Mills Commons meeting aims to quell concerns, stirs up more confusion

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June 15, 2017

(Screenshot taken from Facebook Live)

(Screenshot taken from Facebook Live)                                                                                                                                                                               Mills College President Beth Hillman spoke on campus at June 12 to concerned community members about proposed cuts to faculty and departments that would take place under the current financial stabilization plan being considered by the Board of Trustees.

The office of the president and other members of administration held a Mills Commons meeting on Mon. June 12 to update and explain the results of the Financial Stabilization Plan (FSP).

Proposed by the board of trustees, the plan aims to cut $1.5 million in instructional salaries at the expense of programs, departments and faculty members. President Beth Hillman and Dr. Chinyere Oparah, provost and dean of faculty, explained a PowerPoint detailing the FSP’s cuts including a breakdown of the plans goals, recommendations, and savings.

The specific faculty and staff that are proposed to be cut were not named but Hillman said the administration was working with each person individually.

“The FSP is thinking about what is Mills and what are the programs that really mark Mills in terms of our visible recognition outside of the college,” Oparah said.  “We don’t want to make any changes to our programs but we have to if we’re thinking about an environment in which we have to make significant reductions and the goal for [reduction in] instruction[al] [salaries] is 1.5 million…which is a large reduction.”

The meeting was followed by a brief question and answer portion.

Jay Gupta, an associate professor of philosophy being cut along with the philosophy department, questioned the purpose of tenured status with no security.

“The administration hasn’t carefully considered the real cost of laying off tenured faculty,” Gupta said. “Really tenure doesn’t exist at Mills, functionally speaking…this has extremely dire consequences for the reputation at Mills.”

Many attendees aired grievances about how they personally would be affected by the layoffs of specific faculty in their department.

Brooke Worthington, a junior philosophy major, was unable to ask a question with mic in hand after the meeting ran over time.

“As one of the students that will be heavily impacted by the decisions the Mills administration is making, the community meeting felt very disrespectful,” Worthington said.  “When the mic got to me, President Hillman announced that we were over time and I was not allowed to speak” Worthington said. “After having been ignored as a student throughout this decision-making process, my department sentenced to elimination and my academic career completely derailed, I was dumbfounded that I was being ignored once again.”

As of the time of this article, there were no plans for future community discussions hosted by the administration concerning the FSP. Stay tuned for more updates from The Campanil. 


Mills Commons meeting aims to quell concerns, stirs up more confusion was published on June 15, 2017 in Breaking News, Community, Faculty, Front Page, Headline Story, Mills in crisis, News

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