R.I.T’s Secret Ongoing War: The “Poets” vs. the “Engineers and Keyboard Tappers”


“One time I was on the bus, and (overheard): ‘why would anyone come here for Liberal Arts, who needs another poet in society?’” said Lauren McShane, 19, a second-year Communications major in the College of Liberal Arts, COLA. She remembers the indignation she felt at the assumption that everyone in COLA is a poet, which isn’t even an offered program- or going further, is useless.

“I really wanted to say something, but I’m not the kind of person to call someone out on the bus,” she said.

Her story isn’t unique. Many COLA students have expressed anger at being socially marginalized by students who excel in science and math.

“I’ve seen some science (and computer) students treat liberal arts majors with a hint of condescension,” said Tamalika Mukherjee, 19, a second-year major in Computational Mathematics. “Personally, I respect COLA people. The amount of papers/essays I’ve seen my liberal arts friends write per week has convinced me that no major is easy and we just face different kinds of difficulty in our own tasks.”

COLA students believe that in addition to other students, RIT as a whole looks down on COLA. This assumption is due to a college hall that is not as grandiose, and a job fair with more employers serving Golisano College of Computing and Information Science and the Kate Gleason College of Engineering then COLA.

Many COLA students have simply stopped going to the Career Fair. To be fair, many students from other programs (including business, art and design, and even gaming-related majors, all three of which RIT is ranked as a top university, according to the Princeton Review).

“I have found that it is pointless for me to go because there are maybe two employers to talk to,” said Katelyn Stevens, 20, a third-year Criminal Justice major. “It is very frustrating that I feel as though it is pointless for me to go.”

“I can see why they’re tailoring to those majors,” said McShane. “They will most likely end up making the most and can give back” after graduation, she said.

Although many students express frustration with how they are perceived by outsiders, there is no problem with the programs themselves.

“I feel like they provide a good balance of classes that can definitely help me with my future,” said McShane.