volume 100 issue 14
16 days of revolution & 25 years of evolution
LINDA MOODY (ABOVE & BELOW LEFT), CAMPANIL ARCHIVE (BELOW RIGHT)
Women’s Colleges Today Students take a look at the state of women’s colleges 25 years after the fight to keep Mills a women’s college.
Remembering the strike
Activism at Mills Mills students continue a legacy of fighting for what they believe in.
Creating space means... by Erin Armstrong
“Mills should be a safe(r) space, but it should also be a brave space for people to dare to be vulnerable so that we can work through our internalized inferiority, phobias and dominance.” ~Mia Satya
I remember the first time I shared my Trans* experience in class. I wasn’t “out” on campus yet, but my experiences were relevant and offered a different perspective on the topic at hand, and I wanted to share. I remember feeling paralyzed though, like I couldn’t breathe, but I couldn’t understand why I felt this way. For years I have been an out Trans* activist, both in person and online. I’d spoken in front of crowds hundreds strong like it was nothing, and posted videos on YouTube that received over 250,000 views. So what was different? Why was this so hard? Being at Mills College, a place where Trans* women haven’t always been (and still often aren’t) welcome, exemplifies the importance of creating space. But what does that actually mean? For me, it’s about place. When I arrived on campus, no place existed where I could be myself. Everywhere I went, people were discussing whether or not Trans* women belonged here. In classes, at lunch or even in the student news, the conversation was everywhere. And yet, in all of that, the voices of Trans* women were missing. That space simply didn’t exist, and that made all the difference. In all of my previous experiences in sharing my story, I knew that I belonged. I had been asked to be there, recruited if you will. Those spaces had been created, intentionally, to be inclusive of Trans* identities. At Mills, I felt no such thing. I had no place. Sure, the school had announced a policy saying that I COULD be here, that I was allowed, but no one was saying that I SHOULD be here, that I was wanted. And without that sense of belonging, I was afraid. This is why I think creating space is so important. It’s about creating a place of belonging, a space where I can stand up and say that I am proud to be _____________ and people respond with “HELL YA! You belong here!” It’s more than just being allowed; it’s about being wanted. I know what it means for me to create space, but this is bigger than just me. Much bigger! Which is why I’ve been asking students what “creating space” means to them. Here are just a few of the responses: “Creating space is difficult. People who have had the space for so long don’t want to lose any ground, even if they have literally all of it.” ~Katy S. “Reaching out to everyone so that a diverse group can weigh in on the topic.” ~Anonymous “Centering marginalized voices.” ~Greyson “Welcoming all people and their differences, allowing for ‘safe’ spaces for conversation, including differences in opinion, and not pressuring people out of the space because of their differences.” ~Anonymous “Creating a place where you can say or do something, such as be a different gender presentation, and nobody will treat you differently. You can say something and nobody will judge.” ~Anonymous “A space where anyone can feel comfortable and supported to say what they want with no judgment from the people listening.” ~Casey “Creating space means everyone feels like they can speak to their personal experiences and feelings. Even if they aren’t ‘correct’ in the opinions of some others, there is an opportunity for constructive dialogue.” ~Anonymous “Mills should be a safe(r) space, but it should also be a brave space for people to dare to be vulnerable so that we can work through our internalized inferiority, phobias and dominance.” ~Mia Satya There are many important spaces that have been created on campus, and I have been privileged to help carve out a space for diverse gender identities. From that first time sharing my experience in class, to bringing the Trans* Week of Visibility, progress is being made. But we still have a long way to go, and the work is never done. It has taken a lot of work to get to this point, but as this academic year comes to a close, I truly feel that Mills is a place where I belong.
