 percent of donated money for "administrative" costs before sending funds to their next destination. And faculty members questioned United Way's polling tactics last week, which Davies said "muddied" the referendum with a "propaganda blitz." No one at the meeting spoke on behalf of the United Way, and United Way representatives were not invited to attend. In other business, Vice President for Development Rick Nahm updated Council members on the state of the University's $1 billion Capital Campaign, which he said is $20 to $40 million ahead of schedule. Nahm said the campaign has raised $591 million to date. Council members also discussed the cancellation of this year's AIDS Awareness Week, normally held in February. While some students criticized the administration for cancelling the annual event, Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson told members the awareness week was not held this year because of last year's sparse attendance.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.