The Admissions Office Doesn’t Care About Your Values

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Since day one of freshman year, most Swarthmore students are excited to practice and preach the liberal values of tolerance and equality. They believe that Swarthmore is a highly progressive school where no one can be discriminated against because of their gender, race, sexuality, or socioeconomic status. The admissions department, in particular, preaches fairness in every regard. This process, however, is anything but fair.

For a school that places so much emphasis on equality, it’s surprising that need-blind admission is practically an absolute myth at Swarthmore.

Here’s why: while Swat may never see your parents’ actual income through the Common App, the admissions process is designed in a way where your income is implicitly indicated for anyone who is looking. The Common App can detect socioeconomic background easily, advantaging the most well off. Swarthmore’s use of these indicators certainly hinders socioeconomic diversity on campus.

An example of one of these indicators is the family background check. Swarthmore’s application asks for students’ parents’ professions and the high school they attended. If a student’s parents are both lawyers and the student attended an expensive prep school, this student likely has an advantage over a student who attended an average public school. So, why do they probably have this advantage? The admissions office has a real incentive to accept people with a wealthier background for two reasons: (1) They know wealthy students can afford full tuition. (2) They know rich parents are potential donors. Both mean more money for Swarthmore.

On top of that, in any system that values test scores, money is a huge advantage. The ability to pay for tutors, standardized test prep, college advising, and essay edits is invaluable. It’s a benefit most are not privy to. Other factors like legacy and connections can influence admissions decisions as well.

We must conclude with holistic honesty that universities and colleges know exactly who can pay and who can’t. In fact, the statistics clearly show it.

Nationwide, ninety-five percent of students from private schools attend a four-year institution. The average cost of private school is $15,000. But the odds grow even higher if a student comes from an elite private school, like Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, where the tuition is a staggering $45,000. Almost every student at these schools attends a four-year elite college or university. An absurdly high 5% of Harvard’s class of 2017 came from just seven high schools. Taken straight from the Swarthmore College website, “Fifty-eight percent of the admitted students come from public high schools, 27 percent from private independent schools, seven percent from parochial schools, and eight percent from schools overseas.” Not as bad as other top colleges, but still awfully hypocritical. Although the administration floats these numbers with a charitable glow, they do not reflect the national breakdown of students in the slightest. Ninety-percent of the national youth attend public school. Top schools consistently comprise only half of their enrollment with students from public institutions.

Swarthmore doesn’t have to do this. Its endowment is currently $1.88 billion (over $1 million per student) and the school funds idiotic endeavors all the time (who could forget the esteemed “car wash” art exhibit  a few years back). There’s a difference between needing money and wanting it. People can have more money than they could possibly know what to do with, and still want more. For a school so critical of materialist, capitalist, corporate America, it sure is greedy for some extra green.

Other top colleges have the same problem. In 2013, George Washington University admitted that it puts hundreds on its wait list every year because they cannot afford full tuition. Roughly 22,000 applicants fall into this category. Take a look at this article if you want to further your resentment for GW.

Reed College is also a notoriously elitist and hypocritical school with a “need-aware policy.” In 2009, the school faced a returning student body that needed more aid than previous years. Reed’s financial aid office looked at their list of newly accepted freshmen and told the admission department to strike more than a hundred students off the list because they needed aid. The administration subsequently requested immediate substitutions. Affluent students who could pay the full price received their acceptance letters within the next few weeks.

Do I think mixing finances and admissions is fundamentally wrong? Absolutely not. Colleges are, at a basic level, private institutions that need to worry about their long term sustainability. Demonizing wealthy students is not productive because, in the end, they are paying not just for their own education but also for the education of their hyper-liberal classmates who resent the upper class at its core. Is this fair? No. But life isn’t fair. That’s reality. Stop whining and get over it. “Check your privilege” should be replaced with a warm “thank you so, so much for being forced to pay for my opportunity.”

My problem is that Swarthmore speaks one way and acts another. Swarthmore has no right to brag about it’s socioeconomic diversity. It’s just as hypocritical as any other school. It’s just discreet about it, employing vague facts as a slimy marketing strategy.

A school shouldn’t be hyper-progressive in public and a money hog behind closed doors. Pick a side and be honest about it! In the end, I’m sure Swarthmore will pick the side with more money.

We need to replace the term “need-blind” with “need-aware.” Our college is actually “completely aware.” Let’s not forget that Swarthmore is very much looking out for its own interests.

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  1. 121
    Maurice Eldridge says:

    The Admissions Office Doesn’t Care about Your Values
    The piece on Admissions Office policy and practice is strongly and interestingly developed. I would concede that it is difficult to be need-unaware when one has so much information about the applicants’ schools, neighborhoods, family employment and schooling, etc. However such awareness does not in fact undo a need-blind admissions policy and practice that commits to meeting all the demonstrated need of admitted students. The fact of of the matter is that all of Swarthmore students are aided including those who are “full” paying. The cost of a Swarthmore education exceeds by thousands of dollars what it charges to provide that education. All students are supported by the College’s quite healthy endowment. It is also the case that more than half of the students admitted receive financial aid beyond that cost subsidy. Unfortunately not all the needed aid is supported by scholarship endowments so the operating budget provides the difference. Fortunately our alum are most eager to support financial aid and those who can afford to create endowed aid do so and the rest of us know that our gifts, willingly given to the extent of our ability to give it, are unrestricted and therefore able to support the financial aid budget (a budget that is not final until all aid is awarded and set).
    My own experience many decades ago includes my attendance through 9th grade in the then legally segregated public school system followed by the good fortune of attending, on aid, a progressive New England private boarding school – an education today still afforded to many in private schools through financial aid. I was also aided at Swarthmore before its endowment had gained the strength it has today. I don’t doubt that we can always and should when we can, do better, but I don’t believe the College deserves to be branded as hypocritical as it always strives to do more while honoring its commitment to both present and future students through its endowment management practices and through the admirable generosity of its alums, whether wealthy or not. Maurice G. Eldridge ’61

    1. 24
      Boozy says:

      Mr Elridge you have such a way with words. You were respectful to the content of the article even when you had no obligation to. You sir are a rolemodel to all swarthmore students. But what if you never came to Swarthmore because of a lack of aid? Then surely both you and all pf swarthmore as a whole would have suffered.

  2. 81

    A couple of modest suggestions. First, any time that a claim that an institution of any size with any budget is wasting its resources is going to be important to the overall argument, it’s worth spending some effort on that claim. The proposition that budgets of governments, universities, non-profit groups, etc., are full of self-evident waste and excess is a frequently-used trope but it’s usually based on a handful of examples that the author takes to be obviously stupid or frivolous rather than a systematic consideration of actual spending.