The struggle for women’s colleges today by Priscilla Son Women’s colleges are dwindling in number, despite their long line of successful alumnae and satisfied students. Since the unexpected March announcement of the closing of Sweet Briar College in Virginia, many wonder whether women’s colleges still have a place in society today. According to the Women’s College Coalition (WCC), 230 women’s colleges existed in the United States 50 years ago. Today, only 40 remain. A few have become coed, such as Wilson College and Vassar College, but many have been closed due to lack of finances and declining number of applicants, as is the case with Sweet Briar. In the 19th century, any prestigious college was exclusively for men, and institutions for women were limited to finishing schools or religious seminaries. Wesleyan College in Georgia was the first women’s college in 1839 and still prevails today. Mount Holyoke College was founded in 1837 as a female seminary and received its collegiate charter in 1888. It is the oldest of the Seven Sisters, a group of women’s colleges that were considered to be the equivalent to men’s Ivy League colleges. Mills College is the first women’s college to be opened west of the Rockies in 1852. Data from the Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau shows that women have surpassed men in college enrollment out of high school with 71 percent of women compared to 61 percent of men. The pattern of more women attending college than men is seen especially among Hispanic and Black students. Mills Senior Alice Hewitt praises her experience at a women’s college and the growth she has experienced. “I don’t think I would have the confidence to take whatever class, pursue whatever career, if I didn’t attend a women’s college and had gotten the support and empowerment that Mills provides,” Hewitt said. A Newsweek article evaluating the announced closure of Sweet Briar explores the relevance of women’s colleges, despite that they seem to be disappearing. “At a time when American colleges and universities are teeming with rape, hazing and drinking scandals (104 schools are currently under federal investigation for their handling of sexual assault cases) and women continue to be underrepresented and underpaid in the workplace, single-sex schools may be the best thing that ever happened to women,” the article said. Today, colleges dedicated to women are changing. With Mills at the forefront of the policy adjustment, women’s colleges are opening admissions to transgender students as well as select numbers of men into graduate and some undergraduate programs. Senior Ashleigh Bell expressed how a place solely dedicated to women supported her identity. “Mills provided a space for me as a person of color, who is deaf, and a woman to find that my voice and my experiences count,” Bell said. “I learned how to truly extend that same support to my peers.” Not all women’s colleges are in danger, however. Schools such as Wellesley and Barnard are seeing their highest applications and enrolments yet. According to their website, Wellesley received a record number of applications and had their most selective admission rate in over 30 years. In the same year, Barnard also set their record for number of applications, especially for Early Decision, making them the most selective women’s college in the U.S. “Women’s colleges are still needed as the fight to have authentic and equal space in society for women continues,” Bell said.
s r e b m e e m k e i r r s t y l s t i l n i e u M th on comm Al
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t c e fl e r
25 years ago, students gathered together in the center of the Mills College campus to hear that Mills College would become a co-educational institution. The thought of losing what was known as a place for sisterhood and community launched students into action. May 3, 1990 would bring on two weeks of civil disobedient actions from students, such as blockading important buildings from faculty and administration and chanting slogans to make sure they were heard. On May 17, the strike ended as students heard that the decision was reversed. Today, the Mills strike resonates with many alumnae that either
COURTESY OF LISA KREMER
participated in the strike or were objective viewers of what happened during those two weeks. Meredith May, a current visiting professor of journalism at Mills, was a junior during the strike. At the time she and other students heard about the potential decision of making Mills a coed institution, but she thought it was a rumor. However, May recalled the moment when former President Mary Metz announced the decision to make Mills coed at Toyon Meadow (also known as Holmgren Meadow) on May 3, 1990. May remembered the response from students as a “collective shriek,” with emotions varying from shock to sadness. While Metz continued to speak, students decided to turn their backs to her, starting the strike that was to come. “It was a collective response to a betrayal,” May said. “Part of the outrage was that the discussions were held without us really knowing what was happening.” Lisa Kremer, former co-Editor-in-Chief of The Mills College Weekly at the time, felt that her roles as a student and reporter were great experiences for her, watching Mills students work together to make a change. “The amazing thing about it was the sisterhood,” Kremer said. “It was an amazing experience of people coming together, united in what they wanted and figuring out what to do about it.” As part of the protest, May felt that the strike made her a stronger reporter and person in the future. “It was the first time I felt that I had to fight for something, and that I believed in something enough to stop my world and schedule and protest,” May said. Kremer, class of 1990, also recalled the different groups that formed to maintain organization for the strike — i.e. groups for food and supplies, relaying messages, media and
interviews, etc. As a journalist, Kremer felt the conflict of staying objective during her reporting and being a student in the middle of the strike. “One of the aspects of being a [student] journalist is you’re supposed to not participate in the story you’re covering,” Kremer said. “At the same time, it was fundamental to my identity and all of our identities as Mills students.” Kristen Caven, class of 1988, participated in the dialogue as a cartoonist at the Weekly during the time of the strike. The inspirations for her cartoons took place in and outside of Mills. In fact, one of her cartoons, “The Family Dinner,” was inspired by a conversation over dinner with her family about the strike, particularly with her aunt and uncle. “Everybody who was connected to Mills in any way was called up to defend what was going on because people did not understand what women’s education was about,” Caven said. Alumna Elizabeth Carter also expressed that the strike was a proud moment for her. Carter, class of 1993, remembered the immediate organizing following Metz’s announcement. This organization led to the blockade and “shut down” of the school by the students; Carter was one of the students who blocked Haas Pavilion. “It was watching everyone step up and be really empowered and feeling like we could really shift things even though it seemed pretty impossible because no one had done it before,” Carter said. Looking back on the strike, Carter feels that the strike influenced her in her dedication and focus to issues important to her. “It was this galvanizing experience, being in something that was really important to you and that you were willing to sacrifice a lot for,” Carter said.
