In the latest move in the ongoing fight over the University's charity campaign, the United Way this week has asked some of its agencies to urge University donors to vote for the United Way in a March referendum. And several faculty members said last night that the move is another in a series of "unprofessional" tactics to influence the vote. In letters sent to donor-choice organizations via fax, the United Way provided a list of past donors and their addresses to whom they are encouraged to write and explain how they will be affected by the referendum. United Way spokesperson Joe Divis said that they have only sent the agencies information that they normally receive with a pledge and that the move was designed to ultimately educate University voters. But Committee members said yesterday that the United Way's newest tactic is inappropriate. Associate Education Professor David Hogan called the fax "apalling." Hogan said that the United Way has statistically endured no ill effects from allowing a combined campaign elsewhere and that their opposition to the Combined Campaign stems from their need for control. "They don't lose anything economically, or financially by having a combined campaign -- the evidence is that they gain," Hogan said. "One must assume that this is an effort to maintain monopoly power." However, Divis said last night that the agencies of the United Way are going to be affected by this vote and therefore need their say in the issue. Faculty leaders also said last night that they were disturbed by the United Way's action. Associate Microbiology Professor Helen Davies said last night that she was upset with the United Way's efforts at the University. "I feel it muddies [the situation] because it is being done by an outside organization," Davies said. "They are not able to get people inside the University to back them up, people who know what is happening want a wider choice." Faculty Senate Executive Committee member Kenneth George also said he was "disturbed" with the United Way's actions and that this is the similar to what he has been hearing at the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. "It just seems to be a continuation of some of the unprofessional ways that the United Way is dealing with us at the University," George said. Divis said that the action was taken because although the United Way did not ask for the referendum, it has to deal with it. "This was brought upon us," Divis said. Barney Carter, the director of development at Planned Parenthood -- a United Way agency -- said that his organization received the letter from the United Way asking Planned Parenthood to write to its donors and explain how the referendum will effect their funding. "[It asks us] to write them and support the United Way," Carter said. Faculty Senate Chairperson Almarin Phillips said last night that the United Way has every right to try to marshall support, but that he feels they would be better off working with the other agencies. "My impression is that they remain an unpopular group at the University of Pennsylvania, my view is that they would be better off trying to cooperate," Phillips. The United Way and the Committee for a Combined Campaign at Penn will conclude their two-year long fight next month when University employees vote the charitable path they prefer. The United Way has historically been the sole vehicle through which faculty and staff could deduct funds from their payroll. Combined Campaign officials have argued that the number of fundraising groups should be expanded. The United Way has argued that one can donate to over 2700 groups through their method of donor's choice, which allows the donor to select who receives the funds. The Combined Campaign, however, has said that this is not a viable option since the funds are diminished twice through this path -- first, from the United Way's administrative costs and second, from the individual organizations administrative costs are both deducted before anyone benefits.Comments powered by Disqus
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