I was disappointed by the recent article in the Statement about the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program (About Campus: The secret of Lloyd island, 11/25/2008). Far from a groundbreaking expose, this article rehashed old stereotypes about how the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program is made up of students from “New York City, Long Island certain affluent suburbs in metro Detroit and, increasingly in recent years, Los Angeles.” Though we provided the reporter with statistics that proved the geographical diversity of our program (including that only 16 percent of our current first-year students are from New York), these statistics were not mentioned in the story. More disturbing, the article insinuated that this geographical bias is in fact a class bias. A thoughtful article might have placed such claims within a broader context: the nationwide struggle among universities to attract and retain disadvantaged students.
The article ignored the reality of our program, and the changes made in the past five years — from new classes to co-curricular programs to more expanded recruiting. But most troubling was the article’s misrepresentation of our students. The reporter appears to have spoken only to a handful of students, whose claims he never questioned. He did not speak with our student leaders. He asked for, but did not cite, the numbers of participants in our clubs and events. He interviewed our instructors but didn’t quote them. He refused invitations to classes, clubs and other events. Therefore, I don’t know how he can claim that the number of our students actively involved in the arts “belongs to a small minority.” Such a focus on the “opportunistic” LHSP student maligns everyone here.
I am proud of our students’ contributions to campus and civic life. The Sweetland Writing Center has recently been enlivened by art from our students, and extraordinary LHSP murals decorate the Undergraduate Life Sciences building and innercity Detroit. Our FestiFools event (covered extensively by the Daily) brings together students, faculty and community volunteers for a huge street-theater parade. Our annual arts and literary journal publishes contributions from dozens of students.
We “coordinators” of LHSP are well aware of the stereotypes with which our program must contend. I only wish the reporter had bothered to examine these more than superficially.
The letter writer is the director of the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program.