COURTESY OF F.W. OLIN LIBRARY
Strike Memories lty
A crowd of faculty, staff and students gathered behind Mills Hall on the morning of May 3, 1990, to hear that the Board of Trustees had voted to admit men starting in the fall of 1991. For faculty members, the student strike that followed helped them become more aware of how important a college for women was. Now retired since 2004, Edna Mitchell, a professor of education, remembers the dreary scene. “I recall the group of administrators making the announcement by appearing at the Toyon Meadow side of Mills Hall, coming out the back door and standing within a yellow-ribboned area — the kind used for marking off no-trespass areas in a crime scene,” Mitchell said. “The crowd outside the yellow-ribboned ‘safe’ space went wild, screaming, crying, raging with anger.” For Marianne Sheldon, a professor of history who still teaches at Mills, the decision to go coed made her think of Mills’ literal and metaphorical destruction. “There was a certain irony in standing behind a building which had been damaged and closed after the Loma Prieta earthquake and probably condemned and hearing this announcement,” Sheldon said. The decision to go coed came after a year of faculty discussions and committee. Mitchell was on two committees: one that studied what happened to women’s colleges that went coed, and another that was to increase enrollment through expanding graduate programs. Mitchell went to Philadelphia’s coed private college Swarthmore to evaluate their program and report back. Sheldon remembers that the moments of shock and
sadness after hearing the decision did not last long before students began an impressive networking strategy to garner media attention. “Quickly, students took the initiative to reach out to others to figure out what they were going to do,” Sheldon said. “I remember hearing students say, ‘Well, we need to get [the] media aware of this.’ Today that is easy to do, but in that era, it was more complicated. They did it.” Professor of book art, Kathleen Walkup, who also still teaches at Mills, supplied the strikers with food throughout the two weeks. Above all, she remembers how respectful, steadfast and organized the students were. “They had child care,” Walkup said. “And the students conducted themselves so well. I just thought it was razor focused.” Of all her memories over the two-week strike, Walkup’s most vivid was from the last day. At the time, her department shared Sage Hall with administrative offices, and the students had a line around the building preventing Walkup from entering her classrooms or office. “I could not get into my classroom because students were physically barricading the building, but my classes still met in other places — on the lawn or in the tea shop,” Walkup said. When the decision was reversed, it had been two weeks since Walkup had been inside her office. With only three hours until her grades were due, she rushed back to get her files. Students stopped her before entering to request that she not come in until they had finished cleaning up.
“Students were outside my building saying, ‘Don’t come in; we haven’t cleaned.’ That was how the whole strike was,” Walkup said. “A very great level of maturity. We were all so impressed.” Walkup’s near-miss to finish grading is an example of the risk faculty took when they decided to adhere to the strike. “The end of the semester projects, exams and even graduation were in jeopardy,” Mitchell said. When Sheldon came back in the fall, she recalled that there was a tremendous sense of energy, motivation and engagement around campus. There was a desire, she said, to understand, and discussions around campus began to re-define what it meant to be a women’s college — a discussion that was focused on inclusion for all women rather than on gender. “I think the strike amplified our consciousness about the importance of teaching women,” Sarah Pollock, head of the journalism program said. “It’s not like it was unknown, but we became hyper aware of it in a new kind of way.”
Q&A with Strike documentarian Alexa Pagonas Spending Commencement weekend doing presentations and showing previews is just part of the process for Alexa Pagonas ‘91, who is creating a documentary on the 1990 strike the year of its 25th anniversary. The former Mills College Weekly editor, Pagonas entered the film business after leaving Mills. The documentary, which is currently unnamed, is expected to be completed by 2016. The Campanil: What lead to creating a documentary about the Strike? Alexa Pagonas: Even during the strike, we knew that something special was happening and dreamt about how the story could be told. There was even a list blockaders made matching our players with stars of the day. Ever since I started in the film business, in 1995, I have thought about and discussed with other producers and writers how this story could be told in a fictionalized format. But I couldn’t come up with a writer I liked, or characters as wonderful as the real Mills women. Then over the years, watching the different celebrations of anniversaries, and in conversations with others, like Professor Marianne Sheldon, it seemed clear that there was a true need to actually document what took place in a cohesive and organized fashion. That is when I began my research in earnest. TC: What was the process like going through all the archives and having all these conversations? AP: Fascinating and emotional. The fascinating part was reading others peoples work. In the Bender room there are student theses for master degrees from a few women that were staff [of The Weekly] at the time of the strike. The strike was also covered in a very well written history of student protests. And then there are pieces from newspapers and from campus reflections of the strike. I found it really interesting to compare and contrast the different
views of the same events, especially since I had my own first-person experience. It was also emotional. The strike brought up a lot of heated and very personal feelings regarding a whole host of issues. Issues that are still timely, unfortunately, today. In addition to trying to figure out how we were going to address the college, we were trying to fix our own inequities and prejudices. The result was spectacularly beautiful but also very exhausting. There were times in the research I just needed to step away and regroup before proceeding. TC: What do you hope the reaction will be when people see the documentary? AP: I hope that people that were part of the strike see the film and feel it is an accurate description of their experiences. For the larger audience, I hope that they are inspired by what can be. The way Mills handled herself was remarkably beautiful. And I particularly hope that it entices and encourages more women to attend women’s colleges. We need them. TC: How can the Mills community view the documentary? AP: Well, we are [a ways] from that happening. It has to be made first! I am in the beginning of production right now. It will be a good year or more before the film is finished — there are interviews to still film, then it needs editing and post. But once finished it will most definitely be screened for the Mills community first! But while we are discussing this, a big part of my presentation at commencement weekend, and reunion too, is to get people talking. Even with tons of research, there are still stories out there I don’t know. I hope people will let me know if they have a story to tell so that I can get it on film.
