Hustler Adds to Gender Conflict on Campus

By
September 16, 2004

Like many in the Mills community, we at The Weekly are
both incensed and disheartened by the article written by a Mills
alum, detailing his account of the 2002 Mills College Fetish Ball,
which appeared in Hustler over the summer.

Nevertheless, Sam Ospovat, the writer of the piece, had every
legal right to publish his story and in fact the very law that
protects him to do so is the same one that protects our right to
criticize our government and rally and protest against war. It even
allows us to have a college paper and write an editorial such as
this one. Voicing our discontent with Ospovat’s decision, judgment
or viewpoint is one thing, but an attempt – directly or indirectly
– at silencing him, or anyone else, comes at the risk of losing
such invaluable rights for us all.

However, letters to the editor exchanged in The Weekly
last year and more recently, as well as postings on student-news,
have highlighted the tension and gender dynamics that exist on the
Mills campus. It is this climate and this culture that is
contributing to continued antagonism on both sides, but the problem
isn’t just at the surface. The problem, by and large, is that Mills
fails to deliver on some of its promises. Ask undergraduates what
their expectation was of Mills before they came here in terms of a
single-sex versus a co-ed experience. Overwhelmingly, the majority
of women we spoke to said that they never knew that men could be in
their classrooms or live in their residence halls, and they
expected the grad and undergrad programs to be mutually exclusive.
Likewise, graduate students said that based on the admissions
packages they received from Mills, they saw it as a co-ed
environment.

So, herein lies at least part of the problem. Mills cannot, for
the sake of enrollment and bottom line dollars, claim to be a co-ed
environment to those that may find it desirable and then claim to
be a single-sex environment for others. Being honest and upfront
with prospective students is key for a healthy climate on campus,
as well as student retention. Mills must take a hard look at these
very real issues and address them in the interest of honesty and
retention. In the meantime, lets try to live as peacefully as we
can. There’s already a war going somewhere else in the world.


Hustler Adds to Gender Conflict on Campus was published on September 16, 2004 in Editorial

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