The Santa Clara
April 13, 2017
Santa Clara still has a long way to go if it wants to be jewel of the West.
Recent acts of discriminatory campus vandalism and the university’s budget crisis are forcing us to reflect on the image Santa Clara presents and what Santa Clara actually is.
With prospective students pouring onto campus for tours, overnight visits and Preview Day, there’s a question lingering in the air: Why do you love Santa Clara?
It’s a question that gets asked often and causes my eyes to widen in alarm. I never know how to word my response because I want to answer honestly—but that includes all the good, the bad and the ugly Santa Clara has to offer.
Any criticism of Santa Clara comes from a place of love, and I don’t think it would be beneficial to anyone to sugarcoat the issues this school has. No matter how much this university sweeps its problems under the rug, they’ll still be there.
The $100 million Sobrato donation only benefiting STEM, the censorship this paper experienced following the donation, as well confusion over recent tuition spikes show some of the false conceptions frustrating students.
I won’t claim to know the intricacies of financing a higher institution, but the rising cost of attendance effectively causes the university to shut its doors to so many students. Although Santa Clara is generous with aid, the price tag alone scares away disenfranchised populations who don’t have trust funds or significant financial backing from even applying.
Not to mention the issues with transparency running rampant within the administration and within the student government. Regardless of how you feel about the decision to officially charter Turning Point USA amidst student protests, we all know the administration shouldn’t have overturned a decision made by ASG and upheld by the judicial branch.Here we see the administration trying to assert itself in situations that it didn’t need to in order to protect the university’s image, prioritizing it over their students’ well being.
Of course, prospective students and their families don’t know this. They don’t know about the vandalization of the 43 students memorial or the swastika painted in blood in Casa Residence Hall or the history behind our Unity 4 forums. And it seems a bit treasonous to bring them up to a student who really just wants to know whether or not the food is good. But, at the same time, it seems dishonest not to allude to them in some way.
Whatever events have happened in the past year are symptomatic of the larger, national political climate. That doesn’t make it any less disappointing and it doesn’t make it any more trivial. The reason I know it’s not trivial is because it’s a concern we, as students, wish we could forget exists when we’re convincing students that #SCUCares.
As a first-generation student and as a person of color on this campus, it’s something I struggle with when participating in tours, panels or hosting students for the admitted students program called Noche Latina.
Santa Clara is not a diverse campus and that can be a culture shock to some. It’s also a place with a lot with a lot of privilege that expects us to swallow our reservations and convince other minorities about how great Santa Clara is for us.
There’s mixed feelings and I think we are entitled to those mixed feelings. There’s a reason why so many people I talk to say they’re primarily here because of the financial aid. Similarly, those mixed feelings influence whether or not alumni come back for reunions, the Day of Giving or contribute in anyway to Santa Clara.
As a result of the alienation alumni experienced as undergrads, they prefer to donate their time and resources to the communities that helped them instead of the larger Santa Clara campus.
Santa Clara is not perfect, but no college is. I wholeheartedly believe in the Jesuit values of community, social justice and being people for others. It’s those values that remind me that this campus is a welcoming one (even when it doesn’t always feel like it) and it’s those same values that push us to make this school better. Because we want better, we expect better and we care enough to demand better.
I don’t say all of this just to point out Santa Clara’s flaws. I’m thankful to be a Bronco and I wouldn’t change my decision if I had to make it again. But it’s important to acknowledge those flaws and accept them so that we can work on them as best as we can.
It is our duty as students and as citizens of this world to educate ourselves on what this university aims to do. Ignorance is more harmful than anything else.
Whenever people ask me the dreaded question, “Why do you love Santa Clara?” I will always be honest. I’ll tell prospective students and their parents about the benefit of small classes, the close connections students can make with professors and the many opportunities available to us. I’ll tell them about the university’s values and its generosity. Then, I’ll tell them about my reservations. And I’ll do so with the hope that those concerns will one day be a footnote, not the headline.
Perla Luna is a sophmore English and sociology double major and is the editor of the Opinion Section.
Articles in the Opinion section represent the views of the individual authors only and not the views of The Santa Clara or Santa Clara University.