TC: How many members of the Mills community do you hope to interview? Are you looking to talk to only those who participated in the strike/were part of the Mills community at the time or are you also looking at more perspectives? AP: Definitely looking at many perspectives. The ‘going co-ed’ problem is one many campuses have had and are still facing. COURTESY OF ALEXA PAGONAS There will be interviews from many people, some of whom may never even have set foot on the Mills campus and certainly some that are part of the community but may not have been part of the strike. While I have a story for the narrative, like any good research, it has flexibility. Therefore, I do not have a set number of interviews in mind. I know there are some “must haves,” but I am hoping for some undiscovered gems. For example, I’d really like to interview a husband of a striking student, or a father. I want some “Mills men” on film. The AAMC brunch commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1990 Strike will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Founders Commons. Cost is $8.50 per person at the door. To RSVP, contact the Mills College Office of Alumnae Relations at (510)-430-2123 or alumnae-relations@mills. edu. Pagonas will be interviewing community members and showing previews of the untitled Strike documentary at the brunch.
A modern history of Mills College activism 1990 wasn’t the first time Mills College students fought for change — and it certaintly wasn’t the last.
1984-1988 Twenty students formed the Mills Student Coalition for Divestment (MSCD), where they discussed “the effect divestment could have in undermining the [South Africam] apartheid regime.”
After noticing a l versity with staff a students of color b testing through sig on campus abo experience
1990 For two weeks, Mills students protested the decision of making Mills College a co-ed institution.
1967-1969 In response to MLK, Jr.’s assassination, 12 Black students founded the first ever Mills College Black Student Union and announced that they would disrupt college activities until the administration hired two Black professors and a Black counselor
by the next semester.
PHOTOS LEFT TO RIGHT: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, CAMPANIL ARCHIVE, LINDA MOODY, CAMPANIL ARCHIVE, MACKENZIE FARGO.
m at Mills
The evolution of the Mills revolution by Fatima Sugapong Social activism has played a role in how students of color on this campus make their presence known. Their voices aren’t validated as effortlessly as their white peers. Dialogues about race relations on this campus and in this country go beyond what we see trending on social media. It is a lived experience. It is irrefutable to note that this lived experience is history repeating itself. Racism has transformed itself over the decades, but the end result is the same: People of color fall victim to whiteness as an institution. They remain unheard, devalued and criminalized for their actions against it. The war on Black bodies dates back to the beginning of time and continues today. Mills activists have never hesitated to respond to these important moments in history. For instance, the Black Student Union (BSU) of 1969 created a list of 12 requests in response to the overwhelming lack of resources for the Black students on campus. Nearly 50 years later, the Black Women’s Collective (BWC) wrote 11 demands, asking the administration for more
lack of diand faculty, began progns posted out their es.
2014-now In response to an anonymous racist Facebook post, Black students on campus compiled a list of demands and began protesting.
aid department, a more diverse faculty and more Black counselors in the Counseling and Psychological services. Despite what the 1960s President Robert Joseph Wert and current President Alecia DeCoudreaux have said in past memorandums, nothing has really changed. The 1969 BSU and the now BWC have both requested a higher presence of Black nancial resources for Black students and the creation of a committee involving Black students, faculty and staff for the retention and recruitment of students of color. None of the demands have been met. Everything the administration has told
the Mills community was in an effort to pacify the rage of the students of color. If I was wrong, then the BWC wouldn’t have had to ask time and time again. Within the last 50 years, the Black students on campus have worked hard to racism on campus in the midst of all of the turmoil in the U.S. In 1992, an anonymous the campus that read, “To be a person of color and to attend Mills is to be full of rage,” and “Mills had the opportunity for greatness[.] These are our casualties of war,” preceded by a list of 16 names of faculty of color who have left Mills. The issue was addressed in a town meeting; however, no one came forward about of speaking out against racism became a prevalent point of discussion at the meeting. “I think it’s really unfair to ask someone to express their pain in a polite way,” said a student of color who attended the meeting, according to The Mills College Weekly in 1992. Those messages still ring true 20 years later. The response to students of color being too angry, too inappropriate or too violent in response to the racism we face on a daily basis essentially discredits the pain and the hurt that we are constantly experiencing. The appropriation of the #BlackLivesMatter movement to #AllLivesMatter perpetuates the same issues that the students were facing in the ‘90s. Many students feel like they have to censor themselves for the sake of avoiding the discomfort of discussing race politics. There has been evolution of Mills’s social activism. The students on campus are actively choosing not to be complacent because silence is violence.
