ACTIVISTS PLAN SIX DAYS OF PROTESTS IN OAKLAND:
“HONK-A-THON” PROTESTS THE JULY 1 HANDOVER OF MILLS COLLEGE
OAKLAND, CA – Starting on Sunday, June 26, Mills alums, friends and community neighbors will rally at the Richards Gate entryway of Mills College daily at 12:00pm to rally public support for Congress to investigate the merger of Mills College and Northeastern University. Following the rally, activists will drive through the city in “Honk-A-Thon” style, at least through July 1, when NU takes possession of the campus.
What: #InvestigateMillsCollege Rally & Honk-A-Thon
Where: Richards Gate entryway of Mills College, 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA, 94613
When: 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm, Every Day from June 26 - July 1
*Masks and social distancing required. Parking is limited.
We are fed up with the actions of a rogue board of trustees and a cynical president. After 15 months of silence, unanswered questions, a profitable bottom line, counter lawsuits and now a student civil lawsuit, the Mills College community is making noise to stop the merger and to demand that Congress conduct an investigation.
Mills has always focused on serving the educational needs for underserved communities. The student population of the last few graduating classes was 65% BIPOC, 58% identifying as LGBTQ, and was designated as a Hispanic-serving institution by the US Dept. of Education. With the acquisition by Northeastern, the progress towards equity in education at Mills for students from under-resourced backgrounds will disappear because Northeastern is a much more expensive, larger, and less ethnically diverse school with little hard evidence to back up their stated commitment to serving underrepresented communities. Furthermore most of Mills’ historic programs will be cut.
The City of Oakland will lose out on valuable cultural contributions due to Northeastern’s lack of accreditation in California. An internationally renowned center of art and music, Mills will also no longer offer Teaching Credentials, and Oakland Public Schools will lose a 100-year reciprocal relationship. At a time when public schools are in crisis, the merger ends this relationship. The teacher pipeline is a poor trade-off for the city’s anticipated pipeline to government by NU think thanks, which was setup by Mayor Schaff to capitalize on the self-dealing transition.
Additionally, the state of California is losing a potential solution to the severe student housing shortage in the Bay Area. Mills sits on 135 acres of land in the heart of East Oakland. Quite a bit of this acreage is undeveloped and could be utilized to build student housing. Because the negotiations between these institutions may have been improperly conducted with no public input, the public remains unaware of this potential solution.
On March 17, 2021, the Mills College Board of Trustees announced its intention to dismantle this historic college and replace it with a yet undefined “Institute” on a breakneck 15-month timeline. Financial reports, including one requested by Attorney General Rob Bonta, reveal the College is solvent and there is no “financial crisis;” Mills, in spite of mismanagement, is one of the healthier Liberal Arts schools in the US. Students have since filed a class action lawsuit because Mills misled the students about the merger and many had to change schools, majors, or careers. Mills also promised “no layoffs” until the merger reaches its one-year anniversary. Two months ago, the College pink slipped over half of the adjunct faculty (89), most of whom are unionized, thereby breaking this promise as well.
Mills is an incubator of progressive activism and its leaders of color are being replaced with a college with no commitment, (other than absorbing Mills' Racial Equity program, the only one that remains) of furthering the goals of gender and racial equity, and whose student population is overwhelmingly white. Surely in the most progressive state in the country, at a time when women’s rights are under siege and Trans lives are under fire, we should be fighting to keep rich, valuable institutions like Mills alive and thriving for generations still to come.
As the country grapples with deep social division and crisis upon crisis, Mills College simply cannot disappear just as the leaders it develops are most needed: to break barriers, to take initiative, to share bold visions for inclusion—to do the hard work.
Sign and share the Petition to Congress to investigate Mills
Click to learn more:
Mills has educated women since 1852, moving to its present campus on unceded Ohlone land in East Oakland in 1871. In 1969, it became the first independent college to establish an Ethnic Studies Department—the result of the Black Student Union's organizing, which succeeded in broadening the school's curriculum despite attempts to criminalize their advocacy. In 1990, students went on strike for two weeks to compel the Board to reverse its decision to go coed, preserving the campus as a space for women to develop their power. Mills made history (again) in 2014 when it became the first women's college to embrace transgender students in its admissions policy. Today, 58 percent of Mills undergraduates identify as LGBTQ+ and 65 percent as people of color.
For Immediate Release: June 24, 2022
For Media Inquiries: Contact Joyce Yee (650) 303-2114