02 Oct 2019

How Entitled Are Today’s Yale Undergraduates? This Entitled

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Josh Diaz is Class of ’20, Morse College.

Yale junior Josh Diaz sees no reason he ought to have to work a bursary job as a student at Yale, while other students from wealthy families, whose parents are paying $72,100 this year, do not.

I was hired to work events such as Mellon Forums and College Teas, events that Yale is proud to offer to its students. I feel both trapped and embarrassed working these events. I came here to be a student. Instead, after class, I slip into my loose khakis, worn-out dress shoes and black polo to go to work as my suitemate takes an afternoon nap. As the events begin, I stand on shift while my peers indulge in cheese, dessert and insightful conversation. After the event is over and everyone leaves, I stay to clean up after the students and guests and make sure the Head of College’s house is ready for the next event. By the time I get to the library to begin studying, my peers are finishing up and going to bed.

What strikes me most is the indignity of the divide: who gets to be a student and who has to work. As it turns out, getting into Yale was not enough to escape where people believe I belong: working. As a non-white, working-class Latino man, Yale expects me to work. And moreover, the money I make goes right back to the university. I work to make the magic happen for my peers.
This year, I frantically moved all my stuff into my room early to get back to work — preparing for the first years to arrive. All my days were focused on fun for the first years: move-in, first-year reception and other camp Yale activities. At the end, I was overwhelmed, overworked and under-appreciated.

I have grown incredibly close to my friends at Yale and love the communities that surround me. However, the student income contribution still divides us.

As classes begin, I know that this divide is already beginning to take place. Those who are on financial aid will have to work. Those who are on financial aid will have to pay. Until Yale eliminates the Student Income Contribution, students on financial aid will continue to feel disrespected, unsupported and unwelcome at Yale. That’s how I feel.


Mr. Diaz’s attitude would, of course have been absolutely inconceivable to members of earlier classes at Yale. Students from humble backgrounds fortunate enough to have been admitted to this elite college in earlier (and better) days thanked their lucky stars at having been given the priceless opportunity to move upward in the world and were only too happy to work hard to earn it.

I make a practice of reading lots of old novels and memoirs offering accounts of undergraduate life at Yale in different eras. Mr. Diaz would be appalled, I can tell you, to learn what real inequality was like in the 19th Century. Poor boys worked regular jobs and lived in miserable hovels in the New Haven slums, eating the cheapest food and often skipping meals, to get through Yale. People without family money had little opportunity to partake of the pleasures of student life, and poor students were certainly not treated as equals by the rich.

I was recruited to attend Yale by an alumni representative from the Class of 1926. He was a wealthy and successful executive, but he had come to Yale the son of a poor Presbyterian clergyman from New Jersey. He absolutely needed to work his own way through Yale. That meant not just earning a small “student contribution,” but earning the money to pay for his tuition and for his room and board somewhere.

He would have dearly loved, he once confessed to me, to have won a letter on the Yale Football Team, but he simply did not have time off for football practice. He had to work. He somehow managed to win a letter finally in LaCrosse, which apparently involved a much smaller time commitment. He also did not have time for singing groups and he had no money to join fraternities or clubs like Mory’s. He was tapped by no Senior Society. But he did not feel in the least wronged. He was grateful to Yale and devoted to her service all his life. If he were alive to read Mr. Diaz’s editorial, I expect that he would be simply astonished at that gentleman’s perspective and depressed at the changes in values and education that are responsible.

And, oh yes, I had bursary jobs myself. I can remember, for instance, having to get out of bed before dawn to go make toast in Commons. I also bused trays, and loaded the dishwasher. I used to wear a necktie under my white coat and I’d make a point of appropriating a carnation or rose from one of the vases on the tables for a boutonnière. I decidedly approved of the bursary job system, and I liked the feeling of doing my bit to pay for being at Yale. I didn’t like getting out of bed early, and I definitely disliked burning my fingers handling hot toast, but I took pride in doing the right thing. Unlike Mr. Diaz, I was quite conscious of the enormous favor Yale was doing me, and I was very much aware that lots of others had had to work before I ever came along.

11 Feedbacks on "How Entitled Are Today’s Yale Undergraduates? This Entitled"


I see advertised right above this Opinion piece a Scholarship. He could start today.



