In your October issue you printed a story regarding Pacific’s College Scorecard which quoted Sarah Phillips, our interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. This article looks awful at a glance, with the blaring quote, “Pacific has far more low-income students than most of the schools around us and that has real consequences.” In large lettering.
I understand it is the first quote, but it is also the first one. A much better quote, that captures the welcoming community Pacific tries to encourage and foster, would be, “I like that Pacific sees, as part of its mission, that bringing those students to college who otherwise wouldn’t be able to and serving those first-generation students is a good thing.” This is one of the last quotes and having that be the grabbing quote for your article reflects better on Sarah Phillips and the school.
You article also lacks cultural humility by framing the quotes in such a way that vilifies students of a lower socioeconomic status. The way you wove the quotes into the narrative is, “Poor people are making the school look bad.” Though Sarah Phillips does touch on how people of a lower socioeconomic tend to take longer to complete school, there were no other reasons beyond they’re poor.
There is no critique of how Pacific does not support students who maybe struggling financially, or suggestions for how Pacific could provide and advertise resources for its students. If our completion rates and SAT scores (which don’t really matter when it comes to success in college) really are a problem for Pacific, then our focus should not be on those who are having financial troubles and how they bring Pacific’s score down.
Our focus should be on how we can provide for our fellow students and ensure that they can continue their education at Pacific University. According to Pacific’s mission statement, “we achieve excellence ‘by investing in exceptional people’” and “challenges us to ‘embrace a rich diversity of ideas, peoples, and cultures,’”. Printing an article that places blame on a disadvantaged group does not embrace diversity, it creates an unfriendly and unsafe environment for students.