CSU-Fullerton sends 'tone-deaf' fundraising email about coronavirus and 'estate plans'

  • Alumni of a California university were surprised to find a coronavirus themed email regarding “estate plans” from the fundraising department of their alma mater.
  • The message was received by some as “tone-deaf,” in light of the current global pandemic.

California State University-Fullerton sent an email Monday to potential donors addressing “estate plans” alongside a reminder that the school stands to lose some money when it refunds students for their parking permits and closes the on-campus Starbucks.

“Higher Education, like every sector of our economy, is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cal State Fullerton is no exception,” the email from the university’s Office of Planned Giving reads. “Although the full extent will not be known for some time, the Campus will likely experience a negative financial impact from the COVID-19 restrictions.”

“Refunds have been made to students for parking permits and housing, the campus will see a loss of revenue from campus-located vendors, such as Starbucks."   

“Refunds have been made to students for parking permits and housing, the campus will see a loss of revenue from campus-located vendors, such as Starbucks, and, we will likely face a short-term decline in international student enrollments,“ the university continued.

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In light of this widespread stress, the Office of Planned Giving provided options to the recipients to create or restructure their wills, and a few touting some “handy estate and wills planning resources” offered by the university.

“During times like this, it is not unusual to think about our estate plans, either creating one or reviewing our current plan. It is normal to want to make sure our current plan reflects our wishes and plans for our family, represents our values, and, our charitable legacy. We would like to be a resource to you as you consider your planning. You may find www.csufplannedgiving.org a helpful resource,” wrote the university.

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The pairing of these two messages left a bad taste in the mouths of some who received the email. 

CSUF alumnus Scott Lovelady told Campus Reform that the email sounded a lot like "please put us in your will before coronavirus kills you.”