    So, for example, let’s say you didn’t like the Crum Creek Meander in particular. Is all public art at the college, temporary or more permanent, equally frivolous? That would include the Big Chair, the Purple Tree, the Calder mobile (“Back from Rio”), etc. Or is it only art that most people end up disliking? Should the college test in advance of installing public art to be sure that 75% of the current community like it, and failing that test, regard it as frivolous? Is that a general principle for making and displaying art? Should that apply to internally-displayed art too? To shows at the List Gallery? To the senior projects of studio art majors, some of which cost more money than others in terms of materials?

    More importantly, what proportion of the college’s operational budget was spent on the Crum Creek Meander, if that’s the prime example of waste? This is the problem with most arguments that money is wasted on frivolous purposes: the examples, whether one or two or a handful, generally amount to miniscule fractions of an operating budget, and eliminating them has no meaningful effect on the bottom line. One group of students years ago argued that if the chairs in Kohlberg were less well-upholstered, a major change in college budgeting might be more affordable, but this is like saying that if I skip my cup of coffee this morning, I might be able to buy a rowhouse in San Francisco tomorrow. If you really want to argue that the college’s spending priorities are not right, you have to go after some major part of its present operational budget and argue it is dispensible, that we should get rid of something significant. That the college should pay people less, or hire fewer of them; that it should budget less for support of courses and programs; that it should have fewer buildings or spend less on their maintenance. And these have to be systematic arguments–even just picking off one or two positions here and there were you don’t like the person presently doing the job is not enough. I think it’s worth seriously asking, as the author of this essay does, whether a rich institution must always get richer in a sustained way. But asking that has to lead to some consideration of budgetary sustainability that is based on something more than, “I thought that was a stupid piece of art, so let’s not do that again”.

    The other thing to consider is this: it’s probably right to say that college admissions officers have an awareness of the socioeconomic status of their applicants. In fact, that the only way to not have such an awareness would be to admit all students randomly, with only a minimum of information about whether they meet basic admissions criteria. Indeed, that’s what at least one faculty member at Swarthmore has advocated. But it’s a big jump between saying that admissions officers have general knowledge or intuitions about socioeconomic status to saying “They use that awareness in making decisions about admissions”.

    Much as it might be a big jump between saying, “Every single individual at Swarthmore or throughout society uses their socioeconomic awareness of others to favor their own status and keep other people in their place”. Though that would be pretty much just an extension of the argument of this essay. All of us think we know how to “read” the socioeconomic status of others based on what we see and hear in our interactions with them. (We may be and often are wrong in those readings, since they rely on stereotype. But so too might someone be wrong in guessing even from more detailed information: actual socioeconomic situations sometimes don’t match up with what look like open-and-shut indicators.) If it is right to say that mere awareness is sufficient evidence of hypocritical or self-interested decision-making, then it is right to say that all decisions and social relations are hypocritical or self-interested, because this awareness is distributed.

    I think most of us sense that it’s a mistake to assume that about the individuals that we know, the conversations that we witness, the social relationships we’re actually involved in. That in fact some people do a pretty fair job of not acting on what they probably know about others, that some people are able to make decisions that live up to their ideals or beliefs, and so on. So you really need more than “admissions officers know about socioeconomic status, and so consciously make decisions in admitting a class that ensure the maximization of the college’s revenue potential from tuition and future donations”. It might be worth actually asking admissions officers how they avoid knowing what they know, in that sense–or whether and how the costs of an incoming class are actually weighed. Or if you like, at least reading one of a number of good insider’s accounts of selective admissions at colleges like Swarthmore and applying their insights. Many of those raise serious questions about whether and how places like Swarthmore live up to their ideals in this respect, but the questions are often more nuanced, more fraught with difficulty, and more based on knowledge about what actually happens inside those rooms where decisions are made.

  3. 57
    Anonymous White Kid says:

