TCF - One might think students who attend a college ranked #1 by Forbes might be proud of that fact. But at Pomona College, many students thought their university’s happy reaction to the recent accomplishment was some sort of travesty.
A cohort of angry students at the small, private liberal arts college in Claremont, Calif., demanded administrators remove from their website a news release touting the recognition, decrying the promotion as pushing “stress, anxiety and unhealthy competition among students.”
In late July, Forbes ranked Pomona College as the No. 1 university in the nation. Its list is based on “student-consumer value over marketing prestige.” Soon after its release, campus officials touted the ranking on their website homepage.
But some students said they felt the award should have been ignored completely.
A petition circulated by students cited a pledge Pomona administrators made in 2007 to never promote rankings to counteract “admissions frenzy.” The petition went on to state “pressure to attend highly ranked schools can result in stress, anxiety, and unhealthy competition among students at a time when we are most in need of support, trust, and objective information.”
“We encourage Pomona College to instead emphasize the many qualities which make it great and beloved–its community and relationships, small and rigorous classes, commitment to access, and student research and leadership opportunities,” the petition added. “These qualities tell the story of our college far better than a single number. We therefore ask Pomona College to reaffirm its commitment … to forgo the use of college rankings in any of its publications.”
The Aug. 27 petition garnered 58 of the college’s roughly 1,600 students, according to the Independent. Shortly after the petition was launched, the post touting the Forbes recognition was removed from the college website’s homepage.
Student protestors claimed victory.
“To all those who signed the petition, I am happy to announce that since yesterday, Pomona College has removed the article in question and all other mentions of the Forbes #1 ranking from its website and news page!” a student leading the petition announced Aug. 28 on Facebook. “It took us less than 24 hours to hold Pomona responsible on this issue.”
Oh my god, FINALLY somebody put their foot down and stood up to this madness. Been thinking this for a while, haven’t said anything because I was too ashamed but now it’s time to speak out, now that Pomona College has started the movement. The glorification of these people who “succeed” and “do well” and “accomplish things” needs to stop and stop immediately.
I mean do these publications like the Princeton Review and Forbes Magazine not realize that when they put out their “Best College” rankings and bestow all these honors to the smartest and hardest working student bodies, there are people who AREN’T the best? Did they even stop to consider how the schools that DON’T get good rankings feel? Do they even care that the schools that DO get good rankings are then put under an incredible amount of pressure to KEEP doing well? Sorry for all the CAPS but it’s just something I feel passionately about, that we spend way too much time acknowledging success and not enough to protect the feelings of those who don’t earn it.
Bottom line is this is COLLEGE we’re talking about for God’s sake. We didn’t come here to deal with competition and high stress situations. We don’t pay 50 thousand dollars a semester to encounter real-life things we’ll have to deal with in the workplace and learn how to adapt and handle pressure. We came to be coddled and protected and shielded from the real world for 4 years. Seriously it’s right there in the fine print of the application, right under the subsection that says we can ban anyone from campus who wants to speak to us about an opinion we disagree with. Nobody said anything about “stress, anxiety, and competition” being a part of becoming an adult, and if you try to make us deal with those things, we’ll shove a petition right down your throat, bitch.