Sugar Daddies and the Wash. U. community
A handful of Washington University students reported in the Student Life sex survey having “sugar daddies” or “sugar mommas” paying them for sexual favors.
Students from Florida universities have recently been in the news for seeking “sugar daddies” to pay their college tuition, in addition to other needs. Usually young women look for older, established men to fill this role.
Assuming the survey responses were in earnest, a student with a “sugar daddy” or “sugar momma” may be receiving money for tuition or any sort of financial compensation in the context of a relationship.
Student Financial Services is unaware of any such arrangements at Washington University.
“I encourage any Washington U student facing financial difficulties to contact Student Financial Services,” Mike Runiewicz, Director of Student Financial Services, said.
Student Health Services is also unaware of any students with “sugar daddies.”
According to Susan Stiritz, Coordinator of Sexuality Studies for Washington University, the power arrangements in the “sugar daddy” practice are not new, but are consistent with historical power arrangements in marriage.
“The rewards being what they are, you can see how it happens,” Stiritz said.
Stiritz also pointed out that young women can at least attain education through new “sugar daddy” relationships, which would not have been an option in the past.
While opposed to criticism of students who find “sugar daddies” necessary to finance a college degree, Stiritz noted that education should not be so expensive that students have to resort to “sugar daddies.”
“Relying on ‘sugar daddies’ to educate our children is beyond unacceptable,” Stiritz said.
Stiritz pointed out that there are no victims in “sugar daddy” relationships, unlike in sexual assault. Statistics of sexual assault occurrence have not changed in 50 years.
“We should spend energy on looking at the horrible prevalence of sexual assault—that’s what we should be upset about, not consensual arrangements that aren’t illegal,” Stiritz said.
Students expressed surprise that such relationships may be occurring at Washington University.
“I’d never heard of it in a college context,” junior Tracy Burns-Yocum said.
Other students were resigned but regretful.
“I can see that happening but I don’t want to believe it,” junior Sharon D’Silva said.
“It’s unfortunate that the situation is such that people have to turn to that avenue,” senior Reilly Ellis said.
Several students expressed confusion as to the meaning of the phrase “sugar daddy,” thinking first of the candy.
Most often, students were reluctant to judge fellow students who make the choice to pay for a college education through a relationship with a “sugar daddy.”
“It’s not really my place to judge and it has no effect on me,” said sophomore Damari Croswell.
Students also raised logistical questions.
“How good do you have to be for $50,000 a year?” junior Danny Steinberg wondered.