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Nina LaCour reads from second novel

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Synthetic weed legal but dangerous VOLUME 98 ISSUE 18 www.thecampanil.com

Natalie Meier Opinions Editor Marijuana use is ubiquitous on the Mills College campus, and because of its accessibility, students rarely use its legal alternative, synthetic marijuana, often labeled “potpourri,” “K2,” or “Spice.” In December 2012, Texas teenager Emily Bauer smoked synthetic marijuana that she bought from a gas station. Hours later, she was in the hospital with persistent migraines, and was quickly rushed to the ICU after suffering multiple strokes, a CNN report said. After two weeks, Bauer left the hospital blind and paralyzed from the neck down. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, synthetic marijuana is credited with being the second most used illicit drug, after real marijuana, among high school seniors. In a survey conducted on

Facebook about marijuana use, six out of 52 Mills students said that they have tried synthetic marijuana, while some participants said that they have not tried it because they prefer smoking real marijuana. “I’ve heard mixed things about it,” one responder said. “I know it’s more expensive than actual marijuana, so why get the fake when I can get the real stuff easier and cheaper?” Synthetic marijuana is clearly labeled “not for human consumption,” and produces far worse side effects compared to those caused by real marijuana, including a stronger, more dangerous high. According to the American Association of Poison Control Center, synthetic marijuana’s side effects include severe anxiety, high blood pressure, nausea, seizures, intense hallucinations and psychotic episodes. “My dad works in an emergency room,” sophomore Sasha Reed

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Synthetic marijuana is for sale at many convenience stores.

said. “Synthetic marijuana can give people full-on heart attacks.” On the other hand, the survey circulated on Facebook showed that 42 out of 52 Mills students smoke real marijuana occasionally or on a regular basis. “I would say on average, I smoke marijuana three times a day,” senior Maggie Cummings said. “I use it to do homework because I do a lot of creative stuff.” Cummings believes that the Mills community should not frown on smoking marijuana because some students can function and get good grades while using it. “I feel like I can handle being a stoner and managing real life because I get up in the morning and go to my classes,” Cummings said. “I always tell people when they find out that I smoke that if I do something wrong, I would want you to blame it on me instead of the marijuana.” Ninty-seven percent of students who responded to the survey said that they use marijuana in order to fall asleep, sleep more deeply, or catch up on sleep they have missed because of studying or for other reasons. “Because my disability prevents me from sleeping at regular hours, using marijuana before I sleep allows me to regulate or catch up on sleep,” one anonymous responder said. Some students also use marijuana to control anxiety and other psychological issues. Many have medical marijuana cards that provide them with ready access to marijuana in doctor-prescribed doses from Bay Area dispensaries like Harborside Health Clinic.

Tuesday | March 12, 2013

NATALIE MEIER

Real mariuana is relatively accesible to students in the Bay Area.

“I use it for medicinal purposes—painkiller, mood-stabilizer,” an anonymous senior said in an email. “It’s the easiest, quickest, most reliable way to help with these issues.” Some students also maintain that marijuana helps them feel more comfortable in social situations that they do not otherwise feel like they can handle. “I have high anxiety, but weed mellows me out, allows me to take jokes that normally would make me upset, communicate with people who I’m nervous to talk to or holding a grudge against,” one survey response said. “Since I’ve started using weed, I’ve been able to socialize much better than I used to.” Despite the push to legalize

marijuana in California, and the insistence by proponents of marijuana legalization that the drug is not harmful like its synthetic counterpart, an anonymous sophomore said that she became paranoid, extremely suicidal, and unable to communicate her thoughts the first time she tried real marijuana. “I also think there are dangers surrounding it because it is illegal,” the anonymous sophomore said. “If someone has a bad reaction, they aren’t going to go to their parents or RA or RD because they don’t want to get into trouble.” 88 percent of students who took the survey said that they did not know what synthetic marijuana was, but real marijuana is alive and well on the Mills campus.

Mills reacts to widespread fraud Shirlee Harris

contributing writer

Administrators who oversee the publication of Mills’ facts and statistics were shocked by the most recent in a series of disclosures that college officials nationwide had falsified the SAT scores of their admitted students. Last month, Bucknell College in Pennsylvania said it had inflated the SAT scores of its incoming freshman for seven years in a row. The college voluntarily disclosed the fact of their false data to the U.S. News and World Report, which provides an annual ranking

of colleges. It was the fifth such disclosure from colleges within the last year about manipulation of data that affected their ranking. Other colleges that have acknowledged data fabrication include Claremont McKenna, Tulane, George Washington University, and Emory. Dr. Alice B. Knudsen, the Director of the Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Academic Assessment at Mills, who said her data comes from the Admissions Office, was adamant that Mills would never fabricate data. Giuletta Aquino, the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, said in an email that she also stands by the data Mills publishes. Knudsen said the response

of her office and others was a “collective gasp” when they heard about yet another college falsifying data. “I will tell you, we have always reported accurate data,” Knudsen said. “But this situation really makes you realize that even though there are no formal external audits, you cannot be blasé about the information or the process.” The Washington Post reported that it was unclear why the problem at Bucknell occurred, and an official statement posted to the Bucknell website mirrored this lack of clarity. See

SAT fraud page 2

ARI NUSSBAUM

The first graduating class of the MFA Book Art and Creative Writing Program exhibited their work at Swarm Gallery in downtown Oakland. See page 2

