Repeated abuse of privileges and failure to follow guidelines by a succession of senior classes has resulted in severe restrictions on Senior Paint Night, an annual Mills tradition.
Student Activities Director Courtney Young-Law said that graduating seniors have been overstepping the boundaries of the event for quite some time, but that the class of 2007 went too far.
Young-Law described some of the paintings as “damaging, not appropriate and not representative of Mills College.”
She explained that the college has typically provided the paint for the event, but some class of 2007 seniors brought their own paint.
After last year’s Paint Night, four years worth of paint had to be removed from campus surfaces: a clean-up project that cost the college $23,000, according to Young-Law.
She said that the current rules are not significantly stricter than the originally established guidelines. All seniors who plan to paint in the event are required to review the rules before participating. They must also sign a contract stating that they will follow rules.
The old Paint Night guidelines stated that seniors were allowed to paint the tea shop steps, The Campanil [formerly The Weekly] distribution boxes, bollards (small poles on campus) and a chair in the Student Activities office.
The only item students are no longer allowed to paint are the bollards.
Students were prohibited from painting buildings, artwork, the ground, vehicles, street signs, nature and stairs.
According to senior Rebecca Stone, ASMC finance coordinator, students were only allowed to paint where other classes had already painted. Now, students must stick to the designated areas, regardless of whether art is there.
Seniors cannot use crepe paper (because of its permanent dye) and they must avoid doing anything that would require the grounds crew to devote extra time to cleaning and repairs afterward. Any damage costs are billed to the senior class.
“Senior Paint Night is … something I’ve looked forward to since I was a prospective student,” Stone said. “It was a great bonding experience for the senior class, as well as a last crazy Mills memory with your friends.”
Stone and sophomore Sherlice Nichols co-created a group on Facebook, the online social networking site utilized by many Mills students, to brainstorm alternative ways for future seniors to leave their mark. The group has 60 members to date, but has yet to receive many entries.
“I’d like to see more members and more discussion [with] less complaining,” said Stone. “Let’s get creative and find an alternative the college and the students are happier with. Hopefully, the outcome will be an amazing new tradition to replace the old.”
Another ASMC member, who requested not to be named, said the senior class government came up with an idea. The college should provide large canvases for seniors to paint on during the night.
“I do think that restricting [Senior Paint Night] is good, but at the same time I think there should be other methods of restricting it rather than not having it at night at all,” the ASMC member said.
She added that student complaints should not come as a surprise to College Officials during the brainstorming process.
As ideas continue to circulate, ASMC hopes to come up with an effective alternative that will still allow seniors to have fun and leave a piece of themselves on campus after they graduate.
I hope that we find a way that seniors can still leave their mark on campus in a way that is positive for seniors and … for the college,” Young-Law said.