How the University of New Hampshire spun blowing a frugal librarian's donation on a stupid football scoreboard


A big reason I decided against seeking a teaching position after my post-doc fellowship is because of the unholy level of Kafkaesque crap every prof I worked for had and has to put up with. My hat is off to your profession.


Even disregarding any tax issues, money is fungible. “Yeah, we’ll allocate your donation of $X to your favorite program. Coincidentally, we’re also transferring $X from the old budget of your favorite program to administrative overhead.”


My rabbi’s a very smart guy. His name is Larry Kushner, and he said anybody’s who’s interested in making last requests has missed the whole point of being dead. — D. Mamet

Which has nothing to do with its still being a rubbish spend.


Tell them to stay pissed. In fact, please tell them to get their students and co-workers posses as well.

This should not be forgotten as one of those short internet hypes. They who mistreat the will of a librarian should suffer, eternally.

As a staff member, I would probably go full librarian about this. Monkeys. Bloody monkeys. Not a hint of sapient behaviour there.


Devil horns? Pence outed in Satanist Metal Shock Outrage!



I don’t know why anyone donates to universities. With the rapacious fees those sons of bitches charge they should be rolling in cash and, judging by the rate at which my old uni is throwing up buildings and unnecessary sports facilities, they are.


They even gave me a receipt written in Latin.


Homecoming weekend, or whatever the big game of the season, the stands should be full of people reading library books, ignoring the game except to yell “SHH!” whenever there is a touchdown.

Or, given the quality of the team, maybe whenever the announcer announces anything.


“How dare you desecrate the Robert Morin Outdoor Reading Room with your sportsball noise?”

I like it.


Does UNH football even have enough crazed loyalists to make this an ‘evil but pragmatic’ move; or is it just plain baffling?

It’s obviously an ice-hearted betrayal of the express wishes of extremely generous donor and longtime valued staff member; but without a cadre of football loyalists it doesn’t even make sense in a neutral evil sort of way.

My acquaintance with this area is limited, which is why I ask; but my impression was that the northeast was pretty low on powerhouse college football programs and the entrenched fanatics that tend to aid and abet them.

Is there anyone having a serious attempt at trying to spin this as a sound policy; or is it finding almost no friends willing to try to defend it now that they would have to do so in public?


It says somewhere in the link tree that it went to the university’s Career Center, which I guess is OK. As a rule, I don’t get hung up on the rights of the dead, because, sentiment aside, they don’t have any rights.

However, taking $1m of this guy’s money for football… that’s some industrial-strength sentiment involved there. If A Christmas Carol had starred these administrators, it would probably end with them cooking and eating Tiny Tim.

Why it’s so poignant is that this Morin guy sounds like the Platonic ideal of learning for its own sake – what colleges routinely claim as their most sacred value. And that’s in direct contrast to how this college views sport. TIL they charge every student $1,075 a year(!!!) to prop up their athletics program. So they’re not using sport to support learning, but rather to justify it. Which is… really gross.


Maybe some one senior at the Uni has an in-law who runs a stadium scoreboard business?


Aside from those who are donors at a level that might get their underqualified brats in as legacy admits; I also can’t understand the logic behind an unrestricted gift; but a university doesn’t get crazy wealthy by supporting all aspects of its operations equally, so I could definitely see the incentive to kick some money in the direction of a program that you have a particular fondness for.

In an ideal world, Admin wouldn’t be so willing to ignore their less visible programs in favor of sportsball and growing the endowment to Scrooge McDuck size; but my ability to do anything about that is pretty limited; while(if I’ve done at least OK for myself); my ability to directly show my gratitude to the philosophy department, or a scholarship program, or similar is much more under my control. Plus,the areas that get minimal love in terms of funding are often the ones that derive greater marginal utility from an additional dollar; both because they have fewer of them and because they are often the areas that get underfunded because they don’t have any dramatic infrastructure or cash-cow grant-scoring researchers.


It mentioned trade books, not manuals. Which sounds… hard to believe, especially considering he was up to 1938 evidently when he died. No idea how many trade books were published back then, but I would think it would be in the thousands per year at least.


According to the story, Mr Morin’s financial adviser asked him several times if he wanted to be more specific about the bequest and he always decided not to be. According to this:

it appears that Mr Morin may have specified $100k for the library and left the rest unrestricted.

So, I’m not sure one can really say that the use of the money went against his wishes. His expressed wishes were that the university should be able to use (most of) the money as they saw fit.

Trying to justify using lots of it for a new scoreboard by saying that it is what Mr Morin would have wanted because he discovered some deep love for football is a complete dick move, yes.

But only because it indicates that the administration knew that the decision was dubious and needed something sentimental to try and justify it rather than being confident they could justify it on its merits.

There are lots of good reasons not to restrict gifts. It does rely on trusting that the people you leave it to will do something you approve of with it or simply letting go and not caring what they do with it.

Either way, if you don’t trust them, probably better not to leave them money at all.


But maybe it was a plot point in one of the 21,000 films?


I remember that one! I love to see the stuff that swooshed over my head as a kid; I especially remember the lines from the students in this clip from when I saw it again in my 20s or 30s.

As football stadiums go, UNH’s is tiny and the old scoreboard looked fine to me. :confused:


Heck, I was pissed when I first heard about it, and I only go by the stadium in a train…well, sometimes drive down to the ice cream stand, too.


My point was more like: never mind Morin’s former feelings – how do these trustees look at themselves after taking a rare gift from a library monk and spending it to, basically, denigrate the whole concept of learning?



[Post must be at least nine characters, huh? Ok]


Ah football. Is there anything your toxic existence doesn’t ruin?