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Students pay the price for speaking out

Liberal Arts colleges are historically an oasis for freedom of
expression, encouraging the varied opinions of students and staff

These are the elements that draw many students to Mills; the
freedom to be loud and highly opinionated; after all, that is what
college is all about. But we, the Weekly, have found that this
ideal is not always upheld.

It’s been said again and again that the Mills community values
freedom of expression, where differing opinions are respected, but
too often, this not the case.

Many students feel that they can’t speak out against a litany of
issues, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and political
preferences for fear of being ostracized.

This is a silent problem that can’t be taken lightly.

The college has made steps toward creating spaces for
self-expression, such as the solidarity lounge where certain
ideological beliefs can be discussed openly. However, there still
remains a layer of suppressed viewpoints at Mills.

For instance, when it comes to racist rhetoric, many students
are unable to face the issue head on for fear of being a target or
being classified as overtly militant.

Another example can be found in an opinion piece that ran in our
first issue in which the writer divulged that Mills was not the
free speech-accepting environment that she had believed it would

The story expressed the writer’s hesitation to speak out against
sexism and bigoted behavior. The fear of being ostracized she had
expressed in her writing became a reality.

The issue was resolved without incident, but the Weekly can’t
help but wonder what happened to free speech. It’s one thing to
react against the opinions in the writing, but to take issue with
the writer is another story.

We ask that the administration continue to address these issues
and we ask that students embrace the learning of all levels that
can occur in college from exposure to differing viewpoints.

We also hope that students don’t stop speaking up, regardless of
the issue. The Weekly values varying opinions and standpoints and
seeks to provide an outlet where everyone’s voice can be heard as a
way to facilitate constructive dialogue toward better understanding
of each other.

But we urge you: if you feel silenced, pick up a pen and write,
it’s the best weapon.