‘Thoughts from the Students:’ our women-centered college designation

By Luz Corrales and Haley Verre

Contributing writer and staff writer

Here at Simmons College we pride ourselves on being a women-centered college.

Campus_-_Simmons_College_-_DSC09812

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Last Thursday, President Helen Drinan sent out an email declaring that Simmons College would remain officially a women’s college to preserve the traditional and historical significance of our school.

Additionally, President Drinan argued that no other women’s college has taken the initiative to declare itself a women-centered college.

President Drinan’s statement was not only hurtful to Simmons students, but also at direct odds with the mission and vision of Simmons College.

The “Our Mission” section of the Simmons College website includes specific language that makes it clear that the statements made by Drinan and the board are not in line with these values.

In a Boston Globe article published in 2014 that covered Simmons’ decision to admit transgender students, President Drinan said the new policy was meant to communicate that “we strive to be a welcoming place where a range of gender identity and expression can exist […] This policy is consistent with the mission and history of Simmons College as an institution that fosters inclusion and welcomes diversity within our community.”

The mission statement says “Simmons will become a beacon of leadership in the world of higher education.”

If Simmons is truly committed to instilling values of leadership in its students, it would set an example  and quit clinging to its status as the only women-college in Boston.

By declaring ourselves officially as a women-centered college, we would be the first college in the country to do so.

The mission statement and core values stress that students come first, but this is untrue as long as the college is unwilling to comply with the wishes of the students. This includes, but is not limited to, disregarding the frustrations with the PLAN, taking too long to address the Ten Demands made by the POC community, and dismissing students’ safety concerns surrounding their living situations on campus.

We have a new idea for Simmons’ mission statement: “We support our students, but we support their money more.”

There is a clear disconnect between the student body and the administration. The views from the trustees, president, and “leadership team” should not be prioritized over the needs of students, especially if Simmons is supposedly putting students first.  If students demand a change, it should be implemented.

The tone of President Drinan’s email is pitting the students against each other, implying that those who wish to be declared as a women-centered college are the minority voice.

She is coming from a place of privilege as a cis white woman and is acting as if she is the voice of “reason” among a bunch of angry and ignorant students.

In closing, I hope that we can all disagree on the idea that we need to stick to tradition. Sticking to “tradition” is a sugar-coated way of saying “f**k progress because it’s too hard and too uncomfortable.”

When a Simmons leader is saying that their goal is to create an inclusive and welcoming environment, what they really mean is that they want to make students feel warm and fuzzy inside without actually having to put any real effort into it.

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