Friday, December 13, 2013

When Alma Mater hits you up for money

blue bin fuel

Historiann ponders the impulse of alumni to donate to their universities.  Do you feel more generous to your undergrad school than to your grad school, she asks, even though the latter probably gave you more money, etc.?
"The pleas from my graduate institution go right into the recycling bin, as does their monthly alumni magazine.  (Honestly:  what a waste of paper and fuel!)"  
Is this mostly an American state-school-versus-private-school issue?  Does a Canadian prof donate like this American one does? I'm thinking of a multi-degreed Canadian who told me s/he simultaneously earned a B.A from the provincial university and a driver's licence from the provincial department of motor vehicles. "Both credentials have been useful over the years. The difference is the department of motor vehicles doesn't send me expensive glossy magazines and hit me up for money forever."  Is that the true Canadian experience?

If you are feeling, well, reluctant, here's reinforcement in an letter The Writers' Union of Canada is sending to thousands of Canadian writers this holiday season:
Two days ago we sent you news that the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario have declined to sign a new collective licence to pay writers for the copying of our work on campus. Last month, most of you will have received your annual royalty cheque from Access Copyright, and will have noticed that this year's cheque was much smaller than last year's.
These two events are related. As more and more colleges and universities across the country refuse to sign licences, tens of millions of dollars of legally required royalty income is disappearing from the Canadian writing and publishing sector. U of T and UWO combined represent approximately $2.5 million in royalties. These schools will now rely on a legally unsupported claim of "fair dealing" to continue copying work without paying the millions they owe to writers. 
The Writers' Union of Canada is working hard to combat all such infringements. Your National Council is considering many options for action in the New Year. In the meantime, there is something you can do on your own that won't take much time and will make sure your voice is heard.
Please write directly to the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario to let them know how you feel about their decision. We are a union of over 2000 members. Many of us are graduates of either these universities or other Canadian post-secondary institutions that have stopped royalty payment. Many of us have been asked to donate our time and money back to our alma maters. Whether or not you attended these schools they need to hear from you, especially at this time of year when they are engaged in fundraising campaigns.
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