Then & Now
Bay Area’s declination of precipitation April 1990: 5.89 inches of rain*
April 2014: 0.12 inches of rain* Annual rainfall: 35.34 inches in 1990 31.97 inches in 2014
COURTESY OF F.W. OLIN LIBRARY
Community members listen to Mills College commencement speakers from under their umbrellas on May 20, 1990.
Drought talk: water shortage across decades by Octavia Sun
California is currently in its worst drought on record. In 1990, the time of the strike at Mills College, California also had major drought conditions and was cited by The Los Angeles Times as the fifth driest year in the 20th century. The 2014-15 drought is more severe today because of the rain season ending earlier and the snow melt from the Sierra Nevadas only occurring for a short time. Normally, snow melt from the Sierras provides California enough water for agricultural, commercial and municipal use in the summer. California is the most metropolitan state in the nation with more than 80 percent of the population living in areas of more than one million people. According to the LA Times, 1990 was the most severe drought year out of the 1987-1990 period, with early snow melt and extremely low reservoir levels. The Shasta reservoir, one of the Bay Areas’ water sources, had lower reservoir levels in 1990 at 37 percent capacity compared to 59 percent capacity in 2014, according to The San Jose Mercury and The Drought Conditions of California report published in Sept. 1990. In terms of the annual precipitation from the Northern Sierra 8 Station, which includes the Shasta Dam, the total precipitation was lower in 2014 with an annual total of 31.34 inches in comparison to 1990’s annual total of 35.97 inches. In Alameda County, which served a population of 1.2 million in 1990, East Bay Municipal Utility District did not anticipate any shortages in 1990 but encouraged a reduction of water usage by 15 percent, in which voluntary reduction has also exceeded the recommendation, according to the report. In April 2015, Governor Jerry Brown enforced mandatory water restrictions requiring California cities and towns to reduce their water usage by 25 percent. According to current Organic Chemistry Lecturer Sandra Banks, who was at Mills during the time of the strike, the magnitude of the drought is more severe today. “Though I was focused more on the strike at the time, the drought is worse now than in the 1990s,” Banks said. “It is the first time the drought [of 2015] has been discussed to this degree.”
25 years later: a cost comparison Annual Undergraduate Full Time Tuition
Annual Graduate Full Time Tuition
Residence Hall Room and Board
Rent for two bedroom unit in San Francisco
$975 per month
Annual Undergraduate Full Time Tuition
Annual Graduate Full Time Tuition
Residence Hall Room and Board
Rent for two bedroom unit in San Francisco
$4000 per month
Then & Now
Lost Mills: A look at
changing architechture on campus Mills Hall by Emily Mibach
During the strike in 1990, admission policies weren’t the only thing undergoing construction. Both the F.W. Olin Library and Mills Hall were experiencing dramatic changes. Mills College was originally the Young Ladies’ Seminary and moved from Benicia, California to Oakland in 1871, at which point it was officially named Mills College. Mills Hall was the first building erected on campus and housed the entire school, including residence halls, classrooms and facilities. According to the text of history Professor Bert Gordon’s walking tour of Mills, “Mills Hall opened on 2, August 1871, when Seminary classes began with 125 students. This building, the first west of the Mississippi to have gas lighting, was built in nine months.” Since then Mills Hall
has become a main focal point for the school — as a place for classes, also as a great source for some ghost stories and as a beautiful building to view. After the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, Mills Hall was nearly destroyed. Between 1990 and 1994, Mills Hall was renovated to bring the building up to earthquake code. The east and west wings were almost entirely torn down and reconstructed to include upto-date safety precautions. Despite these changes, the traditional appearance of the building was largely maintained. “Mills Hall: a building presumably erected for seminary, but with the grandeour clearly designed for a college” — from “Celebrating the Cultural Landscape Heritage of Mills College” by Vonn May, Robert Sabbatini and Karen Fiene.
COURTESY OF F.W. OLIN LIBRARY
Margret Carnegie Hall & F. W. Olin Library by Emily Mibach
In 1990 the F.W. Olin Library was just opening. Beforehand, the library existed in the building that is now the M Center and was known as the Margret Carnegie Library. Due to an ever increasing inventory that outgrew the space, the F.W. Olin Library was built to accommodate the college’s expanding book collections. Admission and administration offices, which were located in Sage Hall before 1990, then moved to Margret Carnegie Hall, where they remain today. The F.W Olin Library currently houses the Special Collections in the Eleanor Heller Rare Book Room, where a Mozart manuscript, a copy of Shakespeare’s first folio, a rare copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle and a leaf from the Gutenburg Bible can be found. There are also multiple individual and group study spaces, as well as computers, scanners and copy machines — all of which would not have fit in the original Carnegie Library.
