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E-mail riles Mills, reactions strong

Faculty and students had mixed reactions to a volatile letter sent to alumnae urging them to act by changing the direction of the school.

In response to an editorial in the Weekly, a woman claiming to be a Mills alumna wrote an e-mail letter to other alumnae, which stated, that “Mills College has become an institution totally controlled by lesbians,” that lesbians have taken the campus by “assault” and that other students are “terrorized.”

The angry and derogatory tone of the letter immediately raised red flags among recipients, administrators and alumnae association members who worked quickly to respond to concerned community members. It was circulated widely among students and has been a subject of much discussion by Mills’ queer alliance, Mouthing Off. Students, alumnae and administrators were all surprised at the inflammatory content of the letter.

Some students were mildly concerned, while others were very angry.

Junior redwood Mary said, “I wouldn’t give credence to it. It’s a shame someone thought they had to write something so hateful.”

College President Janet Holmgren drafted letters to both students and alumnae in response to the letter, denouncing it as harassment. Holmgren wrote that the college’s goal in response to the incident was to “affirm our educational goals and to instill inclusiveness and consideration for others as ethics to govern relatioships among students and other members of the Mills community.”

In her letter of response, Holmgren assured readers that “hate mongering has no place at Mills.”

Holmgren also noted that the letter’s author, one “Mary O’Connor” is in no way affiliated with the college. There are no campus records of a student, alumna or staff member by that name. The e-mail was sent from an anonymous account that has since been closed.