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Nov 1, 2008 - MOUNT HOLYOKE STUDENTS EXPERIENCING SOME
 GROWING PAINS

In an effort to find out how the new “High Tech” discipline was working out Newsy called in the Editor’s grandson to text message Ima Techy for a follow up interview which she granted.

We first asked her if things were working out well and she looked just a bit crestfallen. “Well, not exactly,” she said. “There are a lot more problems than we anticipated. We did not think we would have to deal with cellulosis.”” Did you mean cellulitis” Newsy asked?
“How would an inflammation of the skin come about from text messaging?” “No, no cellulosis,” said Ima. This is a neurosis that is experienced by students that have to keep up-dating their smart phones. It produces lots of stress and the infirmary is completely inundated.”

“Could you explain asked Newsy?” “Yeah, sure” Ima managed to actually say while her hand quivered by her cell phone. Newsy could see a speaking interview was quite stressful for Ima and hoped that it would not produce the onset of this cellulosis.

“We have to make lots of big decisions these days,” said Ima. For example new smart phones are arriving everyday and there are just so many things to choose from. Do you want the Pearl Flip or the Blackberry Bold? But then again the Blackberry Storm is just over the horizon. Should you wait???? They all seem to have a slick Clock/Stop-watch app and white line-drawing icons but do you want a trackball or not. Then there is the software…pictures imbedded right in messages…fonts…bold…italic etc. So many decisions,” she said as both her hand and knee began to quiver. “Can you rotate the screen? Is there a touch screen, can you zoom in and out?” she pondered as now both knees began to quiver. “GPS, Wi-Fi, camera abilities, quad-band,” she blurted as her eyes began to tear. 

Newsy thought it was time to end the interview. Obviously things were getting beyond Newsy’s pop-psych treatments and perhaps things were getting beyond high techs treatments too. We made an appointment for another day when perhaps things will have resolved themselves. To be continued.

October 18, 2012…STRESS ON CAMPUS!

According to Erin Ennui, Editor of the Mt. Holyoke Times, things are very, very stressful
now on campus.  “Really…the year has just started, why so much stress?” asked Newsy.

“Actually, it’s Mountain Day,” said Erin. 

“Mountain Day? You mean that wonderful tradition that dates back to time immemorial when the bells ring and everyone gets to take a day off ”?

“Well, that’s the theory,” said Erin.

“Well, that’s the way it used to be,” said Newsy. “ Everyone loved Mountain Day.”

“Well, (well is her next to favorite word right after like) there has just been, like, so much stress about it.”

“ How so?” asked Newsy.

“For several reasons,” said Erin. “First, the problem with, like, when it’s going to be. So many students have not been able to update their digital calendars correctly. How can you be efficient and on top of things when they are in flux? Cramming for a scheduled test that doesn’t happen is awful. You have to cram the night before not several nights before. Will the professor just cancel the exam or will they, like, postpone it? And what about the paper that was due on Mountain Day? Will it be overdue on the day after? For some reason the Firsties have been obsessed with these problems and the infirmary now reports that “texting and tripping” has been replaced as the number one affliction by ‘Mountain Day Woes.’”

“Oh my,” said Newsy.

“That’s not the half of it,” said Erin. “When Mountain Day did occur on the 17th of October so many women, like, didn’t even know it.”

“ How can that be?” said Newsy. “The bells are rather loud and ring for rather a long time…at least they used to.”

“Well,” answered Erin, “ if you have earphones in you just don’t hear bells and, like, 75% of the student body had earphones in because you have to be in touch with your virtual community or you might miss something. Besides…the other 25% were asleep with pillows over their heads because morning doesn’t start until about 10:30 around here and those bells were ringing, like, in the middle of the night. Who could relate to that? Then there was all the stress of going to class and finding the rooms rather empty. Sheer panic! They didn’t know if they had the wrong room number or if they had studied for the wrong test and, like, all those other recurring bad dreams.” (Newsy could understand those dreams…she still had them.)

“And then,” said Erin, “there’s the discrimination issue.” 

“Discrimination at Mount Holyoke?,” Newsy shouted! “That’s terrible. What’s that all about? This is shattering.”

“ Well,” said Erin, “it’s about the BBWs. 

