The following is a letter to the editor and reflects the author’s views alone. For information on how to submit a piece to the Opinion section, click here.
To the Editor:
I’d like to clarify some issues raised in the recent column entitled “The University needs more transparency in how it funds religious life.” It is not the case, as the column suggests, that alumni donations are given over to the Office of Religious Life (ORL) to distribute amongst religious organizations. Student religious organizations do their own alumni fundraising independent of the ORL; we play no role in the solicitation or processing of gifts. Anyone who wishes to know about fundraising by student organizations needs to ask them directly. The campus accounts of every student organization, religious or not, are reported in SAFE, the student organization funding portal. Organizations’ successful applications to the ORL for the small grants that come from our own annual budget are also recorded in SAFE.
Additionally, the Fred Fox Fund, also referenced in the column, is not comprised of money that is given to the ORL to distribute but rather is an existing endowment, created by the Class of 1939, that generates annual income. The ORL volunteers the administrative time of one of its staff members to support the committee that disburses the funds. That committee is comprised of alumni from the Classes of 1978 and 2013.
As the column notes, student religious organizations receive generous support and as a result are thriving. We are endlessly grateful to the many alumni who make this possible through their donations, their time, and their prayers.
Alison Boden is the Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel.