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Administration problems at MHC?

MirandaAugust64MirandaAugust64 19 replies3 threads New Member
edited October 2014 in Mount Holyoke College
I'm considering applying to Mount Holyoke. I was going to, but earlier this school year I took it off my list because of things I'd been hearing. I already have a lot of schools on my list, so I don't need to; but, I will if what I've been hearing about it isn't true.
I've been hearing that the administration many times does not allow students to hold events or parties, and that people are going as far as transferring because the social scene lacks so much and because they feel like their voices aren't being heard.
Is there a lot of red tape? Is the administration not understanding?

Any comments could be helpful.
edited October 2014
9 replies
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Replies to: Administration problems at MHC?

  • staceyneilstaceyneil 1193 replies41 threads Senior Member
    Sounds like you watched that one YouTube video. My daughter goes to MHC and I asked her about that video. She said that has not been her experience in the least bit. You should keep in mind that MHC encourages its students to take a stand and be "activist"... so it seems highly likely to me that these students in the video are finding one small thing to make their "cause". I can't imagine anyone saying that students voices are not heard by administration when the administration encourages them to be vocal. In fact, at the convocation ceremony this year, the president announced that MHC will no longer deny admission to transgender women, a very big deal and a direct response, I believe, to the vocal student movement supporting this. Administration clearly heard and changed policy. They also listened to the student's requests to change the content of the nightly "milk and cookies" study break snacks this year. I am sure there are many more examples of administration listening to students and making changes than otherwise.

    In any case, my D has found the environment to be extremely warm, friendly, welcoming, supportive and social. She made an immediate connection (in the first week of school) with a professor who has become her mentor, giving her keys to research areas normally reserved for upperclassmen, etc. Her friends had a roommate problem and were able to get a meeting with administration about it quickly. As a parent, all of our contact with administration has given us the impression of a school that cares very much about its students and is absolutely there to listen to them and support them. This in stark contrast to the administration events/contact we had at other schools, which seemed much more removed and aloof from the students.

    A little anecdote about the admistration/staff/student culture at MHC: last week my D told me that she was walking across campus and the campus police car was driving through, blaring "eye of the tiger" and yelling "campo says you can do it, midterms people!"
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  • momneeds2nomomneeds2no 779 replies4 threads Member
    That's a very Odd question. I can't comment on gossip you may have heard. I have two daughters currently enrolled in two different college. During both of htier application, desion, enrollment and full-time experience, MHC was the least "red-tape" involved institution we dealt with for administrative issues.
    MHC is not a "party school". Parties do occur. Events, sposerd by school affiliated clubs and organizations, happen with regularity. I don't know of any college/U which sanctions underage age drinking or serves alcohol to minors in college owned facilitates. I'm sure there are some big Us where underage students attend off campus parties and drink without supervision. If you want to party (aka drink and smoke pot), check out UC Santa Barbara's Isla Vista community.
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  • MirandaAugust64MirandaAugust64 19 replies3 threads New Member
    Hi @staceyneil‌, thanks for your reply. I actually came to this conclusion based on a few things, not just the video: the students' opinions in the video, the administrations' responses in the video (which, yes, I do look at in a compartmentalized way), a student newspaper article I read whilst on campus that talked about a different issue (so not the social scene) but one that represented the same lack of communication problem with the administration (it was about housing I think and it said something like "this is our school, we go here, we pay tuition, we should have legitimate input"), and because of the way students acted on campus (either passively enthusiastic or even a senior saying that she's very ready to leave and is kind of sad but mostly excited to leave).

    I heard about their admissions decision to admit transgendered women, which I think is amazing and shows a lot about the school.

    I'm curious: You say it appears that administration cares a lot about students, "in stark contrast to the administration events/contact... at other schools, which seemed much more removed and aloof from the students," and I'm wondering what "other schools" you're talking about. I ask, because usually people who looked at a small liberal arts school in the northeast looked at other small liberal arts schools in the northeast, so maybe you are talking about schools I myself applied to. Just wanna make sure you're not talking about a big party school or something, where I would complete agree — without even researching the school — that the administration sucks.