“BBWs?” I’m not familiar with the term,” said Newsy.

“It’s an acronym for Blackberry Women…they are, like, soooo last year. There is no i in Blackberry you know. One must have an i in ones smart phone. These are supposed to be Uncommon Women…we can’t have them using Blackberrys. It is just not done. It ruins our whole image. What if Smith or Amherst found out”?

“We’ll check back with you soon, Erin,” said Newsy “It seems you have too many
problems to solve at this early stage of the new year. Good luck and call us immediately
if there is any news about doing away with Mountain Day.”

“Oh, we don’t want to do away with Mountain Day,” said Erin, “after all it gives us, like, one whole day away from all the other stress we have here at college.”

APRIL 1, 2014 (APRIL FOOLS)...... LIKEFREE CLASSROOMS!

Newsy is here in English 101 interviewing students who are certain they are all going to write The Great American Novel. This is actually a unique section of English 101 as it has been declared a “Likefree” Section. Like this is very different…totally!

Professor Ian Uptight spoke to me about the reason for this extremely exclusive area of English. Apparently it has come to pass that every noun and verb has to be preceded by the word like. This introduces a complexity to their writing which would automatically eliminate them from consideration for the winner of The Great American Novel. Therefore, our goal is to try and write or speak three sentences without the famous four lettered word. So far no one has been successful but yesterday one student made it through two sentences!

“Can you give Newsy an example,” we asked. “Well yes, like today we are trying for another two nude sentences in a row. Nude sentences are, naturally, those without the word like. You see, the blizzard of likes can totally obscure the narrative and I do mean totally.”

We then spoke to a Firstie member of the class who shall remain nameless. Like she was happy to talk to us but not if we used her name. The nameless one was very enthusiastic about the opportunity to eliminate like from her speech and writing but it was proving harder than it was cracked up to be. How can one be polite and not use like was the biggest problem. Like is definitely a way to insure that the recipient or reader does not think the speaker or author is full of ones self. Just saying something without like can be interpreted so badly. Several words have to be added to the sentence to insure that one is not bragging nor demanding, and adding several words to the sentence makes it even harder not to use like. “Like I said, it’s hard,” she said. “It is almost like learning a foreign language. You know the words but it is hard to put them in a way that means what you are thinking…without like I mean.

Like what?’ we asked. “You see,” she answered…”you used the word like. That’s not allowed.”

JANUARY 15, 2016 ... MT. HOLYOKE COLLEGE INTRODUCES NOISY HOURS

Newsy is back at the infirmary interviewing the staff about Distracted Walking and PP’s which have become a very big problem here on campus. Luckily we were able to interview with the Director of Health, Ima Well, so we could find out the entire big picture. 

Here’s what she had to say … “So, as you already know most people are very upset about the rising cost of college especially in the administrative costs. Let me explain. We have had to hire 20 new EMT’s as the accident rate is climbing out of control.” 

“Really,” asked Newsy. “Why is that?” 

“Well, it is technology. It’s doing us in.”

“Could you explain?” asked Newsy.

“We have had to hire all these new people, buy another ambulance, put in a campus wide surveillance program like they have in London and add a computer lab and staff to monitor the program. It’s very expensive.”

“Well, I understand that,” said Newsy, “but you said it is because of technology and it seems you are adding more technology!”

“The heart of the problem is Distracted Walking and People Pileups. It has gotten out of control. Just yesterday we had 5 bodies piled up at the crossroads sign outside of Wilder.”

“How does that happen?” asked Newsy.

“So, you have several hundred people clutching their smart phones with ear buds attached and walking to class. Ergo…big problems! No one can hear or see anything but the 2 x 3 inch screen in front of them. More or less following the feet of the person in front of them can easily lead to a pileup, or worse. We thought about putting up railings along all the paths but that would be just a stop gap (pardon the pun) measure."

“Then what happens?” asked Newsy.

“Then we have to send EMTs to analyze the situation. Concussions, broken bones, bent noses, scraped legs and arms, blood everywhere … you get the idea? Actually concussions are the biggest problem right now. We have to have experts to determine whether these students have a dazed look and glazed eyes from a head injury or if it is just from electronic overload. It is not an easy thing to determine. But here is the good news. Mount Holyoke, as you know, is always on the cutting edge and their ultimate solution to this problem is ‘Noisy Hours.’”

