The final Senate meeting of the fall semester began with cheerful chatter and cookies, and quickly moved into a discussion with dining staff representatives Mike Helm, Chris Kostek and Richard Perna. Helm is a chef from the Cochary Pub & Kitchen, Kostek is a chef from the Classics section of the Dining Commons and Perna is the Director of Dining Services.
Several new courses are being offered at Mount Holyoke in the upcoming spring semester. Many of the new course offerings are interdisciplinary, while others were developed specifically for first-year students. The new classes are being taught both by visiting lecturers and tenured professors. Many professors have adapted their material to fit inside the ever-changing world of academia.
This week’s senate meeting took place in the Blanchard Great Room on Tuesday, Nov. 13. Senate opened with a short debrief about the town hall meeting held on Nov. 6 before moving into action plan presentations from each of eight working groups.
“I know for a fact none of us ran to make history. We ran to make change,” said Ayanna Pressley during her Congressional election acceptance speech. “However, the historical significance of this evening is not lost on me.”
“Democracy is not a spectator sport. It requires everybody to participate,” said Gina McCarthy, the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, at a lecture titled “The Future of the Planet: Climate Change, Health Equity & Environmental Justice” on Nov. 8. “So get engaged — be part of the democracy, be bold, be excited. And for crying out loud, be hopeful, this is a time for great hope and great action,” she said.
Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Shannon D. Gurek sent the Mount Holyoke student body an update on the safety of the crosswalk on College Street on Oct. 31. Representatives of the Mount Holyoke administration “have met with Town and State officials regarding pedestrian and traffic safety on the section of College Street that runs in proximity to the College,” according to the email. The parties involved have agreed on preventative actions that will ensure the safety of both pedestrians and drivers.
Kathryn Blaisdell, Director of Student Financial Services (SFS), joined Robin Randall, interim Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions, for a Town Hall about admissions and financial aid on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
“It’s about time,” said Deyscha Smith ’19 when she heard that a new cafe would be opening its doors in the Williston Library atrium on Thursday, Nov. 8. The space has been vacant since Rao’s Coffee Shop closed on Monday, Sept. 17, and students have felt the absence of a library coffee shop since.
Beck Gee Cohen, a traveling speaker and licensed counselor for LGBTQ+ and addiction issues, spoke to the Mount Holyoke community on Oct. 26 in Gamble Auditorium about the adverse effects of stigma and discrimination that impact LGBTQ+ lives, recovery and wellbeing. Cohen was brought to the College by the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP), a counseling and information program for students.
College is supposed to be a time to learn and grow as a young adult into a fully contributing member of society. However, at Mount Holyoke today it seems to have become an environment where students who are longing for a fantasy pretend the world is black and white.
Residential Life staff transformed the vacant basement of Wilder Hall — widely rumored to be haunted — into an eerie haunted house on the night of Monday, Oct. 29. Wilder’s Fright Night welcomed Mount Holyoke students to tour the haunted space, followed by a “Fright Ball” on the building’s first floor.
After an anti-Semitic shooter took the lives of 11 people in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, members of Mount Holyoke’s Jewish Student Union (JSU) turned to each other for communal support. The group decided to organize and host a candlelight vigil on the night of the attack, Oct. 27.
“Fake news consistently undermines the notion that what you’re reading has some basis in reality,” science writer Carl Zimmer said to the Mount Holyoke community at his talk on “Science Reporting in the Age of Fake News” on Oct. 23.
Senate hosted the second town hall meeting of the year on Tuesday, Oct. 23, attended by Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Jon Western and Associate Dean of Faculty Dorothy Mosby. Following the “Support MHC Survivors” Rally on Skinner Green earlier that day, Western and Mosby responded to several questions about the faculty response to sexual assault allegations against a Mount Holyoke professor.
As midterm elections approach, some Mount Holyoke students are eager to endorse their favorite candidates. This is evident from social media posts, decorations and in conversations, both academic and personal, around campus. Recently, a lawn sign endorsing a specific candidate, which was later removed, was placed outside South Rockefeller Hall.