    Hi there! I’m another white blonde girl on campus who went to high school with about a hundred other white blonde girls. That high school, you guessed it, was a private school, and my parents had to pay tuition in order for me to attend it. They also are paying my college tuition; I’m fortunate enough that I do not need financial to support my education.
    Now, I don’t know you, so I can’t be positive about your financial situation, but allow me talk generally about the privilege I and many others at Swarthmore have. I know the word “privilege” makes you antsy, but I’m writing this article with the intent of showing you that it’s not something coined as an extension of “demonization of wealthy students” but rather a genuine truth to our lives that all private school students/upper-class kids/rich people (whatever term you prefer) have to acknowledge in order to combat the very real problem of classism in this country, and truly the rest of the world.
    Take me, for example. One day, I was born. I didn’t control the circumstances under which I was born. I didn’t beat all the other unborn fetuses in a footrace that determined who got to be the white baby born to rich Upper East Side parents. No, that just happened to me. And the same, might I add, goes for my parents, and the rest of my family tree for a long way back.
    So after being born, I, and many other of my peers, started the track of our education. For me, this meant “music class”. My mom once told me that this was basically pre-preschool in Manhattan, and that, after both my parents’ resumes and personal histories were reviewed to make sure I was smart enough (as if that’s any measure of a two year-old’s intelligence, which those administrators well knew), my parents paid a fee to take me to this “class” that, granted, wasn’t all that rigorous, but essentially was designed to teach me basic concepts so that I would be ahead of the game for preschool. (“Ahead of the game” was a phrase I’d get used to hearing in life.)
    So after music class, I started preschool, where I had to pass an admission test to get in, which, luckily enough, my music classes that my parents had paid for had prepared me for, and then, in that preschool (that my parents also had to pay for), I was educated beyond the expected preschool level so that I would be ahead of the game for kindergarten. And upon entering elementary school, I had to take another placement test, my parents had to pay more money, and I was placed into the higher level kindergarten class of an experimental new private school that promised to expand students’ minds as much as it did their spirits (well, if you could afford it, of course). I continued my education there until high school, and I am thankful to this day for the education that I received from the truly wonderful teachers that were there. They pushed me to my limits academically, and in order to avoid failing, I had no choice but to keep up. These are teachers that had to have some form of graduate education to be able to teach at my school, and were then paid a generous salary for their work. There was never a lack of applicants for teaching positions there, and if a teacher underperformed, they would quickly be fired and replaced by someone better.
    Thanks to that education, I was able to pass the gauntlet of private school entrance exams to get into an established all-girls school where 31% of the graduating class my freshman year went to Ivy League schools. This school also had excellent teachers and rigorous classes, and I soon found that I was struggling to keep up academically compared to my classmates, who were all from a similar background as me. My parents suggested I get a tutor (or rather, that they hire me a tutor), and I at first objected, because I always thought that tutors were for “dumb kids”, and that getting one would be admitting defeat. But on the first day I went to see my biology tutor, I saw the girl who would be the valedictorian of my class leaving, and I realized that everyone in my grade, no matter their place in the class, was seeing tutors in order to get ahead of everyone else, and that by not seeing a tutor, I wouldn’t be getting ahead of my classmates, but rather keeping pace with them. So started my gauntlet of tutors, that eventually reached its head in my junior year, when my parents paid for me to have SAT Tutoring at a company literally with “Advantage” in its name. There, I took a practice SAT once a week, twice a week the month before the actual test, and eventually I’d learned how the SAT worked so well that I had two 800s in my superscore. So with that, the grades I’d gotten, and the extracurriculars I had on my resume (more than a few of which were the result of my parents calling in favors with family friends asking if they could lie and say I’d interned for them), I got into a variety of colleges, but I chose Swarthmore because I knew that this system needed to change, and I hoped that I could best contribute to that change at Swarthmore.
    You see, my whole life I was constantly praised for how smart I was, how hard I worked, how far I’d come, but I realized that I hadn’t actually accomplished anything through my own ability about when I saw the valedictorian walk out of that tutor’s office. Because truly, from the very moment I was born, I was going to walk this path of higher education funded by my parents’ money, barring mental disability or anything else that would have prevented me from being able to keep up. Because they’d always paid for me to have that “extra edge”, I was always getting into more and more advanced programs, and eventually that all accumulated into a student that was able to get into Swarthmore. But every advantage I have has been attained through my parents’ money, and any hurdle I ever ran into was gotten around through my parents’ money. Thanks to their money, I have never been truly challenged academically.
    As I was applying to college, my parents often bemoaned the fact that I went to a school with such tight competition, saying maybe I’d have been better off if I went to some underfunded public school in Kentucky. But can you imagine how much worse that would have been for me? Without adequate resources, I would have to actually rely on myself in order to excel academically. My parents, of course, were probably suggesting that I only go to such a high school after having been educated in Manhattan the way I have been, but that would just be blatantly exploiting my privilege over everyone else in that school. I am very, very lucky to have been born into the family that I was, but at the cost of the exploitation of everyone else who wasn’t so lucky.
    In all honestly, I do not think I deserve to be at Swarthmore. I do not at all consider myself better or smarter than any of my classmates here. All I am is lucky. If anything, it’s those students who didn’t grow up with the same advantages as I did, who actually had to overcome an entire system that was against them to excel academically and earn their place here, that ought to be praised. Why on earth should I be asking them to thank me? I have done nothing to deserve their gratitude. Contrarily, I ought to be doing whatever I can in my position of privilege to try to dismantle this unfair system that allows 1% of people to sit at the top for generations and simultaneously call everyone else “whiny” and “hateful”. To start, the least I (or really, my family, not me) can do is pay my tuition out of pocket so that the school can afford to subsidize the education of the students who can’t. (Although, as you pointed out in the first half of your essay, private colleges currently run on a broken system.) In my opinion, the solution is definitely not for private institutions to be upfront about their classism, but rather not to be classist at all (although how that happens is an entirely different conversation).
    This academic privilege is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the privilege I and many others have. I haven’t even begun to list the ways I have benefited over my peers in all areas of my life. But that’s not my goal here. My goal is to stress that I have not done anything to deserve my advantages in life, and it’s those who haven’t had the same advantages who deserve my respect. When I came to Swarthmore, I thought I was escaping the hateful rhetoric of those who thought they were born better than everyone else, but today, you’ve shown me that I was mistaken. I guess I have a lot more work to do to try to fix this system that has disadvantaged so many.

    1. 13
      Alum says:

      Thank your for this insightful comment. You show a lot of introspection, which is what will really help you be successful at Swat and in your future endeavors.

    2. 3
      Ian G '18 says:

      Well said, comrade. Speaking as a straight white dude with wealthy parents who was homeschooled for 12 years, it is critical for those of us from privileged backgrounds to acknowledge that not everyone is given our massive starting advantages, and that this is neither fair nor right.

      That said, I do not think that you do not deserve to be here. On the contrary, I believe that every student at Swat has earned their place here, whether through achievements in the arts or in the sciences. The advantage of being from a bourgeois background is one thing, and it’s definitely given me among others a huge boost in life, but it isn’t everything. Look at Donald Trump; he’s from the ultimate bourgeois background, literally inherited millions from his father, and he’s a semi-sapient baboon who somehow managed to bankrupt multiple casinos, a feat of business incompetence so great that to my knowledge no other human being has managed to match it. All the wealth and expensive upbringing in the world couldn’t change the essential nature of Donald Trump, which is a thin-skinned arrogant manbaby with no ability in mathematics.

      The main problem with our society, as I see it, is not so much that it gives some an unfair leg up, as that it unfairly keeps the proletariat down through socioeconomic factors, such as persistently poor schools in low-income areas and the disproportionately low quality of cheap food. Ideally, all students applying to Swat would have a background like yours or mine, with opportunities and resources aplenty, but until such a time as that ideal is realized, IMO the best that we can do is lobby for anti-income-inequality policies and to support lower-income students at schools like Swat.

    3. 1
      Alumna Umsies says:

      Beautifully articulated. Having grown up somewhere between middle class and upper middle class, with somewhat ‘elite’, benefactor-like grandparents, I know it is hard to come to terms with our “privilege” and, at least in my case, the sense of guilt that comes with it. While at Swarthmore, I actually ended up feeling less guilty (than in HS, I’ll explain at the end) about my personal privilege and more so about the burden the price of “full tuition” put on my family, as prior to Swarthmore I had always recieved a wonderful education from a variety of public schools across the country. This is certainly NOT to say that I didn’t appreciate how lucky I was to have a family that could, with minimal sacrifice, put me through Swarthmore. That I had grandparents who had the means and desire to invest in my education. BUT, while at Swarthmore I knew that every student on campus was far more privileged in a variety of ways than many of my peers at the public middle and high school I had gone to. I have no idea what the author of the above article was trying to say, and hope that “check your privilege should be exchanged for a warm thank you”, etc. was a very bad joke made on very poor judgement. The subject of “need-blind” admissions reminds me yet again, however, that every single one of us was so privileged to have even the minimum resources and support it would have taken to reach Magill Walk. My high school had a 50% graduation rate when I was there, bolstered by the Extended Learning and Internstional Baccalaureate Programs it housed and that I joined upon moving to the state in the 8th grade. The school was severely overcrowded, despite the fact only 3/4 of enrolled students actually showed up at once (on a good day). Many students dropped out due to teen pregnancy, a need to work, lack of support, the list goes on… After graduating from Swarthmore, I went to teach English in a village in rural China. There, students rarely finished middle school (and some never made it past elementary). They were taught in a mix of their native dialect and a heavily accented version of the national language Mandarin. Often I felt that the practice of trying to understand the basic Mandarin I used in the classroom while teaching English was more useful to my students than the English itself. Basic hygiene was an issue, and a variety of comforts all of us enjoyed, at least while on campus, such as non-dirt floors, a sanitary water supply and any kind of toilet were luxuries to many of my students. Swarthmore nurtured my desire to seek out experiences like these, to to come to terms with the guilt that accompanies my privilege. Now, as a young Alumna starting my first “real” job since graduation, the hardest question to face is: “I have privilege, and I’ve felt guilty about it but guilt without action is pointless. So, what am I going to do about it?”

