The approval of the faculty salary pay freeze and elimination of the drama and German majors are final according to an e-mail sent to the faculty by Provost Mary-Ann Milford last week.
President Janet Holmgren said that the faculty freeze, although unfortunate, will help to stabilize the budget and give the college some protection against any future decline in donations. “As an administrator, I do not favor freezes because they can create long term problems,” she said.
Most years, faculty is given an annual raise to compensate for inflation and the rising cost of living in the Bay Area. The freeze will be implemented July 1, which is when faculty would normally receive a raise.
Some speculate that the faculty pay freeze could hinder Mills’ ability to compete in hiring new professors.
According to Ken Burke, film studies professor, when a prospective faculty member is told that the college is implementing a pay freeze, “it tells you that things are not as marvelous as they could be.” Burke said that although the freeze could have an impact on hiring new professors, he does not see it as a threat to the current faculty. “I would rather see a wage freeze than faculty lay-offs.”
The second half of the e-mail confirmed the elimination of the dramatic arts major and minor, and the German studies major at Mills. At the last Board of Trustees meeting, trustees came forward to express their disappointment about the removal of the dramatic arts department. Many at the meeting understood that the department’s major had to be cut, but still hoped that the college would retain some aspect of the drama program. Erika Rickard, the academic board chair, said that “no one wanted this to happen, but there didn’t seem to be any other possibilities.”