Wealth and Trinity College as Synonymous Terms: Is that Right?

by Skyler Simpkins ’23


Attending the most expensive college in Connecticut, Trinity College, naturally leads to questions about your classmates, who their families are, and what jobs they have lined up after graduating. With the multitude of negative cases littering Trinity’s history, it is only natural for us as students to wonder how wealth has an impact on this. How does the amount of money a student is paying to attend Trinity and how much money their family donates affect their position in the Trinity College hierarchy, and are they now excused from any consequences of their misbehaviors?

An example is the ongoing investigation into the antisemitic hate crime. Administration has assured us that their handling of the hate crime will be settled the same way regardless of the perpetrator’s income, but we, as students and as free-thinking individuals, can question this claim. We can question if admin will keep to this promise; actually, it is critical that we keep questioning the administration about this.

I do sincerely believe Trinity’s administration is trying to turn the tide on the past with this recent heinous crime and settle it without donations, wealth, and proportions of tuition paid factoring in. However, I feel like we have probably all heard a story about a case at Trinity where the perpetrator was let off after their parents brought in a “big-time” lawyer or essentially waved a checkbook into the eyes of Trinity College administrators. It is sad that we have all heard of these experiences—whether true or fairytale—and that we all view Trinity College through money-colored sunglasses.

I know this causes students not in the upper-echelon of wealth at Trinity College to feel scared when they want to report something to the school. They are afraid to have their experiences devalued and essentially graded as worthless by an administrator who prioritizes wealth in cases of “he said, she said.”

While I am not here today to tell you a definitive answer to the question, “Does Trinity College value money over everything?” I am here to say that the answer has probably been “yes” in the past, but the only way we can change it now and for the future generations of Trinity College students is to break the systemic appreciation of wealth and family name on campus. When we stop valuing the fraternities with private chefs or the sororities ornamented with daughters of that guy on Wall Street, we can begin valuing diverse experience, opinion, and voice. When we band together and remake Trinity College from a “rich kid school” into a true liberal arts institution, we can begin to break admin’s loyalties to those so-called “rich kids.” Now this will never remove the fact that Trinity’s hefty endowment still hovers over the heads of those whose offices are on the Long Walk, but it will create a culture more conducive to acceptance and more willing to pressure and challenge the long-standing convention of Trinity College’s preference for wealthy, white financial disciples seemingly bred from the stereotypical New England family.

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