You’re So Vain You Probably Think This Post Is About You

A friend sent me a comment that someone else posted about my open letter to the chancellor, earlier today. This commenter insinuated that I am a bigot that wants to stamp out ethnic diversity at Syracuse because I disagree with THE General Body.

Interestingly enough, they also claimed they tried to reach me for comment on Facebook but couldn’t find me because I’m, “conveniently enough, not searchable.”

The elusive and deceptive Cole Ellenbogen, trying to hide from public scrutiny by concealing his identity on the internet.

The elusive and deceptive Cole Ellenbogen, trying to hide from public scrutiny by concealing his identity on the internet.

Did you try Google? I’m really not that difficult to find: the entire first page of search results for Cole Ellenbogen is entirely comprised of things I’ve written, or things written about me, as well as twitter, g-mail, and pictures. I’m sure you could’ve figured out a way to get in touch with me with all that.

Commenter, either you’re just bad at the Internet, or didn’t look at all.

I digress.

This person’s accused me of lacking factual evidence and being somehow motivated by racism, which is odd because most of my arguments were about finances.

But I’m not petty, and I can take a little heckling. The reason I bring all this up is because this person brought something up that could cause confusion amongst students.

The commenter suggested that the university has 1.08 billion dollars from a fundraiser that the Chancellor is trying to keep under wraps, which is now just laying around collecting dust.

Syracuse University's alleged cash-stash, probably hidden in the Chancellor's office. Photo Credit: Business Insider

Syracuse University’s alleged cash-stash, probably hidden in the Chancellor’s office.
Photo Credit: Business Insider

To those who are under the impression that the university does have this lump sum just sitting around, completely understand if you’re frustrated with the administration. But, I would like to take the opportunity to dispel some of the mystery surrounding this donation that you may or may not have heard about.

Over the course of a few years, the university did raise over 1.08 billion dollars. Here’s the breakdown.

  1. This money did not come from an annual fundraiser. This was an ongoing affair, and it took seven years to accomplish. The effort began in 2005 and ended in 2012.
  2. To reiterate, this effort has been over for two years. Since then we’ve remodeled Newhouse II, built Newhouse III, built an entirely new law school, and finished the life sciences complex – and that’s just naming a few off the top of my head.
  3. The commenter also claimed the funds were never allocated and kept a secret, but the allocation of the funds was disclosed two years ago, before the fundraising was completed.

a. 177 million dollars went directly to adding scholarships “for students of merit who demonstrate financial need.”

b. At the time of the fundraiser’s completion, 28 million – roughly 2 percent of the total donation was not allocated.

c. If you still have a problem with lack of transparency about where the money goes, you’re complaining about the wrong chancellor: Nancy Cantor was the one that handled the disclosure of the donations, not Kent Syverud.

  1. Again, this was a long-term effort. Syracuse does not receive annual donations of over one billion dollars every year.

All of those stats can be found here, and again, this was two years ago. The money has been allocated and most likely spent. A good chunk was actually spent on some of the same things THE General Body was complaining about: expansion of scholarships for students who would be otherwise unable to afford a college education, and attracting top professors who could help diversify the campus.

As of last year Syracuse University was 400 million dollars in debt, larger than average for a university its size. I’m a firm believer in the fact that money doesn’t appear out of thin air, and the mindset that one can just willfully throw money around because that they can always borrow more is both damaging and unsustainable.

To wrap up: we’re in debt; we don’t actually have 1.08 billion dollars to fix all of our problems. Most of our budget comes from student tuition, so the assumption that student tuition will rise if we continue renovating buildings, adding programs, and reversing budget cuts is not only realistic, but also fairly logical.

And if you still think my arguments are “shallow banter,” as this heckler suggested, I would implore the rest of the readers to take caution in taking advice from anyone who uses the phrase, “but like, also no,” in a serious written piece, or one who digresses from their point to talk about their horoscope. You know who you are.

By Cole Ellenbogen




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