To Penn, we students are numbers from when we get here until we leave: 9.9% acceptance rate, 32 credits, 3.4 GPA, 10, 406 under- graduates, 96% graduation rate. And, as of this week, 30%—30% of undergraduate women are sexually assaulted by senior year.
This is the number that made President Amy Gutmann recognize a human issue. For our university to care, we have to become a number.
This week’s feature addresses the pre–Ivy culture of elite boarding schools. As the feature says, in many ways these little mini Penns are better than actual Penn at acknowledging the fact that students are humans who need support. Yes, prep schools put a lot of pressure on their students, but they give them the support to survive this pressure.
Maybe Penn’s problem is that it doesn’t realize how much pressure it puts on us. It doesn’t realize that the expectation of excellence drives isolation. And no, having CAPS is not enough. Penn, the institution, needs to mandate students' well–being the same way that they implement a Physical World requirement.
We need a relationship with Penn—a mutual understanding. If you require us to go to class, to achieve, to OCR, to buy textbooks: You, Penn, are required to support us.
Who can we turn to when we need help? I don't want an office; I want a name. To me, Penn, the institution, is a website. And to Penn, I, a human, am a number.
I haven’t spoken with my advisor since freshman NSO. I have never met my College contact. You can say that I should be reaching out, but I’m too busy trying to do everything Penn wants me to do.
And when I do it, you don’t even say "good job." You turn me into a statistic.
Show me your humanity, and I'll show you mine.