The Vassar Cooperative Day Care Center, a co-op started by Vassar families, celebrated its tenth anniversary with a party and concert in the Villard Room. Carol Gainey, director of the co-op, described the day care as “a family affair:” some parents spent their lunch hours at the co-op, and there were bi-annual events where parents would help fix up the center, followed by a picnic. The Miscellany News
A group of students created CARES, a confidential peer listening service, founded to provide support for victims of sexual assault. “I now would feel comfortable telling someone to come to Vassar, something I wasn’t sure about before,” commented Heather Fox ’90, one of the group’s founding members. “We saw a need for this service now, not next year.” CARES was staffed by 20 volunteers available twenty-four hours a day by pager or in person at the group’s office in the basement of Strong house.Although other hotlines and peer listening services such as Help Line and The Listening Center already existed, CARES was formed to address the need for a peer organization dealing specifically with issues of personal violation. “Other organizations don’t have the extensive training,” explained Fox. The Miscellany News
George Tuckel, local environmentalist and bioregionalist. lectured on "Living in a Culture of Waste" in the Josselyn House living room. Tuckel spoke at the beginning of “Waste Not Week,” organized by the Vassar Environmental Group (VEG). “Utilizing waster is a useful way to cope with the environment. We live in a society of surplus and waste,” explained Ben Horsbrugh ’89, one of the week’s key organizers.
Throughout “Waste Not Week,” students attended other lectures, dorm workshops, an environmental fair with representatives from local and international organizations, student musical performances and a hike on the Vassar Farm. The Miscellany News
As part on the year-long recognition of the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Africana Studies program, African-American poet and civil rights activist Sonia Sanchez spoke in the Chapel. A visiting lecturer at several universities, Sanchez taught courses in Black Women and literature.
South African activist Teboho "Tsietsi" Macdonald Mashinini, a teen-age leader in the 1976 Soweto uprising living in exile, spoke to an audience in the Villard Room. “We call for the unconditional release of all political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela. Only when they are free will we rest,” Mashinini told the audience. “I am sure in the coming years our people will rise up and rightfully take what is theirs.” The Miscellany NewsMashinini died under mysterious circumstances in Guinea in 1990.
Naomi Tutu, daughter of the anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu, lectured in the Chapel on political and economic problems facing black South Africans. Discussing the effect of decades of apartheid, Tutu said education had been used “as a tool of oppression,” and that “apartheid tended to emphasize black subservience and turned African adults into a docile community….” Beginning in the 1970s, she said, the black consciousness movement among young Africans foreshadowed the “inevitability of black majority rule” in her country. The Miscellany News
The president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and second-wave feminist, Molly Yard, spoke in Rockefeller Hall about the abortion crisis in the United States. “The reason people get abortions now,” she told her audience, “is because, for the most part, birth control fails or they are pregnant as a result of rape…. What we are being told by fundamentalists and by President [George H. W.] Bush is that if your birth control fails, you are forced to compulsory pregnancy. And what we say in the National Organization for Women is that, to hell with that, we’re not going to take it. We absolutely refuse to have compulsory pregnancy in this country.” The Miscellany News
Noting a distinct lack of male organizations at Vassar, two students formed the Vassar Gentleman’s Club. One female student claimed that the organization’s presence signified male resentment for a student government composed mostly of women and the absence at Vassar of a football team, cheerleaders and fraternities, but one founder claimed, “we seek only a reputation of a tasteful nature.” Unlike other exclusive fraternity-styled organizations on campus such as The Bacchanal Society and The Order of the Royal Moose, membership in the Gentleman's Club was open to all. The Miscellany News
Alternative rock band They Might Be Giants performed, filling the Villard Room with off-beat pop, complete with an accordian. “I wish people weren’t so suspicious right off the bat when they hear that some kind of rock music has a lighter side to it, a lighter touch,” singer John Flansburgh told The Miscellany News, “We just want to present our view of the world in an imaginative kind of music.”
Vladislav I. Guerassev, the economic affairs officer of the Soviet delegation to the United Nations, gave the annual Matthew Vassar Lecture, speaking in the Villard Room on “Implications of Perestroika for U.S./Soviet Relations.” Declaring that “the Soviet Union could see no advantage in pursuing nuclear superiority,” Guerassev said it was time to “identify areas of possible superpower cooperation,” so that the two great nations could forge a “global partnership.” The Miscellany News
An alumna from the Class of ’87 posed nude for the March issue of Playboy magazine. Indignant that The Vassar Quarterly didn't publish her story with the notes about other graduates’ activities, she spoke instead to The Poughkeepsie Journal. “Vassar is reluctant to acknowledge women [graduates],” she said, “who do something besides go out in starched shirts and pressed suits and make a name for themselves in the corporate world.”
She "missed the deadline for publication for our spring issue," the Quarterly's editor, Georgette Weir, explained to The Miscellany News, "but will find her name in the class notes of the upcoming summer issue."
The trustees voted to increase fees for the next academic year by 9.16%, raising the total the comprehensive from $16,770 to $18,300. They also voted to increase the yearly student activity fee from $100 to $150, as proposed by the Vassar Students Association (VSA).
The College Center academic computing cluster opened in room 235. The space provided several Macintosh computers for general student use, marking the first step in a long-term plan to increase computer access on campus. The college hoped that someday each residence hall would have a similar computer cluster.
Comedienne and actress Sandra Bernhard performed in the Chapel. She spoke with The Miscellany News about her fame and sensibilities. On her reputation for pushing the boundaries of what was appropriate for mainstream television, Bernhard said, “I just address reality… say things everybody says, with their freinds, or at parties, or for fun. I don’t think there’s anything dirty… What’s dirty?”Bernhard later played Nancy Bartlett, one of the first openly lesbian recurring characters on American television, on the television situation comedy program Roseanne.
