Students Want Better Wages Not Fancy Buildings From Donors
Fred’s University students were reprimanded today for lobbying the university’s largest donor to return his latest gift and instead provide better wages at his company. The bequest from High Fructose Corn Syrup magnate Sam Sugar was slated to finance a new athletic complex, The Hall of Champions (although in point of fact, Fred U has not won any championships in over a decade).
The students argued that the new gym Sugar was bankrolling would only benefit the students for a few years, whereas better wages would last a lifetime. Some of the nerds who were organizing the protest pointed out they actually got zero benefits from athletic gifts.
“Charity is a scam!” they shouted outside the Dean’s office. The students pointed out that, between the tax deductions and the brand promotion the donor will receive for the unnecessary extra gym, the gift benefits him more than the school.
“TAKE BACK YOUR STINKY GYM,” and “PLEASE PAY MORE” were two posters spotted at the event. The students were inspired by Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price who lowered his own salary to raise his company’s minimum wage to $70,000 and advocated for better compensation at the cost of CEO pay. Some carried signs that read “$70K Minimum Wage.”
The small group of non-athlete protesters hope to make a larger point about the insider game of institutional giving and its relationship to low wages. “We prefer fair wages to fancy gifts,” said one student organizer. “Corporations devalue our labor, and then expect us to be grateful when a tiny amount of stolen wages are returned to us in the form of vanity projects. We call foul. Whatever that really means.”
“If they really cared about us, how about a Dungeons and Dragons Den or a Magic The Gathering Room?” one student opined (slightly off message).
“When donors throw money at liberal arts colleges, they are both giving an unfair advantage to richer/whiter kids like us, and also directly disadvantaging hourly workers who could be paid more with those dollars,” a gangly freshman told reporters.
When the brief protest was over, the students met the Dean in the plush atrium of the newly renovated Sugar Student Center where they sipped cappuccinos from the Starbucks machine while negotiating the terms of their punishment.
“This coffee tastes as good as in the store,” the Dean commented. “And you don’t have to tip,” replied the lead organizer. Everyone laughed. (“Not sure why they laughed at that,’’ the Dean admitted afterward.)
After the cappuccinos, the Dean and the students chatted about how much each employee could be paid with the cost of the new gym, and argued about whether it would be better for workers to get an extra week of paid vacation with the athletic center money. Some students were able to do the math in their heads, which the Dean appreciated.
The students talked with the Dean about bringing a Gravity Payments recruiter to campus, and how much they all would like to work at the progressive company. “Perhaps tweet their CEO about your protest, tell them you were reprimanded, and see if he is interested in new hires,” the Dean suggested.
As he walked back to his luxurious office above the Student Center, the Dean mused that a Pokémon Parlor would be cheaper than a gym and still leave some money for workers. He could not do the math. If the numbers weren’t good, he thought, perhaps Pokémon could be convinced to donate. A Pokémon Parlor would be good for Pokémon.
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