By Kamryn Sobel
“Theres a lot of discrimination happening on campus towards upper middle class students. We are basically a minority,” said senior business analytics major Kayleigh McLeighleigh. “I don’t know how many times I have to tell people, I’m not rich, my family is comfortable.”
Recently on the Saint Mary’s campus, there have been reports from the wealthy student population facing discrimination due to the issue of having familial wealth. One student anonymously commented on the issue as, “Disheartening. I never would have imagined my peers to treat me so differently because of how much money my family has,” they said. “It’s not my fault my parents gave me these materialistic things and sent me to a private school. How can I be shamed for something that gets handed to me?”
In response to these complaints from students at Saint Mary’s, the Outercultural Center has offered a new identity affinity group for these marginalized students. The goals of the Outercultural Center is to ensure that all students on campus have a safe environment and to support and advocate for underrepresented groups at Saint Mary’s. Specifically, in an email sent to students on behalf of the OC, it states, “Here at the Outercultural Center, we strive to create an environment in which students of all identities feel empowered and connected to the Saint Mary’s community. Within the last several weeks, however, students who come from a background of wealth have been targeted and have faced prejudice. In order for everyone to feel they have a voice, be heard, and most importantly, feel supported; the Outercultural Center has developed the Wealthy Student Identity Group. Everyone who feels as if they have been misrepresented or have been victim to the recent reports, please stop by the Outercultural Center this Friday, April 1st 2022, located at the Bassin Student Union here on campus!”
One specific report came from Regina Seorge, a junior here at Saint Mary’s. “I walked into Bolivar Hall on Monday, March 21st in my Artitzia sweatsuit with a matching Louis Vuitton for lunch with my three best friends. As soon as I sat down, one of my so-called best friends said to me, ‘You can’t sit with us,’ while pointing at what I was wearing.” Seorge also reported that they declined her offer of a ride home in her brand new Mercedes SUV, “We will walk home,” they said. Laughter was then described by Seorge from the rest of the students at Bolivar Hall.
President Rick Prune shared with students via Instagram story that the college is making great efforts to ensure that all students, staff and faculty feel they have a place here at Saint Mary’s. President Prune was also seen stepping out of his new limousine and headed to discuss a possible new building on campus dedicated to wealthy students, in order to help show his support to those who have fallen victim in the recent reports. Both the new building and limousine were heard to be donated by the students’ families. In an interview with President Prune following the announcement of a possible new building at Saint Mary’s, he said, “Although I cannot confirm at this time if this will take place, the college feels as if a new building on campus for students who are facing discrimination can bring high spirits and encourages everyone in the Saint Mary’s community to feel connected and included.”
Freshman John Doe leaves Saint Mary’s with this piece of advice to help move forward as one and to continue making progress against discrimination, “Don’t believe everything you see or hear. Everything is not as it seems.”
(Image Courtesy GettyImages)
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Ryan Ford '23,