College admissions based on legacy are wrong. There, I said it. I’ve been inside many a classroom where the very mention of the word “legacy” makes students cringe and faculty members scramble for a new topic. I, for one, am willing to take a stand against this system, because there is no sound reason to believe that someone’s parentage would affect their capacity to contribute to a community.
Moreover, a robust skepticism toward nepotism is the cornerstone of the American way; it is a principle woven into our very Constitution. And as a progressive university, Yale must do away with this archaic practice and admit applicants solely on merit. After all, if I have kids someday and they apply to Yale, then they would benefit … from my legacy … and then probably get accepted … to Yale.
On second thought, I’m starting to come around on this whole “legacy” thing. Specifically, I suddenly think it’s a great idea. Why shouldn’t our children — specifically, my children — be given special consideration when they’re applying to our — my — alma mater? Why shouldn’t they be able to enjoy the bright college years, with pleasure rife, the shortest, gladdest years of (my) life? There are several compelling reasons to keep the legacy preference. I can think of three right now. Their names are David, Hannah and Aaron and they will each be two years apart in age.
Honestly, legacy is a beautiful thing. It’s especially beautiful now that I realize I have it and can pass it on. It’s the opposite of a sexually transmitted infection in that sense, and who can argue with the opposite of a sexually transmitted infection? It’s my suspicion that Yale students who oppose legacy simply haven’t realized that their kids will now have legacy. We should inform them immediately before they make a grave mistake and criticize legacy in a public and irreparable way. Take me, for instance. I almost wrote a whole column attacking the greatest thing that’s happened to my kin in recorded history.
Now, I understand that there are some arguments against legacy. For instance, one could contend that there’s “no sound reason to believe someone’s parentage would affect their capacity to contribute to a community.” Whoever said this has no idea what they’re talking about. We raise children in our image. We push them to do the activities that we were interested in and teach them how to do them better. For instance, my father was a really bad singer. He raised me to be a pretty bad singer, and I will raise a son to be a mediocre singer. Four generations later, my pedigree will have one Elvis Costello after another, and they’ll all opt into Trumbull College.
Furthermore, some argue that a “robust skepticism towards nepotism is a cornerstone of the American way.” This makes literally no sense. I don’t even know what this sentence means and I wrote it. The phrase “robust skepticism” started out as “strong worries” and then got thesaurused harder than a ninth-grade book report. Also, any appeals to the Constitution should be discounted because I have never had the focus or patience to read the Constitution. Excuse the ad hominem attack, but it’s true. I’m pathetic.
Now, even with all of this evidence of legacy’s value, there is still talk of “merit” floating around, especially in the first paragraph, which I have grown to detest. But if we only admitted students based on merit, where would that leave us? I haven’t actually thought this one out, so I’ll just call that question “rhetorical” and leave it here.
Finally, I want to acknowledge the accusation that, by embracing legacy only after I was admitted to Yale, I am buying into a fraught system simply because it will benefit me. To that, I’d like to point out that I am a white male and thus embracing problematic systems only when they benefit me is my only real skill.
So accept your legacy. Accept it in all of its glory. Even if you were not admitted with legacy in the first place, you’ll have the ultimate thrill of returning in 35 years and finding your own children living out their — your — finest days at Yale. And if you yourself were admitted with legacy, then all of your children will have double legacy. And then, either way, they’ll definitely get into Yale. And they’ll probably get in over my kids … who have a mere single legacy … from their pathetic father …
Then again, legacy has got to go.
Ben Kronengold is a senior in Trumbull College. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .