Dear Members of the Mills College Community,
I am writing to share some history about Mills College and to
remind everyone of the standards of conduct in our campus Honor
Code. My reason for writing is to insert reality – in the form of
some facts about Mills – and reason – in the form of rules for
civil discourse – into the recent exchange of opinions on the
presence of men here on campus.
Facts come first. Men have been students in our graduate
programs since the 1920’s, and their representation in the graduate
student population always has been around 20 to 25 percent.
This year men comprise 24 percent of our graduate students and
just under 10 percent of the total student enrollment at Mills.
Men come to Mills for many of the same reasons that women enroll
as undergraduates here – to learn from faculty members who are
excellent teachers and distinguished scholars in their academic
Even though our main mission always has been and always will be
the advancement of women for leadership roles in society, the
education we offer at Mills is global in nature and has the
potential to open doors for anyone eager to learn.
As for rules of civil discourse, at Mills we pride ourselves on
our ability to engage all points of view, to be inclusive, and to
treat others with respect. These principles of diversity and
inclusion are embedded in the academic curriculum and in the campus
Honor Code, which prescribes the high standards of conduct by which
we judge ourselves and others.
The standards for social conduct in our student Honor Code
transcend notions of justice and laws that define freedom of
expression, as well as the boundaries of impermissible
Under that Code, we aspire to be a humane community where the
expression of personal opinion always is supported by factual
knowledge, intellectual curiosity, and compassion.
I regret that an open exchange of opinions in the Weekly about
men on campus has become a forum for statements that threaten our
sense of community.
Because education is the most effective tool for building
community, I have asked the Provost’s Office to organize a campus
forum to discuss issues of sexism from all perspectives.
The forum will be led by faculty in cooperation with
professional staff from the Office of Student Life. A date and time
for the forum will be announced soon.
Janet L. Holmgren, President