Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
On Friday, Dean of Admissions Jim Bach announced that Swarthmore would implement a new quota system to set a strict limit on the amount of hipsters allowed into Swarthmore.
Said the Dean, “Swarthmore is not Wesleyan or Oberlin. I intend the quota to cleanse this campus of the hipster blight.”
Bach’s concern, which is mirrored by staff, faculty and students, is that hipsters, who were a small presence on campus just four years ago, have begun to dominate Swarthmore’s social spaces. Pub Nite, which used to be a time for Swarthmore’s nerds to take a break from studying, has been turned into a hipster wasteland.
“You step close to Paces Thursday night and you inhale the smoke from the Nat Shermans,” a student said, noting that the single cluster of hipsters that used to dance close to the doors of Paces has now turned into seven separate groups, with each group quietly looking down on the others.
The Athletics department has been lobbying aggressively for the quota for years. Pat Griss, Men’s Lacrosse Coach said, “Even the Lacrosse team has been completely infiltrated by hipsters.” Friss describes how, before the team’s game at Muhlenberg, he started playing “Eye of the Tiger” in the Lockerroom. By the time he had returned from a quick chat with the umpire, some students were playing “this band called Neon Indian.”
Friss, confessing that he had never heard of Neon Indian before, says, “I was like, this shit can’t pump you up! The singer was just sort of moaning quietly and the beat was totally incomprehensible. If this is what the lacrosse team has turned into, they must have infiltrated everywhere.”
Provost Tommy Stephenson acknowledges that the “influx of admitted hipsters” has led particular narrow fields of study to balloon while more traditional fields have suffered. “Just try getting into any course in Interpretations Theory, or a course that discusses Derrida,” said Stephenson. “It’s impossible.” Hipsters, he argued, are fundamentally changing the academic culture of this place.
The new rules, which will allow just seven hipsters into the class of 2017, have been met with near unanimous support. Even hipsters are in support of the bill. One hipster interviewed for the article said,
“Me and my friends don’t like hipsters any more than anybody else.” When asked how he could square this with the fact that he was a hipster, he sighed and said that he wasn’t a hipster. “Which isn’t to say that this place isn’t crawling with them,” he added. The real question for Bach, Brawn, and student leaders who have engineered the changes, is how to identify hipster applicants given that so few actual hipsters self-identify as such.
The new rules will evaluate each prospective student’s Facebook profile picture. A point system has been established and any student who achieves higher than 10 points on the system is considered a hipster. A student who achieves 7 or more is considered likely to turn into a hipster by the time he or she graduates, and will thus be roomed with a virgin from the midwest who loves Coldplay and gets antsy every time he detects the smell of weed in order to prevent the hipster strain from blossoming.
Points are awarded based on attributes like the bagginess of the potential hipsters’ sweater, the make of the potential hipster’s boot, the tightness of the male hipster’s jeans, and the bizarreness of the potential hipster’s haircut. Hailing from a major metropolitan area, or Northern New Jersey, guarantees a person two automatic points. If the prospective student does not have a Facebook page, that student is automatically considered a hipster. “The system isn’t perfect,” acknowledges Dean Bach. “But it’s pretty perfect.”