Excerpt of my letter:
I am grateful to W&L for the education I received, the critical thinking I was taught, and the friendships I have made. The alumni network was (and is) a critical element to my professional life. When asked to serve as part of the Chicago Chapter, the Alumni Admissions Program and the Alumni Board, I took pride in being able to give back to the school that gave me so much.
But I must also recognize my own privilege, and reckon with it. I did feel “outside” at W&L, as a Midwestern woman. I was more equipped to weather sexism, which I did face. But that is minor, compared to the BIPOC students who faced macro and micro aggressions during their time in Lexington. I did not face the harsh realities that they did, nor did I support them as an ally.
As a part of the AAP, I see the students that apply to W&L from Chicago. I have appreciated the focus that the admission office have brought to grappling with attracting a more diverse group of students – and could see that borne out, here in Chicago. Each year, I see a racially diverse group of students, all of whom want to attend W&L. The question that I was struck with these past weeks, though, was whether these students are a self-selecting group. Is W&L not attracting more students because of its name? Is there a stigma that cannot be overcome?