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 News

Mashinini 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 News

Her novel, The Body’s Memory, was published in 1989 by St. Martin’s Press.
Encouraged by four students who attended a national conference on ending campus violence, Vassar held a "Rally Against Violence.”  With support from administrative offices and student organizations, the rally included addresses by five alumnae, created a space for students to share testimonials and concluded with a march around campus and a candlelight vigil.  “We need to start addressing the violence that we inflict upon each other and take responsibility for addressing the issues,” said Heather Fox ’90, a member of the organization Stop Rape Now, who participated in the rally.      The Miscellany News

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.  

President Fergusson conferred the bachelor’s degree on 584 members of the Class of 1989, and the co-host of ABC television’s Good Morning America, Charles Gibson, delivered the address at Vassar’s 123th Commencement.  Gibson praised the liberal arts curriculum, saying, “I can teach a smart Vassar graduate all he or she needs to know about slant track tapes…voice overs…standups…and split track audio…in a matter of months. I can gradually teach you how to cover a story and construct it for the television medium. But can I teach you how to think? Or write? Can I give you a sense of fairness in looking at all sides of a story? Can I show you patterns of logic? No. You’ve either got those things now…or you don’t.”

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
Continuing its effort to make computing more accessible on campus, the college announced that a large-scale AppleTalk computer network would be available by the end of the month.  The network would allow students with Apple computers to send documents from their personal computers to communal LaserWriter printers, a capability that was currently available only for the computers in the College Center computer cluster. 

The AppleTalk network would not reach the THs or TAs because of their distance from the central campus.

The college installed a personal student telephone system campus-wide, installing 2,000 new telephones in dorm rooms and hallways.
Student housing shortages forced 43 students into temporary “emergency housing” spaces on campus.  For the greater part of first semester, students lived in Alumnae House, the Main Building television room, the Cushing House east parlor, Cooper House, Josselyn House study and typing rooms and the living rooms of residential suites in Main.  Some students were later relocated to faculty apartments on Raymond Avenue.
George Gabriel ’90 and 20 students organized a week-long public service effort called “Step Beyond ’89.” The program partnered with several local organizations to offer opportunities for Vassar students to engage with Poughkeepsie residents in meaningful ways, such as cleaning up around public spaces like the train station and volunteering at homes for the elderly. Volunteer Day co-coordinator Tanya Odom '92 reported that some 250 students volunteered throughout Poughkeepsie and that local agencies were "very receptive." The new program was an extension of the Hunger Action frisbee marathon sponsored in 1987 by the ultimate frisbee team and First Step '88 a weekend of action that had included another frisbee marathon and a keynote address by Ben and Jerry's ice cream co-founder Jerry Cohen. The Miscellany News
900 people packed into the All Campus Dining Center to see Tom Deluca, comedian/hypnotist and 1986 College Entertainer of the Year, performed in the Students’ Building. After introducing himself, Deluca hypnotized twenty volunteers from the audience in an “absolutely hysterical” show. Deluca also performed at Vassar in 1988.    The Miscellany News
Professor of English Eamon Grennan read from his book, What Light There Is and Other Poems (1987). Emma Harzem ‘93, who covered the lecture for The Miscellany News, described Grennan’s reading, “Already powerful, the poems were even more moving in presentation, perhaps because of the particular attention Grennan pays to the sound of language.” Grennan spoke of his relationship with Vassar and the United States, and of his career, “All of us who write poems are interested in washing our dirty laundry in public.”
The U.S. Department of Justice issued a civil investigative demand against Vassar and 54 other colleges and universities for allegedly fixing tuition and financial aid levels, a violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act prohibiting conspiracy to set prices for a commodity—in this case, a college education. 

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
The new AppleTalk network was completed, making e-mail, network software and centralized printing available to all residence hall students from their rooms.
Nadine Gordimer, South African novelist and anti-apartheid activist, delivered the Helen Forster Novy ’28 lecture, "Creating a People's Literature."  Arguing for a redefinition of “culture” and a turning from the literature of the elite to a concept that included “worker poets,” Gordimer defined the new voice urgently needed as that of writers who must come from the working classes and, more importantly, will not leave the working classes while writing “a people’s literature.”

