As a student who was personally compared to a kindergartener who needs to “grow up and get a life” in your letter in the April 2nd issue of The Weekly, I wanted to take the time to defend the rights of myself and other women and to continue to raise awareness on this campus of the problems that affect us without being cruelly mocked or criticized.
Because you brought up the issue that you feel many Mills women are only expressing negativity, I am going to start out by saying something positive: I love Mills, I came here because I wanted to surround myself with women dedicated to their education, work with professors who would be an active part of my learning, and because we do have an amazing campus. Since I have been here, I have found exactly what I was looking for: students who aren’t afraid to speak their minds on behalf of themselves and each other as well as a caring staff who are a vital and lively part of our Mills College community.
To name some specific women I have nothing but respect for – women such as Daisy and Gema who have been a voice for so many students in their leadership roles, the women of Mouthing Off who continue to make this campus a community that supports a variety of identities, Mills Moms/Mamas who are constant advocates for one another despite the fact they are often performing a perpetual balancing act, the woman who spoke out about her sexual attack on campus to ensure that steps are taken to prevent any other Mills students being jeopardized, and the women who organized on behalf of Joanna Iwata’s departure: they put their money where their mouth is in terms of loving Mills by trying to ensure that those who put forth a concentrated effort and make Mills a great place can stay here.
There are countless others, but this is meant to be a short letter, and I could fill pages. I think those that really do care about this campus will continue to speak out when figures such as Michael Lopez compromise the positive experiences we came here for. I hardly think any of the women mentioned above fit the category of “spoiled little brats” as you put it, and in fact I would like to think that on this campus, whether we agree on certain issues or disagree, we can at least respect the rights of other women to express themselves without reducing them or applying belittling labels.
For some at Mills, these issues are not of primary importance, and I value their right to disagree with me without being degraded. However, to suggest students stop voicing these needs to The Weekly is com-pletely out of line – The Weekly and other forums for Mills students are exactly the places for us to go when issues need to be addressed.
I am disappointed that you felt you needed to become insulting in order to communicate your thoughts. I am also disappointed that while you address a need for Mills women to “work together,” you clearly do not support any of the actions that have been taken – and I hope your definition of working together doesn’t include rallying more students to send letters encouraging us to stop “crying over sour grapes,” because to reduce the actions of Mills women to that metaphor completely undermines all that has been accomplished by those who didn’t just accept those “sour grapes.”
I hope that any woman who reads this today, whether she disagrees with me or not, will take the time to think critically about why or why not she feels the way she does. I will print my name, and feel free to express to me how you feel – but please do not come to me with slighting remarks about my character. I am a Mills student and I love Mills, but I am certainly not happy with every facet of this campus community, and no, I am not going to accept the invitation to leave.