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Chelsea Clinton speech makes “her-story”

Amanda Berkson-Brand

The California primary may occur on Feb 5., but the presidential race hit Mills College three days earlier.

Not even rain could keep Mills women from jam- packing the Student Union at 10 a.m. in order to hear Chelsea Clinton speak.

People cheered and shouted the Mills cheer as Chelsea Clinton began her hour-long question and answer session, encouraging Mills women to vote for her mother, Democratic candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Chelsea explained her mother’s stances on political and social issues, which included health reform, immigration and sex education.

“I am here to talk – really answer questions about my mom. I am more proud of her than anyone I’ve known,” Chelsea Clinton said.

Some Mills students enjoyed Chelsea Clinton’s visit. “I think she is one of the most recognizable young people in the political realm,” said Freshwoman Jenny Irizary.

Jane Whitfield, a Mills alumna from ’96, was also satisfied. “Chelsea was well spoken,” she said. “I’m very impressed with the quality of speakers Mills has had.”

According to President Janet Holmgren, the College has been trying to get a representative of Hillary Clinton to speak on campus since Clinton’s campaign asked Holmgren to speak at the National Women’s Finance Council Summit in Washington D.C. on Oct. 17, 2007.

On Wed. Jan. 30, Chelsea Clinton agreed to speak at Mills College, giving the campus two days to coordinate the event, according to President Holmgren.

President Holmgren considers the effort worthwhile: “We’re really proud to have the daughter of the first woman candidate who really has a shot at the White House.”
Before the program began, a group of Mills women distributed signs, stickers and other merchandise with slogans endorsing Hillary Clinton for president.

For some people, putting Hillary Clinton in office is a progressive step in gender relations.

“We’re in a moment of history, or should I say her-story,” ASMC President Alex Widmann, a senior, said during the event.
President Holmgren said that Chelsea Clinton’s speech is not a direct political endorsement from the College and that the campus welcomes all political points of view.

The Mills College press release on Jan. 31 reported a similar stance. “Mills College is non-partisan and does not endorse any candidate for office. The College considers part of its educational mission to offer these opportunities for the community.”
Free Mills College T-shirts in navy blue, pink, gray and lavender were available inside the Student Union.

Students were encouraged to wear the shirts backwards so that the Mills logo would be visible in pictures and video recordings of the event, according to Junior Hannah Peragine.

“Chelsea Clinton was there to talk to students. It’s important to make the presence of the students visible,” she said.

To ensure that everyone could hear Clinton speak, attendees were asked to R.S.V.P.. Even so, only the people who arrived before 9:30 a.m. received a seat.

Rows of people stood shoulder to shoulder around the folding chairs and craned their necks to see the former first daughter speak.

Chelsea’s talk at Mills is one of many she has scheduled across the nation. She has been campaigning for her mother since January, according to a Jan. 14 San Francisco Chronicle article.

Visit Hillary Clinton’s Web site for more information on her political stances as well as campaign information.