“Noisy Hours.” answered Newsy. “ I’m familiar with Quiet Hours but not Noisy Hours.” 

“We've  discontinued quiet hours. Actually they have been outlawed. We can’t have quiet hours anymore. We need people speaking to people in real time without any internet connection. Every evening in each dorm starting at 9:00 P.M. everyone is required to open their doors and migrate to the hall WITHOUT THEIR ELECTRONIC DEVICE NOR BLUERAY EAR BUDS.

Now, understand, we had to start small with just 5 minutes in this mode, but we are currently up to 8 and climbing. If we didn’t go slowly the stress level would have been way too high. While out in the hall each student is required to verbally speak out loud to another student and obtain their name and where they went to school before MHC. We expect that by the end of the semester each student will have actually faced every other student on her floor and interacted by looked them in the eye and asking their name, etc.

In the second semester we will have them go up or down one floor. By the end of the year our goal is to have them say "hello" to every student in the dorm and be without their ED (electronic device) for at least 15 minutes. We realize that it is an extreme concept to introduce…actually speaking to another person face to face…but we are Uncommon Women you know. After a few years the required Noisy Hours will be a reality and a requirement for graduation.

The faculty is going to reinforce the NO ED requirement and insist on verbal interaction with those sitting beside them before class starts. All ED’s will be confiscated at the door.”

“Well,” said Newsy, we will certainly print this interview and reinforce your wonderful new concept called  Speaking 101.

NOISY HOURS UPDATE - February 7, 2016

Hot Alert! Infirmary is swamped and all new admittances will be temporarily housed in the gym.

When we arrived at the infirmary, Ima Well, as well as the rest of the staff, were in a state of emergency. Things were not going well for Ima Well. This interview was done on the fly, so to speak, as during red alerts there is no time for outside activities. She agreed to speak to us only because of the serious nature of the alert and the hope it would get the word out things had to change.

Newsy said, “When last we spoke Noisy Hours were up to 8 minutes and the faculty was cooperating by collecting ED’s before class. What happened?”

“We tried to go to 9 minutes and we reached the melting point,” said Ima, “and the entire student body went out of control. There have been so many changes lately, including a new president being appointed, and the text messages were flying about that and before we knew it we had ED overload. It was ugly. 

“Then we also had a problem with…I hesitate to say cheating…but rather creative thinking. Students had bought up all the labels that said, hello, my name is _______ which made their Noisy Hour assignments much easier. Those who did reply were answering with Mary Smith@ yahoo.com. They haven’t yet figured out their name from their username. When asked their address they would respond 212-456-1323 which of course is an address for a text but not for the higher concept of something that would accept snail mail. We were definitely not on the same page with our assignments.”

Ima continued, “Sonya Stephens, the current Dean of Faculty and incoming President, called a faculty meeting immediately to evaluate our proposed goals for Noisy Hours and Non Distracted Walking Rules. They hated to admit it, but they had definitely misunderstood the depth of the problem. They were doing too much too soon. As soon as the Noisy Hours increased to 9 minutes the incidence of stress related problems peaked out of control. In addition all students stopped going to class because of the confiscation of their ED’s.” 

“So what now?” asked Newsy.

“They are in the midst of developing an entire new department called Instant Communication and one course in it shall be required of every student every semester. This is critical! The high schools have completely failed in their preparation of these students to understand the concept of moving away from home. It’s not only their former friends but it is also their parents. It is all “old community” and no one is developing a “new community.”

“Wow this is really serious,” said Newsy.

Ima was clearly disturbed. “Just think of this! Their vocal chords are in danger of becoming vestigial. They don’t talk they just text. Even email is over the hill. Most of them don’t know that an iPhone is actually named after a telephone and many have never actually called anyone. It’s so yesterday you know. They do answer questions in class and they can still respond to a direct question in a class room situation, but small talk or simple polite conversation is way beyond them.”

“Does flirting still exist?” asked Newsy.

“Oh no, flirting is much too subtle and sometimes requires voice inflections. They just take selfies now and share them with the world.” 

