Stop the Allegheny Squid Games: Allocate Donations Based on Student Need, Not Games

Stop the Allegheny Squid Games: Allocate Donations Based on Student Need, Not Games

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Petition to
Allegheny College

Why this petition matters

UPDATE: A meeting between the Vice President, Athletic Director, Director of Alumni Relations, and a group of concerned alumni was scheduled for Feb. 9 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Stop the Allegheny Squid Games: Allocate Donations Based on Student Need, Not Games

On Feb. 2, 2022, Allegheny College's athletic department announced a raffle and basketball competition in which students compete to win $51,910 (one year of free tuition). In order to "win" one year of tuition, a student must possess a winning raffle ticket and make a lay up, free throw, three pointer, and half court shot in order to win the $51,910 cash.

The Allegheny College Athletics Department has ignored and silenced much of the criticism pouring in from alumni via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram — responding only once via Twitter with limited information and restricting their comment sections on other platforms. Our questions and concerns include, but are not limited to:

  • What decision-making process was used to determine that this award should not be disbursed with consideration for student need, but instead by a raffle ticket and half court shot?
  • Is the competition accessible for all Allegheny College students, including those with disabilities and those with conflicting commitments (particularly students with jobs, who may benefit most from this award)?
  • Does this competition contribute to a larger culture that frames economic insecurity as entertainment? Many alumni likened the Allegheny competition to Squid Game, a Netflix series in which citizens are exploited and coerced into a dehumanizing contest that, for most, feels like the only chance at escaping financial hardship. Other relevant examples include the Dash for CashPaid OffThe ActivistThe Hunger Games and more.
  • The rules of this competition appear to violate Allegheny's Statement of Community: "Allegheny students and employees are committed to creating an inclusive, respectful and safe residential learning community that will actively confront and challenge racism, sexism, heterosexism, religious bigotry, and other forms of harassment and discrimination." Does a competition that rewards one student with free tuition based on a raffle ticket and basketball skills promote inclusion? Or does it perpetuate ableism? Does this competition respect students and their needs? Or does it exploit students' need for financial aid — of which their chances of success is so low it almost mocks them — in a misguided bid to promote school spirit? Does a competition that prioritizes entertainment over the needs of students respect them in any meaningful way?

As alumni, current students, staff, faculty, and more, we have a vested interest in the institution's future and students' well-being. We demand that the donation's disbursement be halted and the Allegheny Athletic Department work with the relevant offices (including the Office of Disability Services, Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Office of Financial Aid, Office of Student Wellness) to ensure that this competition is as equitable as possible.

486 have signed. Let’s get to 500!