Some (possibly dubious) college Q&A web sites (e.g. this one) make the claim that

Bennington has a paltry endowment of $3.5 million, the result of a historical philosophy - now recognized by its own staff as a big mistake - of eschewing donations to maintain academic freedom.

The endowment really is quite low (although now it's up to $40 million), but I can't find any documentation of the claim that they used to decline donations OR that they did so for this reason OR that Bennington College staff recognizes this as a mistake.

  • While not an answer it should be noted that it has under 1000 students about 700 undergrad and 100 grad students and is a small private liberal arts college which could easily explain the endowment numbers.
    – Joe W
    Mar 21, 2022 at 13:43
  • MIT is now kicking itself for accepting Jeffery Epstein’s money. Mar 22, 2022 at 0:55
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    @DJClayworth Bennington is the among the most left leaning progressive colleges there is, and most corporations and wealthy people are to the right of them, so I think they would have meant that they didn't want to take any money that would have obligated them to be less liberal. Mar 22, 2022 at 2:21
  • @GeorgeWhite: Has MIT taken much heat for that? It doesn't seem to me that their reputation got too damaged. If they feel real bad about it, they could always donate it to an anti-trafficking non-profit or some such. Mar 22, 2022 at 2:24
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    He gave about 800k quietly mostly to one dept. The department head resigned and MIT had an extensive outside investigation and set up new systems. He was much cozier with Harvard had an office there and gave about 6M. Mar 22, 2022 at 5:50


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