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The New School is Not Progressive as They Claim to be

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

By Gabriella Greenhill

Disclaimer: This article is a memoir-esque piece, the Voices of Gen-Z organization is in no way responsible for the information presented in the article regardless of it’s factuality. It reflects the author’s present recollections of experiences over time. Some names and characteristics have been changed and some events have been compressed.

During the last week of January, New School students have taken to Instagram to report their personal accounts with the university's tuition department. A common thread amongst all the students is that they identify as BIPOC and have been taken advantage of from the “progressive” university.

For a university to be widely known as “progressive” it should come as a surprise that they are failing to aid their BIPOC students, except it comes to no surprise at all. Anonymous New School student, who from here on out will be referred to as Student A, claims and presents evidence of how they and other BIPOC students are being discriminated against from the university. Student A depicted to me via a 1-on-1 interview, “At the end of the day I am surprised at the magnitude of discrimination this situation encased. I can’t be too surprised as systematic and institutionalized racism has always been a big thing within schools, corporations and government.”

Per Student A’s situation, they were uninformed about the correct timeline in which to pay for their first semester. They were only informed by the school in December of 2020 to pay a total amount of 20k for tuition, giving them less than a couple of weeks to come up with the money, pass final exams, and register for next semester classes. Student A explains that “after getting in contact with one of the school’s financial aid advisors I was able to apply and be approved for a Parent Plus loan of about 43k. I was then informed that the transaction of paying for my tuition and lifting the hold off my account would take 5-to-7 business days. Mind you, this was a couple of weeks before Holiday break meaning I would just barely have enough time to register for next semester classes. 5-to-7 business days pass and I still have a hold on my account. After emailing the same financial aid advisor that helped me get the loan, I was informed that it would actually take additional 1-to-2 business days for the transaction to go through and for the hold to be lifted off my account to register for new classes. 1-to-2 business days later and I still have the hold on my account and now it’s Holiday break. The financial aid advisor who I was working with doesn’t come back into the university offices until January 7th, 2021.” Come January 12th, the hold was finally lifted off Student A’s account along with the surprise of there barely being any classes for them to register for. As of February 1st, they have been considered as a full time student and were forced to enroll in classes not of their interest.

A massive email chain from a respective student’s Student Success Advisor was sent on October 8th, 2020, detailing that all that students needed to do in order to have the hold lifted off of their accounts was meet and discuss their academic plans with their respective Student Success Advisor. No payment was needed to be able to register for next semester classes, per the massive email chain, and according to reports by multiple white students on Instagram. “I got fully sabotaged by my school. I got all A’s last semester too,” and Student A isn’t the only BIPOC 4.0 gpa student to be sabotaged by the university.

As of February 4th, discriminatory accounts with the university have been posted and are now highlighted on Student A’s instagram page. 74 and more BIPOC students expressed their experiences that span from unnecessary painstaking verification processes, or being intentionally sent a non-functioning communal computer, or having previously received $7,000 in financial aid to only be decreased, unexplainably and unawaringly, to $2,820. Discriminatory accounts also include students being charged up to $2,000 to take the holds off their account, even if their white peers need not to pay for the holds to be lifted off their accounts and were able to register for classes without paying for spring semester tuition yet.

The New School’s response? Per their Instagram responses to students' comments under their January 25th IGTV post TNS says, “we have reached out to the student who was having issues registering to resolve the issue. We can't discuss individual student accounts publicly, but we are doing everything we can to help all our students continue towards their degrees even during the pandemic. We also take reports of racism and discrimination seriously, and have shared the comments expressing these concerns with university leadership.” Student A, the primary student responsible for bringing awareness about this unspoken issue to light, had to contact the school first and was only considered a full time student exactly a week after TNS IGTV post. And instead of The New School admitting their faults, the university says, through a direct message chat sent to an anonymous student, “We’re currently getting a flood of hateful messages. So if you have any thoughts on how to de-escalate and move towards progress, I’m all ears … That’s a genuine offer: social media just isn’t the best place for this stuff, as it puts the most powerless staff in the line of fire.”

What every student at the The New School wants for themselves and their peers is for the university to confirm how they’ve been discriminatory towards their BIPOC students, to take accountability for the misuse in power and compensate all their BIPOC students. Answers are wanted as to why The New School continues to be discriminatory towards their BIPOC students, especially their Black students, during a pandemic and as they continue to praise the Black Lives Matter movement and their diverse student population.

As told by a few of the 74 plus students who have taken to Instagram to shed light on the mislabeled university, they claim that “every generation of Black students at The New School sing the same song: neglect and abject anti-blackness at every turn.”

If you have the means to support below is a link of New School Students gofundme's:

Written by writer Gabriella GreenHill

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