Last month, approximately 170 students worked together to write a list of demands to the administration in hopes of initiating better conditions for student workers on campus. On Oct. 12, Mount Holyoke College responded to each of the demands. They will be addressing each demand in preliminary reports that will be released to student representatives throughout 2019.
Content warning: this article references sexual assault.
This is a developing story and the Mount Holyoke News recognizes that the following topic is sensitive. Updates will be available in following print editions and on the Mount Holyoke News website as more information becomes available. — The Mount Holyoke News Executive Board
On Tuesday, Oct. 16, the Student Government Association’s Senate met for the second time this semester, spending the majority of the meeting collaboratively choosing a focus for the year. Senators split into small groups to discuss their individual ideas, then shared with the whole group. They then voted on each suggestion and settled on a goal for this year: “integration.”
On Thursday, Oct. 11, a small group assembled in the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (MHCAM) Gallery at 4:30 p.m. for a discussion titled “Faculty in Conversation: Conflict and Commemoration,” featuring Sohail Hashmi, Professor of International Relations on the Alumnae Foundation, and Kavita Khory, Ruth Lawson Professor of Politics. The event was the first in a series of faculty conversations connected to the current exhibition, “Major Themes: Celebrating Ten Years of Teaching with Art.”
Content warning: this article references sexual assault.
On Oct. 13, the Associated Press (AP) published a story featuring a Mount Holyoke alumna’s account of an assault by a professor while she was a student at the College. Ruth D’Eredita ’84 said that she sent a letter to the College in October 2017 detailing the assault.
What follows below are the comprehensive demands of student workers. Approximately 170 students have been involved in the process of writing, editing and supporting these demands. The first draft of these demands was written by a group of student workers sharing our stories, grievances and hopes for the future.
On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the Blanchard Great Room was filled with Mount Holyoke senators and students as the first town hall meeting of the semester kicked off. The meeting featured three panelists: President Sonya Stephens, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Marcella Runell Hall and Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Kijua Sanders-McMurtry. The meeting gave students space to express their concerns and questions they had about their organizations and personal lives on campus.
Hortense Parker was the first recorded African-American student to graduate from Mount Holyoke. On Tuesday, Oct. 2, the SGA Students of Color Committee organized a celebration in honor of the 10th annual Hortense Parker Day. Members of the community gathered in Gamble Auditorium to listen to students, faculty and guest speakers discuss the significance of Hortense Parker’s life and her ongoing legacy, as well as honor the experiences of current students of color.
“It’s a tradition,” said Momo Jin ’19. “I mean, this only has happened 19 times in the history of Mount Holyoke.” On Saturday, Sept. 29, Sonya Stephens was officially inaugurated as the 19th President of Mount Holyoke College.
On Monday, Sept. 17 at 3:30 p.m., Cayley Evans ’20 was making her way along the wooded path off the Upper Lake loop at Mount Holyoke College, concentrating on an observation lab for her biology class. She was passing through a ferny area by a stream when a loud crashing noise caused her to temporarily lose her bearings.
“She believed she could, so she did!” This was the quote painted in gold letters on Mika McKinney ’18’s graduation cap last spring. Despite the many challenges she faced, this phrase became representative of the way Mika lived her life as her resilience and strength inspired those around her.
Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life Rachel Alldis introduced a new meal plan as an option for juniors and seniors in an email to seniors on Sept. 20. As opposed to the original meal plan available for all students, which has unlimited swipes, 30 Dining Dollars and three guest swipes, the new plan would give upperclassmen 19 swipes per week with 200 Dining Dollars with the three standard guest swipes.
Mount Holyoke students, faculty, staff and neighboring community members gathered in Chapin Auditorium on Sept. 25 for a conversation between former secretary of state and Massachusetts senator John Kerry and Dean of Faculty Jon Western. Western facilitated a relaxed discussion with Kerry about his new autobiography, “Every Day is Extra.”