Farewell and Security: All-Female Mills Colleges Turns Co-ed

When Kate Valente picked it up to go to college, she didn’t pick up her hair. Although the online queues for female college students always contain pepper or mace on their way to school alone, she told herself, “It’s not something I worry about … I feel safe here.”

“Here” is the history of Mills College * for all women in Oakland, California. Since its inception in 1852, Mills has established itself as a pioneer of higher education for all women, and has attracted women of all genders. Valente shared this legacy precisely because of the lack of men in the school, and being safe encouraged her and her female colleagues.

Now, she may need to add to her packing list.

On Tuesday, September 14, Mills announced plans in combination with Northeastern University, to relinquish his position as a gay or lesbian institution. As the arrival of male students on the Mills campus draws to a close, Valente worries that the classrooms will change too – so that male students can talk about him and direct class discussions, or they may not be as comfortable talking as they used to be. already had it.

Demonstration handout provided by students at Mills Campus. Photo by Kate Valente.

His concerns are well-founded. Irena Huang, a Mills student who, after graduating in 2018, participated in a Masters degree at (co-ed) University of Chicago, found differences in her two academic backgrounds from the beginning. “I spoke less in the classroom (in graduation),” he said, “and I felt I was a failure.” His education at Mills, by contrast, is defined by always being free to “say what you want to say,” in a safe place at all times. “I am concerned that being a gender-based organization will transform an important part of Mills education,” she said.

The integration of the northeast has been in operation since June 2021, with Mills President Elizabeth Hillman. announced the start of the negotiations and a university from Boston. Like killing others Small technical colleges are losing money During the epidemic, the Mills had struggled to keep up with the money during the COVID-19 period – but their financial worries began long before this.

In May 2017, Mills for the first time announced the economic crisis, and announced plans to drop out teachers and reschedule courses to increase enrollment. However, since then, Mills’ fortunes have continued to deteriorate, and signs of trouble are emerging even for new students like Valente. For example, when she arrived at the school this year, she found that the entire home department had resigned a week before the start of classes. For several weeks, the required student cards did not work, but no one was at fault. (It has since been resolved.) “The breach was obvious,” said Huang. “When I look back, I see the basis on which the closure decision would come from.”

Thirty years ago the college first tried to switch to a mixed school for financial reasons. This move has worked in some of the previous women’s organizations in the past years: between 1967 and 1991. about a dozen homosexual schools went together, especially for financial reasons, including Vassar College, Skidmore College and Sarah Lawrence College. But that is not all. In the last 50 years, a the number of all female colleges in the US has dropped by 80%.

Back in 1990, when Mills first tried to get involved with other schools doing this, leadership met quickly with sixteen-day demonstrations and students want school to be a single gender. The college allowed, even reluctantly. However, they now stand firm in their decision. In him Letter September 14 to the Mills team, Kathleen Sanborn, Chair of the Mills Board of Trustees and the Mills alumna herself, wrote:

We have learned opportunities and opportunities, and we have regularly reviewed College finances. We have faith in the leadership of the College but we learn, challenge, and prove. The commission made its decisions based on principles… The high level of higher education has made Mills unstable. ”

This is unfortunate, because graduates of all women’s schools tend to be superior satisfied with their education and statistically they are very successful after completing their education. According to Women’s College Coalition, Only women college graduates have the opportunity to go to the graduate department, and graduates of a particular type prefer to do STEM degrees at a much higher level than in affiliate schools (34% to 19%). In addition, graduates are able to excel in the male-dominated fields and are possible six times belonging to Fortune 1000 corporate groups. In addition, and most importantly, the risk of rape – 26% of women with a bachelor’s degree in affiliate schools – the lowest in all women’s schools. Wellesley College, for example, stated only a 14% amount of rape.

Even Huang, who mourns the loss of a safe and productive environment, realizes that the integration may be the only one. way forward for those still in Mills, for economic reasons. “I believe it is good for teachers and staff,” he said, “and I know they have been denied a raise and their retirement comparisons have been temporarily suspended … it would be nice if the northeast would recognize their union.” But when it comes to students, he says, “I don’t know.… I think if I were a student, I would be scared.”

“[I] I just want him to listen to what we think is the uniqueness of college, “said Valente, sadly.”

* Mills College is an old women’s college, a term often used by recent graduates to honor the fact that Mills began as a women’s learning center and has expanded its meaning. It is now a training center for women and non-sex workers, including non-gay students. In 2014, Mills College was the first women’s college to introduce a law to allow people to take their place, her website claims to be an organization that “has been supporting women … gender binary.” Many students do not present themselves as women and do not use their pronouns. While this article uses the language of “homosexuals” and “all women,” we want to acknowledge that Mills College also provides students with alumnae beyond binary and strives to be a learning environment.

About the author: Gavi Klein, senior at the University of Brandeis, and a 2021 colleague in Syms Journalistic Excellence Program * at Women’s eNews, with the help of a Syms Foundation. The Syms Journalistic Excellence Program in Women’s eNews affiliates facilitates creative and developmental opportunities for employers in the search for journalism.

Syms Journalistic Excellence Program

The Syms Journalistic Excellence program for Women’s eNews was launched in 2014 with the support of the Syms Foundation. The association provides an opportunity for support and development for intern writers in the search for journalism.

“For democracy to flourish all words must be heard.” says Marcy Syms, Founder and Founder of the Syms Foundation. “Through its eNews Women’s research it is reaching the peak of good journalism. The Syms Foundation is proud of this partnership to support new women journalists today.”

As part of her work to bring about social change for women and girls through research reports, News Women’s contributes to the promotion, training, and support of the development of new journalist work in the pursuit of social justice and women’s rights.

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