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Monday, March 31, 2008

Chron Vs. Stanford?

I'm beginning to think that someone at the SF Chronicle has a grudge against Stanford.

There's been a steady stream of articles this year about Stanford's financials and the relation to the students. First there was the article about our enrollment numbers and how it's such a low percentage of applicants. Then there was the article about our rise in the endowment. A month later, there's the article about our tuition grant program with the none too positive headline of "Costly Stanford Tries for Affordable Tag". The headline itself is a jab, and the university is offering to pay tuition, room, and board for everyone who gets admitted whose family earns less than $60k a year and tuition for everyone under $100k a year. Even though the announcement is overwhelmingly positive, the article still digs at how that only covers 30% of the admitted student population and how Stanford follows similar moves by Harvard and Yale and how low-income students still have a hard time. So this morning I look at the SF Chronicle, and we're on the cover again, this time with an article about how "Low Income Students Feel Left Out at Stanford". Because now that they're admitted and given tuition and room and board, they still don't fit in with their peers who come from a wealthy background. (Well, duh!) Clearly, no matter what Stanford does, it cannot win in the mind of this writer. And as it turns out, it is one writer - Carrie Sturrock - writing most of these articles. So what's up? Why has the Chronicle given this person a soap box to pick on Stanford? Where's the articles picking on the University of San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Santa Clara University, or any of the CSUs? The articles themselves seem rather slanted towards painting Stanford as the elitist bad guy. Whatever happened to fair and balanced reporting? And I say this as someone who has a hard time imagining being a student here, someone who graduated from a nice state school (UC Berkeley) and who worked a lot of hours while carrying 15-18 units to pay for my education, and who would've easily qualified for the free room, board, and tuition had it existed at the time. But come on - give Stanford a break! They're trying to do something right. How about some kudos instead of another slam?


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