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Book


2

News

March 12, 2013

Mills sticks by transparency SAT Fraud from page 1

“We can’t discern people’s intentions, but at a minimum the inaccurate numbers show an inexplicable inattention to the accuracy and completeness of data,” the statement said. Bucknell ranks 32nd on the most recent US News list and it is not clear if that ranking will be affected by the problems with SAT scores. Bloomberg Business Week reported that Emory College issued a statement in August 2012, saying it had intentionally misreported data on SAT, ACT and class rankings since 2000. The Huffington Post reported that two unidentified former Emory Admissions Deans and the leadership of its institutional research office were aware of the practices. Emory was ranked 20th in the publication America’s Best Colleges. Inside Higher Education reported that the false data at George Washington University

was discovered over the summer of 2012 by the school’s new provost while reorganizing admissions processes. George Washington now mandates that the University’s Office of Academic Planning and Assessment, not admissions, will handle requests

“We believe in transparency,” Knudsen said. “This is who we are.”

for data from the organizations that rank colleges. The Washington Post reported in early December 2012 that Tulane noticed sharp drops in test scores for admission, as well as a decrease in number of applications to their business school. Tulane University said the evidence pointed to a former busi-

ness school employee. “It was a goal oriented manipulation,” Tulane’s provost told The Washington Post. Tulane is now unranked. Like Tulane, Bucknell said the could be episode traced back to the actions of a former employee. “It was like getting emotionally punched in the gut,” Bucknell President John Bravman told the Washington Post. Brouman explained that new controls put in place will keep the problem from reoccurring. Claremont McKenna came forward one year before Bucknell College, admitting to the fabrication of SAT scores. The Huffington Post covered the resignation of the senior administrator at Claremont McKenna College in late January 2012. The final report explained that the data misrepresentations came from a disagreement with the President about the school’s admissions strategy. But Mills sticks by its accountability. “We believe in transparency,” Knudsen said. “This is who we are.”

Correction

CHOREL CENTERS

In our Feb 26 issue we mistakenly ran a misleading headline for a story about the use of stimulants on campus. The writer was in no way trying to suggest issues of addiction among Mills students. We regret the error.

OPD conducts raids

Oakland police carried out a series of raids early Friday morning, making several arrests. Police Chief Howard Jordan said the raids were six months in the planning and targeted individuals allegedly involved in the recent wave of violent crime through the city.

News from around The Bay

Airport drug bust

Twenty one-year-old San Francisco man Tony Nguyen was arrested at the Oakland Airport with 65 pounds of marijuana in his checked luggage. He is now out on bail.

News Editor Annie O’Hare

Lauren-Marie Sliter Editor in Chief (on leave) Tessa Love Acting Editor in Chief eic@thecampanil.com 5000 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA 94613 510.430.2246 phone 510.430.3176 fax

NPR Senior National Correspondent Linda Wertheimer and political campaign expert Christine Pelosi spoke at Mills in the Littlefield Concert Hall on March 5. They discussed the challanges women face in politics and the changing media landscape. The conversation concluded with questions from the audience, which ranged from electing a new pope to the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidential run in 2016.

New Compliance Director

Bay Bridge light sculpture

Thomas Frazier has been named the new compliance director of the Oakland Police Department. He is expected to begin work on March 11. As Compliance Director, Frazier will be responsible for ensuring that the OPD comes into compliance with the reforms of the settlement agreement stemming from a 2000 lawsuit brought against the department.

A massive 25,000 LED light sculpture was unveiled on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Billed as the largest LED light sculpture in the world, the glimmering display on the bridge cables is visible from the San Francisco side of the bridge. The lights will shine from dusk to 2 a.m. and is expected to be up for about two years.

Design Editor Francesca Twohy-Haines

Asst. News Editor Kate Carmack

Online Editors Jen Mac Ramos and Melodie Miu

Arts & Features Editor Joann Pak

Asst. Online Editor Fatima Sugapong

Asst. Arts & Features Editor Emily Mibach

Photo Editor Chantelle Panackia

Opinions Editor Natalie Meier

Asst. Opinions Editor Octavia Sun Health & Sports Editor Eden Sugay

Multimedia Editor Alheli Cuenca

Webmaster Ching Yu Copy Chief Elizabeth Rico Copy Editors Diana Arbas, Maggie Freeman, Chorel Centers

Find more stories, photos, videos and live updates at www.thecampanil.com

The Campanil welcomes public commentary on subjects of interest to the campus community, as well as feedback on the paper itself. Submissions for Open Forum should be no more than 400 words. Letters to the Editor should be no more than 150 words. Submissions may be edited for length and clarity only. All submissions must include the author’s name and contact information and may be submitted via e-mail or in typewritten form, accompanied by an electronic copy. No anonymous submissions will be accepted. Submissions must be received one week before the publication date to appear in the next issue. The Campanil reserves the right to upload all content published in print, in addition to original content, on our website, www.thecampanil.com. The Campanil is published every Tuesday. The first copy of The Campanil is free. Additional copies are 50 cents. Students interested in joining The Campanil staff should contact the Editor in Chief.


