When my high school friends arrived at their large universities, empty tables in dark cafeterias marked the beginning of a tough first month: It’s not enjoyable to anxiously await meeting people you actually like. My first day began when a sophomore, turns out he was my sponsor, offered to return a blue desk lamp that didn’t emit any light back to Recoop in order to get my mother’s five dollars back. Think about that for a second. Would you do it for a girlfriend? A paraplegic grandfather? A freshman you don’t even know?
That night, as other spo-gros awkwardly played mini-tanks and pretended to remember each other’s names, ours sat together and began to build the first layer of the chocolate cake that is attachment; after only a few days we adored each other. We are a varied assortment of kids, and at first I couldn’t quite understand why we took to each other so quickly.
Why, in the first sub-free week, did I feel as comfortable as a six-month fetus, free to swim anywhere he pleases from placenta to uterus in the warm, cozy amniotic fluid of a colossal swollen belly? The answer came to me shortly after, when I remarked to my mom that two of my very best friends were my sponsors. And then I realized that two of my roommate’s very best friends were his sponsors. And two of my neighbor’s best friends were her sponsors. Ad infinitum.
I’m really not hyperbolizing when I say that every single freshman in my hall thinks of their sponsors as two of their very best friends. I don’t care what Pomona admissions brochures say—that is not normal. Every single one of us immediately felt an attachment to our sponsors, and from there on it wasn’t so hard to start to like each other, a lot.
One month later, we’re still elated to live together. Except, as of this week, the same centrifugal force that mushed our discordant parts firmly together is being torn away. I speak about the desponsoring of, and this following statement is totally verifiable by just about any student south of Oldenborg, the very best sponsor at Pomona, under entirely questionable circumstances.
The administration has told us nothing. The official reasons, as we understand them, are comically ludicrous. I recognize that deans would owe us no explanation if they removed a sponsor who endangered us or acted in a legitimately deplorable manner—but this is in no way the present case.
The events fueling the administration’s action can be objectively labeled “possibly imprudent.” In this scenario wouldn’t it have made sense for a dean to talk to the sponsees before taking serious measures? Does it matter at all that we believe our initial delight of college to stem from a love of the very sponsor they seek to erase?
The sponsor system, I assume, was designed to benefit freshmen. And it did. But how can an act like this, an act I am forced to assume, in the absence of reason or acumen, was inspired by personal enmity or misunderstanding, possibly benefit us twelve sponsees?
This is not the first The Student Life opinion written against an overbearing and prejudiced administration. After only a few weeks, I have stunningly low faith that I will ever respect the very people entrusted to ensure my personal well-being for the next four years. No amount of talking can change that; bad decisions mar the entire campus. That is a serious blow to a college that attracts students in large part due to its perceived receptiveness. For me, the initial comfort is wearing off; without people like my sponsor Pomona would not be worth the 3,000-mile flight.
-Luke Willert PO ‘13