Oakland, CA – Leading clergy from California have joined the Alumnae Association of Mills College and the grassroots organization, Save Mills College, in support of a recent motion to force President Beth Hillman and Mills College administration to be transparent about the school’s financial situation and potential merger with Northeastern University.
“Transparency around the College administration’s decision to close Mills College is paramount because students, faculty, staff and alumnae all stand to lose a significant part of their shared history,” said Pastor Thembekila Crystal Coleman of Christ Liberation Ministries.
On March 17, the Mills College administration announced that the College would stop enrolling new first-year undergraduate students after Fall 2021 and would stop granting degrees, most likely after 2023. However, the Board of Trustees had merely approved at its March 4 meeting at most the development of plans regarding the College’s future that would be brought back to the Trustees for further review and consideration.
In late July, the College administration said it would allow Mills College Alumnae Trustee Dr. Viji Nakka-Cammauf the opportunity to review thousands of pages of relevant financial information that she had requested only under the following conditions:
- She would come to the meeting alone without counsel or financial analysts.
- She could only review hard copies of hundreds of relevant documents containing thousands of pages; the College specifically denied her request to review electronic versions of the documents.
- She could not make any copies of the information without the College’s approval.
“College administrators acted without precedent and disrespected the very values of this venerable institution,” said Rev. Jonathan E. D. Moseley, Sr., Interim-President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Action Network.
On August 5, the Alameda County Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order that stops Mills College from taking any action, signing any agreement, entering in any contracts, or calling for any votes relating to the college or any potential partnerships with the college including but not limited to the contemplated partnership with Northeastern University.
Later today, the Court will hold a hearing regarding the motion filed on behalf of Dr. Nakka-Cammauf that would require the College administration to release to her financial data, term sheets, planning documents and other information about the College’s pending merger with Northeastern University in an accessible way, while still protecting their confidentiality.
“We cannot have a 169-year legacy of cherished progressive values be at stake due to the gross negligence and lack of leadership from those who did not have students’ and alumnae’s interest at heart,” said Pastor William D. Smart of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.