  4. 54
    Jodie says:

    This piece could have been a nuanced look at class relations at Swat or how the university sees students as walking dollar signs or potential financial liabilities, but instead it took a turn for the ridiculously condescending. Sorry that it hurts your feelings when people point out that money is privilege (power) but it is; so maybe you should get over your own whining.
    Especially because you’re a senior and there are working class, first gen freshmen who are reading this article the third week of school and basically being told (again) their presence is unwelcome not only by the admin but also by students like you who don’t grant them a drop of empathy when they talk about the real problems they experience at Swat.
    As an alumn with a mountain of loans, thank you for absolutely nothing.

  5. 43
    Joan says:

    I’ve been appreciating the civility of the comments beneath this post. As an alum, I find it to be incredibly frustrating that there wasn’t more editing of this piece before it went to publication. I actually consider it to be a serious lapse on the part of the DG editors. Posting controversial pieces is well and good, because it brings attention to the paper, but in an era where what you write as an eighteen-year-old will stay with you your entire life, I think we have a duty to help one another put our best foot forward. There are numerous lines in this article that detract from the main point and will cause irate reactions, and I think Erin will come to regret them. They were in all likelihood written hastily on a deadline. But there isn’t any forgiveness in online outrage culture, meaning that it’s better to be careful pre-publication than apologize afterwards. A strong editor can help a writer cover controversial topics and publish alternative opinions in a way that moves dialogue forward and protects the author from youthful indiscretions.

  6. 31
    Uriel Medina '16 says:

    This piece, in my reading, goes multiple directions and I’m not clear what you’re arguing here. The first bit reads like you see it as a problem that schools turn away poorer students, and then you say you’re fine with mixing finances with admissions (which would predictably lead to class diversity) but then you end with saying Swarthmore shouldn’t “demonize” its wealthy students. Who is doing the demonizing, specifically, the institution or the community, and how? I’m legitimately asking as a reader clueless in how/when that happens because it came as a blindside move at the very end. I depended *heavily* on financial aid to attend Swarthmore, but even then I had to take out loans that now total 30,000 (not including interest). But beyond just me: 1) somewhere out there there’s a statistic floating that even full-paying students get their tuition subsidized by the endowment and alumni contributions (which you might argue is due to the bloating of college services and staff but regardless the subsidizing still stands); and 2) a really high percentage (I’ll try to look for the number) of financial aid comes from donations and fund-raising, and not directly from other student’s tuition payment as you suggest.

  7. 29
    Ian G '18 says:

    This is an incredibly insulting and condescending piece of bourgeois elitism. “I was born into a rich family, so I should be thanked for paying more for tuition”, really? As an institution with progressive and socialist values, it is natural that Swarthmore’s admissions and financial aid policies should require that students from wealthier, bourgeois backgrounds pay more tuition, and that students from proletarian backgrounds should pay less in tuition. Furthermore, speaking as a person from a wealthy bourgeois background (top 1% income bracket, even), I didn’t do a damn thing to earn this position, and the associated better schooling, nutrition, and care that it brought me as a child. My dad worked his ass off to go from a proletarian background in western PA to Senior VP of R&D, sure, and my mom worked a full-time job to get through Harvard, but I, personally, did not earn one single fucking cent of my parents’ money.

    I should not be thanked for being wealthy. I should not be thanked for coming from a bourgeois background. I should not be thanked for having more opportunities, more and better food, more and better medical care, and even more and better schooling options than a person from an inner-city proletarian background. It is my duty to society–one that I share with every other member of the bourgeois class–to redistribute this unearned wealth and ensure that future proletarian students will have the opportunities, education, medical care, and food that they deserve on par with bourgeois students.

    If Swarthmore disproportionally recruits from private schools, that is simply because those schools produce students with more and better qualifications. That is NOT to say that there is anything inherently better about those students–indeed, I’ve found that the students from lower-class backgrounds are generally more intelligent, erudite, and harder-working than wealthy students–but simply that bourgeois students are given every possible advantage (better nutrition, schooling, medical care, even extracurriculars) from the moment they are born. As a progressive institution, Swarthmore should attempt to eliminate these privileges by spreading them across all socioeconomic strata. The bourgeois capitalist imperialism that dominates modern American society makes this difficult, of course, but Swarthmore’s policies are a necessary step in the direction of socialist equality.

    To quote Vladimir Lenin (not my personal favorite, but this time he was on point): “Capitalists are no more capable of self-sacrifice than a man is capable of lifting himself up by his own bootstraps.” That is to say, one CAN find a bourgeois capitalist who redistributes their own wealth to the proletarian class, but such people are at best extremely rare. Therefore, the state (in this case, the college administration) must step in to ensure a far distribution of opportunity and wealth.

    TL;DR: Alright, that was a long rant. Short version, though: This article doesn’t seem to have a clear point, is incredibly condescending, and flat-out ignores the fact that wealthy students here DEFINITELY didn’t earn that money–rather, like me, they were given the tuition money by their parents.

      1. 1
        Ian G '18 says:

        Yeah, the thesis is muddled, but as a proud socialist I’m disgusted by the elitism slightly more. It’s rude and beneath us as Swarthmore students. Even the capitalists here are better than this–they have the decency to make a coherent argument and provide a justification for why they think capitalism raised the human standard of living, and don’t fall back on “you should be GRATEFUL! for my philanthropy” bullshit. Of course, I think they’re wrong, but who cares? They aren’t dicks about it.

        This article, though, embraces the height of Trumpist bourgeois “libertarian” rubbish, in a particularly obnoxious way. I’m frankly enraged by the elitism, especially given how completely against our school’s character it is.

