Press "Enter" to skip to content

Letter to the Editor

Something so wonderful has happened on the Mills campus that I now feel obligated to report. Three weeks ago Campanil columnist Sandhya Dirks sat in on a private discussion in a class where she helps to teach students the in’s and out’s of journalism. After discussing proposition 4, which would require girls to tell their parents if they are going to have an abortion, Dirks did not agree with the way opinions were shared.

Unbeknownst to the students and the professor, Sandhya published her very biased depiction of the discussion where an imaginary class filled with ‘two buck chuck’s and ‘loud angels’ ganged up on white women.

While her argument about reverse racism is most worthy of discussion, Dirks accusatory attitude and loaded language enraged all races within the class as well as around campus. Without knowing, she undermined her own argument as she eagerly attempted to stir up discussions of racism, perhaps due to boredom, without realizing that she was calling to arms women all over Mills and exploiting girls who trusted in the safety of the class.

It’s unfortunate that we don’t always think before we speak about the power of print and how such few words can cause such real emotions.

On the other hand, once we sift through her poorly chosen adjectives, we arrive at the gem that she has unknowingly created for us. The real lesson here is that perhaps we are too eager to turn every conflict into a racially based crisis. Sometimes, we say the wrong thing not because we are white or because we are black, but because we are learning and sometimes we get things wrong.

The class would like the campus to know that the discussion which took place so many weeks ago was one of the most touching and life-impacting discussions that most students had ever had at Mills. Women from different walks of life found themselves in the same room and through the grace, composure and respect that they already possessed from the many places they had come from, they strongly believed in each other’s right to their own opinion. While some girls may not have agreed with others, everyone got a chance to speak and everybody was heard not only with respect, but with love and an acknowledgment of the uniqueness of their life experience. For this beautiful instance of bonding to be misrepresented is not only a sad injustice that must be fixed but is also unethical. Students in the class have compared Sandhya’s exploitation of a private Mills discussion being rehashed and misrepresented in the student newspaper to a columnist sitting in on an Alcoholic Anonmyous meeting in search of a juicy story for a deadline. Other students feel Sandhya deeply misunderstood her role in the class and was not aware that she was breaking the confidentiality agreement. However, the class would also like to impart that so much has been gained from this great experience that after this letter is read by the Mills community no more action against Sandyha or the article that she wrote shall be directly taken by any member of the class. While not all the students accept her apology, we do not believe that any Mills student should be made to feel uncomfortable on her own campus and we support Sandhya’s right to feel welcomed here and also loved for her intentions to defend someone she truly thought was being attacked.

There is no need for resentment when this campus is filled with all different kinds of races, ethnicities, genders, economic backgrounds- just to name a few. It’s inevitable that heads will bump and insecurities will blossom as such a diverse population helps to shine light on each other’s ignorance because the more we sit in class like ticking time bombs overanalyzing everyone’s comments and jumping to conclusions that all our peers are racist- the farther we get from learning.

Can we change? I say ‘Yes we can’!

Letter to the Editor

Dear Weekly, if you truly are a democratic and just paper, you will publish my editorial in response to the editorial that was written in the last issue. Thank you!!

Dear Mills Community,
I am going to try to open the eyes of those who are being misled by information they are hearing and reading from other students. I was very disappointed to read the editorial section of last week’s The Weekly to find out that another member of our community is making us all look like spoiled little brats with nothing better to do than complain about what they think are the shortcomings of Mills College. To those students, grow up and get a life. This is college, not kindergarten. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. Remember it was your choice to attend Mills College, and if you are unhappy here, you are free to leave. There are many other colleges out there.

Lately, it seems that every time I pick up The Weekly all I read are the same complaints from the same handful of students published week after week. I felt very disappointed and embarrassed when I read the editorial written by a fellow Mills community member in this week’s issue. No disrespect, but you and your family should work your problems out in private. You are just one member of this college community, and your feelings and opinions don’t represent the rest of us. This is why I feel compelled to write this editorial and submit it to The Weekly.

