The Third Alternative: The Oral History of Duquesne University's Third AlternativeMain MenuThe NarratorsMeet the interviewees behind the Third Alternative Oral History Project.The ProblemA brief history of Duquesne's financial crisis.The PlanHow the Third Alternative planned to save Duquesne.The ContextThe national events taking place during the Third Alternative's campaign and how they affected the movement.The PublicHow the public of Pittsburgh interacted with and helped the Third Alternative.The EffectThe impact the Third Alternative left on Duquesne.Neighborhood CanvassingA timeline of the Third Alternative canvassing campaign.MapsMaps relating to the Thank You March and events at Duquesne University during the Third Alternative.The InterviewersMeet the students behind the Third Alternative Oral History Project.MediaCheck out our photograph collection and our documentary!Alexandra Zaremba2ce33ac8d647e2cc48718f436f303eaaa6355ceeRonald Owensaaa9113bde590a7c6854e4725baae71951e3aa5fGrant Stoner3ba49a95660aa18855c7cc5b6f8323bd1559c039Katherine Millardcc2b6742e9253dd1ad65ec8397845ff983008eb3Anna Samuels3cffb72092034ddc575aeb5ac3c9bf5d3f493c74Celia Phillips64f1bafd9e2ec54881e7e3a41417ecf15c8f4e1cLauren Eisenhart-Purvisce45d8431788bb04d876eaa4210e612cb18c860aEvan Daverio15eb18d2fdf506be557957b6adfa91b111c1b87d
The Problem: Tom Burgunder
12017-12-13T07:55:12-08:00Anna Samuels3cffb72092034ddc575aeb5ac3c9bf5d3f493c74258541Tom Burgunder explains how he first heard about Duquesne's financial problems. plain2017-12-13T07:55:12-08:00Anna Samuels3cffb72092034ddc575aeb5ac3c9bf5d3f493c74
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1media/Joyce Fr Mac Fedko.JPGmedia/Joyce Fr Mac Fedko.JPG2017-11-07T08:33:44-08:00The Problem58A brief history of Duquesne's financial crisis.image_header2017-12-15T08:54:41-08:00
Although Duquesne University had enjoyed almost one hundred years of comfortable existence, its financial situation appeared very dire in the spring of 1970. The issues had been mounting for a number of years, but several factors contributed to the crisis coming to a head. Duquesne was expanding its campus with the construction of College Hall, but had not raised enough money to cover its completion. Debt from this new building, as well as other loans, meant that local banks were reluctant to give the university additional credit. Additionally, issues with Pennsylvania’s budget meant that Duquesne was not receiving its full funding from the state and students were not getting government educational grants and loans on time. The current tuition rate was no longer enough to cover the increasing costs of campus maintenance and staff salaries, causing Duquesne to rapidly spiral deeper into debt. The two options appeared to be to raise tuition again, or close the school. Duquesne’s tuition had already steadily increased each year for current students and the university did not want to surprise them with another hike in tuition. Duquesne was also afraid of losing students to public schools as the school’s enrollment had already decreased due to the lower cost of public universities. Therefore, because Duquesne did not have enough income from tuition to cover all of its operating costs, and found itself unable to take out any more loans due to the university’s existing debts, the college was headed toward financial ruin.
Duquesne was not alone in its financial woes. Many private colleges were dealing with similar fiscal problems during this time. Higher education was becoming increasingly expensive and universities responded in a variety of ways. Duquesne’s president at the time, Fr. McAnulty, was unique in asking his students for input on the financial crisis. He met with a group of students to explain the problems that the university faced and to ask for their help. Fr. McAnulty desired a solution that did not involve further burdening students with increased tuition, or closing the university’s doors for good. The students Fr. McAnulty met with came up with a third alternative: initiating a campaign to raise enough money to save Duquesne. Thus, the Third Alternative was born.