    1. 1
      frank says:

      man, this article is so dumb in a lot of ways and basically is a waste of time. might as well say to a poor person, “yeah i’m rich and yeah i made this money pretty unethically but foh for whining. life ain’t fair get used to it kiddo”

  8. 25
    MP '13 says:

    People like you didn’t subsidize my education. My education was paid for by an alumnus who came from nothing and used a Swarthmore education to become a highly successful businessman. After making a name for himself, he turned around and financed scholarships to help other aspiring students do the same. I hope to follow in his footsteps one day, putting the full price of my education and more into a scholarship fund for the students who come after me. I regularly wrote to the alumnus to thank him and I still thank him in my mind nearly every day for my education.

    I will never thank you.

  9. 21
    Boozy says:

    It’s very hard to find a point/thesis in this piece. You state that swarthmore prioritizes the admittance of wealthy students over low income ones and most of your article is evidence for this. Then all of a sudden in a small paragraph you say “life isn’t fair. That’s reality. Stop whining and get over it. “Check your privilege” should be replaced with a warm “thank you so, so much for being forced to pay for my opportunity.”” wait…what? This is a rude and discriminatry sentence but let’s ignore that. Why don’t you spend more time developing this controversial statement? Overall this article feels haphazard.

    There are objections I have to specific parts of this article but I can’t say the same about your argument because frankly I don’t know what it is :/

  10. 17
    T says:

    Telling people to say a warm “thank you” to rich students is really not ok. It implies that lower income students should look up to richer students. It was very inappropriate for this part of the article to be published in the daily gazette.

  11. 16
    Julia Denney '16 says:

    I’ve read this three times and still don’t quite understand how this person lives/sees/understands the same reality I live in. Or how they connected the somewhat coherent first part to confusing concluding sentiments. All I see is that it is inflammatory and I can’t imagine how people are reacting on campus.. This whole piece seriously reminds me of Donald Trump.

  12. 13
    Greg Loring-Albright says:

    Late to the party here, but thanks, fellow alums, for showing up and applying your Swarthmore learning. Courteous in form, cutthroat in content. No flame wars, but no patience for bullshit. Seeing y’all take this nonsense apart restores my confidence in this sometimes-flawed institution. I LOVE that the most common response (from among top-level comments) is “What is the thesis?”

  13. 12
    Ariel P says:

    As a former low-income student, I would just like to say thank you. Thank you for all of my hard work and my degree from Swat. It was clearly you, and other rich people like you, who handed these things to me. I must also thank you for my exceptional grades, GPA, and SAT scores. Not to mentions all of those wonderful quotas set in place for people like me (who just don’t work as hard as the rich man) to sit and learn in the same classrooms as those such as you. It is a shame that your superiority isn’t more appreciated on campus. How dare these liberals call you “privileged”? It is obviously the rich who are the true backbone of the country.

  14. 12
    Christine says:

    Initial topic of Swarthmore not being as need blind aside, as a fellow Swattie who recieves financial aid for years, I have to say I am sad and disheartened to see this. I chose to come to a school that embraces all kinds of diversity… including different socioeconomic backgrounds. The thought that I might have wealthier peers viewing myself and my experience as a charity case, somewhat close to being as inferior and owing “thanks” is dissappointing beyond words. I hope this article sheds light on the unspoken classist stereotypes that prevail on college campuses for students recieving aid.

  15. 7
    Tuition paying parent says:

    You little kiddies need some serious perspective.

    The author may have offended you. Too bad. She may have shaken up the order at Swarthmore and stomped upon their holier than thou attitude. But, the author has a very good point.

    I have news for you little snowflakes. A lot of parents who are called “full pays” by the elite admissions offices are struggling to pay the tuitions. Do you kids realize what the tuition is at Swarthmore or other fancy pants colleges? Do you know how much income you actually have to make after taxes and other expenses to pay over $60,000 in tuition?

    Is it galling to see an institution sit on a 10 figure endowment and ask for a middle class parent to pony up $65 – 70,000 per year. You bet! Do the elite colleges give favor to the “full pays” over those who ask for financial aid? Probably, they all do. Even when they have 1 or 2 or 10 billion in a tax free investment account!

    Give credit where credit is due. The author asks very uncomfortable but important questions. Good on her! Funny, how elitists hate to be exposed as hypocrites.

    Next, I hope to see questions about preferential admissions granted to certain people based upon their race!

    1. 5
      Ian G '18 says:

      Nice diminutive put-down, you primitive bourgeois imperialist buffoon. See, two can play the petty insults game!

      The central problem is not that the article is merely poorly-written, or that it is laden with enough bourgeois elitism to make Cornelius Vanderbilt blush, but that it is /both/ poorly-written and laden with enough bourgeois elitism to make J. P. Morgan look like Karl Marx. Speaking as the child of two wealthy parents, who are paying for my full ride, I am /completely/ aware of how many years of careful savings, investments, and money management that my parents had to go through to get me here. And that’s not even counting my brother’s tuition when he gets to conservatory.

      It is absolutely just for a bourgeois family to be expected to pay $65k-70k per year. That money is needed to pay professors, maintain facilities, build us a new biology building that isn’t a ’60s labyrinthine mess (I love Martin, but it’s /not/ well-designed for students or scientists, and could definitely do with more lab space), and otherwise keep this institution running.

      Give credit where credit is due. The article is rambling at best, and the author embodies the worst case of sneering bourgeois elitism by demanding personal thanks for their parents’ money. The author didn’t earn that money. The author doesn’t even deserve that money, according to capitalists at least. Just like I didn’t earn the $65k-70k per annum tuition that my parents are paying to put me through here.

      That money is a gift to us, the students, so that we don’t have to rely on the school’s financial aid. It is not our money. It was not earned by us, it does not belong to us, and we should not be thanked for it. If anything, we should thank the lower-income students who work their way through school by working part-time, driving school vans on weekends, doing ML Breakfast, working in Sharples, working for the arboretum staff, and otherwise allowing our campus to continue to function as we expect.

      I hope to see my fellow bourgeois students thank their proletarian comrades for their efforts going forward.

      1. 3
        Tuition paying parent says:

        If you think that most of the parents paying full tuition are wealthy scions of the Vanderbilts and Morgan’s… You still need perspective and a healthy dose of reality.

        1. 0
          Ian G '18 says:

          Wow. That was the single worst bit of intentional incomprehension that I have ever seen.

          Perhaps I should explain it in small words. Wealthy students didn’t earn their tuition money. Their parents got that money, mostly through investments, which isn’t earning money but rather a legal kind of gambling. The article is factually incorrect by implying otherwise. The article has a muddled thesis and a sneeringly elitist conclusion. People are angry about the elitism. The article was retracted and apologized for because the muddled thesis and poor structure make it unsuitable for publication in its current state.

          Is that simple enough for you? Should I use baby talk? Maybe some hand gestures and a demonstration video with cute cartoon animals to assist?

