A student at Barnard College, Ayelet Pearl, has written a stirring protest to President Barack Obama’s commencement speech yesterday. Noting that the president’s words were “beautiful,” Pearl nonetheless objected to the use of the historic women’s college as a political prop, and said that the event left her feeling “stereotyped, simplified, and used.”
Pearl, a junior, pointed out in her article in the Columbia Political Review that while many Barnard students shared President Obama’s enthusiasm for “change,” they did not necessarily agree with his policies:
..what if our way is not his way? More importantly, what if my way differs from the woman sitting next to me in my art history class or my English class or my computer science class? What if the change I think we need is a different brand of education reform and a more conservative economic plan?
She also objected to the assumption by Barnard administrators that “all” the women at Barnard shared Obama’s political agenda, and the same conformist liberal orthodoxy:
Barnard President Debora Spar, in an interview on MSNBC, boldly told the show’s hostess that “they’re [Barnard students] all huge fans [of Obama].” Is that true? Can the president of Barnard College say, in good faith, that every single one of her students is a fan of President Barack Obama? Are we that unindividual? Or are we just a liberal student body, and, as women, a key component of the Democratic vote? Too often, the assumed answer is yes.