    I do beg the question though...let's say it is what you assume: that the students are SO activist-y, that they're TOO activist-y. This would be a concern, too. This is a reason why I'm not too fond of Bard or Sarah Lawrence. (I should be careful, because I've just applied to Bard!) It's a little different, but the same idea: they complain a bunch but don't do anything about it. This describes more the former two schools. On the flip side, there is also the "liberal hipster" or "liberal young activist" who complains a bunch and does speak out, but complains about too much and finds problems in insignificant instances and is SO liberal that he or she "forgets the reality of life", as I like to put it haha. Would you say, from your daughter's descriptions, that this could constitute a loud minority of the student population at MHC?
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  • MirandaAugust64MirandaAugust64 19 replies3 threads New Member
    edited October 2014
    Hi @momneeds2no‌, I would like to ask you the same thing: when you say that "MHC was the least 'red-tape' involved institution we dealt with for administrative issues," which schools are you comparing it to specifically? I want to make sure that you're not just talking about big party schools, where I would (sorry to say) blindly agree — without researching the school — that the administration sucks. BUT, if you're talking about other small LACs in the northeast, that'd be very helpful :).
    edited October 2014
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  • staceyneilstaceyneil 1193 replies41 threads Senior Member
    Hi-
    In my experience, any small LAC in the NE is going to have some contingent of vocal complainers. Not to sound condescending, but that is pretty typical of liberal college kids. I myself was quite an activist at that age. My sense about MHC is that -in general- it's a pretty good, balanced scene. Because MHC focuses on empowering students to actually make change in the world (ideally in their careers) I think that encourages students to try out their voices.... and my sense is that they may feel more free to gripe about things that may not really be that important in the larger scheme of things than students at a school where they are not encouraged to reach for change as much. As far as the "type" of activist there, of course there are many different types. My daughter has talked to me about how much she appreciates that MHC students seem, to her, more self-efacing and down-to-earth and able to laugh at themselves than activist types (she calls them Social Justice Warriors) at other schools such as Smith. I do not think she would say, at all, that compaining-too-much students are a loud majority at MHC. I think she would say that students are aware and passionate about issues but that the main focus of the student body is quite clearly on academics.

    The other schools where I felt the administration was more removed were Bard, Skidmore, and Connecticut College.

    Of course, all this is my opinion only!
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  • momneeds2nomomneeds2no 779 replies4 threads Member
    Miranda, you state that you were on campus. You reference an article complaining about the dorms. Did you visit the dorms? Do you think the "complaints"about dorms are valid? Did you discuss your concerns with any current students? Did you make time to meet with any of the administrative/faculty/FA/support personnel?

    All young adults reach a point where they need to trust their own intintics--even if the feelings seem irrational. You say you took MHC off your list. If you don't like a school then you don't like it. No need to invent arbitrary reasons. Trust your judgement and good luck with your college search.
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  • MirandaAugust64MirandaAugust64 19 replies3 threads New Member
    @staceyneil‌, ahh yes, I see what your D means about social justice warriors and Smith versus Mount Holyoke. Makes a lot of sense, thanks!

    (It surprises me that you say ConnCollege, because they supposedly place a lot of emphasis on shared governance.)
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  • MirandaAugust64MirandaAugust64 19 replies3 threads New Member
    @momneeds2no‌, I would go as far as to say that all college choice decisions are arbitrary, because one MUST make generalizations based on personal observations when choosing a school. It is inevitable and it is not possible to EVER get the "whole picture" of a college.
    Look, if it had been one thing, fine. But when you amass all of your observations together, that's when you get a generalization.
    But thank you for your input about the College; I will take it into consideration.
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  • Louis23Louis23 18 replies0 threads New Member
    My daughter is a first year at Mount Holyoke and is having a very good experience. She feels like all of her concerns are taken seriously on campus and that the school works hard to provide a vibrant social life. When she was applying to colleges (mostly all women's) the Mount Holyoke administration was by far the easiest and most pleasant to work with. The college really does focus on students and our family has been very impressed with how thoughtfully and efficiently things are run. Mount Holyoke's current President is an alumnae of the college and very visible and several of the college's top administrators have been there for many years. Your question is a good one because during the application process I think seniors and their families don't examine the business side of a college very much. When we compared Mount Holyoke to the other seven sisters my daughter was accepted at Mount Holyoke came out ahead when it came to communication and student responsiveness. I would definitely recommend a second look.
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