  16. 5
    Sara Fitzpatrick '14 says:

    This article contains the germ of a meaningful conversation about the reality of need-blind admissions, but the subsequent argument doesn’t live up to that promise. It’s true that even “need blind” admissions are not truly need blind. Having once worked for a tutoring company which (among other things) helped wealthy students get ahead, I know that the process heavily favors students who are born into advantage. Just as colorblindness does not result in racial equality, need blind admissions do not result in need-equal admission. But the author seems to conflate admissions RESULTS with the intentions of the admissions officers. It is not only possible but inevitable that an unequal system leading up to college applications, combined with good-faith equal treatment of all applicants by admissions officers, would still result in skewed admissions results. I do not agree with the author’s suggestion that Swarthmore’s response to this inevitable inequality should be for the college admissions team to throw their hands up in the air and say, “Screw it, we have to pick a side and we’re picking the rich.”

    Nor is there compelling evidence that rich students paying full tuition are subsidizing other students. Full tuition doesn’t cover the full cost of a student attending Swarthmore; even those students paying “everything” are in fact being subsidized by the endowment. If student A pays 30% of the per-student education cost, and Student B pays 80%, Student B isn’t paying for Student A–just a bigger, and still incomplete, share of the cost of educating herself. (This leaves aside, of course, the simple fact that Student B is probably not paying her own costs either–her parents are.)

    But by far the worst part of this article is the conclusion that “Check your privilege” should be replaced with a warm “thank you so, so much for being forced to pay for my opportunity.” For one thing, “Check your privilege” is not the statement of animosity the author seems to consider it. Socioeconomic privilege in the form of better college preparation is explicitly recognized by the author earlier in the article. It is legitimate to expect privileged students to consider the effect of privilege on their mindsets. “Check your privilege”
    doesn’t mean “You’re a bad person,” or even, “You’re wrong.” It just means your background may have sheltered you from grasping the full implication of what you say. Indeed, perhaps the author’s privilege prevents her from how insulting it is for a less privileged student to hear that they do not belong, or somehow owe their presence on campus to more privileged students. From a purely practical point of view, if the aim is to prevent the demonizing of rich students, arguing that poor students should have to thank them is a really bad place to start.

  17. 4
    Jesse, Alum 11 says:

    You’re certainly not forced to subsidize the education of the liberal less fortunate students whose demands for more equity you detest. Thanks to your admittedly enormous privilege, you could go to any institution you want.
    You have chosen to got a school that certainly focuses efforts on being progressive and redistributing wealth by charging higher tuition. That is progressive. The progressives want it to be MORE progressive, they’re not unaware that rich families are the key. But no one needs to thank you for your familial fortune. You didn’t build that.

    I’m sure there are other fine institutions and finishing schools where you can get the maximum value for your familial wealth without being spat on by the commoners. Instead you chose a place with liberal values, because you felt (as did many other rich students) that that environment was a better investment, thanks to its progressive values.

    Good luck!

  18. 3
    Aaron Brecher '10 says:

    Erin Jenson: First, apologies for the length of this comment . . .

    I was confused by this op-ed. As other commenters have observed, some of it seems tacked on and unrelated to what I thought the main argument was. Perhaps that’s on me for misunderstanding. But perhaps the fact that others share my confusion suggests that the argument could have been tighter.

    The op-ed states: “Check your privilege” should be replaced with a warm “thank you so, so much for being forced to pay for my opportunity.” I want to focus on two of those words: “you” and “forced.”

    As I understand it, a major objection to one of the premises behind the piece is that because even those students paying full tuition have their educations substantially subsidized, the argument that those students are in someone paying for the opportunity of other students doesn’t hold water. In other social media related to the op-ed, you seem to suggest that because money is inherently fungible, and greater subsidies must be made for students not paying full tuition than for those who are, the point still stands. Ok. I have no special expertise in economics or college finance, and don’t feel qualified to weigh in.

    But even assuming you’re right—and putting aside the unseemliness of suggesting that students need be grateful to their peers who lucked into being born to greater means—my confusion stands. First, “you:” it’s extremely unlikely that a student whom we colloquially say is “paying” full tuition is actually doing so. That tuition is paid by the student’s parents or other relatives, so even on your reading, why should anyone be grateful to the student? Indeed, it seems to me that the ones most likely to be contributing to their own tuition are those participating in work-study programs, or who forgo prestigious unpaid internships in favor of paying summer jobs. In other words, the students less likely to paying full tuition.

    Second, “forced.” No one forces full-tuition paying students to attend Swarthmore. Because of its small size and relatively rigorous admissions standards, it’s infinitely easier to not go to Swarthmore than it is to not go there. The same is true of contributions to the school’s endowment and other donations. They are voluntary.

    So those are my objections on the merits. As to the rest, I don’t know why someone would say something sure to inflict meaningful hurt on that person’s peers, particularly when the offending barb has so little relationship to the rest of the piece.

  19. 3
    Alum, but not THAT alum says:

    “Colleges are, at a basic level, private institutions that need to worry about their long term sustainability.”

    Nope, no they are not. Many post-secondary schools are public institutions. The fact that so many are private institutions is not intrinsic, nor, if the author is serious in their “hypocrisy” critique, is it something that should just be accepted.

    If you believe (as I do) that the existence of private educational institutions entails exclusion based on class, then advocating for all educational institutions to be made public is a better conclusion than telling imaginary assailants to shut up.

  20. 2
    Just another perspective says:

    Let’s just put aside for a second the fact that every student’s Swarthmore education is subsidized and assume that you are (indirectly) subsidizing the educations of your peers on financial aid. In this case, what are you paying for? If you want to be cynical, you are paying for the opportunity to have token poor friends – a potential asset in some lines of work. If I want to be cynical, you are paying to exploit my diversity for the benefit of your education, so that you are not stuck in an echo chamber of the upper middle class. If you believe you are paying for me, why not get what you’re paying for by talking to me, being my friend, and learning from my experiences?
    Why not see these people toward whom you seem to feel so much resentment as components of the apparatus of your own education – part and parcel of what you are buying in the first place – and learn from them?

  21. 1
    Tom says:

    I just read an article about how the author of this piece was driven off of the college by the rabid SJW crowd. To her, I say good article. Don’t be afraid to share your opinion. Opinions, differing opinions and being able to share and engage in a civil discourse is what university is supposed to be about. Unfortunately, there is a growing movement of radical leftists on campus who do not want an exchange of ideas. They want one idea and for all others to be expunged.

    In my opinion, these SJWs who have reacted with such vitriol to this article have shown that they are incapable of intelligent engagement of the issue, and as such should not be afforded a place in higher education until they have matured.

