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  • 04 Aug 2010 8:58 AM | Anonymous
    Best Athletic Services 
    No. 20, Boston University

    Best Campus Food
    No. 14, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

    Best Career Services
    No. 1, Northeastern University
    No. 6, Bentley University
    No. 13, Smith College
    No. 19, Stonehill College 
    No. 20, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    Best Classroom Experience
    No. 1, Mount Holyoke College
    No. 5, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
    No. 6, Wellesley College
    No. 7, Williams College

    Best College Library
    No. 1, Harvard College
    No. 14, Bentley University

    Best College Newspaper
    No. 7, Harvard College

    Best College Radio Station
    No. 3, Emerson College

    Best College Theater
    No. 2, Emerson College
    No. 20, Bard College at Simon's Rock

    Best Quality of Life
    No. 7, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
    No. 9, Smith College

    Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians (Highly liberal, drug-using, LGTB-accepting; low levels of religion and student government participation) 
    No. 2, Hampshire College
    No. 9, Bard College at Simon's Rock
    No. 11, Emerson College

    Class Discussions Encouraged
    No. 2, Hampshire College
    No. 7, Bard College at Simon's Rock

    College Town Not So Great
    No. 5, Wheaton College
    No. 18, College of the Holy Cross
    No. 20, Clark University

    Dodgeball Targets (Greek system and sports are unpopular) 
    No. 4, Hampshire College
    No. 10, Bard College at Simon's Rock
    No. 11, Emerson College

    Dorms Like Palaces
    No. 2, Smith College
    No. 4, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
    No. 18, Bentley University
    No. 20, Harvard College

    Easiest Campus to Get Around
    No. 7, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

    Election? What Election? (Least politically active) 
    No. 4, Stonehill College
    No. 9, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

    Everyone Plays Intramural Sports
    No. 9, Stonehill College

    Financial Aid Not So Great
    No. 11, Emerson College
    No. 19, Babson College

    Got Milk? (Beer is not widely used) 
    No. 15, Wellesley College

    Great College Towns
    No. 8, Emerson College
    No. 13, Northeastern University
    No. 17, Boston University

    Great Financial Aid
    No. 1, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
    No. 4, Harvard College
    No. 18, Williams College

    Happiest Students
    No. 3, Tufts University
    No. 4, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

    Intercollegiate Sports Unpopular or Nonexistent
    No. 10, Hampshire College
    No. 12, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
    No. 18, Bard College at Simon's Rock

    Least Accessible Professors
    No. 12, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

    Least Beautiful Campus
    No. 7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Least Religious Students
    No. 7, Bard College at Simon's Rock
    No. 9, Emerson College
    No. 10, Hampshire College

    No. 1, Emerson College
    No. 4, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
    No. 6, Bard College at Simon's Rock
    No. 7, Wellesley College
    No. 14, Hampshire College
    No. 16, Mount Holyoke College
    No. 19, Smith College

    No. 10, Boston College

    Little Race/Class Interaction
    No. 9, Boston College
    No. 18, College of the Holy Cross

    Long Lines and Red Tape (Administration overly bureaucratic) 
    No. 9, Hampshire College

    Lots of Race/Class Interaction
    No. 3, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

    Most Accessible Professors
    No. 5, Williams College
    No. 10, Stonehill College
    No. 13, Wellesley College

    Most Beautiful Campus
    No. 5, College of the Holy Cross
    No. 7, Mount Holyoke College
    No. 11, Wellesley College

    Most Liberal Students
    No. 1, Hampshire College
    No. 15, Mount Holyoke College
    No. 16, Emerson College
    No. 19, Clark University

    Most Politically Active Students
    No. 3, Mount Holyoke College
    No. 7, Bard College at Simon's Rock
    No. 11, Harvard College
    No. 12, Hampshire College
    No. 16, Smith College

    Most Popular Study Abroad Program
    No. 3, Tufts University
    No. 13, Stonehill College

    Most Religious Students
    No. 18, Brandeis University

    Nobody Plays Intramural Sports
    No. 3, Emerson College
    No. 12, Hampshire College
    No. 13, Bard College at Simon's Rock

    Professors Get High Marks
    No. 2, Wellesley College
    No. 6, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

    Reefer Madness (Marijuana widely used) 
    No. 8, Hampshire College
    No. 20, Emerson College

    Scotch and Soda, Hold the Scotch (Hard liquor is not widely used) 
    No. 15, Wellesley College
    No. 18, Simmons College

    School Runs Like Butter
    No. 9, Mount Holyoke College
    No. 10, Amherst College

    Stone-Cold Sober Schools
    No. 12, Wellesley College
    No. 18, Mount Holyoke College
    No. 19, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

    Students Pack the Stadiums
    No. 10, Boston College

    Students Study the Most
    No. 1, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    No. 5, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
    No. 11, College of the Holy Cross
    No. 14, Williams College
    No. 15, Mount Holyoke College
    No. 16, Harvard College

    Town-Gown Relations are Great
    No. 3, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
    No. 10, Stonehill College

    Town-Gown Relations are Strained 
    No. 9, College of the Holy Cross
  • 29 Apr 2010 7:31 AM | Anonymous

    Photo: Gay Pride
    Mount Holyoke students walks with the western Massachusetts chapter of COLAGE, a national organization of children, youth and adults with one or more LGBTQ parents at the pride march last year.

