Bullies at a private liberal arts college in Pennsylvania forced a student to leave school after she wrote an op-ed in the school’s newspaper telling “hyper-liberal classmates who resent the upper class at its core” to be grateful that the admissions department isn’t as diverse as it claims.
The response was vicious: fellow students threatened her life and unleashed on social media, calling her a privileged racist “white bitch” who should kill herself.
In her September 12 article titled “The Admissions Office Doesn’t Care About Your Values,” Erin Jenson, a senior in economics and political science, argued that Swarthmore College doesn’t have a truly blind admissions process because the Common App’s design makes clear which applicants are most advantaged. The same is true for many elite colleges across the country, she said.
“[U]niversities and colleges know exactly who can pay and who can’t,” Jenson wrote. “In fact, the statistics clearly show it.” Accepting wealthier students is an obvious advantage for the school because they can afford to pay full tuition, and “rich parents are potential donors.”
This “mixing of finances and admissions” isn’t fundamentally wrong, Jenson concluded. “Colleges are, at a basic level, private institutions that need to worry about their long term sustainability.” They should just be honest about it, she said, instead of pretending to be truly diverse.
Given the economic realities of operating an elite college, Jenson argued “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?” she asked. “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.’”
Social Justice Bullies Control the Narrative
The backlash has been so severe it has driven Jenson from campus. She told The College Fix that she’s been bullied on social media. One person told her she should have her tongue removed, and she found a note in her bag at the gym that said, “kill yourself bitch.”
“I panicked,” she told The Fix. “I thought someone really wanted me dead or was trying to scare me. I notified public safety right away.”
One person posted a status saying I was suggesting ethnic cleansing of minorities. I didn’t even bring up race in the article. I’ve been called a white bitch, privileged asshole, white supremacist, proponent of slavery. Someone made up a rumor that I didn’t want to go to school with low-income students.
The college newspaper that ran Jenson’s column has refused to stand by her or the post they published. Instead, they have apologized for running it, boldly declaring, “We fucked up.”
We often publish op-eds that most of our editorial board fundamentally disagrees with, because we think that, when well-argued and respectful, those op-eds can lead to constructive dialogue. But, as many readers have pointed out, today’s op-ed failed on all those counts.
The out-of-nowhere passage where the author writes that wealthy students ‘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’ has no factual basis. The subsequent injunction to ‘stop whining and get over it’ is just plain offensive.
Finally, there’s the deplorable suggestion that aided students warmly say ‘thank you so, so much for being forced to pay for my opportunity’ instead of ‘check your privilege.’ The Daily Gazette is a place for diverse opinions, but it is not a platform for self-satisfied and insidious classism.
Responses to the apology have been mixed: some have said they appreciated the apology because they found the article offensive, but others criticized the newspaper for giving into social justice bullies opposed to open discussion.
There’s No Room For Debate At Swarthmore
Shutting down conservative opinions has become all too common at American universities and colleges. When opinions are given, as in the case of Jenson’s, people need to remember that they are opinions. Publishing them, particularly with legitimate evidence and reasoned arguments, is the job of a press concerned about healthy debate and the presentation of diverse views.
Sadly, we’re losing diversity of thought as militants with race-conscious agendas use bully tactics and violence to shut down views that challenge the politically correct narrative of the cultural elite.
As Jenson’s case demonstrates, the result is not just a silencing of voices and loss of reasoned debate. Individuals have their lives disrupted and plans derailed as they’re forced to switch schools or positions for their own safety, reputation, and peace of mind.