Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Admissions and the New Social Policy

Erica Bertoli ‘14

Opinions Editor

The issue of excessive drinking is not directly related to the prestige of an academic institution. This is important to establish because it is also one of the biggest arguments made by Dean Alford when discussing the social policy (specifically at the forum held on Wednesday Jan. 25).

Trinity does have the reputation of a party school; the majority of Trinity students know this before arriving on campus, and the select few who don’t find out within the first week. Dean Alford has suggested this fact is something to be embarrassed about, and maybe it is. Now consider that during the 2010-2011 admissions year, Trinity’s acceptance rate dropped to 26.7 percent.

It seems ironic that in the wake of a great accomplishment for Trinity the College has instituted a policy that aims to abolish the culture that could have arguably attracted (at least initially) a majority of the 2015 incoming class.

Trinity has an image, and that image is what helped secure a 48.4 percent increase in applications.

Is that image ideal? Not necessarily. Does it help to secure an admissions class where the majority must be able to pay full tuition? Yes. Though there are exceptions, Trinity students come to Trinity because they want to come to Trinity. Part of wanting to come to Trinity, whether the administration wants to acknowledge it or not, is (or was?) the social scene.

The administration is right: Trinity’s position as the only NESCAC with fraternities does distinguish it. I argue that the distinction is not necessarily negative but a fact that can be manipulated to secure an increasingly lower acceptance rate.

I don’t seek to support or argue against the social policy because frankly, my views are conflicted. My end goal is simply to leave Trinity a better place than when I first arrived, and I measure that partly through the college’s acceptance rate.

That goal began to be realized with the incoming class of 2015. In light of this I see the new social policy as removing one of Trinity’s distinguishing factors which, for the good or bad, was seen as Trinity’s number one selling point to prospective students.

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