Press Releases | Philanthropy

Princeton Ruling a Victory for Higher Ed Accountability

Robertsons deserve praise for calling University to account
October 25, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC—A judge ruled today that the Robertson family, which alleges Princeton University is misusing funds donated decades ago, will have its day in court. In response to the ruling, Anne D. Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and co-author of The Intelligent Donor’s Guide to College Giving, issued the following statement:

Today’s ruling is a resounding victory for all who believe that colleges must be accountable to the people on whose dollars they rely. It’s also a lesson to colleges: They can’t take alumni donations for granted.

The Robertsons have shown donors around the country that, unfortunately, the Ivory Tower is not free of greed and double-dealing—and that they must be more vigilant when they donate to their alma maters.

In too many ways, the academic community believes it is above scrutiny. Yet examples continue to mount of higher ed’s unethical behavior and abuse of the public trust, whether it’s handling of student loans or donor monies.

So donors and alumni have no choice but to demand accountability and integrity.

Alumni give billions of dollars every year—30% of all private higher education giving. If colleges like Princeton don’t get their act together, they may kill the goose that laid the golden egg. And if that happens, the students will be the losers.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, national organization dedicated to academic freedom, academic quality, and accountability. ACTA has a network of trustees and alumni around the country including those from Princeton. ACTA has issued numerous reports on higher education—including, most notably, The Intelligent Donor’s Guide to College Giving.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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