Every year during the season of Penn Student Government elections, the student body is bombarded with signatures, platforms and the opportunity to elect a new President, Vice President and general body of the Undergraduate Assembly.
I am a Penn alumna, Penn parent, and Penn staff member. I was also a low-income student in the 1980s, which is why the recent story in the DP about the difficulty that some first-generation and low-income students have experienced during Spring Break caught my attention.
I scrolled through Penn’s career plans survey report: “Financial Analyst, Marketing Analyst, Finance Analyst, Analyst, Database Analyst,” read the first five results under the section for economics majors (really, you can go and look for yourself). A lump hardened in my throat.
Benjamin Franklin argued for the importance of free discourse by noting “that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter.” Considering the administration’s opaque decision on fossil fuel divestment, Penn is not living up to its founder’s values.
As a member of a community that prides itself for being at the forefront of the progressive, intellectual movement and someone who recognizes the real harms of socio-economic privilege, I feel compelled to respond to the article.
As the leaders of Penn’s largest political organization, the Government & Politics Association, we decided not to co-sponsor the March for Immigrants held to condemn President Trump’s recent string of executive orders.
Blaming “self-segregation” on minority groups is nothing new. To call out greek life, “similar cultural groups” and Du Bois College house as examples of widespread “self-segregation” is something that we need to think more critically about.
Based on my news feed, there’s been a lot more fear and stress at Penn than the usual. Some of it comes from Trump’s election, and some from the validation of bigotry some believe his election stands for.