Student activists at Sarah Lawrence College, a New York-based liberal arts college, are demanding payment for their “emotional labor” from other students.
Students at the posh college were treated to a Facebook post that spread like wildfire among the campus community, listing 17 Venmo accounts belonging to Sarah Lawrence College student activists, most of whom were not white. The message was posted once on March 26 during Women’s History Month, and then again in April during a campus controversy, according to The College Fix.
Sarah Lawrence College is persistently ranked as one of the most expensive colleges in the United States, alongside Swarthmore and Harvard. As of 2017, it costs as much as $66,990 a year in fees.
“In honor of Women’s History Month, and the labor that women and femmes of color do for Sarah Lawrence every month of the year,” the post read, linking to the Venmo accounts. Venmo is a mobile payment service and digital wallet owned by PayPal that’s often used by social justice activists on Twitter and Facebook.
The post, titled “Give your $ to Women & Femmes of Color” was inspired by the trending Twitter hashtag, #GiveYourMoneyToWomen, which called on men to give up their money to several prominent feminist activist “dommes” as a form of financial domination—a sexual fetish.
Per The College Fix, the post was shared again when a student was forced by the school’s administration to release a baby python, which she claimed she had purchased for therapeutic reasons. After she released it on campus grounds, students talked about the loose python—prompting feminist activists at the school to slam them for being more upset about the python than by the alleged racism, rape culture, sexual assaults, and assorted hate crimes that are apparently endemic to the campus.
A portion of the thread was saved as a slideshow.
A poster wrote: “The issue that people talked abt the snake+ tree extensively but completely ignored the hate crimes against black+ Muslim students earlier this year…there’s a v clear issue in priorities here and it needs to be addressed?? No one’s saying that everyone shd never talk abt the snake its just ridiculous that people can do that but can’t be bothered to say a word abt the racism very present on campus.” [sic]
The suggestion is at odds with Sarah Lawrence as an institution, which is widely known for its progressive views and overwhelming support for LGBT rights. The Princeton Review rated it as the most LGBT friendly school in the US. Despite these facts, the suggestion gained traction within the discussion group, which led to proposals for all students to give reparations to female social justice warriors as payment for their “emotional labor.”
Students tagged each other in the posts, shaming classmates into paying two student activists $30 each. According to The College Fix, the incident has come to be known as #Snakegate, including memes that no one outside the college will probably understand.