I’d like to take the time to thank Public Safety, HMDS, Campus Facilities and the campus administrators for all their hard work keeping this campus running. Think about it: how easy do you think it is to run a distinguished, private women’s college in the middle of East Oakland? I hear many of you say you want an open campus, but then I hear many of you also saying that anyone can just walk on and how this bothers you. So what do you want? It seems that no matter what the administration does, they can never win. There is always someone who is unhappy and crying sour grapes. Maybe more involvement from the Mills community is needed.

All I have been hearing and reading is negativity and it’s time to look at the positive, think positive, and work together with these departments and the administration to fix the things with which we are unhappy. If we all have a positive attitude and try to work together, we can accomplish a lot. Nothing gets accomplished when you walk around with bitterness and hate in your heart and try to spread it to others.

I would also like to thank Michel Lopez, director of Public Safety, and Karen Maggio, assistant VP for Business Affairs for all the hard work they do, all the extra hours they put in on campus taking away from their families and for all the improvements they have brought to our campus in the forms of improved security and improved buildings and facilities, to name just a few of the changes I’ve noticed.

I attended the safety forum meeting that was held last month and was very disappointed that so few members of our community attended. After hearing the presentations from Mr. Lopez, Ms. Maggio, and Niviece Robinson, assistant director of Public Safety, I felt very reassured that our campus is safe, ready for disaster response, and planning for more improvements in the future.

I would also like to point out the misconception that Public Safety let a stranger on campus who assaulted a fellow member of our community. It was a member of our own community who invited this person on campus as their guest. This person didn’t jump the fence and wait in the bushes for any person walking by to attack. He was invited. After doing some of my own research, I have found that compared to other college campuses nationwide, Mills is very safe. I am proud that I am a member of the Mills community and hope you all are, too. If anyone else is tired of all the negativity, I encourage you to write to The Weekly and share your good feelings and experiences here at Mills. Let’s focus on the positive, not the negative, and work together to make Mills an even better learning community.


Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I am asking for your help in publicizing to young Americans the Department of State's message on the dangers they may encounter through careless or reckless behavior when traveling abroad during their spring and summer breaks.

The State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs is responsible for the protection and welfare of U.S. citizens overseas. Sadly, we often encounter cases in which young Americans have been targeted by criminals or have engaged in activities that put their welfare, or indeed their very lives, at risk. Although U.S. consular officers can visit American citizens held in foreign jails, they cannot secure their release. I would be grateful for your assistance in reminding your readers of the importance of obeying all foreign laws when traveling abroad.

Additional safety information can be found at the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at

Thank you for your cooperation in this effort to alert American student to these risks and their consequences as the season of spring breaks and summer vacation approaches. My wish is that every traveler will have an enjoyable trip and return home safely.


Maura Harty

Department of State

Assistant Secretary For Consular Affairs

Letter to the Editor


Recently, voters have seen their ability to select, elect, and influence their political leaders decline with the rise of special interest contributions. To change this we must separate free speech and petition rights, which all citizens enjoy, from the democratic right of voters in each community to choose their own representatives without undue outside influence.

To do this, I and a group of like-minded people are preparing an Initiative for the November general election which will prohibit any contributions to political candidates and officeholders from any source other than individuals qualified and registered to vote in the election for that office. This is a non-partisan effort composed of voters from all parties and perspectives who have a common interest in fixing the corruption that has crept into our democracy.

This Initiative will not prevent special interests from informing the electorate, nor will it prevent them from petitioning our elected leaders. It will prevent them from attaching a check to their petition. It will prevent them from giving money to politicians and calling it a free speech act. It will rebalance our speech, petition, and democratic rights, so the democratic rights of citizens are restored, and the taint of bribery is cleaned out of our system.

Voters interested in learning more about our Initiative are invited to e-mail the Committee at or writing us at 2437 Piedmont, #202, Berkeley, CA, 94704.

Alexius R. Wierbinski

Committee to Reform Democracy in California

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of President Janet L. Holmgren's mother, Virginia Ann Holmgren, due to complications from pneumonia on December 21, 2005.