Arts & Features

March 12, 2013

3

Please don’t touch my hair Chorel Centers Contributing Writer Kira Lewis is recalling the time she was at a bar in New Orleans, having a conversation with a friend, when she felt someone’s hands sink deep into her hair. Lewis said she turned her head carefully, and was unsurprised to find a total stranger standing behind her, smiling. That kind of thing happens all the time, Lewis said. She remembers the woman’s defense — “It was so pretty I just had to!” Experiences like this were the seeds of an event hosted by the Black Women’s Collective (BWC) last month called “Please Don’t Touch My Hair.” The club hosted multiple events at Mills as part of Black History Month. “Please Don’t Touch My Hair” was part fashion show, part presentation, and part conversation, all about black women and their hair. As BWC president Chantel Gammage, a third-year biochem major, told the audience, the event originated in the fre-

big chop.” Cruz-Sellu said she was pleased that one participant, Daisha Mshaka, had been asked the question, “If you straighten or relax your hair, aren’t you just trying to adhere to a Euro-centric ideal of beauty — that is, “trying to be white”?” Mshaka answered the question in the negative, and went on to explain that in fact, black women who straighten or relax their hair do so for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with being white. Either they like the way it feels; it requires less upkeep and cuts down on the hours of maintenance that wearing it naturally requires; or they simply want a change. Mshaka also said that, “In the residence halls at Mills, it’s hard to be black and straighten your hair.” She explained the process of pressing her hair with a heated comb, a task that requires time and involves smoke coming off of her hair. Mshaka said that hallmates who were not African American did not understand what she was doing. “Aren’t you hurting

quent conversations about black women and their hair at the club’s weekly meeting. A member would mention that someone had reached out and grabbed her hair, touching it without asking — and this happened all the time. So, Gammage explained, “We decided to share our hair. Because it’s important. Important enough for other people to want to touch it.” Over the course of the event, participants addressed many questions about their hair and their relationships to it. “The event was a good opportunity for people to learn without invading personal space,” said Arianna Cruz-Sellu, a firstyear student and a member of the BWC, in a later interview. Cruz-Sellu said she was pleased with how many questions were answered. These questions, in an openly-structured format towards the end of the program, ranged from, “How often do you wash your hair?” to how to compliment a black woman on her hair (“I like your hair”), to addressing concepts like “the

yourself?” she recalled one of them asking. Such questions highlight the lack of knowledge about African-American hair, Mshaka said. One of the main themes of “Please Don’t Touch My Hair” was the incredible diversity of hair that exists among black women, and the embrace of that variety. “Black women’s hair is beautiful in all of its diversity,” Gammage said, whether that be weaves, wigs, braids, dreads, long, short, natural, relaxed — the list goes on. “It’s a process,” Gammage and others said, both of the everchanging relationship she has to her hair as well as the changes in the hairstyle itself. Many women also said that hair is a personal choice that does not define them. Gammage read what certain participants had written about their hair. Cruz-Sellu’s statement read, “My hair is an expression of who I am. It does not define me. I love my hair because it is a symbol of the struggle of all black women to accept who I am. My [previous] dismissal of the beauty of my hair was a dismiss-

al of the beauty of black women in general.” Many participants expressed their relationship to their hair as a symbol of family, pride, culture, ancestry, and history. In an interview following the event, Lewis, who participated in the event, spoke about her history with her hair, including the “lovely memories” she has of her father (who is black; Lewis’s mother is white) doing her hair every morning. When her father braided and touched her hair every morning, it was a ritual that brought them close together, Lewis said. But Lewis said that when others touch her hair, they are invading her space. “People grab my hair like twice a week,” she said. Throughout the event, one response arose again and again: I don’t want people to touch my hair because it’s mine. It’s my space. You can ask to touch it — but don’t ask while you reach. And don’t be offended if the answer is no. As one participant said, “My hair is a work of art, to be admired from a distance!”

Upcoming Events March 18

March 13

March 16

Mills College Gender Identity and Expression in Sport Listening Circle

Mills Music Now: Salomé Chamber Orchestra

Haas Pavilion, 116 7-8:15 p.m.

8:00 p.m. Littlefield Concert Hall

Student Athlete Advisory Committee along with the DSJRC is hosting a Listen Circle on the topic of Gender Identity and Expression in sports at Mills.

New York City’s electrifying conductorless string ensemble performs an eclectic program of music by Tchaivovsky, Vivaldi, Dvorak, Saint-Saens, and others.

March 14

Songlines Series: Gregory Lenczycki 7:30 p.m. Littlefield Concert Hall The LA-based composer will present a new work for laptop and electronics which explores the rhythms of space and the architecture of sound.

March 16-17 Haunting,

performed by

Free Bass Clinic: with the Rolling Stones’ Bassist

Molissa Fenley and Peiling Kao

Bananas At Large 1504 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA 94901 7-9 p.m.

6:00 p.m. Mills College Art Museum

Join a free bass clinic with Darryl Jones who has played and toured with Miles Davis,The Rolling Stones, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton and others.

The Mills College Art Museum has commissioned Mills College dance professor and internationally recognized choreographer Molissa Fenley to create a new work responding to the artwork in Hung Liu: Offerings. Fenley will perform in the gallery with Peiling Kao (MFA 2010).

