Mills College Is Dead. Long Live Mills 'Institute'

Illustration for article titled Mills College Is Dead. Long Live Mills 'Institute'
Image: Kim Gerbich (AP)

Mills College, the 169-year-old women’s liberal arts college located in Oakland, California, will not be accepting any more incoming freshmen as of fall 2021, according to President Elizabeth Hillman.


Struggling to operate under a $3 million deficit brought on, in part, by the covid-19 crisis, Hillman says that Mills simply cannot afford to continue in its current state and will confer its last graduate and undergraduate degrees in 2023. That’s a goddamn shame.

Women’s colleges have suffered from declining enrollment in recent years, with several forced to shutter or go co-ed in order to survive. This is in spite of the fact that women’s colleges top rankings of most racially diverse student bodies, and several educate high numbers of low-income and first generation college students. Mill, for example, has actively recruited students of color, especially those from surrounding areas, attempted to decrease tuition costs, and worked to provide a safe campus for transgender students, which is a lot more than most colleges do to avoid becoming siloed, hegemonic ivory towers full boring windbags.

However, while Mills the college may be coming to an end, Mills might just continue to exist as some sort of “institute,” according to the Mercury News:

“‘The mission of Mills is more important than ever,’ Hillman said, explaining that an institute will do ‘what Mills has long done: promote women’s leadership, advance gender and racial equity and promote critical and creative thinking. Those things are tremendously important now. We’re looking for a way to continue Mills legacy in a form that we can actually sustain.’”

It remains unclear whether or not this means a think tank or just a sexy bunker full of smart ladies. But allow this blog to serve as my pitch for the future of Mills—The Mills/Jezebel Institute of Witchcraft, Communism, and Man-Hating, which confers, instead of accredited degrees, either crowns for graduate work or tiaras for undergraduate-level study in self-directed special projects focused on the intersection of magic and Marxism. I, of course, am available to lead talks on both the evolution of brother fucking as literary device in the Gothic novel and the future of misandry in a post-Limbaugh society. Plus, all my co-workers do thinking pretty good, and I can’t definitively speak for them, but I am fairly certain they are all down to get sealed off in the tank.

My email, astral plane, and snail mailbox are all open should anyone wish to proceed with what I’m already imagining as the last feminist stronghold in a soon-to-be-post-apocalyptic world.


Future Cadavre

Well now that my Mills diploma is a collector’s item I’d like to put it on eBay for exactly $27,419.12, with 3.5% interest compounded daily.

In all seriousness, there is a ton of talk about how Mills would’ve been saved if it had transition to a coed college. I suspect the number of women and non-binary folks who went to Mills because there weren’t cisgender men in the undergrad programs (save for a few courses cross listed for undergrad and grad credit) greatly exceeds the number of cisgender men who were interested in attending its undergraduate programs. And for me…their closing is profoundly sad. But I think if it had gone coed it would’ve been completely devastating.