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MOPIRG's Unethical Donation Collection

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Title: MOPIRG's Unethical Donation Collection
Author: Rob Miley
Date: 3/26/02

If your plans are to attend St. Louis Community College be prepared to have more work thrust upon you by MOPIRG and the college. This environmental organization participates in unethical donation collecting. The process in which they accumulate this revenue puts an unneeded and almost fraudulent burden on students.

THE IDEA:
Gain revenue by having students donate funds when they register for class.

THE PRACTICE:
Currently the practice is to force students to uncheck a donation box when registering in person, and automatically adding this now so called "donation" when registering online. In the latter, students are unable to chose whether or not to donate. Instead, funds are effectively stolen by the college from the students and then are donated to MOPIRG.

THE VIOLATION:
With registering in person a student must take action not to donate. This "negative action" puts the burden on the students who wish not to donate. I believe a more ethical approach to this would be to switch the roles and make the people who want to donate take the action.

In regards to online registering, students do not even have the right not to donate. Fees are charged to them without their consent. To make the "donation" process even more aggressive students cannot receive a refund once they have paid for their classes.

THE SOLUTION:
One would be to get rid of the affiliation with MOPIRG and STLCC altogether. However, a recent vote at Meramec supported the organization. If the majority of the campus wishes for MOPIRG to stay does this allow them to steal money from students who wish not to donate? I would say "no".

A more practical solution to this debate would be to change the donating practice to not burden those who do not want to donate. But, doing this might make some think the college admits to some sort of wrongdoing. We all can agree that changing the wording on registration sheets and adding a check box to an Internet form is relatively easy, but what is the reason behind them not doing this? My opinion is that MOPIRG and STLCC know that if they switched it around less people would take the effort to donate. This raises not only an ethical question, but also some legal ones. Basically, not only does the college discriminate against those that register and pay online, but it even takes predatory steps to make sure every dollar possible is squeezed out of all students. Who knows, students may want to pursue a class action suit against these two organizations.


 

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