February 3, 2023 | FEATURES | By Phoebe Dodge
As I’ve become more connected to the Colorado Springs community over the past three years, I’ve learned that the typical response when I tell people that I go to Colorado College is a face of judgement followed by “Oh… you go there?” Back home, in North Carolina, people think highly of CC because of its reputation, unique schedule, and quality education. I thought the same would be true in the school’s own home environment.
CC is undeniably important to many members of the community in Colorado Springs, but especially the younger population in the Springs seems to have many more negative things to say about the school. I work here in the city with 30 or more people ages 18-25, many of whom are more than willing to share their opinions of CC and its students.
A line cook at my workplace and student at Pikes Peak State College, Mely Rogers, gave a look of disgust upon learning where I go to school. Once the initial shock wore off, he made a comment about how “those kids are just living off daddy’s money.” Rogers added that CC kids are “stuck-up.” He made these comments based on knowing only a handful of people who have attended the school.
What does it mean if people with little to no association with CC have such negative views of the school?
A student at University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Clay McDonald, has some harsh takes on how he perceives CC. His word to describe the school as a whole – hypocritical.
McDonald says, “I just think it’s kind of hypocritical that CC is a very left-leaning college and promotes antiracism, [but] most of the kids who go there are rich white kids who don’t work.” McDonald believes that the demographics of the student body need to uphold the values the school promotes.
McDonald believes that the goals CC has are good ones but thinks that the school fails in its execution. “[CC students] tend to be pretty bright but can be disconnected from real life,” he says. These goals often come across to non-CC students as “an ego test for how much empathy you can show.”
Chase Merritt, a sophomore at PPSC, echoes similar complaints to McDonald and Rogers. He adds nuance with his description of CC as a “bubble.”
These comments share a similar theme. Often, other college students in Colorado Springs view CC as a separate entity from the community. In other words, there is a speculated disconnect between its vision and its reality.
As students at CC, we know this reality to some degree just by existing on campus. The perceptions, however, also echo many common complaints about liberalism. For example, a common argument is that liberals are so idealistic and can’t implement anything in reality. Opponents critique Democrats as acting like the ‘compassionate party’ while expressing no real compassion.
Although student demographics need to change to meet CC’s diversity goals, change takes time and new processes. What other steps can CC take to get past this stereotypical liberal inaction in the meantime?
I hope that in the next few years, CC, as a left-leaning institution, will take on a larger role in the community. I hope to raise the question: how can the CC community as a whole as well as on an individual level give back to the city we inhabit?