BY ALEC ANSUSINHA
WASHINGTON — As midterms approach, a dark cloud looms over the SAIS D.C. campus. Perhaps trying to prepare for devastating exam results on the horizon and looking for someone to blame, a small but growing movement of D.C. students have begun to cultivate an anti-Bologna sentiment on Massachusetts Ave. One of the primary complaints being lodged against the Bologna students is that they didn’t have to do any work for their first year, spending their time traveling Europe instead of studying. The concern is that Bologna second years did not earn their extra bid points.
The SAIS Observer caught up with Daniel Trapp, a first year who plans on running for student government on the platform of reducing the number of Bologna students allowed in D.C.
“They’re lazy. They’re incestuous. And some of them, I assume, are good people,” said Trapp, “but they’re taking our seats in the best classes.”
Some say the divide has had real consequences on the social life off-campus. There have been parties hosted by and for former Bologna students, which some students have decried as exclusive. One anonymous D.C. student admitted that she could not tell Bologna students from D.C. students, but was convinced the Bolognesi were causing trouble. When asked whether she would invite the Bologna cohort to social events, she replied, “If I had a bowl of skittles and and told you three of them were poisonous, would you take a handful?” and suggested that before they be admitted to her party, guests would take a test to evaluate their level of “cultishness.”
Daniel Trapp lays blame on Nathasha Soon, current SGA President, who he calls “Nasty Nathasha,” for “harboring too many students from across the ocean.” Trapp says that if the Bologna students are not sent back, he and his followers will be unable to concentrate due to social rift and their grades will suffer.
While Trapp thinks the Bolognesi should be walled off from the rest of SAIS, others long for a more diplomatic solution, saying they would happily accept greater integration with the Bologna students. A small group of students who started a fan club (comprised of both men and women) for “that Italian student with the perfect hair and jaw, Riccardo,” have begun to speak out more publicly against Trapp and anti-Bologna sentiment. And others, including this author, would be happy to see more Bologna students at their Halloween parties later this month.
Many more are hopeful for the future of Bologna-D.C. relations. A representative from the office of student life, who wishes to remain anonymous, pointed out that the proportion of students in D.C. who come from Bologna does not change year-to-year, “so the social dynamic should be the same as it has always been.” He explained that SGA has no bearing on the admissions process and that SAIS would not be lowering the number of Bologna students in D.C. “By finals, everyone will be so sexually repressed, they’ll forget and be screwing each other anyways,” he added.