Mills grows in numbers since strike
Average Class Size
Full Time Faculty Undergraduate majors
Pearl M tradition lives on at Mills by Sarah Hoenicke
Nearly 113 years ago at Mills the graduating class of 1902 – selfstyled the “Naughty-Twos” – wanted something by which to remember their time at Mills. The pearl M tradition was born. The pin was created by an art student for her graduating peers and the design was then taken to a jeweler in San Francisco, who made the pin: A gold M, about the size of a dime, set with pearls. Twenty-four women graduated from Mills in 1902; six received college degrees and 18 earned seminary diplomas. It is unclear whether the art student attended Mills as a college or seminary student. “The 1902 senior pin may have been
connected to possible rivalry between students of the college and the seminary,” Professor of history Bertram Gordon said. “There were two schools on the Mills campus at the time.” Traditionally, only graduating seniors, alumnae and the honorary member of each class could wear the pin. Each year, at the Pearl M dinner, the first commencement event, the AAMC (Alumnae Association of Mills College) honors exemplary seniors by presenting them with pins that have been donated for the purpose. The donated pins come from alumnae and are given to seniors chosen because of their dedication and service to Mills and to the Alumnae Association. The pins were the Mills’ equivalent to class rings worn by graduates from other institutions. For some time, they continued to be individually crafted and, year after year, altered slightly in their design. Though the brooches are now sold at the College bookstore and available to anyone who can afford them, they used
to be more difficult to obtain. Students could only place their orders for a pin from the San Francisco jeweler, Mr. Granat of Granat Jewlery store, if they had a signed letter from then President Susan Mills confirming their status as seniors. This year’s Pearl M Dinner and Champagne Reception was held on Thursday, April 30.
(TOP) PHOTO BY JEN MAC RAMOS (BOTTOM) PHOTO BY MONIKA SABIC
Student leaders honored at awards ceremony by Jen Mac Ramos
PHOTOS BY JEN MAC RAMOS
The Student Union was filled with students, faculty and staff members, waiting to see which awards they won for their leadership roles within the Mills community. Awarded every year, the Student Leadership & Mills of Color Awards (MoCA) accepts nominations from peers and recognizes those who work within the community. Held by the Division of Student Life on Apr. 23, the Student Leadership & Mills of Color Awards were chosen by a selection committee that included students, staff, faculty members, and honored juniors and seniors for their work in the community. Sabrina Kwist, director of the Diversity and Social Justice Resource Center, said that she was excited
that the committee had the opportunity to acknowledge students for their specific works. “I feel really proud of the many ways leadership manifests itself at Mills, from being the presidents of your club or organization, to the classroom, to changing policies, to holding court in the Tea Shop and being an informal mentor,” Kwist said. Lea Williams, who was awarded as the Mills of Color outstanding senior leader, said that it was amazing to be honored. “I’m a disabled student, and I’ve been working on a project called ‘We All Learn Extraordinarily Different.’ It’s called ‘WALED’ because that’s how I felt
in school,” Williams said. “It’s nice to know all of my activism for students with disabilities is being recognized because we all deserve to get an education and I think it’s awesome.” Recognized with the Helen Carroll Award, which recognizes faculty, staff or students who work
for LGBTQ rights and the Palladium, Junior Erin Armstrong was overcome with emotion. “I’ve only been on campus for a year and to be recognized is overwhelming,” Armstrong said. “I feel like I’m actively making a difference and that’s a wonderful feeling.”
Seniors turn abroad by Alexina Estrada
As the Class of 2015 seniors prepare to walk for graduation, some students are preparing to study abroad, including Anne Cormia and Mira Mason-Reader. Cormia and Mason-Reader will be participating in one-year graduate school programs at the University of York in England and the University College of Cork (UCC) in Ireland, respectively. Initially, neither of the two knew that they wanted to go abroad for graduate school. As they began to look into programs in preparation for their life after commencement, they each found schools that suited their academic goals perfectly. With their families’ full support, both women are counting down the days before they leave for Europe. Cormia, a double major for research psychology and women, gender and sexuality studies, had originally wanted to study abroad to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland for her undergraduate years. During her time at Mills, Cormia was able to study abroad at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland during fall 2013. There she found that the United Kingdom school system worked better for her than the US system. “The U.K. for one reason or another has made it easier for students to do research with these vulnerable populations,” Cormia said. “They are also doing some really fascinating things with criminal justice that the U.S. is not really matching in the same way, for example: gender and victim choice.” Mason-Reader, an English creative writing major and dance minor, was one of only 12 students to be accepted into the Master of Arts in the creative writing program at UCC.
