Today’s Brown Bag, entitled “Equity in Higher Education, was a presentation from the SOCI 303: Sociology in Higher Education class. The students presented the research they have been doing throughout the semester on the myth of college degrees placing students on equal playing fields. While there are many people who knew that part, there are definitely enough people that don’t to make these conversations continually relevant. Even as someone who may be aware of this myth, It is also nice to hear actual research on why this may not be the case.
The students went through different aspects of the college process from college prep through graduation, making sure to reference all the important moments in between. Interestingly enough, most, if not all (I think), of their data was taken from research of Colgate’s student body. Here were my main takeaways from the Brown Bag:
1. Social factors are often overlooked in the entire college process! We’re always told that networking is important, arguably more so than any other single factor, but what does that mean for someone with no network?! I’m a senior and I always read that networking is absolutely NECESSARY for me to get a job. If I didn’t go to Colgate what would my network look like? I don’t have a family involved in any industry I’m interested in and I don’t know “people.” Many students just don’t have a network within which to network and that contributes to everything
2. Student athletes are less socially satisfied? This surprised me! I always thought athletes were really into social life here, but I guess appearances are deceiving. I believe the research the students presented said that athletes weren’t all that into “the hookup culture.” There’s also a difference in high profile and low profile athletes and their social satisfaction. The differences are pretty much exactly what you would expect.
3. There’s a stereotype that sorority women are not smart? Ok apparently I’m the only who didn’t know this stereotype, but every sorority lady I’ve met is usually pretty smart. The research, however, suggested that not only are they smart, but they’re smarter than you. The sorority average gpa is higher than the general Colgate gpa.
4. Many men are baffled by sexual assault on campus. “What? My brother isn’t a rapist!” says every man in a fraternity and I’m not surprised at all by this. Not only do these men mostly disagree that women are being sexually assaulted, usually at the hands of men, on this campus, but they also don’t know what to do in the event of an assault. In a survey of fraternity brothers, only one knew the proper protocol in response to this situation.
Overall the Brown Bag was great! I love hearing about issues of inequality not necessarily in a broad sense, but in relation to my specific community. It's also nice to support other students in their academic work since we usually work hard and no one but our professors get to see it.