Anyone can come to Quinnipiac, but not everyone is welcome

Foeleana Sansevero

Simply put, I am a rebel. Not the pink-haired, pierced type; my rebellious side has always been sequestered deep within my internal atmosphere. Until recently, I had not even recognized its existence. I refuse to bore you with my whole life story; rather this is more to demonstrate that it is possible to follow your dreams regardless of what the entire world (and QU) seems to be telling you; however, not many are quite as rebellious as I have been. I’m not going to claim that I grew up in complete poverty and went from living on the street to a multi-million dollar mansion because that’s not my situation. But it’s not like I went to college wearing $90 Abercrombie and Fitch jeans either. I’m just an average, but proud, American from a very small working class family.

This is not about politics directly. However, our competitive capitalistic environment has intentionally formed social and economic levels. These levels are unavoidable, but their segregation is done by choice. Just so you know where I am coming from, money had never grown on trees or fell from the sky into my lap; there has always been a hard working person behind every dollar that comes into our house. But never once did I let money, or the lack thereof, stand in the way of my goal to become a veterinarian. I have to admit that money has consistently challenged me, but as an inanimate object it was always (and always will be!) predestined to lose.

A perfect example of this is when it came time to apply to college; I literally ignored the price tag that accompanied my decision to attend Quinnipiac University. A small university with a four year Veterinary Technology program that would allow me to fulfill the requirements for veterinary school was more than picture perfect. It was 15 minutes from our house in New Haven! It was my choice; I broke all barriers right then and there. Before I even applied, I knew that I was going to Quinnipiac University.

For most of my experience here, QU fit my description of the ideal college, but like most schools, it has one major flaw. After attending a recent focus group session for senior students living off campus, I discovered that it will be a long time before Quinnipiac University not only accepts, but embraces diversity. This is not only regarding racial issues, but social and economic levels as well. This has been exemplified by comments made by other students demeaning and stereotyping ‘average’ Americans all the way to class discussions held by professors. It’s not comfortable or welcoming when the professor and other students discuss social issues with the assumption that everyone in the room is from an extremely wealthy family. They continuously segregate those who do not fit that tax bracket. Class discussions are just superficial examples, the core of the student population creates this clique-like atmosphere that refuses to accept the fact that there are people from all backgrounds that are achieving their goals here at this university.

I just hope that this subtle, yet profound, image of Quinnipiac does not cast a shadow over its wonderful academic programs. I follow a self-determined path to reaching my goals in life (and trust me, nothing will get in my way!) but that isn’t necessarily true for others trying to reach their goals. High school students from more urban areas shy away from private universities, such as QU, not only because of the cost, but because they are afraid that they will not fit into the general student body. By becoming more active in our community, perhaps we can change the opinion of Hamden and the neighboring towns. But more importantly, we need to address this issue of diversity from within. We all need to rebel against this negative image by embracing, promoting, and welcoming diversity at our university.