  22. 1
    That's Mr. Warbucks to you..... says:

    Brevity appears to have been removed from the curriculum.

    Swarthmore was founded on the principal’s of inclusion and access. While far from perfect, the schools history is unrivaled. Maybe the Quaker values are being confused by political correctness? Older Alums seem to have a stronger sense of community. Working through these issues with the administration and understanding their responsibilities and direction may have influenced the writers statements. Instead, you’re left to interpret their parsing of words and assumption of intent. Ironically, the assume negative bias by the very people who gave them their admission into their community.

    Did anyone ask the admission folks how they remain needs blind with so many indicators of need on the applications?

    As for the talk of wealth and privilege:. Most families who pay the full cost of attendance (roughly half the students) struggle to do so. The assumption that admissions is admitting these students looking for large gifts is populist fantasy. Unless the family is a recognizable name, even doctors, lawyers and executives often struggle to pay for educating their children. Privilege often comes from sacrifice, but it’s easier to somehow demonize those lucky enough to be born into relative comfort than to consider the challenges and achievements of those who climbed to that position.

    Instead of accusing the administration, why not volunteer in the admissions office? Spend this admissions cycle understanding the process, it’s challenges and realities. Aftetwards, write a letter and give an opinion based on facts.

  23. 1
    Alum says:

    I appreciate the writer for raising the fact that “need-blind” is not really “blind” and this applies not only to Swarthmore but to all elite colleges in the U.S. However, the following paragraph does not support this point at all and comes from out of left field. It killed this essay. But, what’s disturbing is that I feel like it’s something that the writer has been wanting to say for a while…:

    “Do I think mixing finances and admissions is fundamentally wrong? Absolutely not. Colleges are, at a basic level, private institutions that need to worry about their long term sustainability. Demonizing wealthy students is not productive because, in the end, they are paying not just for their own education but also for the education of their hyper-liberal classmates who resent the upper class at its core. Is this fair? No. But life isn’t fair. That’s reality. Stop whining and get over it. “Check your privilege” should be replaced with a warm “thank you so, so much for being forced to pay for my opportunity.””

  24. 0
    Mark Navidian says:

    This was the essay that infuriated so many people? Really? She definitely has a point. I don’t agree with her conclusions , eg I think she could have questioned whether it’s actually right for things to be this way. It is ridiculous how expensive colleges are and evidence of a rigged plutocracy. Incidentally, SJWs themselves are complicit in this by demanding that more diversity admins etc be hired. However it’s completely true that elite colleges and SJWs use individualized identity politics to distract from larger systemic issues, namely class inequality and the neoliberal university. It’s actually an excuse to ignore economic issues , since most poor or working class people in America are still white and a lot of them are men. And who cares about cishet white men anyway, even if they’re homeless? No matter how much lip service they pay to ‘diversity’ and trans pronouns, elite private colleges ignore class and are by definition still a breeding ground for the looters of the 1%. Thanks Erin, even though I don’t completely agree with you people like you still give me hope that the future generation are not idiots blinded by Tumblr. (Oops! Was that ableist?) SJWs, don’t be so resistant to other pocs. She was doing you guys a favor. Solidarity!!

  25. 0
    A better way to put it says:

    Certainly this article used a poor choice of words but it is not completely without merit. Saying “check your privilege” should be replaced with a “thank you so, so much…” is obviously ridiculous but saying that low income students should recognize and and appreciate that their costs of tuition are so low because of higher income student’a families paying a higher tution. There is no obligation to say ‘thank you’ as that implies that higher income students are doing a favor to those on financial aid which they certainly are not. I just don’t think it’s unreasonable to say lower income students should acknowledge the fact that they are here because they worked hard to gain admission, but had the opportunity to attend the school because other people paid a higher price. Low income students have no obligation to treat high income students any differently because of this fact because both have worked hard to be at the college and are deserving of admission albeit with differing access to resources along the way. The one thing I would say so many hyper liberal students (who are not always low income of course) on the topic of ‘checking privilege’ is to avoid jumping on people with that infuriating word ‘privilege.’ Saying someone is unqualified to speak on a topic or that their views are unimportant simply because they grew up in a wealthy area is unfair and does not do anything to help their understanding if they truly don’t have all the facts. So I only ask students in a situation where they want to mention privilege, don’t. Instead just counter someone’s argument with personal experience and facts because ‘privilege’ is one of those words which will completely blind anyone from a privileged background from absolutely any point you make and it will make them feel like they can’t share any opinions just because they grew up in a stable financial environment.

  26. 0
    Your Mama says:

    While I am hardly from the most “privileged” background, I agree with those of you who don’t believe that you “deserve” to be at Swat. You clearly have no respect for your families or the fact that your ancestors had to EARN the “privileges” that they have bestowed upon you of which you feel so unworthy. That you could be so obtuse is a thousand times more insulting than the so-called “hateful rhetoric” of those who candidly observe the collective efforts of the people who helped to get you to where you are not only to them but to those who you implicitly mock by pretending that you are ashamed of it while you accept every advantage that has been given to you. Perhaps you should finally try putting your own aspirations where your mouth is, take some personal responsibility and quit school, give up your “privileges” and go live in a monastery. That or kill yourself. In the meantime, please spare the rest of us.

    1. 3
      Mary Marissen says:

      Are these comments not moderated at all? “That or kill yourself?” How is this acceptable? Anywhere, about anything? Oh, my heart…

  27. 0
    Veteran journalist says:

    The only thing your publication should apologize for is bowing to the crybullies and saying you regret this story. Have some backbone. Your columnist has the right to present a viewpoint that differs from the cowards who are threatening her on social media and at the gym. You shouldn’t apologize for challenging your readers.

  28. 0
    H says:

    She is technically right. Unless Swarthmore college can afford to provide free tuition to all its students through its endowment, than those who pay tuition are subsidizing those who don’t.

  29. 0
    Dustin says:

    Don’t worry, Erin. You’ll soon find you aren’t alone in this sort of thinking. You know, logic. Somewhere it became lost on most of your fellow students that a monetary contribution toward the welfare of others should still be deeply APPRECIATED, not EXPECTED. Swarthmore’s operations sound like a fantastic lesson in how capitalism works. If you want to fund “passion projects” you have to have funds. And those funds have to come from somewhere. And, to restate, those funds should be appreciated rather than written off with some made-up concept like “privilege”.