Find more stories, photos, videos and live updates at www.thecampanil.com


4 March 12, 2013

Arts & Features

The Book is the Body Ari Nussbaum Contributing Writer

The crowd of guests took turns slowly walking through the tunnel. Each person leaned closer to look at the design of the structure and read the writing on it, many people taking pictures of the passageway. These spectators were not in a cave or burrow— they were inside a book. The human-sized tunnel, entitled “Cornered,” is the thesis project of Book Art & Creative Writing MFA student Kat Howard and is one of four projects currently being exhibited at Swarm Gallery in downtown Oakland. The exhibition, The Book is the Body, displayed the thesis projects of Kate Robinson, Rob Borges and Mirabelle Jones, all MFA students in the Book Art & Creative Writing program. Mills College is the only college in the nation to offer such a cross-disciplinary MFA program. Although Book Art classes have been offered at Mills since the early 1980s, the MFA in Book Art & Creative Writing program was only recently introduced. The students who exhibited work at Swarm Gallery will be the first graduating class of the program. “It’s a celebration of what we’ve learned, as well as a hint as to where we see ourselves heading creatively after graduate school,” Howard said of the exhibition. “Cornered” was constructed of hand-embroidered paper quilts and, according to Howard, was inspired by the Brontё sisters, who wrote 19th century novels such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, among others. “It really shows some depth,” said Richard Quint, a guest at the opening reception. “I enjoy the way she’s used a natural material very carefully.” “It’s interesting to see the culmination of paper and poetry that started off in a small space and evolved,” said Richard’s wife Jenny, who was also at the exhibition. “ It’s amazing to see the vision that they had come to fruition.”

To the Internet and Beyond. Rachel Levinson, resident pop culture columnist, dissects the loss of an Addiction and the Re-birth of Creativity (I guess)

ARI NUSSBAUM

Another human-sized “book” on display was made by Kate Robinson. Robinson’s project, “The Integrity of the Structure,” is comprised of Japanese-style screens covered in text of various sizes, styles, and colors. This creates the effect of walking through a book, similar to Howard’s project. After graduating, Robinson plans to stay in the Bay Area and remain involved in the local poetry scene, as well as the Book Art program at Mills. “I’d like to help the program grow,” Robinson said. “I want to teach in an active and engaged way.” Another student, Mirabelle Jones, displayed her thesis project, “Book Reads You,” to attendees one at a time. “Book Reads You” is a motion-activated computer that senses a person’s movements and records them as language, then reads them back to the person. Jones created this project with the aim of exploring whether computers are capable of creative literature and computer-human interaction. Jones has become heavily involved in the Book Art community, having guest lectured at the College Book Art Association and Academy of Art University. Jones is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Book Art Blog. In addition to hav-

ing her work displayed throughout the United States, Jones has exhibited work in Germany. Rob Borges’ project stood out as the only literal book on display, which was accompanied by several poems and an audio component. Borges’ work has previously been displayed several times in the Pocket Gallery at Mills. “I think it’s really cool to see different interpretations of what a book is,” said Rachel Holden, a sophomore at Mills who was in attendance at the exhibition at Swarm Gallery. The Book Art Department at Mills encourages students to redefine what a book is—whether it takes the form of an interactive program, a life-sized installation, a performance, or a tangible book. “We are so proud of the truly cutting edge work the students in this program do, and how it highlights this tradition at Mills of innovation in the fine arts and literary arts,” said Cynthia Scheinberg, Chair of the English Department and Dean of Graduate Literary Studies. The exhibition took place at Swarm Gallery last week and concluded on March 3. The exhibition served as a milestone for those students whose work was displayed, as well as for the growth of the new MFA in Book Art & Creative Writing program.

ARI NUSSBAUM

Visitors travel through the tunnel of “Cornered,” made from hand-embroidered paper quilts.

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I’m staring at my cubicle wall with my head in my hands, looking down at my reflection on a blank screen. Dead. My computer is dead. I had left my trusty companion alone on the conference table two hours earlier only to come back moments later to a co-worker drying it off from an accidental puddle of water. I hugged the machine for an hour before gingerly opening it back up (I now realize I should’ve found a sack of rice to let it rest in for two days but it seemed doomed from the start). After a meeting at the Genius Bar and deliberations with everyone in my life who owns a Mac, we’ve decided it is time to move on. My laptop, with a broken charge port among other things, is currently resting on my bed with its battery life slowly draining away, while I occasionally pet it or think good thoughts toward its recovery. Yes, I am still talking about a computer. The only things that has gotten me through this semi-traumatic experience are my phone and my books. And the various computer labs on campus. Luckily I back up my computer regularly (you should too), so the only real loss I’m experiencing is the unhealthy amount of time I spend cuddling with my various internet homes. There are no more Facebook stalking sessions, no more Comedy Bang Bang marathons on Netflix, and no more anthropologie.com window shopping. I actually have to face the idea of being in my dorm room alone. This loss of semi-mindless clicking has forced me to read a book before falling asleep and allocate specific times to work on my papers. It has pushed me into a productive realm of independent scholarship and reflection. Not only did I finish a paper a full 12 hours before it was due, I’ve also been reading a book on quirky neurological case studies. For fun. Don’t get me wrong, I would do that eventually but I never make personal time for myself to read during the school year. Within the past few days I’ve had the time to read, actually clean my room, and go to sleep at a healthier time. The thing is, all of that time has always been there; I just never take advantage of it with the distractions of the internet. I’m sure most of us fall prey to the same issue. It’s extremely annoying to have the New York Times publish an article on a new study showing a correlation between increased computer usage and decreased creativity because “they don’t get us”. I’m creating original content everyday! My tweets are gosh darn hilarious! Yet there really is a freeing experience to be found in stepping away from the LCD screen.

