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Advice for college megadonors whose alma maters fail the test

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Nov 23, 2023, 5:20:15 PM11/23/23

Advice for college megadonors whose alma maters fail the test
FILE - Students walk through Harvard Yard, April 27, 2022, on the campus
of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. On Monday, July 24, 2023, the
U.S. Department of Education opened an investigation into Harvard
University's policies on legacy admissions, which give an edge to
applicants with family ties to alumni. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
Students walk through Harvard Yard, April 27, 2022, on the campus of
Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
As someone who grew up in abject poverty and was homeless often as a
child, I have never been a fan of macro solutions to the problems that
plague humanity. It may be a great way to fundraise, but it generally
does little to solve the crisis being exploited.

Take hunger and poverty. Over the decades, literally hundreds of
billions have been raised to eradicate life-destroying sorrows that
continually get worse. Of course, the argument can, has and should be
made that much of those billions went to overhead, exorbitant salaries,
lavish “fact-finding” trips — or was outright stolen.

Based upon my own experiences, I have always been a fan of micro
solutions to difficult to solve problems. With regard to hunger and
poverty, I have long preached (and practiced) that in our daily lives,
we all know at least one fellow person — a relative, a friend, a
business colleague or a stranger we noticed in our travels — going
through some of the worst that life has to offer. If each of us stepped
up to help just that one person, I maintain that real progress would be

With that in mind, the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas has suddenly
put our colleges, universities and the donors who fund them squarely in
the spotlight.

Suddenly, liberal megadonors who have regularly and generously donated
to their alma maters have now woken to the “woke” perception that has
been permeating those institutions for years. What awakened them from
their ignorant slumber was a chorus of antisemitic, massively intolerant
screeds echoing across various campuses.

Should these megadonors have woken long before when certain
conservative, faith-based or Asian students were regularly being
discriminated against? Of course. But later is still better than never.

What obligations do megadonors on either side of the political divide
have to the ultimate welfare of our nation, our national security and
the wellbeing of corporations that employ tens of millions of Americans?
Shouldn’t the potential millions of dollars they donate stand for
something? Shouldn’t it go towards effecting a positive change rather
than disappearing down an ideological sinkhole?

Here again, I believe there is a micro solution to such a dilemma.

A growing percentage of our population has come to believe that many
colleges and universities have willingly — or via bullying — gotten away
from the core mission of educating students. In place of such education,
the schools now pacify students, indoctrinate them or yield to their
often childish and counterproductive demands.

Today, while a degree in the “degradation of microaggressions” might
make certain students feel empowered, it does nothing whatsoever to help
with the staffing of our intelligence agencies; ensuring our national
security; the advancement of medical science; stabilizing our banking
system; or expanding the job market.

Do these megadonors want to continue to waste millions on the grievances
of the week and those who preach censorship, or do they want to support
that which makes our nation stronger and more secure, while giving
students the intellectual tools needed to compete with the rest of the

If so, the obvious question becomes: Which colleges and universities now
bypass self-destructive bumper-sticker curriculums to focus on not only
preparing their students for the real world but making them highly
attractive candidates for corporate and governmental America?

While there are thankfully still a number, I would like to highlight
two. The first is the new “anti-woke” University of Austin, a four-year
college created by former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss dedicated
to freedom of thought and expression.

Weiss — a desperately needed voice of reason — has assembled an
impressive board of advisors, including former New York magazine
columnist Andrew Sullivan, former ACLU president Nadine Strossen and
economist Glenn Loury, as well as wealthy trustees like Palantir founder
Joe Lonsdale.

While much of liberal academia and the liberal media has already
attacked the school and its mission (even more reason for megadonors to
check it out), it still aims to welcome its first class of full-time
four-year undergraduates in 2024.

Next comes an institution of higher learning I became affiliated with
about a year ago called the Institute of World Politics.

IWP is truly unique in that it is a completely nonpartisan, independent
graduate school founded to fill a major national need: to supply
professional education in statecraft, national security, intelligence
and international affairs.

Surely some megadonors suddenly reminded that evil walks the earth may
be interested in learning more about a graduate school whose curriculum
covers all the arts of statecraft, offered by no other school, while
steering well clear of partisan traps.

Be it IWP, the University of Austin, or others, the greater point is
that the megadonors pulling their money out of certain colleges and
universities should diligently do their own homework to identify
institutions of higher learning that not only speak to their values but
prepare students for life — while contributing to the greater security
of our nation.

For these megadonors, “Honest and Uncensored Education 101” must be a

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a
writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W.
Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the
Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.

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