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Students unsure how to spell ‘privilege’

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Last week’s annual intercollegiate spelling bee was historic in several ways. For one, all eight Ivy League schools were disqualified for alleged collusion, although they insisted it was a harmless business strategy. The second surprise was the broken record for most misspellings of a single word. The word? Privilege.

While there aren’t usually trends in the types of students who fail to advance to subsequent rounds, observers noticed a peculiar trend with this word. Practically every student who butchered the noun attended a liberal arts college. When this information became public, students fought back, claiming they had been the victims of unfair treatment.

“That wasn’t on the list of vocabulary words that my SAT or ACT tutor gave me,” Richard Archibald complained as he re-buckled his Birkenstocks. “Now I can’t put ‘Spelling Bee Champion’ on my resume for my summer internship. I don’t even know if my volunteer work in Nigeria or my fake ID business will be enough. Do you know how much this is going to hurt my chances of getting into graduate school?”

When asked to spell “privilege,” the liberal arts students came up with many different variations. Priviledge. Privlege. Privyledge. One student, apparently in a panicked state, inserted a “q” at the end of the word because she thought it was a trick question, and that the committee could not have possibly expected someone as  intellectually curious as her to spell such a word. Other students revealed that they felt targeted and victimized.

The same students spelled words such as scherenschnitte, syzygy and cymotrichous with ease. 

The spelling bee came on the heels of many liberal arts colleges’ spring breaks, which several students blamed for their errors. “How was I supposed to prepare for that word while I was tanning in Cabo? There was no way I was going to make it to happy hour at the swim-up bar and FaceTime with my tutor,” Eleanor Price explained. 

In following years, spelling bee organizers plan to remove all words relating to class, ethnicity, race, gender and age in order to keep the competition friendly and fair.

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Whitman news since 1896
Students unsure how to spell ‘privilege’