“I didn’t know I wanted to go abroad,” MasonReader said. “I also didn’t know I wanted to go to grad school. I didn’t have that goal in mind up until last year.” Similar to Cormia, Mason-Reader decided to study abroad because the program was well-fitted with the creative writing field she wants to emerge herself into. “Ireland is an amazing place for writers,” Mason-Reader said. “It’s one of the only places that you can be a poet and be appreciated and respected for it.”
“Don’t be afraid to look abroad ...” -Anne Cormia Cormia and Mason-Reader have some general ideas of what they might want to do when their programs finish; Cormia hopes to continue to live abroad, while Mason- Reader thinks she may return to the United States and possibly become a professor. Before graduating from Mills this spring, Cormia offers advice seniors who are interested in going abroad. “Don’t be afraid to look abroad because sometimes the perfect program for you might not be in the United
States,” Cormia said. “Sometimes a faster or more interesting track to your end goals will be something that isn’t offered here.” Both women thank their professors, their department faculty, friends and family for their help and support in their future. (TOP) PHOTOS BY HART ROSENBURG & COURTESY OF MIRA MASONREADER (BOTTOM) COMMENCEMENT PHOTO BY ISABEL THOMAS
Ari Nussbaum, editor in chief
Four years ago — almost to the exact date — I saw a shooting star for the first time in my life. It was the night I graduated high school, and I was driving home along the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii for one of the last times before coming to Mills
College. As my run-down car curved along the bend of the coastal gulches, I made a wish to remain friends forever with my high school classmates. Since that shooting star, many things have changed: I've lost touch with most of those friends that I hoped to stick with forever, I've made and lost new friends, I've become more confident and I've grown to be a different person than the one who made that wish. Perhaps some of the greatest changes have been because of The Campanil. The friends I have made and the challenges that I have faced in the newsroom have given me the
opportunity to become a person that I am proud of — a person that I love. The wonderful people on our staff have made me laugh when I didn't think I could, made me feel like it was okay to cry when I needed to, and made me know that I can fight when I think that I can't. The editors of The Campanil this year have made me feel like I belong somewhere for the first time. Growing up with little family and few friends, I often felt as though I were missing something. The constant changes in my family throughout the last four years have left me feeling as if I don't have a home to return to. But
in the late hours of the night, when the other editors and I are up late in the newsroom, laughing and sharing a pizza, or gagging over a pot of waytoo-strong coffee in the morning, they have given me something: a home. There are far too many people for me to thank, so I'll settle for saying that each member of The Campanil has made on impact on me. I don't know what my future will look like, but I know that wherever I go, I'll be reading The Campanil. I'll be waiting to see what these amazing students do. I'll be rooting for them, and not because they are my friends — be-
cause they are my family. Today, as I write this, the image of that shooting star comes back again and again. I've been thinking about what I wished for then, and what I would wish for if I saw that flying glimmer now. I'd like to think that I wouldn't use the wish for myself, but rather, I'd give it to the staff of The Campanil. If anyone deserves to have their wishes come true, it's these incredible students. I'd give The Campanil staff this wish to thank them for giving me what I've been looking for for a long time. Because of them, I don't need wishes anymore.
When I was a first year, my coworkers at The Campanil used to speak negatively of me. They said that judging by my first article, there was no way I was ever going to get accepted in the Columbia University Journalism School. When I was a junior, they told me that my hard work was worth no more than $300 for the year, while my colleagues were earning twice as much, or even ten times as much. That same year, I was told by my advisor that my "unprofessional" practices were not going to get me accepted into any study abroad programs. Every single one of those people
were absolutely wrong about me, because I can, and I did. I accomplished so much during my time here because, contrary to all those who firmly believed I couldn't do anything, that I wasn't worth anything, I had an amazing support system. Meredith May convinced me that journalism was my calling. Her patience was comforting, but also helped solidify my strong work ethic. Diana Arbas' constant encouragement showed me that my initiative was actually a distinctive boldness that will take me far. Jen Ramos and Melodie Miu showed me that I can be a well-rounded journalist, who
can code, do multimedia projects and anything under the sun. They were the first to really take their time with me and show me just how capable I am. They taught me that I have something to fight for. My best friend, Cheryl Reed, taught me that my journalism is my activism and that my voice matters. Her bold tenacity showed me that I deserve to speak up for what I want because I am worth it. Everyone on The Campanil staff this year has gone out of their way to make me feel like, for the first time, I am a valued member of the team. I actually looked forward to going to work because I knew they would be
there to make me laugh through the most stressful times of my life. Because of everything these people selflessly taught me about myself, I was ready to study abroad in Morocco, where I studied French and Journalism. When I came back, I felt invincible. All of those negative things I was accustomed to feeling early on didn't matter anymore because I was sure that in reality, I can make things happen on my own. After I leave here, I will be attending Columbia University to obtain my master’s degree in journalism. I will carry with me my passion for social justice, uplifting fellow queer