When I was in the service I had three jobs. I worked the night shift Midnight to 8:00AM in the Air Force. Went to work as a mechanic at local repair shop at 8:00AM. At 4:30 PM I went to a local country club where I worked as a Kitchen helper for the dinner meal. AND I took two classes at the local college. Talk about juggling work and education. But I considered myself lucky to be earning money, to work for and with some good people and to be attending a great school.


check out the remedial course, “Some People Have More S*** Than Other People”…


Notice that Student Income Contribution is all capitalized, as of a formal name. Is SIC a thing? https://finaid.yale.edu/award-letter/financial-aid-terminology/student-effort

What does Student Income Contribution do? Anyone smarter than a smug entitlement-minded social justice jackass would be able to figure out that it is a program to…wait for it…make a university enrollment affordable to a larger segment of the population.

Imagine that, Yale university actually created a program which allows people like Josh ‘Bellowing blowhard’ Diaz to actually enroll at Yale. M’gosh, what is this world coming to.

BTW: Josh, are you listening? These are not your peers. At least not until you drop the farcical attitude by which you seek to promote yourself – and, by extension those which you consider your true peers – as eternal victim.

Just so we’re clear here, ol Josh, by his screed, has mocked the millions of parents who have scrimped for decades so Junior could get into university. Too bad, so sad, you’re own parents did not possess the same foresight. And no the torch is passed to you. And what do you do with it but dampen the flame in your effort to finally extinguish the hope it represents. Josh Fidel Marx is an enemy to all which is good and wholesome.

It’s so good when your enemy self-identifies.


GWTW: I worked three jobs while carrying 12-16 units per quarter. This wasn’t exactly unique as many students did the same. While a common complaint was lack of sleep, no one, I repeat none, whined that they lacked real opportunity.

Jackass Josh needs a good walloping. Yep, for his own good.

Dan Kurt

RE: Josh Diaz is Class of ’20, Morse College.


1) IQ?

2) What is he studying?

3) How is he doing, e.g. grades? (Given grades are still meaningful.)

4) Is he an Affirmative Action admit?

5) Is he taking the place of a deserving but rejected candidate?

Dan Kurt


We can guess about his admission.

Randy Helm

While Mr. Diaz comes across as naive and self-pitying, he is hardly the first college sophomore in history to display these shortcomings. I hope he realizes fairly soon that work is actually a privilege if undertaken with a positive attitude and eagerness to develop new skills and make new contacts.

That said, his typical youthful shortcomings are no excuse for the vitriolic and occasionally racist reactions in a number of these comments, made by alumni for whom the excuses of youth and immaturity have long exceeded their expiry dates.

Let’s remember that kindness and civility are important virtues among the traits of maturity which we all hope Mr. Diaz will achieve before long, and which we should be modeling for him and other young people.


Well, I agree with you, Randy, that this kid is young and obviously immature and cannot be personally blamed, but his absolutely appalling attitude, his expectations and his sense of entitlement, are not only vicious and unbecoming, they are extremely dangerous and very potentially self-destructive. One shudders at the thought of what is going to happen to this kid when he leaves the delightful Arcadia of Dear Old Yale, and is cast out into the hard and cruel real world. The young person who “feels disrespected, unsupported and unwelcome at Yale,” is going to have a very, very tough time working in a real job for a real boss. There just is not one whole hell of a lot of “respect, support, and welcoming” to be had in the cold, cruel adult world. And that poor kid will be finding that out, chances are, in the hardest possible way. There is a culture, there is an educational system in this country responsible for filling this kid’s head with rubbish, with instilling in him the absolute worst kind of values and ideas.

Andrew B

My father was Class of 1940 at Yale. I am sure that Mr. Diaz would consider my father the rich recipient of “white privilege”, but Dad might have disagreed. He came from a wealthy, genteel Northeastern family who, in the depths of the Depression, saw his father walk out and leave them with nothing. My father worked his way through school without a single complaint and always spoke with great warmth of his time at Yale, even the time he spent shelving books and sweeping up after the Idle Rich.


Undergrads today live in this fantasy world in which everyone at Yale before the current era was White Anglo Saxon Protestant and rich. All Yalies had yachts and played polo. Right back to Nathan Hale!


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