    NORTHAMPTON - The role of the annual gay pride parade in Northampton has changed over the years, becoming as much a celebration as it is a political action.

    This year's event - the 29th Northampton march and rally - set for Saturday, boasts 60 contingents featuring dogs, bands and ponies, as well as a synchronized routine with shopping carts. The march steps off at noon from Lampron Park, heading downtown, turning down Crafts Avenue at City Hall to end in the parking lot behind Thornes Marketplace for a rally featuring music, speakers, and dancing.

    About 10,000 people annually attend the parade and related events, organizers said.

    Revived this year is an event Friday night leading into Saturday's pride festivities, a "Dyke March" beginning with a rally at 6 p.m. at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence at 221 Main St., and then proceeding to "The Dyke Dance: For Dykes and the People that Love Them" at Union Station from 7:30 p.m. to midnight. Performers will include musicians June Millington, Jesse Molina and The Ellingtones.

    "I think the role of the parade in Massachusetts has changed," said Bear White, director of Noho Pride, the organization behind the march this year.

    "The parade has turned into more of a parade than a march here because we are so lucky, we are able to be more of who we are in the Valley," White said.

    But behind the balloons, posters, and floats there is still political motivation for the demonstration, said White.

    "We do continue to fight for our rights, for the rights of the LGBT community," White said. "Acceptance is very high here, but I can't say it's 100 percent."

    Although there have been some recent victories for gay rights, including a federal mandate to extend visitation and medical decision-making rights to same-sex couples and the legalization of same-sex marriage in five states including Massachusetts, Iowa and Vermont, inequality for gay people persists.

    Not all states allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt children, for example, and the federal government does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual ,transgender, and queer) rights organization.

    The first gay pride parades were held in 1970 to commemorate the Stonewall Riot in New York City, which went on to spark the gay rights movement. Pride parades are now held annually in many major metropolitan centers.

    Northampton's parade, however, is likely the only one that will feature shopping cart choreography.

    About a dozen members of the River Valley Market, a 2-year-old North King Street food co-op, have been practicing their shopping cart handling skills in the store's parking lot every Saturday morning since March. Their synchronized moves will fit with marching band tunes, said Rochelle Prunty, the market's general manager.

    "Do you know what a precision drill team concept is?" Prunty asked when queried about what exactly shopping cart choreography is. "Think of that, but not professionally and with shopping carts."

    Prunty said River Valley Market members decided to dress up their carts and join the parade because of their commitment to diversity in food as well as the community.

    "It's a major community event and we're a community organization," Prunty said. "It seemed like the right thing to be a part of. We're definitely committed to diversity at all levels."

    In addition to the parade, events celebrating gay pride Saturday include a drag performance by Georgia Star Michaels as well as musical appearances by Kristen Gass, LezleeAnne, Kelly King, Jason Antone and Stewart Lewis. A spoken word performance by Ayisha Knight-Shaw, who is deaf, is scheduled for 3:55 p.m. and the evening will be capped with a dance and "Queerioke" contest. The day's emcees are Latin Heat, Lorelei Erisis and Tammy Two-Tone. Speakers will include Tinker Donnelly, who will give a spiritual address on the "rights" spring, and Northampton Mayor Clare Higgins.

    Later that night Noho Pride is partnering with the Iron Horse Music Hall for Pride After Dark, a concert with Melissa Ferrick.

    "This has gotten pretty big," said White. "I encourage everyone to come and be a part of it."

    For more information or to volunteer in the parade visit

    "Dyke March"

    It's been a while since Northampton has had a Dyke March, said event organizer Suzanne Seymour, executive director of the LGBT Coalition of Western Massachusetts, a nonprofit based in Northampton. The city hasn't hosted such a march since the early 1990s, she said.

    Dyke Marches are typically held on the eve of gay pride parades in major metropolitan areas, she noted. Cities including Boston, San Francisco and New York City have marches planned this year for June.

    The marches are intended to promote lesbian issues, said Seymour, and celebrate the accomplishments of lesbians past and present. The Dyke March and the Noho Pride Parade are separate events organized by separate organizations.

    Seymour said a major theme of the march is to "take back the word." Dyke is a derogatory term for a lesbian, but Seymour said the word is also used comfortably in the gay community.

