I got a call last night from the UCLA Fund asking me to renew my financial support for U.C.L.A.
It literally hurt to do it, but for the first time ever, I told them, "No".
I get this call at least once a year. The caller starts with the usual niceties, asking how I am doing and verifying my info, and noting the school is grateful for my previous regular support. He asked when I'd last visited campus (it was January) and we laughed that construction of new buildings on campus continues as it always has since 1919. He also mentioned that he was 6 weeks from graduating himself, and that he had really appreciated his time in Westwood.
Then it was time for business and he asked if U.C.L.A. could count on my continued support.
So I began. I explained I loved my school dearly, and had always donated what I could. Those donations have gotten bigger with the years, and I took pride in increasing my donation amounts most years. I noted that I understood that this was a critical time for U.C.L.A. as it faces budget cuts and higher costs, especially tuition. I laid out exactly why giving is so important to myself as well as to U.C.L.A.
Then came the, "But..."
I think the caller was honestly surprised at this point. He had my history and occupation on the sheet in front of him, and I think my "No" caught him off guard. He stuck to the script at first, pointing out the UCLA Fund is separate from the Athletic Department. But I pointed out that the two are really just inseparable parts of the whole. Saturdays at the Rose Bowl meant as much or more of U.C.L.A. than nights in Powell or BioMed. I reiterated my explanation that the Athletic Department's gross mismanagement and frank dishonesty are terribly damaging to the student experience and thus to all of U.C.L.A., and that since it is clear that Morgan is listening to neither reason nor passion from the alum and fan base, therefore the only recourse I have to get their attention is to withhold monetary support of the University as a whole.
I believe I heard a sigh of understanding as the caller noted he was an athlete himself, and that he understood and respected my position. I tried to let him know how badly I felt for him and his fellow students. I understand that they have their own immediate issues with midterms and work and training etc that make it difficult for them to recognize what is happening and to do anything about it. And not to negate their own responsibility, but as an alum, I feel a personal responsibility to ensure that the current and future students get the same incredible student experience that I had. The same experience that fostered my love and devotion to all things Bruin. The same experience that makes the current mismanagement from the Morgan Center intolerable, unsustainable, and unsupportable.
I asked him please to forward my reasons for not donating to his superiors, just so the message is heard by as many people as possible. The caller was incredibly polite and professional with me. And I literally felt nauseated when I hung up the phone.
I do not write this with any pride or satisfaction or smugness. I write this with extreme regret and sadness and disappointment. Anything only happens because of money or physics, and this isn't gravity. You won't listen to us any other way, Guerrero. And now your ineptitude is hurting everything around you.
This is on you, Dan Guerrero and Morgan Center. Your apathy and incompetence is amply documented here on our pages, on your own Facebook pages, in your press releases, in your official and unofficial responses and actions - and inactions, on the Pac-10 scoreboards, and most sadly, in the fabric of the current U.C.L.A. student life.
My donation isn't going anywhere else, for now. It's far from the largest annual donation you get, but my goal has been for it to become that one day. It's just sitting around accruing interest, and next year's annual donation will get added to it, and so on and so on, for now. Put the students back on the sidelines, Guerrero, which I will consider to be a show of good faith that you will begin to correct the decade and more of mismanagement by you and your department. Do this, and my check goes west the next day. Continue to fiddle, and you lose me, and a generation of future alums, i.e. your current students, forever.