Renew Rensselaer Update

Dear Concerned Alumni,

These past few months have been notable in what they did not produce, in several ways.

Renew Rensselaer attempted to engage the RPI Board of Trustees, again. In a letter to Chairman Arthur Golden, we offered to rally alumni support to improve the Institute’s financial status. In exchange, we asked for reasonable and well-founded improvements to RPI’s governance.

RPI’s latest financial disclosures have been updated in the Untold Story. While the recent expansion of the undergraduate student body size has helped short-term cash flow, RPI has still not seen an increase in endowment or research funding, as promised in the Rensselaer Plan. Furthermore, drain of faculty talent continues and maintenance of the campus physical plant has fallen further behind.

Unfortunately, it has become abundantly clear that the Board of Trustees has no abiding interest in the concerns of rank-and-file alumni—only in receiving donations. We propose a support campaign allowing alumni to offer Conditional Financial Pledges, to be executed only after the Board of Trustees adopts and implements the recommendations outlined in the Renew Rensselaer Platform. We believe such a campaign would be viewed as valuable to the Institute and the Board of Trustees, and bring about meaningful negotiations with alumni. A large enough pool of conditional pledges should trigger the Board’s fiduciary duty to engage with the parties presenting the bundled pledges. It is in this way, the Institute sees value in alumni and may be drawn to the negotiating table.

We would like to hear your thoughts. We ask that you consider our proposed strategy as you complete this brief, anonymous survey (about a minute):

Renew Rensselaer Survey

The survey will be available until December 21st, and we look forward to hearing your input!

As we all hope the coronavirus pandemic will soon be a footnote in history, we remain optimistic that by working together, we will reestablish RPI’s once-formidable standing. The stature of our great institution should not be permitted to fade into the background; we must continually increase engagement by making our concerns known, then demand action by those in charge. In the meantime, we value your continued support and wish you a joyful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

Renew Rensselaer