Peace alumnae, students cut off donations

Posted August 2, 2011
Updated August 3, 2011

— Some alumnae and students at Peace College in Raleigh said they are suspending or canceling donations to the school in light of the administration's decision to change the college's name and admit male students next year.

"By suspending or canceling gifts, it's one way to send a message," alumna Karen Sinclair said Tuesday. "The way some things have rolled out, that's really the only way we've had to express our concerns." 

Peace College President Debra Townsley said the changes to the 154-year-old women's college, which will be called William Peace University starting in the fall, boil down to economics. She said admitting men is a measure to increase enrollment and bring in more money.

Approximately 80 percent of the college's revenues come from tuition, so increasing enrollment should raise more funds, Julie Ricciardi, vice president of development, said. It's a better way than increasing tuition, she said.

Students and graduates said they feel left out of the decisions and don't want to support a school that is changing its focus.

Sinclair said donors aren't necessarily averse to change but want to be part of the process. 

"You want to feel like the gift, as well as the gift of your time, is going to support a shared mission," Sinclair said. "With that mission changing so significantly, we all have to reassess if this is indeed where we want to put our resources."

Sinclair, a donor for the past 10 years, said she has suspended her monetary gift to the school. 

peace college Peace alums suspend donations

"Nearly everyone I have talked to have stopped all giving due to the secrecy and general lack of regard for alumnae by Townsley," Class of 2000 alumna Jamie Averette Mitchell said.

Tildsley Clifford, a 2008 graduate of Peace College, said she won't be donating to the school anymore because of the changes.

"What little I do have will not go to William Peace University. My alma mater is Peace College. Why would I donate to a school that is not printed on my diploma?" Clifford said.

Ricciardi said the college is planning ways to reach out to alumnae and celebrate the college's traditions and history.

"Our alumnae have always been passionate, and we hope that they will embrace this opportunity," Ricciardi said in a statement.

An online petition to remove Townsley started before the announcement of the name change. Organizers would not say how many signatures the petition has, but said alumnae response has been swift and encouraging.


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  • warbirdlover Aug 4, 2011

    Who really care ithey let men attend. How many of us are going to enroll at this College oh, University?????? Why would anyone want to continue to pay your school money, after they made you or your family go broke attending??????

  • sunneyone Aug 4, 2011

    My source in reference to NC State's name changes:

  • sunneyone Aug 4, 2011

    "Sunneyone: really? I don't ever remember NC State, actually NCSU when I attended, ever asking me about tuition increases or how my money is spent. Since when has any school asked their alumni for permission to do anything? Once you have graduated, the purposes of that school has been fulfilled and they have to look to the needs to the currently enrolled students. peace either has to adapt or close. Unless of course you alumni want to give more money."

    Actually, NCSU stands for North Carolina State University and the standard shortenings of that are both NCSU and NC State. The name change I referred to in my post was the brief time period in the 1960s when the name was change to University of NC at Raleigh.

    When *I* was at State (another common nickname), Student Government frequently voted on tuition increases and whether to accept them.

    I guess you also have not heard of alumni associations and booster clubs?

  • RM24 Aug 4, 2011

    They should have received some of the special bail out money. You know the bail out money that can fix anything??? Oh wait, that didn't work. Oh well, it was a thought.

  • RM24 Aug 4, 2011

    First of all, it's President Obama. The stance that you referred to is not exclusively that of the president. It is also the stance of most Americans who possess an ounce of commonsense. You might want to go back and recheck the dates of when the problems started and escalated. I don't recall President Obama being in office from 2000-2008.

    I guess you set the standard on commonsense?

  • Lamborghini Mercy Aug 4, 2011

    Sounds like Peace College was backed into a corner and needed additional funds, which is likely why they decided to open its doors to male students. It's quite disturbing to hear alumni disapprove change. Perhaps if they paid more, the school wouldn't have to look at other options to stay competitive with other college institutions. Change can sometimes be a good thing.

  • BadDayforButch Aug 3, 2011

    To all the Peace undergrads out there, expect less financial aid this year because your alumnae is no longer going to donate money. They are only hurting their own.

  • BadDayforButch Aug 3, 2011

    Obviously, there were not a lot of donations if the school was going broke. These people don't even realize what they are doing. By cutting off their donations they could very well cause the school to close completely because of the bad ecponomic state it is in or deprive an incoming student of financial assistance. Then they can tell people where they graduated from and nobody will have heard of it anymore. Brilliant !

  • didisaythat Aug 3, 2011

    Boy if it was a all male school the females acitvist would be up in it is being done to you...doesn't feel so good does it?

  • my3chicks Aug 3, 2011

    This year Peace graduated its first class of the new adult degree program. This program is not cheap and neither is tuition for traditional students. The adult degree program brought in a quite a bit of revenue to Peace so I am very confused about the lack of finances. I can understand the anger, betrayal, frustration of the Peace Alumnae and students since Peace will ask for input in many areas but not about a name change or adding men to the traditional students. In my opinion it has nothing to do with sexism but more that disappointment and lack of communication! Times are changing and with those changes comes disagreement and we must roll with the changes or move on. There have been many changes at Peace in the past year and it looks like this is only the begining...