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Donations to UNC continue after Wainstein report

Despite the negative press UNC received from the Wainstein report, there is little evidence to show it has affected donations to the University, which will announce the receipt of the largest individual donation in its history during a press conference today. 

Overall donations from July to November were up 6 percent from the previous donation year, according to a recent report. 

However, this only factors in a few weeks after the Wainstein report was published.

The University asks for donations from alumni and parents of students by email, mail and phone calls. In the weeks following the report, there has not been a significant decline in donations, said David Routh, vice chancellor for development. 

Routh said the development office’s alumni newsletter was changed to incorporate information about the Wainstein report after the report was released. 

At the University’s calling center, students ask alumni and parents of students for donations. To combat questions from prospective donors, the student employees are asked to add a personal touch to positive responses about the report.

Junior Tyra Pearson said the center brought in an expert to speak about the Wainstein report and how to respond to people who have concerns.

She said when people have concerns about the report, she talks about being an African-American at the University.

She said her perspective on the scandal, which happened in the former Department of African and Afro-American Studies, sometimes helps settle the prospective donors.

Pearson has worked at the calling center for two months and has come across five people who refused to donate because of the report. She said she does not think the report diminishes the integrity of the entire school.

“Only one in 1,000 people were involved in the scandal. (On the phone), I discuss how a small number impacted the University,” Pearson said.

The center encourages employees to remind donors that the scandal ended in 2011.

Routh said alumni sometimes have questions about the report because they do not have a lot of information on what it is it.

“Most of it is just giving information over the phone and once they get the information, they can understand,” Routh said.

Routh said people can get the most information if they read the entire Wainstein report, but he said many people watched the press conference in October to learn more about the report.

Routh said the University isworking with an outside public relations group called Edelman to reduce fallout from the report.

“We are working to communicate with more transparency, and people really appreciate that,” he said. Douglas Shackelford, dean of the Kenan-Flagler Business School, said the Wainstein report has not substantially affected the business school. 

Shackelford said they have not changed their donor relation strategy because of the report. strategy has been to build relationships with alumni of the school to get donations.

In order to build relationships, with alumni of the business school. Shackelford said he most recently went to breakfast with two alumni of the school to talk about their current careers.

When meeting with alumni of the school, Shackelford said there have been conversations about the report, but it has little to do with the business school.

“I would say the Wainstein report, in my mind, is just the latest episode in a long, developing story,” he said.

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Shackelford said donors tend to focus on the Kenan-Flagler Business School in particular, and so far, there have not been any differences in the amount of significant donations.

“I don’t think it has a big effect on what we’re doing down here, and I don’t think there will be a long term effect on fundraising at the business school.”