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Facing shutdown, Mills College faculty approves ‘no trust’ motion in school administration

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OAKLAND (BCN / UKTN SF) – Resistance to the planned closure and redefinition of the mission of Mills College in Oakland intensified this week when the institution’s voting faculty overwhelmingly approved a resolution of distrust in the administration of the school.

The no-confidence motion against President Elizabeth Hillman, Provost and Dean of Faculty Chinyere Oparah, and the Board’s Executive Committee won 73% approval in a vote announced on Monday.

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The college, which has been on its 135-acre campus on MacArthur Boulevard since 1871 after starting as a minor seminary in Benicia, announced in March that it would no longer accept first-year undergraduate students after this fall and will probably distribute its final. degrees in 2023.

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Mills describes itself as “a nationally recognized independent liberal arts college for women and gender non-binary students, with graduate programs for all genders.”

The faculty is also very critical of plans to direct the college’s endowment towards the establishment of a Mills Institute on campus to “continue to foster female leadership and student success, advance the gender and race equity, and cultivate innovative pedagogy, research and critical thinking. . “

The faculty says the institute’s plan “is defined both by a nebulous purpose and by the lack of degree-granting authority.”

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Professor David Bernstein, chairman of the faculty’s executive committee, called the no-confidence vote “a formal and public rejection by the voting faculty of actions taken by college leaders.” The faculty calls for the end of the closure plans of March 17, a radical overhaul of the supervision of the board of directors and the administration of the colleges, and an overall reorganization of institutional management, including the endowment of the colleges.

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The resolution cites 12 examples of what faculty members call mismanagement on the part of the college president, administration, and board, and notes a financial stabilization plan adopted in 2017 that led to elimination of tenured faculty members.

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In a statement, the faculty said that “the provost, the president and the executive committee of the board of directors have shown a lack of meaningful vision for a future of the Order that can move us forward with strength and conviction. .

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The Save Mills College Coalition applauded the faculty stand in a statement.

“The financial stabilization plan has failed,” said Kerri Lynne Thorp, alumnus and coalition member. “This administration emptied and dumped our tenured professors and suspended our current faculty to dry out. They have failed the school and must be held to account. “

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