“So Ima, what are you doing here in the health center to try and stem this pandemic?”

“We are requiring all students to write a paper on the state of oral communication complete with examples of what has happened to them because of ED overload and lack of ‘out loud’ communication before they can be returned to their dorm.” 

“How’s that working?”

“It has been amazing. We are now getting to understand the concepts behind this behavior so that we can attack the problem by thoroughly understanding their concept of communication. Yesterday we had an outstanding paper entitled, How I Got Knocked Out While Being Linked In. It was an in-depth analysis of what can happen when you can’t see or hear anything around you. It was really moving and from the heart. Of course we can’t release her yet as she is still suffering from her concussion symptoms.

We also require them to look us in the eye and state their name, address and phone number and then shake hands on the requirement to speak out loud at least 5 minutes everyday outside of class.”

“Well, let’s hope this new plan works. It’s beginning to look like MASH around here.”

CHAOS ON CAMPUS.  EXTRA!  EXTRA!  READ ALL ABOUT IT!

TWITTER IS EXPLODING ON CAMPUS!  January 10,  2017

Newsy was sent post haste to the center of campus to see what was happening that was causing such chaos. There she met with two random students sitting next to each other outside of Blanchard immersed in their cell phones. After asking if they would mind speaking with her to explain why things were so suddenly so topsy-turvy, one nodded her head. Newsy asked her her name and she answered Nieve.

“What’s happening around here?” Newsy asked Nieve. “The entire campus has students running everywhere and the classrooms seem to be empty.” “Well, yes,” she said. “We keep getting tweets with the most alarming news. Things are in an uproar. Did you hear about the UFO that landed outside the gym? That was right after we were hit with the news that E does NOT equal MC squared and that Einstein was a dropout. The most amazing things are happening right and left…usually the tweets come in between midnight and 6 AM but some come all day long. It’s all very exciting.”

“And the classrooms are empty because it’s Mountain Day?” said Nieve. “ How can it be Mountain Day?” asked Newsy.” “We had Mountain Day in Oct. and this is Dec. Well, we all got a tweet,” said Nieve, “ so it must be true.” “Well, did you hear the bells?” asked Newsy. “Bells…what bells.? We only hear what comes through our earbuds and I didn’t hear any bells,” said Nieve. “Well, they always ring the bells on Mountain Day,” …it is a tradition.” said Newsy. “Well, traditions sometimes die out,” said Nieve.

“Did you see the UFO?” Newsy asked Nieve. “Well, no, but it came over the internet that one landed so it has to be true.” “ Really?” said Newsy. “Does the internet make everything true?” “Oh, yes…of course it does” replied Nieve . “If it’s on the internet it’s real news. You can’t trust newspapers you know. They hardly ever get it straight and they are way, way behind the times. Why they report things as news that happened a good 8 hours ago. What kind of news is that?” she asked Newsy.

“Well, maybe it’s real news as opposed to fake news,” suggested Newsy. “Oh no, news is news and is real by definition. Everything on the internet is real because Google would get rid of it if it wasn’t. We are operating in real time these days,” countered Nieve. “Really?” said Newsy. “Let’s ask your friend if she feels the same way. What’s her name?” “ I’m not sure; I’ll find out,” said Nieve, as she typed frantically into her iphone. “What are you doing?” asked Newsy. “I’m asking her what her name is,” she said. “Well, why don’t you just ask her?” said Newsy. “I am,” said Nieve. “No, I mean like this…orally?” “Why that is much too controversial. Maybe she doesn’t want to interact with me? Texting is much less threatening.” “ What is your name please?” said Newsy, addressing student #2 who was busy typing on her iphone. “Her name is Ditto,” said Nieve. “Really…can she talk?” “ I’ll ask her,” she said typing frantically into her iphone. “Save it, I’ll ask her myself. Can you talk, Ditto?” asked Newsy. “She can’t hear you,” said Nieve. “She has her earbuds in. The only reason I heard you was one of mine slipped out…otherwise nada.”

“Look at all these students rushing at us,” said Newsy as she heard a slight ding from their iphones. “Oh, Wow! Here’s the latest tweet,” said Nieve. “The college is giving away free pizza and beer at Blanchard. Isn’t this new tweeting fun?”
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