I am spending more time working on my photo projects and brainstorming my future blog potentials. I’m actually thinking forward rather than focusing on the time I need to schedule away from the computer. Tumblr and my Google RSS reader have always been my main source for current art news but now I actually have to go to a journal or gallery to learn about what’s out there. Listening to new music involves physically interacting with other music lovers. Writing is just sitting in the quad with a Moleskine. I feel like I finally fit into the stereotype of the pretentious college experience that pre-internet coming-ofage movies promised me (see any inspiring movie that takes place on any Ivy League campus). There are plenty of successful students on campus who are on either end of the internet involvement spectrum. Everyone has their own approach toward creativity. I just wonder what it would be like for us to interact more often than through our cliques and Facebook groups. Maybe I’m romanticizing the idea of an anti-digital world, but there seems to be something to it, at least temporarily. Sure, social media programs like Vine and Instagram help us rapidly share our visual world, but how do we pay attention unless we take a step away from the need to include the rest of the world in our own bubble? It’s hard to imagine that I will find a balance between internet addiction and quitting cold turkey. This past weekend I involuntarily participated in the “National Day of Unplugging”, a movement in the Jewish community to not only observe the Sabbath more traditionally but also to fully rest on the allotted day of rest. Rather than posting about the delicious challah I ate for dinner, I spent time exploring the city with my family. I don’t think I could do this every day but maybe starting a monthly routine of stepping away from the digital world will be good for my mind and thought process. I’ve even been able to start thinking about personal projects to work on outside of a witty single-serving blog (example: s**t ____’s say). No matter what you are studying or pursuing, it never hurts to log out of Facebook for a few hours a week. Set aside some time every week to read, write, or create for fun. If you don’t have the will power to stay away, download a nifty app like “Self Control,” which blocks you from a personalized list of websites for a set amount of time. While it may be terrifying at first, soon you’ll find that you can create some pretty amazing things when you focus on the idea for longer than a ten minute sitting.

Good luck!


Arts & Features

March 12, 2013

5

Mills alum Nina LaCour reads on campus Kate Carmack Asst. News Editor

Nina LaCour filled the Mills Hall Living Room with an inspirational reading from her new book The Disenchantments. The event took place March 5 as part of the Contemporary Writers Series. “Hearing her writing process was very thought provoking about how I might create a story,” said Olivia Mertz, a junior majoring in creative writing. Nina LaCour is a San Francisco native who wanted to be writer since she was a young girl. She graduated from Mills in 2006 with an MFA in creative writing. LaCour launched her writing career while at Mills, workshopping her first book Hold Still at the age of 22 in class. Since graduating, she has published two books, Hold Still and The Disenchantments, and she currently has a contract for two more books. Disenchantments is a young adult novel that pulls from the influences of art and music to illustrate a group of high school friends exploring their adult lives together on a road trip. “Disenchantments is about friendship and love and what it means to be out on the road,” LaCour said. The novel is narrated through the lens of a male character named Colby who accompanies an all-girl band called The Disenchantments on a band tour road trip right out of high school. When developing the story, Nina really wanted the narrator to be an outsider, someone outside the band. LaCour said, “A boy on the road with three girls was an interesting dynamic to think about.” Karen Gordon, a senior creative writing major really enjoyed the reading, but had to keep telling herself the narrator of the story

was male. “It was hard to remember the narrator was a guy,” Gordon said. “It made me think how nowadays you can have a character that’s a guy and not a macho guy.” LaCour has recently finished shooting footage for the movie version of her book Hold Still. “I see my novels while I write them” LaCour said, “so translating from fiction to screenplay was fun.” For LaCour, dialogue comes easiest to her and sometimes she speaks it out loud when writing. Emily Koch, a senior majoring in creative writing, really liked her voice and dialogue. “That’s my strong point in my writing so it was really inspirational to hear,” Koch said. After graduating from Mills and publishing Hold Still, LaCour was eager to start writing again. She took a sentence structure class with Kate Brubeck in 2006 in which she wrote a sentence that turned out to be the beginning of her second novel The Disenchantments. LaCour currently teaches at Maybeck in Berkeley, an independent high school where students and teachers engage together in a collaborative intellectual exploration. That experience helped LaCour understand that teens all think and talk differently from one another, a realization that LaCour drew from when writing her high school characters. After the reading, Morgan Johnson, a freshman majoring in business economics and French, said she now wants to read everything LaCour has written. “Her reading made me want to be in that awkward high school struggle again,” Johnson said. LaCour said she understands how high school students are really exploring who they are, and what they want, especially since she also took a road trip right out of high school. Unique Robinson, a graduate student studying poetry, thought

KATE CARMACK

LaCour began her first novel, Hold Still, while attending Mills.

LaCour illustrates the agency of today’s youth in her book effectively. “She really engaged in taking on 21st-century youth culture and choosing what you want to do instead of what is expected of you,” Robinson said. A 2007 Mills alumna, Sean Manzano, was also at the reading. He attended class with Nina at Mills when she workshopped parts of Hold Still in class. “[It’s] nice to see a prodigal daughter of Mills College conquering the publishing beast,” Sean Manzano said. Manzano, a teacher at Purple Lotus K-12 Buddhist school, brought some of his students to the reading. One of his students, Ernesto

Ngchen, a junior at Purple Lotus, commented on his favorite part of the novel, where the two male characters discuss getting a tattoo. “My favorite part was when the two boys in the book discussed tulips when talking about what kind of tattoo to get,” said Ngchen. Mandy Sturgill, a senior in American Studies, felt the tattoo scene was really important because it provided insight on the importance of building relationships. “He didn’t just call him to get advice about his tattoo, he was forging a relationship with him,” Sturgill said. “If I wrote a young adult novel, I would also try put emphasis on it being a good influence to high school students.”