journalists of color in an industry that still isn't making great strides in doing so. #MillsiesTaughtMe Farewell, my darlings. xx
Fatima Sugapong, online editor
Jen Mac Ramos, sports & health editor
JEN MAC RAMOS
I remember m y first weekend at Mills — I stepped into the first pitch meeting of the fall 2010 semester, and I picked up a story for the Features section. Event coverage, something like that. I freaked out and dropped the story
because I knew I couldn’t handle it. It took me a year before I even got the courage to come back into the newsroom. Since sophomore year, I’ve been on staff for all but one semester. I can’t say that it’s always been a positive experience, my time at The Campanil and my time at Mills. I’ve learned a lot about myself, that much I know. My critical thinking skills expanded and I learned about intersectionality, both of which are things that I know I will take with me to my graduate studies at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism. And that’s the thing: The Cam-
panil became more than just a newspaper for me my final year here. I was in the car with fellow editors when I received my rejection letter from University of California, Berkeley’s J-School; they were the first ones I told I was accepted to USC. I share all my experiences with my newspaper family, especially since I spend a good majority of my time in the newsroom. I took my negative experiences and turned them into positives. I came back to The Campanil after leaving due to an Editor-in-Chief who showed racist tendencies towards people of color. I came back because I knew the new staff, with a new Editor-in-Chief, and I knew they
were different — they are allies, even people of color themselves. The once toxic environment became a better one, a productive one. This staff was more helpful and understanding than any of the past Campanil staffs I had been a part of and I can’t speak enough about how appreciative I am for that. Yeah, there are still problems here and there. Nothing is perfect. But Annenberg’s Media Center is nothing like the tight knit group that The Campanil newsroom is. They worked with me as I took a week away from campus to freelance in Arizona, achieving some life goals in being credentialed through MLB; they supported me as I worked on a senior
thesis that was triggering, even being the biggest group of people to show up at my senior thesis reading. I can’t thank them enough for that. After five years of undergraduate studies, I’m just about ready to leave Mills. But I don’t think I’ll ever fully leave The Campanil’s network of alumae, not when they helped me shape and hone and project my voice. They took on an Online Editor who never had any journalism experience outside of being a blogger before that. I grew and learned, and I have the opportunity to move up to USC’s program, widening all of my options with such a state-of-the-art media center. And for that, I’ll always hold The
Though this should be a farewell letter to thank Mills, The Campanil, my peers, the cats, etc., I would much rather use this time to impart some wisdom. AP Style wisdom, that is. This is to show my gratitude to The Campanil for taking me in a year ago and giving me the best, most entitled position in the newsroom — Copy Chief. 1) The Associated Press Stylebook —the press style guide that all journalists revere — is against the serial comma, or, the Oxford comma. This dislike for the serial comma is backed by a few number of arguments, but none of which I really care enough to go into detail. I personally love the Oxford comma, but what can I do; it's not like I can buy out the
Associated Press. 2) Department names are NOT capitalized unless it is a proper noun. So "English department" is A-Okay, but "History department" is not. Don't ask me why. 3) Titles, such as academic titles, are not capitalized unless used before the name. Senior Ari Nussbaum will be graduating this semester. Patricia Powell, professor of English, once asked me my character's favorite color. 4) Differences between quotation marks, italicization, etc. Italicize if the publication is a news/ journalist publication. The Campanil Use quotation marks for movies,
poems, songs, books, etc. “The Laramie Project” “Selma” “Single Ladies" “I, Too” Do not format an event's name. (Un)common Thread These, I feel, are the four most common misconceptions that, as a graduating senior, I feel deep within my soul I must explain why The Campanil chooses to use or not to use them. Read it. Love it. Share it. The less time we spend bickering over what style is grammatically correct, the more time we can spend getting down to the core of the articles. These are my parting bits of wisdom. I hope that by the end of reading this farewell letter, everyone has
come to a new perspective or are now willing to give The Campanil a little more recognition. After all, this whole year our staff has had one of the most diverse groups of people in The Campanil history, all with differing points of views, and yet despite these differences, if we can come together every two week to create a goddamn printed newspaper, doesn't this say something? Finally, I would like to thank The Campanil for taking in my love for clarity and consistency, I would like to thank all my professors for their support in my academia, I would like to thank my friends who have either put up with me for all four years or who have just bought their one-way ticket on the friendship train, and
most importantly, I would like to thank my family — especially my parents. Wherever you two are, you are my home, my roots, my base when I need a reprieve from all the anxiety and a push to get back into the world of the living. Thank you, everyone, for your constant love and support!
Greta Lopez, copy chief
This special issue is the seventh and last of the Spring 2015 semester. It looks back at the Strike of 1990 and includes articles about Comm...
Published on May 3, 2015
This special issue is the seventh and last of the Spring 2015 semester. It looks back at the Strike of 1990 and includes articles about Comm...