New Series Provides Forum for Sensitive Topics

January Term at Mount Holyoke is traditionally thought of as a time to relax or take classes that are outside your traditional field of study, but this year the dean of students office is hosting "TABOO: Drop-In Dialogues" where students, staff, and faculty have real conversations about taboo topics that often get ignored or avoided in day-to-day life. The series was conceived by assistant director of student programs Kris Bergbom, who serves as one of the dialogue facilitators.

The six sessions (four have already taken place) are offered free of charge on Tuesday and Thursday nights during J-Term in the Blanchard Campus Center Lounge and/or Great Room; no registration is required. Each session begins with a skill builder such as a film screening, listening pairs, or privilege walk and ends with a facilitated discussion.

"The TABOO series builds on the interest and impact generated by the Day of Listening/ Community Dialogue Project and provides a forum to actively create community through honest dialogue around issues that affect our interconnectedness," said John Laprade, director of student programs. "I am always impressed and inspired by the bravery and passion of the students, staff, and faculty who join in these dialogues. These are not easy topics. The facilitators are doing an amazing job of creating a safe, yet challenging space for participants to engage each other in productive conversations."

Here is a list of the talks.

"Whose Car Is THAT?" A discussion of classism: Tuesday, January 9, 7-9 pm

"Does Black + White = Mexican?" Addressing multiracial identity issues and understandings: Thursday, January 11, 7-9 pm

"What Bathroom Do You Choose?" Screening of Toilet Training and a discussion of transgender issues: Tuesday, January 16, 7-9 pm

"When Did You First Realize You Were White?" A discussion of white identity issues and white privilege: Thursday, January 18, 7-9 pm

"Sex, Lies, and Education" Screening of The Education of Shelby Knox: Tuesday, January 23, 7-9:30 pm

"Sick of Just Talking About It?" A discussion of "diversity fatigue": Thursday, January 25, 7-9 pm

The TABOO series is part of an ongoing effort by the dean of students office to enrich and inform the experience and valuation of the many facets of diversity represented at Mount Holyoke. Participants can attend any or all of the conversations, based on their interests. For more information, contact or call x2478.