College administrators are making $2 million in cuts at the behest of the trustees in a way that will hurt the college’s future.
Mills will lose some of its most valuable resources in the next two years because of budget decisions-professors and staff members who will become causalities of layoffs through nonrenewal of their contracts.
Professors and staff are more valuable to the health of the college than Mills’ reputation, beautiful buildings, great location, new programs or administration, because they draw students to campus. We choose Mills to work with the amazing minds here; losing any member of faculty will be a detriment.
We choose Mills because we want a liberal arts education, yet the college has been investing in new programs while slashing the budgets in classic liberal arts like the drama department and the language houses.
If traditional liberal arts programs are cut and our amazing faculty laid off, why would students choose Mills in the future?
Administrators are dividing faculty members, who feel they must fight to keep their jobs and programs running, while creating a tense campus atmosphere. These are hard economic times, without a doubt. The stock market, where the college’s endowment is invested, has slumped hurting the source of more than 45 percent of Mills’ budget.
But, hard economic times do not justify taking away the things that make the college great-faculty, staff and a strong liberal arts grounding. Rather, economic hard times require careful justification of new programs and initiatives. These are not the days to be bold; rather this is a time to protect what works.
Administration does not seem to be interested in saving these programs, but rather seems more concerned with developing new programs they hope will attract students to campus. What they are missing is that students are attracted to Mills for things that are already here-amazing faculty, caring staff and rigorous liberal arts studies.
It is now up to students to tell the board of trustees, who mandated the cut, and administration officials, who decide what to cut, why we chose Mills.