    "We need to recognize that words have power to hurt or to heal us and for many years the word dyke has been used as a way to injure the spirit and it is time to reclaim the name," she said.

    "Some people may not want to be called a dyke," said Seymour, "but I think it's important to start the dialogue on this."

    Seymour said marches have been controversial in the past, not just for their name, but for who is allowed to march. The marches typically limit participants to gay women, with supporters cheering from the sidewalks. The Northampton march, however, welcomes anyone who identifies as a dyke to march. This includes transsexual men and women, Seymour said.

    Seymour said she anticipates about 500 people will attend Friday night's march.

    "People see gay rights as normal, at least in the Happy Valley they do, but it's still something people struggle with all over the country and within our own state," Seymour said. "We feel the need to educate people about the struggle that has come before us."

    For more information about the march visit

  • 23 Mar 2010 10:35 AM | Anonymous

    Source: SF Gate, 03/23/10

    February 14, 2010|By Erin Allday, Chronicle Staff Writer

    When Dr. Patricia Robertson held the first lesbian health clinic at San Francisco General Hospital in 1978, she decided to cover the "family planning" signs in the lobby - she didn't want to deter patients who thought gynecologists were only for dispensing birth control and helping women get pregnant.

    Health resources have improved for lesbians in the three decades since. But noticeable gaps in health care remain. Lesbians are more likely than straight women to suffer depression and drug and alcohol abuse. They may be less likely to get regular health screenings like pap smears and breast exams.

    With those disparities in mind, Robertson and Suzanne Dibble, a registered nurse with the Institute for Health and Aging in the UCSF School of Nursing, have put together the first textbook on lesbian health care. "Lesbian Health 101" was released this month.

    "We wanted to put together evidence-based research that would support clinical guidelines, so when we talk about why lesbians are different from heterosexual women we can back that up," said Robertson, who is a professor in the UCSF department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences. "Doctors are going to be able to legitimize their advice after they read this book."

    Chapters in the nearly 600-page book focus on a wide variety of health issues, from heart disease and breast cancer to partner violence and how to decide which woman in a relationship should get pregnant.

    Some sections focus on the risk factors that affect lesbians more than straight women - higher smoking rates, for example, or what effect not having children might have on breast cancer risks - while others address how doctors can best meet the particular needs of lesbian patients.

    Many of the health issues that affect lesbians can be tied to stress related to their sexual orientation, Dibble said. Discrimination, the stress of coming out to family and friends, or feeling ostracized and alone can all lead to health problems.

    "People sometimes think that the only difference between lesbians and straight women is how we have sex. But the difference is more in our families, our friends, and the stigma associated with being a lesbian that affects health," Dibble said. "If you could get rid of the stigma I don't think you'd need the book."

    Much of writing by lesbians

    The textbook is written in medical language and designed for doctors, nurses and other health care providers, although Robertson and Dibble say they're encouraging lesbians to use it as a resource for understanding their own health issues. Most of the chapters were written by health care providers who are also lesbian.

    Much of the book centers around how health care providers can make their practices more sensitive and responsive to lesbian patient needs. For example, the first chapter discusses the various reasons why lesbians may put off doctor visits - everything from fearing discrimination to simply believing they don't need to see a gynecologist as often as straight women.

    "If you go into an ob-gyn office and you are inundated with baby pictures, how do you feel if you're a lesbian with no kids?" Dibble said. "We want health care providers to signal that it's a good thing for lesbians to come in - that it's fine, that it's A-OK. You want things in your office that are culturally appropriate, even if it's just a sign that we don't discriminate."

    Doctors also need to be prepared to offer health resources specific to lesbian needs, Dibble said. That might mean tracking down support groups with a lesbian focus for depression or substance abuse, or identifying a local women's shelter for lesbians who have been the victim of domestic violence.

    Vital reference for doctors

    Dr. Erica Breneman, an obstetrician-gynecologist with Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, said she's pleased to see such a textbook available to doctors now, even if it's troubling that the book is even necessary.

    "In a perfect world, we wouldn't need this," Breneman said. "A woman who happens to be gay shouldn't need much that's terribly different than a woman who is straight. But the reality is, because of the particular demographics of lesbian women, they do have other health issues."

  • 04 Mar 2010 9:37 AM | Anonymous

    Source: Mount Holyoke News, 03/04/10

    Beginning last semester, Mount Holyoke's cultural houses, formerly open only between the hours of seven and 11 p.m, became available to all students at any hour of the day through One-Card access. The change, proposed by Coordinator of Multicultural Affairs Tanya Williams, was intended to create not only less of a time constraint on the use of the cultural houses, but also to expose the larger Mount Holyoke student body to the cultural life on campus.

