Smith College Alum Ignites Firestorm With Offensive Accusations

Earlier this month, Smith College alumna Anne Spurzem '84 wrote a letter to the editor of the school paper, The Sophian, audaciously proclaiming her issues with the way the institution has changed. Her letter is short but packs a lot of punch. Firstly, she announces herself as the voice of the Westchester and Fairfield Counties, “some of the wealthiest counties in the country" where they meticulously groom their children to attend only Ivy League school. But, here’s the kicker: "The people who are attending Smith these days are A) lesbians or B) international students who get financial aid or C) low-income women of color who are the first generation in their family to go to college and will go to any school that gives them enough money ... or D) white heterosexual girls who can't get into Ivy League schools ... I can tell you that the days of white, wealthy, upper-class students from prep schools in cashmere coats and pearls who marry Amherst men are over. This is unfortunate.”

“Class of the Surprise-It’s-The-21st-Century”

“[Smith] gave me an excellent education, the confidence to believe that I can do anything I aspire to, and – thanks to the diversity you deplore – a much richer and more nuanced view of the world than I ever would have gotten at some school full of wealthy white people. I could not be prouder to be a Smithie.”

“I was not interested in working and paying for college expenses so that I could get married; if that was Ms. Spurzem’s goal, match.com is much cheaper. I came to Smith to learn. I am proud that all of us have better things to do than marry Amherst men.”

Nicole Miles ‘12 : “Smith was ALWAYS my #1. So don’t confuse the generosity of Smith College’s financial aid as charity ... I do not own pearls or a cashmere sweater, but most queens prefer gold in their crown anyway.”

Parker Rider-Longmaid, proud brother of a Smithie: “Yet because even the specter of bigotry has an insidious and infective tendency, and because it inflicts dignitary harm on all of us who bear witness to it, a few observations on the nature of your opinion and its logic are important ... Pearls and cashmere, weighed against the hefty efforts Smith has made against manifest social inequities and injustices, have been found wanting. I assure you that the scales were properly calibrated.”

“I grew up in the Fairfield County Ms. Spurzem mentions where “children are programed from day one to get into Ivy League schools.” Smith was always my first choice ... Smith allowed me overcome my insecurities, many of which stemmed from growing up around individuals as narrow-minded as Ms. Spurzem.”

I am proud to be a part of this community that in the face of adversity we find creative and positive ways to respond to ignorance. While one can make the argument that the increased use of social networks alienates people from one another, this is one case that proves that argument false. I have never felt closer to my Smith community!

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