Financially strapped colleges are angering their benefactors by selling school radio stations, auctioning Georgia O’Keeffe paintings and dipping into endowments for purposes their donors may not have intended.
In one previously undisclosed fight, Trinity College in Connecticut is facing government scrutiny for its plan to spend part of a $9 million endowment from Wall Street investing legend Shelby Cullom Davis.
Trinity’s Davis professor of business, Gerald Gunderson, says he believed the plan, which would have funded scholarships for international students, violated the wishes of the late Mr. Davis. He alerted the Connecticut attorney general’s office. Then, Mr. Gunderson said in notes submitted to the agency, Trinity’s president summoned him to the school’s cavernous Gothic conference room, where he called the professor a “scoundrel” and threatened not to reappoint him.
Trinity said some of Mr. Davis’s family approved of the plan but it is now coming up with a new one, and declined to discuss the meeting.