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Monologues come to SMC unofficially

Anneliese Woolford | Friday, March 5, 2004

An underground student reading of The Vagina Monologues took place Feb. 27 in Regina Hall, despite a March 2001 statement by Saint Mary’s President Marilou Eldred that the College would no longer sponsor public readings of the controversial play on campus. Saint Mary’s spokeswoman Melanie McDonald said small groups of students often gather on campus for many reasons without official endorsement, and the College does not oppose the right of these groups to gather for purposes of reading plays, books or other texts.Senior Amanda Wishin, who attended the underground event, said about 80 students gathered in Regina Hall’s north lounge for the Feb. 27 reading. The reading was not sponsored, endorsed or advertised by the College. However, Saint Mary’s officials said they had advance suspicions that it might occur.”I became aware [Feb. 24] that an underground reading of The Vagina Monologues might take place on campus this year,” vice president for Student Affairs Linda Timm said.Students cited a variety of reasons for attending the reading, ranging from peer support to interest in the Monologues themselves.”I decided to attend because I believe they are empowering and inspiring for all women,” senior Carrie Freeman said. “I have attended an above-ground performance of The Vagina Monologues in London. I enjoyed it so much that I was really looking forward to seeing the reading at Saint Mary’s.”Freeman said that she learned of the impromptu reading through word of mouth from other students. The Observer was unable to contact the students who organized the reading.The most recent official performance of The Vagina Monologues in 2000 at Saint Mary’s, caused an overwhelmingly negative response. McDonald said members of the immediate campus community, in addition to external constituencies such as the Board of Trustees, Parent’s Council and alumnae complained about the performance.She said attention should focus on consistently respectful treatment of females, instead of on the annual clashes that the Monologues provoke.”It’s important to note that Saint Mary’s goes well beyond a once-per-year reading of The Vagina Monologues to raise awareness about and combat violence against women and cultivate respect for human sexuality,” McDonald said.