Lacking Their Promised Yearbooks, Alumni Expect Answers from University

By Inimai Chettiar

Unhappily returning to work from my New Year’s Eve vacation, I open my appointment book to glance at my schedule for the day. I see a scribbled note from last year: “Yearbooks should be arriving soon.” Finally, I’ll be getting a yearbook with the photographs of all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) people in my Georgetown class. So I can look at their pictures for years (as we all did with our high school yearbooks) and say to my friends, “Remember when that guy threw up in the National Building Museum, and we couldn’t have Dip Balls there anymore?” Or, “Remember when we all formed ‘1999’ on the lawn during the Senior Picnic?”

Through the entire month of January, I eagerly ran to the mailbox every day after work, hoping that my yearbook had finally arrived. Disheartened by the delay, I gave the yearbook office a call. First, it took me about three days to speak to a live person, and she told me that this office is now the 2000 Yearbook office, and she gives me the number of a 1999 Yearbook staff member. This staff member tells me the yearbooks will be ready soon.

After January and February passed, I decided to contact Martha Swanson, director of student programs, who oversees the yearbook. She informs me that all but two members dropped off the yearbook staff and that the yearbook has not been assembled or sent to the publisher! Remember that at this point it is February, and the yearbooks were supposed to have been delivered in early January. Swanson notified me that the yearbook will be sent to the printer in March. Of course, I don’t believe her.

Now, in late March, after mass e-mail inquiries from the Class of 1999 to Martha Swanson and the office of University President Leo O’Donovan, S.J., we find out that the yearbook is still not assembled and the editor is nowhere to be found. I have no pity for the administration. The yearbook staff is unpaid, and they didn’t finish the yearbook before graduation, after which they have no obligation to stay on the staff. When they did drop off the staff, however, Georgetown should have hired replacements. I’ve already given Georgetown my money, and they owe me a yearbook. At $70 per yearbook, and assuming 70 percent of the class of 1,500 students paid for a yearbook, that comes to approximately $73,500 that Georgetown has stolen from the Class of 1999 – money that’s sitting in an account somewhere accruing massive interest. In all this, where is our Senior Class Committee? Aren’t they supposed to be representing our interests?

This is absolutely unacceptable. Not only have we paid for our yearbooks, but we have not received an explanation or even a response as to when, if ever, we will receive our yearbooks. With the way Georgetown has handled past administrative decisions, I absolutely believe that the Class of 1999 will never receive our yearbooks and I am hesitant to believe Georgetown will refund us. The administration doesn’t care if we get our yearbooks; they already have each of our $120,000. As a note to this year’s seniors, I suggest you think twice before handing over any money to Georgetown for “promised goods.”

Until Georgetown decides to hire private contractors to finish our yearbooks (I’m sure $73,000 is more than enough to cover their fee) and writes a letter of apology and explanation to every member of the Class of 1999 who paid for a yearbook, I will happily refrain from donating even one penny to my alma matter.

On behalf of several members of the class of 1999, we want our yearbooks. Our patience is running very thin.

Inimai Chettiar is a graduate of the College in 1999.

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