I don’t think he was excluded by others. I know that up until they were sent home, he ate dinner with a group that was made up largely of his honors group friends and that they had spirited discussions over these dinners. That connection ended when they were no longer on campus. I think that the political/covid/religious polarization became more obvious and that he intentionally separated himself from some of it, ultimately realizing that this population wasn’t right for him. (Again, housing issues mentioned in my previous post played a big part of his feeling alone.) Straight up – if you are white, upper middle class/wealthy, Catholic, an average to above average student, into sports and partying, and are looking for a student body that looks just like you, you will probably be very happy at LUM.
We are white, UMC, lapsed-Catholic/atheist. I thought, based on my Jesuit experience, that the religion thing wouldn’t matter, but it plays a different role here. Academically, I don’t think there were enough students at his level to find other friends when things changed. When everything went online, clubs did the same. It wasn’t fun to attend a club online, let alone after doing all classes online. And of course intramurals were shut down, and that further eliminated any chance to meet people outside of academics. His high school was very racially/ethnically diverse and highly academically challenging. There is very little diversity at Loyola and very few students came from a similar academic background. Looking back, I can’t see him making a different decision. It was the right choice at the time but times have changed in ways we couldn’t have imagined, and we have to adapt.
I think Loyola is a good school, that it is well-run, well-maintained (aside from some old dorms), and the professors want the students to succeed. I think that the university wants to be more open and diverse but that the student body reverts to the mean. I think that prospective students who don’t fit the standard profile are attracted to Loyola-the-school (location/academics/etc.) but ultimately choose another college because they are concerned about the exact social factors we are discussing in this thread.
And to add a fresh perspective – when we were making the decision where he would attend, I met someone who had graduated about 20 years ago. She had similar things to say about the white/wealthy/average student/party population, excepting students who were in the hard sciences (which my son is). My impression was that I don’t think she fit in well or was particularly happy at Loyola.
To sum up – carefully evaluate who you are and what you are looking for in a student body. There’s no judgement here. I’m just offering up my opinions/impressions based on our experience over the past few years so you can make your best decision.