ANTITHESIS: Say No to Sachs Scholarship — updated

This is another installment of “ANTITHESIS” — your outlet for speaking out against anything Zine, Western or MIT.
This edition is in response to the proposed $35,000 scholarship from American banking firm, Goldman Sachs.

UPDATE: the scholarship has been accepted by the Board of Governors.

Read more about their reasoning after the jump.

I was never more proud to be a FIMS student when I heard that one of our own was questioning the ethics of accepting a scholarship fund from Goldman Sachs. Not only does FIMS, with its highly anti-corporation sentiments, have reason to be anti-Goldman Sachs, but  the rest of the world does too. The financial giant is considered one of the central orchestrators of the 2008 global economic crisis. Of course, in the face of this Goliath, it’s FIMS — a mere David — that speaks up.

The proposed MBA scholarship to the Ivey School of Business, which would be funded by Goldman Sachs, is currently under review by the Senate Committee on Academic Planning and Awards (SCAPA). This is only after FIMS’ Associate Dean, Dr. Nick Dyer-Witheford, presented a series of questions and facts suggesting Western should not associate itself with a corporation like Goldman Sachs.

This incident highlights the importance of fields of academic study like FIMS, where people can gather and question the society we live in. For all its claims of prestige and glory, business schools like Ivey churn out graduates who will, for the most part, fall in line with the money-hungry corporate status quo.  I am sure there are some who think Dyer-Witheford’s claims are outrageous and that, as an educational institution, Western should accept scholarships that will attract the best students.

But the fact of the matter is universities do not always make education the priority. We’ve seen that Western, and all universities for that matter, are in danger of turning into businesses, trying to operate as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.  Several of the changes proposed by UWO administration that almost resulted in a faculty strike earlier this school year dealt with these issues.

If universities are to be institutions of higher education and research, we need to maintain an arm’s length from corporations. Donations from external organizations can be incredibly beneficial to funding research at universities but we have to consider what their motivations are for donating:

Is it an alumnus who wants to give to the school that helped launch his career? Or is it a tarnished corporation trying to rebuild its reputation by associating themselves with a top business school so they can continue attracting top talent to their company and effectively rule the world?

One issue raised by Dyer-Witheford was how certain practices of Goldman Sachs, such as executive bonuses and lavish corporate spending, have lead to widespread criticism of all business schools for failing to question “prevailing market orthodoxies.”

While, I am glad that SCAPA is seriously considering Dyer-Witheford’s questions, this is an issue that extends way beyond one proposed Ivey scholarship. Goldman Sachs is a corporation that deserves to be particularly humiliated, having paid millions of dollars to stop fraud investigations into its practices. But it is just one of many companies in the financial sector who are busy making money for the rich (or just themselves) and neglecting, or worse, stealing, from everybody else.

Below is the memo outlining the reasoning for accepting the gift:

Below are the questions raised initially by our Associate Dean:

2 thoughts on “ANTITHESIS: Say No to Sachs Scholarship — updated

  1. Pingback: The Other Elections… « mitZine Online

  2. I agree. A scholarship donated by any corporation is questionable at best; accepting the scholarship from Goldman is downright shameful.

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