COURTESY OF NINALACOUR.COM

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6 March 12, 2013

Opinions & Editorial

STAFF EDITORIAL

Strategies for preventing theft fall short Over the past few months, Oakland photojournalists have been robbed of countless expensive cameras and pieces of equipment while on the job, as The New York Times reported last week. This robbery trend has added fuel to the fire of whether Oakland residents feel safe carrying valuables on the streets. Often times, thieves will look for visible items to snatch from people’s hands, like cell phones and purses. Our staff believes that if you cannot conceal your valuables or keep your eyes on them at all times when out in public, they should be left at home to lessen the risk of being stolen. Keeping your belongings hidden and being as inconspicuous as you can be when carrying valuables is the best way to keep your valuables

safe in public spaces. Many students feel that having a car creates a greater danger for having their items stolen. A staggering amount of students who have cars, and park them off campus in Oakland, have had their car windows smashed and experienced their valuables being stolen from inside the car. Putting valuables in your car’s trunk — out of sight of potential thieves who can look through your car’s windows and spot items to steal — is a good way to circumvent this problem. Some students also feel unsafe on campus, citing the lack of crime prevention and adequate safety measures taken to keep students safe. For example, it’s a fairly simple process to obtain an overnight guest pass, whether or not you’re a student, and Public

Safety does not ask to see any ID’s when people enter the campus — they simply wave them through, which has raised quite a bit of concern from students. Dormitory theft is the biggest form of crime on campus, largely because of the number of doors left unlocked when students leave their rooms for class or elsewhere. It only takes one opportunity for someone to walk into your room and steal a laptop, a phone or something else of value. The best way to protect your belongings when they’re in your room? Lock your doors. Although the crime rate on and off campus has been high as of late, students can take safety measures to protect themselves and their belongings in public spaces.

Living with depression in modern times Jen Mac Ramos online editor

On weekends, I usually spend my nights at my computer. This one particular Sunday wasn’t any different. I had plans to read my economics book, but with a holiday coming up, I thought, “Eh, I have more time to read tomorrow.” So more time-wasting activities it was. I found myself on Tumblr, refreshing the page whenever there was a good amount of new posts. There was one that struck me about a game called Depression Quest. This was in the description: “Depression Quest is an interactive fiction game where you play as someone living with depression. You are given a series of everyday life events and have to attempt to manage your illness, relationships, job, and possible treatment. This game aims to show other sufferers of depression that they are not alone in their feelings, and to illustrate to people who may not understand the illness the depths of what it can do to people.” I played until the end of the game. It felt so real to me and the longer I played, the more emotional I got. I started thinking, “I remember this so well. Has it been two or three years since that? How did I get to a point where I feel okay with everything in my life?” I’ve known since I was a teenager that my brain chemistry was off. I had anxiety, ADD, and depression, but I always thought I could manage it somehow. I took a year off from school after high school graduation because I knew I wasn’t mentally ready to go to college — but I don’t tell peoplethat. How do you tell people, “I

just wasn’t ready”? After a few weeks into my first semester at Mills, I knew I was getting worse. I went to see a counselor, but I felt uncomfortable and embarrassed. I couldn’t open up to her or anyone, really. I felt trapped in a shell. I hadn’t been in a classroom setting in over ten years (I was homeschooled), so this was new territory for me. I wasn’t sure if I was crossing any social boundaries, and as a result I found myself pretending that I liked things I wasn’t sure of, convincing myself that I did. And I didn’t know what I needed to do. I remember the aimless late night walks around campus and the friends I lost along the way. I didn’t know what was wrong or why I felt sad about everything all the time. There were the days when I could not get out of bed and my room became a mess. I’m about two years removed from when I had my breakdown, one that lead me to finding a treatment plan that worked for me. I still remember the support of friends, but when you’re trapped in your headspace, you can’t appreciate the things people do for you. There are so many thoughts racing that make you think, “There is no possible way that they are telling me this and not feeling superior than me.” Through support and treatment, I learned that wasn’t the case at all. I know I’ll never fully get rid of depression or anxiety. I still find it incredibly difficult to be completely open about my struggles. It’s hard to be social when you think that people will want to try to fix you or use you to get meds. I try to be more open for the sake of destigmatization, but there’s only so much I can do alone. Loneliness can eat you alive and trap you in a

pattern that can lead you to spiral out of control. I’ve tried to live in the loneliness, but I couldn’t and I can’t and I won’t. What I know now is how to live with depression and what to do when things get tough. I try to keep myself in check whenever I notice any of the symptoms coming back. I still worry about what people might think of me. Slowly, I’m becoming more comfortable with the idea that I am me and that depression is a part of me, but it isn’t who I am. At the end of Depression Quest, a message appeared on my screen. It told me that Depression Quest, like depression, doesn’t have an ending and that it was important for the game to reflect that. “Instead of a tidy ending, we want to just provide a series of outlooks to take moving forward. After all, that’s all we can really do with depression – just keep moving forward.” Depression Quest isn’t a light game that could be played like Tetris. It’s an intricate tapestry of scenarios — an informative and educational Choose Your Own Adventure, if you will. It’s life when you’re faced with the reality and decisions. If you can play, please do. It’s not my story of depression, nor is it anyone else’s, but an amalgamation. For someone who has depression, this game can be triggering, so tread carefully. I don’t think this game will solve all of the stigmatization, but it’s a step in the right direction. More education and less shaming can only lead to a change, and this one is an important one. Depression Quest showed me the strides I made in my daily fight against depression, but I know the stigma still exists — and I’m also not going to let it to dictate how I live.

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QUESTION OF THE WEEK How do you plan to celebrate the arrival of Spring?

