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Declaration of zone raises questions

While some faculty support President Holmgren’s decision to declare Mills a hate-free zone in light of the Sept 11 attacks, some students are skeptical.

In the days following the attacks, some faculty members put forth a request to Holmgren that the college consider issuing a statement or declaration of being a hate-free zone said Vice President for Planning, Research, and Multicultural Programs Ramon S. Torrecilha.

“[We are] reminding people our community is one that embraces differences,” said Torrecilha.

To be a hate-free zone, of every member in the community must make said Torrecilha.

“By declaring Mills a hate-free zone the college gives a strong message against hate and violence in our society and in the world,” said Torrecilha.

Ethnic Studies professor Deborah Berman Santana felt the same way.

“[Hate-free zone is] a way to speak out against the violence that has been perpetrated,” said Santana.

After meetings with faculty and staff, Holmgren said on Sept 26, “I am declaring today that Mills is a ‘Hate-Free Zone’… While it is important to keep an open mind and continue to have free and open discourse on campus, we will not tolerate in this community hate speech of any sort of violent language that attacks members of the community or those who are represented in our community.”

The declaration is very much supported by the Mills community, particularly the faculty. Students show support as well however with criticism. “I think it’s a nice statement but it seems people aren’t taking it as an all-encompassing concept,” said senior Shira Riff. Riff supports the statement however, she does not feel that it is a hate-free zone for students who may agree with the government’s response to the Sept 11 attacks.

Sophomore Joui Wilmarth also agreed with the concept of a hate-free zone. She felt that it is difficult to not respond to those who hate with hate. “[It’s] a wonderful concept. But it is hard to keep out hate towards those who hate. The anti-hate activists are having to worry about being hypocrites.”