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.
Thirty-four Vassar students marched in the “Housing Now!” rally in Washington, DC, sponsored by the campus organization Hunger Action.  The students were among 35,000 people who marched from the Washington Monument to the Capitol and heard speeches from Molly Yard, the president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), from Coretta Scott King and from Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Chants of “Down with hate before it’s too late” rang out on Main Street and in downtown Poughkeepsie, as over 450 Vassar students joined the March Against Hate.  The march was in part motivated by the arrival in Dutchess County of the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan to arrange bail for a Klansman arrested on weapons charges and by the Ku Klux Klan’s growing presence in Dutchess County.  Student organizers stressed, however, that the rally was meant to combat hate more generally, and a group manifesto declared their objective: acceptance of the cultural and religious pluralism within the Poughkeepsie community. 

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. 
What’s Brewin’ VCTV, a student television talk show, premièred at 9 pm on Channel 32, featuring interviews with the editors of The Vassar Spectator, the female a cappella group Measure-4-Measure, a student photojournalist and The Vassar Daily’s student astrologer.  What’s Brewin’ also talked with the co-founders of the Future Housewives of America, a recently established and controversial student organization whose mottos were “Coming out of the closet—with a mop in your hand” and “Together we stand, united by Lysol.”
More than 50 Vassar students participated in a “Pro Choice—Your Choice” march and rally in Poughkeepsie, sponsored by Planned Parenthood which included a speech by  National Organization for Women (NOW) president Molly Yard, who had spoken at Vassar eight months earlier.
A desktop publishing lab featuring three Macintosh SE/30 computers, a LaserWriter pinter and Pagemaker software and funded by the VSA for authorized student publications—Left of Center, The Vassar Daily, Womanspeak, Unscrewed and Vassatire—opened on the 5th floor of Lathrop.  The editor-in-chief of Left of Center, Chris Kimm '91, who submitted the $15,000 proposal for the lab the previous semester, told The Miscellany News, "Some people turned me on to the idea of desktop publishing...and the Computer Center had Pagemaker, so together with a group of people, I fiddled with it and we produced a 20-page issue for about $1,000, which is approximately half of what we would have previously paid for an issue of that length." 
Mary McCarthy ’33 died at the age of 77.  McCarthy wrote 28 books in her lifetime; the most famous, The Group, was a semi-autobiographical novel that followed eight Vassar graduates navigating New York City post-graduation.  The first “President’s Distinguished Visitor” in 1982, she spoke at Commencement twice.

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
Historian and author Harrison E. Salisbury, Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times international correspondent in China and Russia, lectured in the Chapel on “The Crisis in the Communist World.”  “The Communist world is beginning to come apart,” he said, noting the differences between communism in Russia and China and citing the Tiananmen Square massacre that took place the previous June.  “Change is coming to these places not because of American action, military or otherwise,” Salisbury said.  “These events are moving on their own timetable…no one can stop them or predict exactly how they will unfold.”   The Miscellany News
In accordance with new state restrictions, smoking in bathrooms and hallways was prohibited.  In shared office spaces, any individual’s desire for the space to be non-smoking took precedence, and residence hall lounges were obliged to establish policies accordingly. The Retreat and the dining center created designated smoking areas.
The trustees approved a $13.6 million budget for a new art gallery with art department classroom space.  The building, attached to Taylor Hall, was to be finished by early 1993.
Dolores Hayden, professor of Urban Planning at the University of California at Los Angeles, lectured on "From Separate Spheres to the Second Shift: How the Design of American Cities Affects the Working Lives of Women and Men."  The author of Redesigning the American Dream: The Future of Housing, Work, and Family Life (1984), Hayden was the first speaker in a series titled “The Future of Cities”, sponsored by the Urban Studies program and the Institute for Community Studies.
Erected in August, 1961, as the final separation of the German Democratic Republic from West Germany and Europe, the Berlin Wall was opened after a week of protests by several hundred thousand East Germans.
Colton Johnson, dean of studies, professor of English and co-recipient of a $50,000 Charles A. Dana Award for Outstanding Achievement in Higher Education, spoke at a Dana symposium at the Graduate Center of The City University of New York about the summer program, started in 1985, that helped community college students learn about and attend liberal arts colleges.  Johnson shared the award with Janet E. Lieberman ex-’43, special assistant to the president at LaGuardia Community College.

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.
The Vassar Journalism Forum sponsored a panel discussion on "The Press Since Watergate: Issues of Self-Censorship." Panelists included: National Book Award winner and New York Times correspondent Gloria Emerson; Times labor and urban affairs writer William Serrin; columnist Michael Goodwin and John Davenport, journalist and founding host of the Public Broadcasting System’s “Washington Week in Review.” The panel was moderated by Richard Severo of The New York Times, who taught The Contemporary Press as an adjunct professor in the English department for many years.