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Letter: President Paxson should apologize for University involvement in private dinner

To the Editor:

I was disheartened to read President Christina Paxson’s P’19 statement regarding the Granoff dinners, which was quoted in The Herald Wednesday. I would have preferred for her to take this more seriously, and acknowledge how this could be perceived instead of using her editorial to say that the writers of the article in the Providence Journal provided “no data or facts,” and that the article failed to mention all the good the University does for middle and low-income students.

What I fail to understand in Paxson’s statement is how any of the “good” that the University does outweighs the negative connotations of having an event such as this facilitated by the University. Ignoring the allegations of preferential treatment in the housing lottery, the fact that administrative staff perpetuated an exclusive dinner designed to give wealthier students an opportunity to interact with both each other and a wealthy donor only seems to enhance the elitism that the University seemingly tries to distance itself from. While the University should be commended for its past efforts to combat this, Paxson’s letter seems to argue that this event should never have been exposed in the first place because it seems to challenge the “proper” narrative that the University wants to strive towards. I’m not sure why having ambitious goals makes the University any less responsible for the actions that occurred.

I was also surprised to hear Paxson claim that the central administration was “not aware” of these occurrences. Again, I’m not sure what Paxson is trying to say here; contrary to distancing the University from the situation at hand, it actually seems to make the central administration seem both inept and unable to handle its administrative duties effectively. A wealthy donor such as Martin Granoff P’93, combined with a large conglomeration of wealthy students in one setting, would seem to warrant the knowledge and approval of the central administration; the fact that this was not the case makes me question what other things the administration is not aware of.

An apology would have been more appropriate than this sort of rebuttal.

Eamon McKeever ’22


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