This election season, Wellesley College has received attention from various accredited news sources such as Time, Politico, The Washington Post and CNN. However, they often come to campus with a particular angle already in mind. Many of the articles pit Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters against each other and craft an inaccurate narrative of the two groups’ relations on campus.
Students on campus recognize this bias, and many feel as if these articles are not an accurate representation of political discourse on campus. According to Dani Brooks ’17, a Sanders supporter, all the articles published are quite generic.
“I feel like every time I’ve been interviewed by any of those new sources it’s a lot of the same questions asking if there’s a lot of conflict between Wellesley for Bernie and Wellesley for Hillary.”
Michelle Lu ’17, also a Sanders supporter, echoes Brook’s sentiments about the articles’ sensationalist take on the political climate on campus. Lu has been interviewed by various news sources including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and USA Today. In all of the interviews she has done, she has noticed that the journalists want to capitalize on an nonexistent rivalry between Clinton ’69 and Sanders supporters.
“You know that they want to hear we have a lot of drama on campus, but we don’t have a lot of drama on campus,” says Lu.
Both students explicitly stated that there was no animosity between the Clinton and Sanders supporters on campus. Brooks mentions productive political discussions they have had in the past with a Hillary supporter in one of their classes. Lu agrees there is no animosity and states she has never been victimized on campus because she is a Sanders supporter.
Lu and Brooks both stated that they would vote for whomever is the Democratic nominee. Brooks ‘17 says they have faith that other Democratic students are going to do the same.
“Whatever happens over the next couple of months, we are all going to come together and vote for the Democratic nominee.”
Students who support Hillary Clinton ’69 also see the sensationalist angle in the media and find it to be representative of the one-dimensional image the media wishes to push upon Wellesley Clinton supporters. For example, Politico published an article implying that women at Wellesley were supporting Clinton to raise the prestige of a Wellesley degree.
Although students find it exciting that an alumna is running for President, it is not the sole reason for support.
Sabina Unni ’19, a Clinton supporter, says her connection with Clinton does not play a significant role in her decision to support her.
“It’s cool, but if I disagreed with her politics, I wouldn’t support her. If Trump were an alum, I wouldn’t be supporting him” Unni said.
Students like Unni and Anjali Benjamin Webb ’19 expressed that it would be more productive for journalists to cover how the election is viewed from the perspective of minorities on campus because they feel minority voices are largely underrepresented in mainstream media as well as on Wellesley’s Campus.
“This is not representative of the diversity we have on campus,” says Webb. Unni agrees, and hopes for less “catty” articles in the future.
Photo courtesy of the New York Times