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Junior Rejected from Club Wants to Start the Conversation on Ageism


Photo by Elizabeth Beugg

Last week College junior Emma Bentley received news that she would not be invited to join the Penn Ikea Furniture Building Club. “I’ve always been a passionate builder—no—assembler. It was time to take the next step and move beyond my solo work,” said Bentley. 

Upon hearing of her rejection, Bentley was outraged. “They told me they couldn’t accept people who wouldn’t be able to ‘grow with the club,’” she explained. “I’m like, I don’t need to grow when I can build myself a Bekväm stepladder…” 

Because of her years of experience, Bentley asserted that her rejection was a clear act of ageism. “Anyone over the age of 20 on this campus is treated like damaged goods. The only clubs we can get into are, like, actual clubs.” 

Bentley explained that despite countless hours of soul searching, she was unable to find flaw with her candidacy. “There is no other explanation. So what if I’m busy Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.? Talent is talent," she said. "It's time to rethink our values and make a change.” 

We reached out to Davis Furman, president of the Penn Ikea Furniture Building Club, to comment on Bentley’s claims. “To be honest, age was the last thing on my mind,” he said. “She couldn’t tell a Gjöra from a Skulsfjord. That’s a deal breaker.”