Elm and Key Perpetuates Negative Culture at Trinity

3 min read

Daniel Nesbitt ’22

Opinion Editor

In my Tripod article in last week’s edition entitled “SGA Represents Students; Must Denounce Elm and Key,” I called on all student leaders and SGA members to denounce the Elm and Key Society. Much to my stupefaction, I have learned that SGA President Trinna Larsen is a member of the Elm and Key Society.

Last Tuesday, Nov. 12, suspiciously enough, the very same day my last piece on Elm and Key was published, I received a screenshot of a GroupMe conversation from an anonymous, encrypted email. In this group chat, presumably the Elm and Key group chat, Larsen was venting her frustrations, presumably in reference to my article published that day. In her lamentations she wrote that those students going after Elm and Key (presumably me) “need mental help.” Furthermore, she encouraged other secret society members to “remember these pricks if they ever come looking for jobs from any of you.”

Not only is she a member of Elm and Key, trying to surreptitiously and nefariously impose their will upon Trinity rather than through the democratic means for which she was specifically elected, but she has also acted with blatant disregard, antipathy, and spite toward members of her own constituency. Her statements would almost certainly constitute “conduct that is unbecoming of a Trinity College student,” as outlined in the Student Handbook, let alone the standard of conduct for the highest elected office in the SGA. By any measure, though, her statements are entirely improper for that of an elected official–is it too much to ask that an elected official treat her constituents with respect and not question their mental health and seek to harm their future employment opportunities?

Further, Larsen’s comments trivialize the true struggles of those suffering and laboring through mental health issues. To suggest that I, among oth- ers, “need mental help” purely for having the gall to openly criticize Elm and Key and SGA does a disservice to the countless Trinity students battling mental health problems.

Larsen’s comments also raise even further questions surrounding the values of Elm and Key. What kind of “important work” could they be doing for campus culture when their members act crassly and inconsiderately toward others?

If one’s work is truly for the amelioration of Trinity campus culture and climate, then why must one resort to this shameful conduct in doing so? That the members of Elm and Key approve of and encourage this kind of speech, as shown by the number of likes within GroupMe, speaks volumes about the true goals and motivations of this group.

In light of these findings, I believe that Trinna Larsen should resign to censure Larsen for her comments. Perhaps a recall is in store for next semester, however, due to the jiggery-pokery of the SGA, or perhaps their simple incompetency, there is no constitutional mechanism by which a recall vote can be conducted. Regardless, Larsen must be reprimanded for her actions. Prior to this article’s publication, Larsen was contacted for comment, however, she declined to issue a response.

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