    Mount Holyoke has five cultural houses: the ACE House, or Asian Center for Empowerment, the Betty Shabazz House, a cultural space for students of African descent, the Eliana Ortega Cultural Center, cultural space for the Latina community, the Jeannette Marks House for the lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community, as well as the Zowie Banteah Cultural Center to serve the needs of the Native American community. Previously, if a student wanted to access one of these cultural houses, they would need to come between the hours of 7 and 11 p.m. to be let in by a house sitter.

    "I just felt odd about that time constraint, and the cultural houses sitting there for most of the time collecting dust unnerved me. There are no longer house sitters but instead we now have cultural house programming teams. There is a program coordinator as well as two program assistants for each house. Their job is to produce programming within the house such as movie nights, cooking and more educational things open to all of campus. They also have the responsibility of coordinating Cultural Heritage Month," said Williams.

    While this change has created an opportunity for all Mount Holyoke students to be further educated on the vibrant cultural life on campus, the cultural houses were originally created to be a safe space for underrepresented groups, and some fear this will jeopardize the well-being of those students.

    "It's going to be harder for certain people who use the cultural houses to feel like they have a safe place on campus. The cultural houses were created to provide a safe place for students who may find it hard to be in a place like Mount Holyoke where the dominant culture is imposed. By opening them up to everyone it may make some students feel uncomfortable,” said Maria Diaz '10.

    Williams remains optimistic about the transition but also made clear that this is a pilot and will only continue as long as the cultural houses remain to function as they were originally intended.

    "It's a change I am excited about but I have my reservations. The houses were created for some comfort to exist. With this change the houses have not been taken away, but there is a concern people will not treat the houses with respect. We haven’t seen anything like this yet, but we have to educate the whole campus how to treat them with respect," said Williams.

    Many students who have never been inside any of the cultural houses are thrilled with the change and foresee an ultimately positive outcome.

    "I do agree that it could make members of the cultural groups feel uncomfortable, but it will also help everyone learn more about those cultures. I think it will be beneficial to all Mount Holyoke students," said Melissa Roark '12.

    Annie Arbuthnot '12 agreed, "I think cultural houses are meant to be used, and I think the more people that will be using them with the extended hours is better."

    Though Williams said that not everyone has been in agreement with her on this decision, it is important to her that Mount Holyoke as a community learn why these houses exist and agree on how to treat them.

    "Until Mount Holyoke as a larger community really feels completely safe the houses can be tricky because I don't want to take safe space away from students. But in the past the houses were not used to their fullest," said Williams. "It is a risk I'm willing to take."

    Williams also noted that cultural houses on many other college campuses such as Swarthmore College typically have a full staff affiliated with each house as well as programming and a library. "We have a building but I'm trying to develop a staff made up of work-study positions for each house."

    "Mount Holyoke is not perfect. My job wouldn’t exist if it was. We're not there yet but this is one of the things we're working toward. You can create the Mount Holyoke you dream of."

  • 25 Feb 2010 9:38 AM | Anonymous

    Source: Reuters, 02/25/10


    (REUTERS) -

    By Christine Kearney

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - The voice of Emily Dickinson has been reimagined in a new novel exploring the lustful thoughts of one of America's greatest poets, who still stirs debate more than 120 years after her death.

    "The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson" hit U.S. bookstores this week and offers a new take on the life of the 19th century poet beginning with her real-life stay at Mount Holyoke female seminary in her hometown Amherst, Massachusetts.

    Neither completely fiction nor biography, it is written in the first person with the male author assuming Dickinson's voice. It follows two recent biographies but is the first novel to present Dickinson in the first person.

    Other recent books re-imagining dead writers have reinterpreted and sexualized such authors as Emily Bronte and Jane Austen.

    "She is very much in the current psyche," the book's author, Jerome Charyn, said in an interview this week. "We have come to discover how modern she is and suddenly in the 21st century she seems to us as if she were alive right now."

    From the novel's outset the author turns to the much-debated secret love life of the independent-minded poet, who was interpreted in 1970s literary criticism as someone who rebelled in her writing against notions of 19th century femininity which confined women to households and marriage.

    While bringing in several real life characters such her sister-in-law and her father, the author debunks notions Dickinson was a lesbian or sexually frustrated. Instead the book has her fantasizing over several fictional men, including a blond handyman called Tom.

    "My own feeling as a 21st century reader is that she was not gay, she was not a lesbian," said Charyn. "It is very evident in her letters."

    Reviews say the novel explores new dimensions of Dickinson, but that it was hard to assume her voice.

    The novel follows two recent biographies including "Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and her Family's Feuds" by Lyndall Gordon and Brenda Wineapple's "White Heat."

    In 2008, author Joyce Carol Oates released "Wild Nights!" -- a title borrowed from Dickinson's poem of longing -- that imagined the last documented days of Dickinson and four other writers including Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Henry James and Ernest Hemingway.

    (Editing by Mark Egan and Cynthia Osterman)

    © Copyright 2010, Reuters

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