Dear Editor: 

I am writing regarding a recent article written by Sunny Lim titled “Balancing fatherhood and classes: A nontraditional student’s experience at UR.” Although I was pleased to see The Collegian headlining an article about the “non-traditional” student, I was extremely disappointed at what can only be described as lack of simple research on the writer’s behalf.

As President of the School of Professional and Continuing Studies Student Government Association, I feel that I have to do my due diligence in writing this letter to you. You see, I represent the entire student body at SPCS. SPCS is one of the five schools here at the university, the others being School of Arts and Sciences, Robins School of Business, Jepson School of Leadership Studies and the T.C. Williams School of Law. 

SPCS enrolls over 500 students each semester, and offers multiple degree options including professional development, numerous professional certificate options and more -- all for “non-traditional students.” I am saddened to see that Mr. Franklin feels there are few non-traditional students and that he doesn’t know anyone besides himself, as I would argue that over 500 students here at the University of Richmond are more than “a few.”

Mr. Franklin is doing a great thing. He is teaching his children the value of education and ensuring a successful and happy future for his family. I would like to point out that all of us at SPCS are doing the same thing.

Many of us at SPCS have families. We sacrifice dinners with them and miss out on tucking our little ones into bed. We work long hours and then spend three-plus hours in a classroom, sometimes until close to 10 p.m. Some SPCS students take care of our elderly parents, or go to class sometimes four nights a week after chemo treatments -- all because we, like Mr. Franklin, have that one clear goal, to earn our degree (or certificate, etc.). 

I can attest to this personally as I have three little ones and am actively involved in the community, but make the 20-plus minute trek to campus four times a week with that end goal in sight: my degree. At SPCS, we are all “non-traditional students.”

My desire is that you take this letter and reflect on this omission as an area of growth for your organization. My understanding is that you stress the importance of equal reporting across the university, so it is vital that SPCS be included. After all, we are all Spiders.

As Mr. Franklin said, “We are just here to learn like everyone else.”

Sincerely,

Sarah Petty
SPCS SGA President 2018-2019

Contact Sarah at sarah.petty@richmond.edu.