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March 12 , 2004

A Message to the Junior Show 2004 from President Creighton

Photo: Todd M. LeMieux

President Joanne V. Creighton with Maisie, the First Dog

President Creighton announced a
bold new initiative—The Real Plan for Improving Student Life at Mount Holyoke College—through a videotaped message to this year’s Junior Show. The juniors responded with a videotape of their own anticipating the ramifications of Creighton’s “Ten Command-ments” for students. Junior Show ran the evenings of February 26–28.

Thanks very much for allowing me the opportunity to address the Junior Show.

You’ve all heard me talk about planning—about The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2003; about The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2010; about planning to plan, and planning not to plan. You’ve heard me use terms like “iterative” and “consultative,” “perspicacious,” “felicitous,” and “transformative,” though we all know that these words don’t have any meaning. Not really.

I haven’t told you yet about the real deal, the real plan, the top secret plan, the plan, that is, that certain top administrators and I have developed without consulting students or anybody but ourselves.

Well, now that we’ve begun to implement it, I think it only fair to tell you The Real Plan for Improving Student Life at Mount Holyoke College.

First, though, let me say that as president of this wondrous and sacred institution, I am concerned that our resonant traditions have devolved from meaningful community-building celebrations to disgusting displays of public drunkenness and debauchery in their lowest form. Clearly, the situation has gotten out of hand and we have to do something.

Looking back at my own college days, I realize that what I experienced as a student made me what I am today. Clearly, what was good enough to make me a president should be good enough for you as well, don’t you agree?

It is in this vein that we in the administration, drawing on our own memorable undergraduate days, are instituting new policies that we feel are in the tradition of Mary Lyon (although we don’t go back quite that far), policies that will mold you into empowered, proper, decent, and respectable young ladies.

There are ten new policies: you might call them MHC’s Ten Commandments.

1. All dorms shall be locked up at 10 pm, no exceptions.

2. At promptly 10:05 each evening, all students shall gather in their residence halls for a nightly singing of the “Alma Mater.”

3. Lights shall be turned off at 11 pm, and there shall be nightly bed checks to ascertain that each student is in her bed. Alone.

4. Morning chapel shall again be mandatory.

5. We shall again, just as in the good old days, limit male visitors to downstairs lounges, and we shall reinstitute the rule that a young lady entertaining a male person must keep at least one foot on the floor at all times. No exceptions. No doing it on the floor, either!

And, speaking of males: they discourage concentration. This is, after all, a women’s college.

So, rule no. 6: Henceforth, men shall be banned from the library. And books by male authors shall be strongly discouraged as well.

7. To create a proper environment for learning, no student shall be admitted into a classroom or administrative building without wearing a skirt that reaches at least three inches below her knee. A wardrobe malfunction shall result in an honor code violation.

8. Each student shall be required to write to her parents weekly and submit her letter to the president’s office so that I may personally review its contents (not to mention its grammar and spelling).

9. The College shall become a “dry” campus, and all students will be required to relinquish their alcohol and drug products to public safety, which will find some appropriate means for disposing of them. Bear in mind that random room inspections will be instituted and if you possess banned booze or worse, you will face expulsion.

Indeed, I have volunteered Maisie, the First Dog, to do sniffing patrols of all residence halls. (You know her as Maisie, but to me she’s Maisie Doats. You know, “Maisie Doats, and Dozy Doats, and Liddle Lamzy Divey.”) Maisie Doats is eager and ready to lead a life of purposeful engagement, sniffing out debauchery and making Mount Holyoke clean and safe for all inhabitants, animal and human. And finally:

10. We intend to bring back etiquette classes and posture pictures to ensure that Mount Holyoke women are leaders in stature and manners, as well as politics, business, and so many other fields.

Well, that’s it. I know there will be resistance to these innovations. Great presidents always encounter resistance. To be great is to be misunderstood.

I have assembled an enforcing committee of the finest and most dedicated members of our College community, and I am certain that they are up to this task.

Thank you for your attention, and have a nice, clean, and appropriate Junior Show.




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