Binghamton University’s sports facilities in Vestal (NY) will be transformed with a $60 million anonymous gift that will create a new Baseball Stadium Complex for the Bearcats. Read more here. View renderings here. Of course, there always has to be one critic in the house. Read more here. While we get where Michael Poliakoff, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, is coming from, this scolding is unwarranted:
“While the anonymous donor may have insisted on funding this project, there comes a point when university officials have a pedagogical and moral responsibility to channel negotiations toward a project that reasonably advances the core mission of the university—teaching, learning, and research.”
First, how does Poliakoff know that BU officials didn’t try steer the money in a different direction? If so, and the donor was immovable, BU did the absolute right thing by accepting the very generous gift and marketing the project in the best way possible. A decision otherwise would have been completely irresponsible. Second, the donation is/was anonymous. How does Polikoff know whether or not this donor makes academic donations as well? He doesn’t. Look, if a wealthy donor wants a project of this magnitude, they have obviously given it plenty of thought, and it’s the project they want. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
We’re not sure why Poliakoff had to weave publicly funded sports stadiums into this, as it’s irrelevant here.