Survey reveals alarming prejudice among student groups

For a minute, I thought the responses to a recent Guilfordian survey were more like the opening at Gettysburg than a civil discourse between college students who attend what is considered an open-minded place of learning.

The survey of 117 students asked those attending Guilford, by way of the Center for Continuing Education or the Early College program, as well as traditional students, to reveal their thoughts on divides between the three groups.

Students’ responses were anonymously placed and overwhelmingly prejudicial, showing signs of distaste at the mere idea of being somehow connected to one another.

“Traditional students have no respect for their professors, classmates or themselves,” said one CCE student.

A traditional student opined, “They slow us down in class. Had I known there would have been such an integration of CCE students, I would have gone to another college.”

And both groups seemed awe-struck over the Early College students.

“They are too damned smart,” said a traditional student.

Amid the sharply delivered discourse came some who were even-minded, like a traditional student who saw how beneficial the bodies of students were to one another.

“Guilford College is a campus where traditional students appreciate the presence and contributions older students have to offer,” said a traditional student. “CCE students, in turn, gain an additional perspective from the traditional students. There is a mutual appreciation exhibited between the two groups.”

I think partying and tripping acid in the meadows doesn’t really matter to adults seeking a degree. There is nothing insidious about those types of social differences.

However, students who think one body is more privileged than the other, feeling that age and background disqualifies some from receiving an education due to age, race or socioeconomic standing, shows the student body as being mere hypocrites advocating acceptance of diversity in some situations, so long as it doesn’t discomfort them so much.

In fact, CCE students seem to only want to get their degree and go home. Early College students are too young to take part in true college life. Equally, younger students want to experience the full effects of what they perceive as college life. One idea doesn’t really upset the other fundamentally.

However, there are dangerous misperceptions that border on ageism, racism or — dare I say — bigotry that some students walk around with in their minds on a daily basis and allow their thoughts to masquerade as unchallenged facts.

First, Early College and CCE are not exclusive to Guilford. Almost every major college and university has a Center for Continuing Education and an Early College program.

Second, not all CCE students are the same. They range in age and socioeconomic backgrounds. Furthermore, they are not exclusive to Guilford. Attending other colleges and universities would likely still have you placed in classes with students of a variety of ages.

Third, even I’m guilty of forgetting that Early College students are productive students on this campus too. It’s easy to forget they make up any part of this campus by bringing in revenue, new and fresh ideas and academic brilliance that a rare few achieve at their young age.

And fourth, not all traditional students are rude. Most are innovative thinkers and progressive workers that can teach even those twice their age. Most traditional students are more awkward than anything, though it’s easily perceived as anything but.

Being a student of Guilford, a place where we strive to uphold core values centered towards goodwill, does not mean we are infallible. However, it does mean that we can open our minds and realize we are all in this together and for one universal reason: to learn.