Das Sweatshirt

The recent distribution of Penn Class of 2017 sweaters has caused an eruption of violent struggle on Penn’s campus. While many of the tensions between juniors and seniors have long remained dormant, the ’17 sweaters have become a flagrant knitwear-based protest against the alleged tyranny of the Class of 2016.  Questions regarding control over the means of event production have become a major point of contention, in particular. For years, disagreements regarding the allocation of surplus student government funds have plagued campus relations; with seniors consistently controlling the allocation of funds, they have typically redirected other classes’ allotments into producing Feb Club and other student events that benefit them most directly.

Now, Penn juniors are fighting back against what they see as a corrupt system; they have begun donning their class sweaters en masse to signal their awareness of their class identity, a first step in dismantling the Class of 2016’s control. According to one Penn junior, “The time for revolution is now! This system is not sustainable; it leaves many juniors without university sanctioned on-campus entertainment, forcing us to turn to the sticky floors of frat houses to avoid the people and the unaffordable prices of sceney downtowns.”

In what some are calling all-out class warfare, 2017 and 2016 students have broken out into massive fist-fights along Locust Walk and on College Green. ’17 students often begin these battles targeting the ruling senior class, charging down campus thoroughfares in search of ’16 sweaters. Class of 2017 students have also taken to raiding the off-campus housing of seniors, pillaging poorly kept townhouses and stealing valuables to right the capital inequalities between the two groups.

While there seems to be no end in sight in this conflict as juniors continue to proudly wear their class sweaters in organized droves, some radical juniors do have a foreseeable end goal. “It’s simple,” junior Carl Wallerstein told Punch Bowl, “Unless the seniors are completely overthrown, nothing will ever change, the seniors have kept other classes on the periphery too long.” It is unclear, however, what this change might truly entail. Seeking answers from a variety of juniors, none could offer a clear plan of action for this revolution – perhaps Penn becomes a three year college, or all seniors are stripped of their degrees? One thing remains certain amidst this chaos, however: juniors will continue to wear their class sweaters in defiance of the system, not, as some have insinuated, in a blind course of conformity and indulgence in ivy-league tradition that helps them surmount their inferiority complexes. For the class of 2017, the struggle continues.

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