WESTWOOD—In a statement released by the Office of Admissions, UCLA has announced today that it will, for the first time in the school’s nearly century-long history, admit applicants from the US state of Delaware. The decision comes in the midst of a long debate over the academic rights of Delawareans, during which pressure from political associations such as the NAAD as well as independent demonstrators alike have forced the office to re-think its policies.
“I know this decision will be unpopular. I, myself, would not want to be seen acknowledging, god forbid, associating with these ‘Delaware’ types, but the fact of the matter is it is not within our own rights to restrict theirs,” said admissions director Gary A. Clark Jr. in an exclusive interview.
A close 5-4 vote held on Monday behind closed doors ultimately decided the fate of those applicants whose personal essays have sat in a separate pile for months—one normally destined for incineration.
Long-abhorred for their obscure rituals, uncouth sanitary habits and bizarre manners of speech, schools across the nation have traditionally restricted admission for residents of the tiny mid-atlantic state. The University of Michigan is one such case, famously banning all textbook references to it in 1973. Current-day policy at Rutgers goes so far as to deny any New Jersey residents with Delawarean ancestry from even entering the school’s premises.
Indeed, many universities in Delaware itself have become more and more selective with regards to the individuals they accept. A pronunciation test involving the words “Newark”, “caught”, and “water” is now mandatory for admission to all public schools within the state. Private institutions are continually being pressured to do the same.
“While I am in favor of the decision, I’m not entirely against these restrictive practices. In fact, I submit the notion that they might not be going far enough,” said professor Deborah White, an expert on education policy. “The students of Delaware need to be taught from a young age to abandon their old beliefs in order to have any chance at an institution of higher learning. They must be made to forget their strange mid-atlantic traditions of ‘punkin chunkin’ and ‘crab boils’, learn proper english in schools if they wish to assimilate into modern American society. While I commend the Office of Admissions as well as other progressive institutions for their efforts, I still can’t see a great number of candidates being accepted until this changes—at least, not nearly at the rate they could be.”
In spite of its mixed reception, the policy is especially welcome news for a select few of Westwood’s populace: the Delawareans themselves. Many now openly-Delawarean students admit they were forced to lie about their state of origin on their UC applications. One native of the state, who wishes to remain anonymous, mentioned that she used her uncle’s Pennsylvania address on hers.
“It’s tough being forced to lie about who you are, day in and day out,” said the 2nd year. “Am I proud of where I’m from? No, definitely not. Delaware is a horrible place. Everything that is wrong with the world today literally came from Delaware. Even my parents can agree to that. But to have to hide that part of you, to look people in the eye and pretend that you’re not actually, genuinely the scum of the earth… it takes a toll on you, it really does.”
Regardless of their struggles, many Delawareans agree that the times have gotten better. One graduate notes the fact that ten years ago a Delawarean couldn’t get on a bus without being called “Scrapplehead” or “Pumpkin chucker”.
Although many among them have succumbed to pressure and abandoned their traditions, surveys state that some do continue to boil crabs in private. Recently, one even called for a Delaware culture day to be held every April, an idea that was met with the traditional response: tar and feathering. ❖