“Spring cleaning, allergy pills, and noticing every flower that pops out. It’s all a gift anyways.”

—Maggie Wilson, Senior

“Leaving the country for the first time. I’m going to Puerto Vallarta”

— Anna Guiles, Junior

“I plan to celebrate Spring by celebrating the Jewish holiday, Passover, with my family, which is coming up in March. It is a day of bright new beginnings.”

—Sienna Crespin, Sophomore

“I expect it to be warm so I plan to go to Lake Merritt and jog around it, and eating outside of restaurants. I can’t wait to wear dresses and flip-flops.”

—Carolina Sanchez, First-year

“Laying in the sun and the grass.”

—Olivia Mertz, Junior

COMPILED BY OCTAVIA SUN


Health & Sports

March 12, 2013

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Mills atheletes at top of their game in matches Eden Sugay

health and sports editor

Freshman Hanna Kirkorian and Sophomore Alice Hewitt were at the top of their game during separate respective matches against Holy Names University and Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU) two weeks ago. Kirkorian, of Fresno, CA, has been playing tennis competitively for about six years. This is her first year competing with Mills. While preparing for each match, Kirkorian maintains the same routine the night before to get into a competitive mindset. “I visualize a lot the night before a match,” Kirkorian said. “During a match, I don’t let one point get me down. I always remind myself, ‘Shake it off, there’s always the next point.’” Kirkorian competed against

Holy Names University on Feb. 23 at the No. 3 spot for doubles and singles. Tennis coach Loke Davis said Kirkorian embodied Zac Purchase’s phrase “It’s not taking part that counts, or even winning, it’s about raising your game and doing extraordinary things,” which was the team’s guiding quote for the day. Kirkorian, along with her doubles partner, freshman Christie Yeh, dominated their doubles match and won 8-2. In singles, Kirkorian changed her game plan during the second set, and battled to clinch an additional two games from Holy Names. “I ended up losing the match,” Kirkorian said. “Although the scores don’t appear high, the individual points of each game in the match were well fought out, and it was a fun match to play. My opponent was a great player, but I began to frustrate her when I became

more consistent with my shots in the second set.” Kirkorian lost the singles match — 6-1, 6-3 — but she put up quite the fight, according to Coach Davis. “Hanna was the final match still on court after a three-and-a-halfhour-long day (four-and-a-half hours, if you count warm-up!),” Davis said. “The longest matches are always indicative of a hard fight and it was clear that Hanna battled hard. In practice, Hanna’s been a positive and supportive teammate. She has been a wonderful addition to our team this year and I look forward to seeing her continued growth this season.” Hewitt of San Diego, CA started playing tennis at a competitive level in middle school at a local tennis center’s co-ed team, and has been playing for about 14 years, with this being her second year with the Mills team. Hewitt exhibited the same fighting spirit

as Kirkorian in the Cyclones’ 6-0 sweep of the NDNU Argonauts at the March 1 home match. At the No. 1 doubles spot, Hewitt, with doubles partner first-year Gracie Stark, won their set 8-0. At the No. 2 singles spot, she started off her first set with a 1-4 deficit. Hewitt turned her game around and earned five consecutive games to win the set 6-4. She went on to win her singles match in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1. “I stayed really focused,” Hewitt said. “I started working on congratulating myself on the small accomplishments: for each point, every time I really tried for a ball. This built the confidence I lost after losing four games straight in the first set. I knew I could beat my opponent if I could just execute and play my game. I focused and I started to win. It felt really good.” Hewitt’s feel-good attitude translated well to her teammates

COURTESY OF KURT LOEFFLER

and coach. “I am proud of the action Alice took to change her style of play and shift the momentum of the match,” Coach Davis said. “It takes a lot of courage and pluck to make such a huge turnaround at such a critical point in the set, and Alice proved her ability to buckle down and take care of business. She has been showing more mental and physical toughness in practice and it was clear to me on Friday that it is translating into her match play. I look forward to seeing her continued development throughout this season.” Along with Coach Davis, Hewitt is also anticipating how the rest of the season will play out, while maintaining her positive attitude. “I feel like as long as I try to play my game and have positive self talk it doesn’t matter as much if I win or lose,” Hewitt said. “The experience will be a positive one.”

COURTESY OF KURT LOEFFLER

Alice Hewitt

Hanna Kirkorian

Women compete in Ultimate Fighting Championship for first time Khadija Awad

contributing writer

In a sold-out arena last month, women’s sports history was made as two women competed for a martial arts title in a fighting octagon where no woman had ever fought before. The Feb. 23 Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion event, held in Anaheim at the Honda Center, marked the first time in history that female fighters competed in an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) arena. As the world’s premier mixed martial arts company, the UFC seeks to identify the most effective martial art by sponsoring fighters and hosting competitive events pitting martial artists of different disciplines against one another. At the event, the fighters, champion Ronda Rousey, a California native, and contender Liz

