The New York Times Is Still Out of Touch When It Comes to College Campuses

a NYT takes a photo of a Stanford party from outside

A NYT photo of a Stanford party from outside.

Wesleyan is no stranger to out-of-touch New York Times journalists writing about ~campus life~. In March of 2015, Tatiana Schlossberg (JFK’s granddaughter) wrote an absurd piece about trying to investigate the drug scene at Wesleyan. In 2003, now-fancy-and-serious NYT Correspondent Neil MacFarquhar wrote a piece on WestCo, “The Naked Dorm,” about “how one well-choreographed rite of passage from high school to college life went unexpectedly awry.” In 2007, bizarrely, they also published a fashion shoot of Wesleyan students wearing designer clothes.

"high fashion"

“high fashion”

While Wesleyan has mostly avoided coverage this fall (though MRoth hasn’t), today the NYT is at it again, with a simultaneously laughable and unsettling piece about responses to college drinking and sexual assault across the country. While both alcohol consumption and especially sexual violence on campuses (and elsewhere) is indeed a big deal, journalistic coverage of these phenomena tends to be stilted and ridiculous. Much can probably be said about this coverage, and how it fits in to broader patterns of cultural representations of college students. For now, though, I’ll let the article speak for itself, after the jump:

“The backyard fraternity party was in full dancing, drinking mode on a recent Saturday morning. To the sounds of “No Problem” by Chance the Rapper, Breanna DeCocker, 20, a junior at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., ducked through the crowd holding a clipboard.

“Give me that,” she said, snatching a bag of white wine from a female classmate in a Michigan T-shirt who was holding the bag aloft and guzzling from the nozzle.

“You don’t want no problem, no problem with me,” the song warned, and it was clear that no one wanted any problem with Ms. DeCocker, either.”

“Drinking games with red Solo cups of beer, “pregaming” with Fireball shots, swigging 190-proof grain alcohol punch on the way to blacking out: It’s party time at college campuses across the country, even when there is no football game.”

“Tyler Bryant, the chapter president of Kappa Sigma, nervously surveyed a party outside his fraternity, where rust-colored Keystone Light cans littered the grass.

“We have that negative stereotype, and we’re trying to reverse it,” he said, pausing to admonish a partygoer who had lightly doused a reporter and another guest with beer.”