    You see, I was one of these kids raised in privilege and espoused views almost identical to your classmates commenting above. But what these kids don’t understand and CAN’T understand, no matter how big their allowance, is that they don’t have any of their own money. So they have no idea what it feels like for their own money- which they, and nobody else worked hard for- to be preyed upon. They haven’t paid over 50% of their income to the IRS. And though they claim they’d be more than fine to pay their fair share, I assure you nobody paying any significant amount in taxes, no matter how rich would make such an idiotic claim. When you have money, people take it. Bottom line. The first time it will start to bother most of these folks is when a program they deeply disagree with is using more of their money than the people’s who actually support whatever is being funded. For me it was Obamacare. Abortion of a program. And guess who is funding over 85% of it? That’s right. The very people who are most opposed to it. Paying on both ends. Premiums on employer-provided insurance went through the roof while simultaneously taxes were raised.

    It’s always easy to have an opinion you don’t have to pay for. It’s called NOT putting your money where you mouth is.

    1. 13
      Maurice Eldridge says:

      Or its called not putting your heart where your money is. As I said before those who pay full tuition are still subsidized by the College as they do not pay its full costs.

      1. 0
        Brian Hecklemeyer says:

        Seriously Maurice, you want to make a moral argument for government-sanctioned stealing and forced slavery? People who pay such high taxes are forced to, by pain of the police kicking down your door, holding a gun to your head, and dragging you out of the house to jail if you resist. Those with 50% tax rates work a full six months of the year as slaves to the government with zero compensation, meaning they are worse than slaves, since slaves had food and shelter provided. How about we don’t rob people of their hard-earned money and let them give willingly to the school rather than through force? That would be putting your heart where your money is. Don’t pretend to hold the higher moral ground when you aren’t even giving away your OWN money, but instead you advocate for gun-wielding, forced imprisonment of others and theft of their hard-earned money. You are incredibly naive and doing nothing more than spewing the same garbage your liberal professors have spoon fed you. Open your mind.

        1. 11
          Maurice Eldridge says:

          Two things struck me in your note Brian. One, the word you begin with – “seriously” and the notion, very flattering, that this 76 year old is “naive.” You made this cloudy morning almost smile at me.
          Cheers, Maurice

    2. 0
      SN says:

      Privilege is about as “made up” as the concept of Pareto efficiency.

      Plenty of poor kids who go to Swat know exactly what it’s like to have their own money. Some of them are probably paying most of their way using their own money. I’m more or less middle class, and even I’ve made enough of my own money in the past through working menial jobs (landscaping, grocery store, that kind of thing) to have to pay taxes (I also live in a pretty tax-heavy state, which is fine).

      Obamacare is an abortion of a program, but not because the rich have to pay for it. It sucks because the government now legally requires its citizens and residents to pay for a service they may not desire. Your expectation that increased premiums on insurance should be compensated for by tax cuts is indicates your ignorance. Insurance providers are the ones who pick their premiums, not the federal government. I’ll leave working out the implications of this fact as an exercise for the reader (who hopefully recognizes that comment as facetious, not sanctimonious).

      Anyway, the idea that I should appreciate the so-called ‘contributions’ of the rich to my education is revolting. I hardly ‘expect’ those who pay full tuition to subsidize my own (in fact, this is not the case at all, as several commenters have pointed out) — rather, I would be glad if they were forced to, considering the massive amounts of wealth their parents, useless vampires that they are, siphon away from those sharing my class background and into their own pockets. You seem to suggest there’s an issue with people paying disproportionate amounts for measures they don’t support. But if that’s the will of the *bewildered herd*, or however you see us, tough luck, buddy! Of course richie riches aren’t gonna want to relinquish any of their sweet, sweet cash to the proto-humans who manufacture their clothes or wait their tables. If they want money, they should earn it themselves like you did, right? It can’t be that hard. They should just be glad you’re tipping them 20% instead of 15%. To expect appreciation from students who aren’t paying full tuition (or from the waiter you’re tipping) requires the assumption that our economic system is a fair one, or even an efficient one, which it transparently isn’t. I don’t need to use the word ‘privilege’ (and I don’t) to describe the dominant, agenda-setting position of those in the capitalist class. I hardly think you could suggest the notion that the rich are more powerful is ‘made-up’. If you feel you could, you may need to visit a psychiatrist.

      Of course it’s easier to have an opinion you don’t have to pay for. If you care enough about material or financial wealth to get into the top income tax bracket in the first place, you’re probably gonna want to hold onto as much of it as you can. The entire point is that what normal people want ain’t the same thing as what rich folks want, plain and simple (in this respect, at least). The issue is getting people to view themselves, to paraphrase an author, as the poor folks they are, not as temporarily embarrassed millionaires. But that’s a tough illusion to break when you live in a world with a logic as self-consistent and self-reinforcing as this one’s, a logic people like you reinforce again and again and again on forums like these.

  30. 0
    Ariel P says:

    As a former low income student, I would just like to say thank you. Thank you for all of my hard work and my degree from Swat, as well as the grades, SAT scores, and the GPA that you clearly handed out to me in order to be accepted to such a fine institution. I am forever in debt to you, dear rich person (and all of your money) for making my dreams come true.

  31. 0
    Rob says:

    While people as a right, by the constitution, have the autonomy to say what they want, the author fails to provide actual evidence to back up her claims and uses a variety of fallacies in this op-ed. A controversial op-ed is fine, and debate should be considered in a world where things can be overly censored. The problem with this op-ed is that is makes claims that are not sound, and claims that are not back up with actual evidence, and exemplifies a level of ignorance on behalf of the author.

    I would like to point out one statement in particular that needs to be addressed:
    “Demonizing wealthy students is not productive because, in the end, they are paying not just for their own education but also for the education of their hyper-liberal classmates who resent the upper class at its core.”

    What facts can the author provide to suggest that “wealthy” students are footing the bill for “poor” students? Swarthmore has an endowment which is funded through alumni, who at THEIR discretion donate money for scholarships and aid purposes (the author should know there is a such a thing as restricted donations). As far as I am concerned, the money wealthy students are paying for towards tuition, is going towards the classes of their choosing, the professors who teach them, and the price to live, eat and access the resources of a private university. Now if the author wants to debate the rising tuition prices in across the United States, that is a separate topic altogether.

    Moreover, who is demonizing wealthy students? Are you assuming “poor”, as the label you use, are? What about the other “classes”, do they demonize the wealthy? Now you are stratifying America. What is considered “upper class” in the US?

    I would also like to add that your “hyper-liberal” classmates might be a member of the said “wealthy class”… Which means you are making an implicit assumption that all liberal students are not upper class.

    I would like to make one more suggestion for both the author and this newspaper to fact check the author. She apparently claims to be a Rhodes Scholar. However, it is under my understanding that Rhodes Scholarships have not been awarded or selected for the 2016-2017 academic year. In fact the internal deadline at Swarthmore is: September 9, 2016.

    I am confused as to why the author is being dishonest about their credentials.

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