Carmouche, whose faces were at the head of the event’s promotional posters, battled it out for the newly created title of UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Watching Rousey v. Carmouche was “a great experience” for Mills College student Jennifer Luna, a lifetime participant of mixed martial arts who viewed the fight as a testament to the strength of female fighters. “All that was going through my mind was, ‘Yeah! You destroy, girl!’” Luna said. “Usually people think of women fights as weak or quick, but they fought hard and well.” At the end of the match, slated as the pay-per-view event’s main draw, Rousey submitted Carmouche to retain the first women’s UFC title. As UFC president Dana White presented Rousey with her championship belt, the match announcer addressed Rousey and declared,“You are not just the first UFC women’s champion, you are a real representative of women’s athletics.” White has historically been

resistant to the inclusion of female fighters in the UFC, stating in a 2011 TMZ interview that he would “never allow” women to compete in his company. In a Fuel TV interview following Rousey v. Carmouche, White explained his change of heart. “I wasn’t into [female UFC fighters] for a few years, then I started to do my homework, and as a I meet more of these girls I’m more and more impressed,” White said. After a slight pause, White edited his statement, “As I meet these women, I’m more and more impressed. I’m pumped man, I’m happy about it.” In the same Fuel TV interview, White pronounced the fight “one of the biggest moments in all of sports,” and expressed pleasure at the amount of media attention generated by the fight. “I’ve never in the history of this company had so much media attention,” he said. “Tonight was a monumental night.” Although female MMA fighters have competed professionally

for other martial arts companies, Rousey v. Carmouche marked the first time women had fought for the UFC, which was established two decades ago. The inclusion of female fighters in the UFC held special significance to Luna, who said she experienced some discrimination participating in a male-dominated sport. “I was seen as this tiny timid girl, until I began fighting that is,” Luna said. “Many men were intimidated afterwards because they did not like losing to me, losing their pride.” Luna viewed the fight as historic because it provides female fighters with the support and recognition that is often lacking. “Women are more often than not told they cannot physically keep up with men in extreme sports like MMA,” she said. “When women show they can not only keep up with training, but excel, people pay attention and begin to support women fighters.” The newly minted women’s 135-pound bantamweight division

is already filling up, with four new fighters coming under UFC contract in the days following Rousey v. Carmouche. In a televised Fuel TV interview after Rousey’s win, fellow MMA fighters Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano, now also UFC Women’s Bantamweight fighters and the next two women in line for the title, applauded the event’s historical significance. “It was a very satisfying moment in history, seeing women get in the UFC octagon for the first time,” Tate said. Zingano agreed. “It’s impressive because it’s the first female fight in the UFC,” she said. The triumphant Rousey, a lifetime athlete who in 2008 became the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in Judo, is relatively new to the MMA scene. Rousey, whose ascendant MMA career began in 2010, had just nine words to say immediately after her historic victory. “Is this real life right now? I’m not sure!”

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8 March 12, 2013

Health & Sports

EDEN SUGAY

Fencing instructor continues tradition at Mills Shanna Hullaby

contributing writer

Harold Hayes began fencing as an undergraduate student at Stanford University in 1966, when he joined the school’s Tuesday Evening Fencing Club. He studied the sport for over a year before perfecting his knowledge of not only how to use the weapons involved in fencing, but also how to train the neuromuscular systems required for becoming an expert. Hayes obtained his bachelor’s degree at Stanford University, where he studied philosophy. He then went on to the UC Santa Cruz School Of Consciousness, where he attained a Master of Arts in Medical Philosophy and Cognition and Personality. When Hayes completed his cognitive

studies, he went on to learn more about the art of sword fighting. He attended both the Selberg Academy of Arms and the International Academy of Arms, where he transformed himself into an expert in the art of sword fighting. The International Academy of Arms, the official governing body over fencing, determined that Hayes is an expert in fencing. As an expert, Hayes’ title is Maitre D’Arms, making his official title Maestro Hayes. The movements involved with fencing look and feel similar to dancing. When Hayes was asked if he had also studied dance, he said, “I think have the ability, but I haven’t ever performed. I’ve taken dance classes. I’m taking a flamenco class now and I’ve taken ballet classes before. I enjoy dance a great deal, but I haven’t crossed

the threshold into performing.” It is not mere coincidence that Harold Hayes has been teaching at Mills College since 1992. “Mills has a history of fencing from Helene Mayer, one of the greatest fencers to have ever lived, studied at Mills,” Hayes said. Helene Mayer, who is considered by Sports Illustrated to be one of the top 100 female athletes of the twentieth century, attended Mills College. The first time Hayes visited Mills College in 1967, he saw an exhibition of famed Hungarian fencing master and Mills professor Ferenc Marki. Marki trained at the Toldi Miklos Royal Hungarian Sports Institute to become a fencing master. When I asked Hayes what it would take to build a good fencing team, he said it would take

interested students who want to learn and perform well, just like in any other sport, along with an equally dedicated coach. The students in Hayes’ introductory fencing class here at Mills come away from Hayes’ class with a great deal of knowledge. “Maestro Hayes is highly knowledgeable in the sport and in the history of fencing,” senior and first-time fencer Lauren Kong said. “There are more details in fencing, for example footwork, hand positions, sword angularity, than I first anticipated.” Hayes believes that people should bring the patience to learn detail to class. Although fencing is not a particularly athletic sport, it is a very detailed sport that takes a large amount of patience to learn to do well. According to Hayes, some people who weren’t particu-

EDEN SUGAY

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larly athletic advance from beginning fencing levels to become great fencers because they learned to pay attention to detail. “I didn’t know anything about fencing when I first joined,” Kong said. “Who knew learning how to walk properly in fencing took so long! But it’s worth it. There’s a lot of leg work involved. My legs are getting a good workout. I would not be opposed to practice fencing after the semester is over.” Hayes inspires dedication and focus in his students. When Hayes is not teaching fencing classes at Mills College, he can be found at the Pacific Fencing Club in Alameda, where he is both owner and instructor. For more information about fencing at Mills, contact the Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation (APER) Department.

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