by Delphine Burns
After spending some time today silently debating whether this issue is even worth commenting on, I’ve decided it is. Partially because I always have something to say about everything, and partially because The Peel is a haven for debate and discussion, even for issues as trivial as this.
It’s official. Pitzer College has made national news. For a day, our tiny, unknown liberal arts college takes center stage in the media ring, and turns eyes toward our student body. Type in Pitzer College on Google, and it will suggest you search for “Pitzer College Yacht Club.” Apparently people have chosen to devote time and energy debating this extremely arbitrary issue. Is Student Senate funding a Yacht Club elitist? Is our institution “too” politically correct? I’m rolling my eyes even writing about this issue.
When I first saw the question posed on Facebook and Student-Talk asking whether Yacht Club is elitist, my immediate answer was yes. Yes, because as pointed out by other students, yachts are only attainable to those with excessive wealth. Being on Financial Aid at a ridiculously expensive school where many students are not, I am very aware of my socioeconomic class here at Pitzer. I would never say that political correctness is wrong, or should be halted, because usually the very people arguing against it are those who will never have to face the damage and pain of microaggressions in the first place.
That being said, a Yacht Club didn’t offend me for this reason. Creation of a Yacht Club offended me because while The Peel, Pitzer’s Official Student Newspaper, is not being allotted enough money by student senate to even print paper copies for its readers, new clubs are being approved left and right with no real criteria. While I’m all for niche and specialty clubs, this bothers me. I feel a strong student newspaper is central to a college campus, which is why I’ve worked so hard to make ours the best I possibly can. (You’re reading it, aren’t you?)
After reacting this way, I was informed that Yacht Club was actually never even a real proposal for a real club. It was apparently a proposal made by a senator to initiate a dialogue about criteria for creation of new clubs. So, it was hypothetical. It was a tool being used to start a conversation, and that’s exactly what it did.
Like many other students, I am a little appalled that this is the issue our college made national news about. So many wonderful and not-so-wonderful things happen at Pitzer all the time that get no attention. But whether they’re beneficial or detrimental to the college, these issues undoubtedly deserve more attention than this trivial debacle.
It should come as no surprise that Fox News’ coverage of the issue is offensive and politically incorrect. That’s their nature. Their sensationalism is what grants them their very vitality. No one should be surprised that this was how this network chose to cover this story. My personal favorite part was when they challenged Smart Sex Society, which I’m president of, for being offensive to students abstaining from sex until marriage.
However, other media outlets have picked it up as well, and it is nationally “trending” on Facebook. It is both disappointing and amusing to me that Fox News picked up this issue, broadcasted it nationally, and interviewed a student who does not even attend Pitzer. But other news sources as well? Ah, journalism at its finest.
This whole fiasco deters me from the media industry as a whole. It makes it evident what sort of fluff stories interest Americans, and what sort of serious, important issues never get covered. I mean, look at the other two “trending” stories right below it. They’re clearly far more serious. As a journalist, this scares me.
This is the exact reason I struggled to even post an article commenting on this fiasco. So, whether you’ve been actively participating in this dialogue, or are simply amused by the fact our school’s name is “trending,” take a step back and consider its irrelevance and insignificance.