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Yet another million dollars into the president’s mansion

Last week University officials announced that a record amount of money had been raised though private fundraising.

According to an article in the Toledo Blade, cash gifts increased by more than fifteen percent, from $8.5 million to $9.8 million, plus $2 million in gifts-in-kind.

This news should certainly be welcome to the ears of Bowling Green students, because a large portion of that money is going to scholarships and other financial aid programs to help offset the rising price of tuition caused by a reduction in the amount of state aid.

Note that I said a “large portion,” not all of it. I can’t say “all of it,” because we all know where a cool $1 million of that money is going, don’t we?

No, it’s not going to faculty raises. No, the University didn’t decide to buy us all books for next semester. A free kegger at every apartment in Bowling Green? Nope, wrong again (but wouldn’t that be nice?).

One million of those dollars are going toward the purchase of a mansion for Dr. Ribeau. This money, raised by the BGSU Foundation, Inc, is going towards a house that the Foundation claims is needed to aid, well, fundraising.

That’s right, the main excuse given for this unnecessary extravagance is that cooler digs are needed to help fill the coffers at the University. Dr. Ribeau’s present accommodations at 632 Hillcrest just aren’t up to par, despite the fact that the University set a new record in fundraising this last fiscal year.

The fact that a new fundraising record was set would enable one to make a reasonable argument that fundraising here was going just fine without the million dollar mansion and that buying a giant house conveniently located on a golf course was unnecessary.

I don’t want to seem ungrateful here. We should all be very thankful that people were willing to donate their hard-earned money to help aid us, as students, in our pursuit of higher education.

All I’m saying is that it seems obvious to me, based on the success the University had in raising money this year, that a new house ostensibly for that purpose is not needed.

A part of me wonders if the whole “we need it for fundraising” excuse wasn’t just a smokescreen to begin with. Maybe they just pulled that old trick because it was a bit more palatable than “Well, sometimes I feel like playing golf, and the golf course is so far away, so I thought, you know, a house on a golf course might be nice.”

And don’t believe them when they tell you that none of the money for the President’s new house is coming out of your pocket. It is. If that money were put toward even more financial aid instead of a new house, maybe you and I would (gasp!) be paying less for tuition. The horror!

And does anyone think that the size of a person’s house affects fundraising that much anyway? Are we to believe that it’s possible people are not going to give money because of a supposedly inadequate party? It seems pretty unlikely that someone is going to attend one of Dr. Ribeau’s get togethers and say at the end, “‘Well, Dr. Ribeau, I was going to give your university this million dollar check, but your house is awfully small, so …’ RIP!”

I know. I don’t think it’s very likely either.

People are giving money! More than last year, and any year before that! Why do we need a million-dollar band-aid to fix what clearly isn’t broken? The answer is, we don’t.

By expending time and spending money to raise funds for this house, the fundraisers for Bowling Green, God love them and all the hard work they do, have let us down–which is sad, because these people really do work hard at what they do. No one will give them more credit for that than I do. They simply seem to be misguided.

While I’m sure there are those of you who will accuse me of beating a dead horse and repeating my points about why this house is so evil ad nauseum, and I’m sure my editor is nodding his head here, let me say that there has been no explanation of this either on the University website or in this very paper. No letter. No posting. Not even a flier.

So until this issue is addressed to a reasonable degree of satisfaction, I’m going to keep raising it. It’s been my experience that the worst reason to stop asking something is because no one will answer you.

It’s a typically American response to give in and trust that someone “up there” is looking out for us and making all the complicated decisions we could not possibly understand — like invading another sovereign nation. Well, that’s not for me. And nothing is going to make me give in. Not even a million dollar house.

Shaun is our resident “What’s up with the president’s house?” columnist. E-mail him at [email protected].

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