Dr. Holmgren was by her mother's side at the end and was most grateful to be present to offer comfort and support.

Virginia Holmgren was an extraordinary person. She was a woman of courage and great intelligence who dedicated her life to her family by caring for her husband, children, parents and parents-in-law.

Mrs. Holmgren was the dedicated wife of Kenneth Holmgren and a wonderful mother to Dr. Janet Lynn Holmgren and Dr. Beth C. Holmgren. She was the proud grandmother of Elizabeth Jane McKay, Ellen Katherine McKay, and Jessye Lynn Holmgren-Sidell.

In addition to her pivotal role in her family, Mrs. Holmgren pursued a career as a neonatal nurse for over 40 years, caring for newborns and their mothers with skill, strength and compassion.

As a role model and unwavering advocate she encouraged her daughters and granddaughters to strive for gratifying and fulfilling lives by always offering support and guidance.

The entire Mills community offers our support to President Holmgren and her family as they mourn the loss of Mrs. Holmgren. President Holmgren requests no gifts or flowers.


Ramon S. Torrecilha

Executive Vice President

Letter to the Editor

I was deeply shocked to read the descriptions of the last two
Fetish Balls in the Mills College Weekly. I used to teach my
students about the degrading and misogynist character of
pornography and its deleterious effects on women. Now I learn that
Japanese pornography was shown at the most recent Ball.

Weekly reporter Vanessa Marlin described this Ball as “an
exhibition of pierced nipples, fishnet stockings, thigh high
boots…” Also, “partygoers were exposed to a heavy dose of
nudity… Tops were optional, revealing dozens of varieties of
pierced nipples.” A salacious photograph was chosen to illustrate
this article.

Sandra Brown described the attendees at the previous Ball as
wearing seductive corsets, latex, vinyl, fishnet, ductape and saran
wrap (The Weekly, 4/2003). She also referred to
“risqu� advertisements around the campus” that lured
students “with promises of a dark and kinky time!” These
descriptions are both a reflection and a celebration of our
contemporary pornographied [sic] culture.

I have no problem with women dancing nude or partially nude in
all-female settings – such as the annual Women’s Music Festival in
Michigan. However, I consider Mills College a totally inappropriate
location for such events, especially since it appears to have been
open to anyone who wished to attend.

I’m dismayed that President Holmgren has permitted these annual
pornographied [sic] celebrations of kinkiness on the Mills campus.
What kind of leadership is this?

Diana E. H. Russell, Ph.D.

Letter to the Editor

Thanks for your article on the Social Justice in Action Retreat!
I would like to add that SJIA was co-organized by Lael Sigal,
Assistant Director of Residential and Commuting Life; and
facilitated by Alma Garcia, Library Systems Administrator; Ruth
Masayko, Director of Disabled Students’ Services; Marisa Quiroz,
Admissions Officer; and students Kristin Black, LeAnna Perez,
Alexis Wieulunski, and Veronica Williams. Also, Margo Okazawa-Rey,
Director of the Women’s Leadership Institute; and Kristi
Schutjer-Mance, co-Director of the Institute of Civic Leadership
were our guest speakers. Thank you!

Lisa McRipley

Letter to the Editor

Dear Weekly,

While I enjoyed your April Fool issue very much, there was one
article that contained some misconceptions about the Psychology
Department’s offerings for Fall, 2004. First, the department has
offered these same courses at the same times for the past three
years. We schedule our classes to minimize the possibility that
courses will be offered at the same time and we offer those classes
at the same times each year so that students will be able to plan
ahead. The only difference in course offerings next year is that
Dr. Bachen will be on sabbatical in Fall. However, her Health
Psychology course will be offered Spring, 2005 semester, and
students who wish to take Statistics can take it in the Economics
department in the Fall. The only course that will not be offered
during the 2004-2005 academic year that was offered in 2003-2004 is
Clinical Psychology. I hope this clears up any misunderstanding
that readers may have had after reading last week’s issue.


Dean Morier

Interim Head of Psychology