In Response to: The Giving Plea

I read with interest the article “The Giving Plea.” I am one of those alumni who do not donate to Princeton. It is partly due to reason number 3: the endowment. Princeton has a $36 billion endowment, and they’re still begging for more? Like nearly all major institutions (profit or nonprofit), the word “enough” does not seem to be in their vocabulary.

However, there’s another reason: I’m reminded of Thoreau’s writing of those who “serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God.” This pretty much describes what Princeton is about, both in how it educates and in the behavior of its administration and many of its graduates. Princeton and the economic and political systems it serves are ultimately about the maximization of wealth and power in the hands of individuals and institutions, and this amorality is one big reason why our society is unable to effectively deal with the enormous problems that threaten our civilization and even our survival.

Allison M. McKenney ’75
Tarrytown, N.Y.