I think I may have just been offered a bribe. I was talking on the phone to the father of a student who wants to be excused from fulfilling a certain general education requirement, and I was blandly uttering the usual blah-blah-blah about the importance of a well-rounded education and what we need to see in a transfer course to allow it to substitute for the requirement, and it was all very calm and pleasant and low-key, and then the dad said something like, "You know, the college wants me to make a substantial donation, but before I help the college, I'd like to see how the college is willing to help me."
Now what am I supposed to do with that? If it's intended as a bribe, then he ought to offer something I'll find more immediately useful, like a new starter for my husband's car. (His final words as I left the house today: "Be sure to park on a slope so it'll be easier to push-start." And you know what? I did.)
But really, what does this dad expect me to do? "Okay, sir, how much is this little favor worth to you, on a range from Endowed Chair to packet of Post-It Notes? Install an elevator in my building and I'll make the requirement disappear!"
I suppose administrators hear this kind of bribe (threat?) often enough to have developed a coherent response, but I've never had a parent try to bribe me before so I was a bit flabbergasted. I elected to ignore the comment, merely returning to the usual blah-blah-blah. Next time, though, I'll have my wits about me. Next time I'm asking for an elevator.