Op Ed in the Sun
This week, CDI President Rachel Pfeifer authored a powerful op-ed for The Baltimore Sun. Entitled “Mount St. Mary’s Drowning Freshmen,” it discusses the controversy surrounding Mount St. Mary’s President Simon Newman. Newman proposed a plan to identify 20 to 25 struggling freshmen by September 25th and present them with the opportunity to drop out and have their tuition refunded. While this may seem like a way to save students money on the cost of college, many educators worry that this will unfairly target underrepresented and first-generation students. When the faculty objected, he said they needed to stop thinking of the students as cuddly bunnies: “You just have to drown the bunnies…Put a Glock to their heads.”
Mount St. Mary’s President Apologizes
While Newman has apologized for his harsh words, he has stood behind his philosophy of asking students to leave the campus barely a month after they began their four-year college education. This is before schools are asked to report their enrollment numbers to the government, and would boost Mount St. Mary’s retention statistics by dismissing struggling students before anyone knows they’re there.
At CDI, we know how important it is to support students as they make the difficult transition to college. We know that the students who face the greatest challenge – and are most likely to be targeted by policies like this – are low-income, first generation students. These students are less likely to have the support of a parent or a college counselor, and are often unsure what to expect when they get to campus. We also know that, with the right support, students who struggle in their freshman year go on to successful college careers and make a difference on their campus.
We’re honored to be able to support these students to and through college, and we strongly believe that all colleges should be looking for ways to lift up hard-working, college-enrolled students, not drag them down — or drown them.
Donating to education makes a direct impact on low-income, first-generation students. We hope you’ll also consider helping these students on their path to college and make a donation today.