Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'm not taking this sitting down

I used to be in fund raising. I wrote grants to tax-funded organizations. Sponsored Programs it was called at the time. But I worked with other people who did other kinds of fund raising, including "direct mail marketing," which is nothing more than a fancy term for junk mail. I would just like to say that I flat out do not believe in direct mail marketing. I detest it as much as you do.

And when faced with a never ending stream of junk mail from one organization I became associated with, I decided to strike back. I would like to show you a letter I wrote to the President, Head of Development, and the Registrar of the University of Kentucky recently. Amazingly enough, I am no longer receiving junk mail with the University of Kentucky logo on it.

Power to the people, man.

Dear Dr. Todd, Ms. Hager, and Mr. Richey,

I am writing you all with a serious concern of broad interest, I'm certain, to many UK alumni and to your three offices as well. In 2003, I requested that a copy of my transcripts be sent to my current university so that I could enter graduate school. The Office of the Registrar required I provide my name, current address, and telephone number. Although I am not a member of the Alumni Association, I began receiving an alumni magazine from the College of Arts and Sciences shortly thereafter, despite never having contacted anyone in that department. Just as quickly, I began to get offers from credit card companies, insurance companies, cable television companies, satellite television companies, digital television companies, cellular telephone companies, and God knows what else, all prominently labeled as "special offer for University of Kentucky Alumni". I have been contacted numerous times by the University of Kentucky Office of Development asking for contributions. Each time I have politely asked that I be removed from the calling list. Every week for the past 6 years, I have received junk mail prominently labeled with the University of Kentucky logo.

I am sending you an electronic letter for a reason. I am a biologist and I work hard to lessen my carbon footprint. I am on the national Do Not Call list and have worked hard to get my name and address removed from junk mailers' rolls. But UK has done me in. You have sold my personal information to the highest bidder and I can't stop the hemorrhage of paper no matter how hard I try. The pennies you have received from selling my personal information has undone years of vigilant conservation. I PAID to have a transcript sent. I did not grant you permission to sell me out to the highest bidder. I did not pay to begin an insidious trail of junk mail, unsolicited phone calls, and never-ending aggravation that is, apparently, part and parcel of being a UK alumnus. Ladies and gentlemen, I am not your latest fund raising opportunity. I am a person of exceedingly little means. Thanks for opening up my life to constant aggravation and harassment by your "advertising partners" and for making a degree from the University of Kentucky one of the most unlikely sources of a negative environmental impact.

As far as I'm concerned, your actions in selling my personal information without my permission is tantamount to fraud and harassment. Whatever you have to do to remove my name from anything having to do with the University of Kentucky is preferable to this. And I can tell you right now, UK will not be getting one penny of my money in the form of donations.

Stop selling out your alumni. You should be ashamed.

Ms. D
UK College of Arts and Sciences Class of 1986

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