I. M. Appalled, the movie critic in the annual April 1 edition of The Miscellany News, discussed the recently announced sequel to Gone With The Wind (1939). The role of Scarlett O’Hara went to “master letter-turner Vanna White” of the television show “Wheel of Fortune,” and the role of Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind II: The Tawdry, Titillating Tara Years was to be played by the former member of the Monty Python troupe, John Cleese.
“‘I think what was tragically overlooked in the first film is that Gone With The Wind is essentially a comedy,’ said Cleese…. ‘Anyway, I have some great ideas. For instance, in our version of the famous scene in which Rhett carries Scarlett up the staircase to the bedroom, I’m going to drop her.’
“‘Wow,’ said Vanna.”
Cast as “Mammy,” the role made famous by Hattie McDaniel, Meryl Streep ’71 was unavailable for comment. “Her spokesman stated only, ‘Ms. Streep is working on the accent. She’s on an intense, high-calorie, no exercise regimen. She’s consulting with hair and make-up specialists. When you see her she will be Mammy.’”
Poet and novelist Jean Stewart gave an informal talk in the Gold Parlor about her work. Disabled as a young woman by a hip malady, Stewart was a fervent advocate for the rights of the disabled. “We’re the largest minority in the country… It’s simply a matter of priorities, and we’re talking about civil piberties.” Stewart explained. The Miscellany NewsHer novel, The Body’s Memory, was published in 1989 by St. Martin’s Press.
In one of a series of events marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Irish poet William Butler Yeats, Senator Michael B. Yeats spoke about his father. Senator Yeats’s wife, Irish harper Gráinne Yeats, gave a concert of traditional Irish music and, introduced by Eamon Grennan from the English department, Irish poet John Montague read his poetry and selections from Yeats.
Three Yeats scholars discussed “Recovering Yeats/Discovering Yeats: The Revision of the Yeats Canon.” Professor George Mills Harper from Florida State University spoke about his work with the manuscript materials for Yeats’s A Vision (1925, 1937) and his partnership with Professor Richard Finneran in the first Collected Works of William Butler Yeats since the poet’s death. Professor Ronald Schuchard from Emory University spoke about his collaboration with Professor John Kelly at Oxford University on The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats and Professor Colton Johnson spoke about his edition of Volume Ten of The Collected Works, especially his recovery of Yeats’s radio broadcasts, playing an excerpt from one of them.
W. B. Yeats spoke and read his poetry at Vassar in December 1903 and again in May 1920. Senator and Mrs. Yeats visited Vassar in March 1970, and she presented an evening of Irish music in February 1974.
Gibson said he hoped that the graduates had developed “critical, analytical” minds, able to recognize and resolve the racial tensions in current society. “If students don’t recognize the repugnance of such acts,” he said, “what will they do later in life, when the issues get tougher and the pressures greater?” Gibson encouraged the new graduates to “stand for something.” Press & Information Office, News, The New York Times
The AppleTalk network would not reach the THs or TAs because of their distance from the central campus.
The demand specifically questioned Vassar’s involvement with the Overlap Group, 23 colleges and universities, including Seven Sisters and Ivy League schools, formed in 1956. The group met yearly to discuss standardized formulas used to calculate and offer comparable financial aid packages at equally competitive schools, so that accepted students could chose their schools regardless of the offers of financial assistance.
Vassar sent copies of Overlap meeting minutes and information about associations with which it shared financial aid data to the Department of Justice, and since the investigation was expected to last over a year, Director of Vassar Financial Aid Michael Fraher suggested the group not meet in the coming year. The investigation took two years, the Overlap Group disbanded and the practice of offering equal financial aid packages among its members went away with it. The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Miscellany News
On the first day of her two-day visit, Gordimer met with classes and spoke informally to students in the Josselyn Living Room. When asked why she wrote, she replied, “It’s the one thing I can really do. The compulsion to write is an attempt to make some sense of life. That’s what art really is.” Asked about how she found her subjects, she replied that, in South Africa, her subjects chose her. “The whole fabric of in South Africa is so intense, if you are a writer, the subjects come beating on your door.” The Miscellany News
Active in the African National Congress from its earliest, illegal days and the author of three books banned by the apartheid government, Gordimer was a close friend of Nelson Mandela. She won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991 and in later decades was active in HIV/AIDS causes.
Helen Forster Novy was a painter and a philanthropist in the areas of education, community health and the arts.
The group published a map of its route, and although about 50 students were trained and willing to engage in acts of civil disobedience, this tactic was not used. The march was both supported and contested by Poughkeepsie residents, one town student remarking that Vassar wrongly judges Poughkeepsie as a city fostering hate. As a result of the march, students created a multi-college activist group The Alliance to Stop Hate, drawing on students from Vassar, Dutchess Community College, the State University of New York at New Paltz, West Point and Marist College.
In September 1985, McCarthy talked about Vassar with broadcast journalist Faith Daniels:
“I’m very fond of Vassar, even when I’ve been on the outs with Vassar. I’m very fond of the place, and let’s say I’m fond of, and amused by, the idea of the Vassar girl of all ages, because all are recognizable to me. Their desire to be superior—superior to others, superior to their community. There is a certain daringness, sometimes simply a wish to be daring and sometimes the reality, because they’re not all that way. And, on the positive side, I think they are very well educated on the whole. I mean, you can’t educate everybody.” Quoted in Frances Kiernan, Seeing Mary Plain: a Life of Mary McCarthy
Mary McCarthy’s papers are in the Vassar Special Collections Library
Later called “Exploring Transfer,” the program received endowed funding, insuring its continuance. Founded in 1950, the Charles A. Dana Foundation was a private philanthropic foundation with grant programs in health and higher education.