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OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL APPROVES RESOLUTION CELEBRATING MILLS COLLEGE AND CALLING FOR INVESTIGATION INTO ITS MERGER WITH NORTHEASTERN
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 19, 2022
Brandon Harami, City Councilor
Oakland, California – Today, the Oakland City Council passed a resolution introduced by Pro Tempore Council Speaker Sheng Thao and Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan celebrating Mills College and calling for an investigation into its merger with Northeastern University – a process sudden and very intransparent.
Just prior to the meeting, Pro Tempore Council Chairman Sheng Thao, Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, Claudia L. Mercado and Kieran Turan of the Save Mills Coalition held a press conference calling for the passage of this resolution. At this conference, they discussed the efforts of current and former Mills students and faculty to save the school from closure and the lack of transparency and suddenness of its merger with Northeastern University. They also shared their deep concerns over the closure of this 170-year-old institution that primarily serves women and the LGBTQ+ community.
Chairman of the Pro Tempore Sheng Thao States Council“As a Mills alumnus, I was deeply troubled when the university announced its closure after 170 years of service. As women and the LGBTQ+ community come under attack across the country, it’s incredibly important that institutions like Mills are preserved.
“This merger was sudden, confusing and achieved with very little transparency. Many faculty members lost their jobs while students around the world suddenly found that the programs they were enrolled in had been cut. This process has been incredibly disruptive to the lives of thousands of people and we need answers.
Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan says: “I am proud to stand with the community of Oakland in calling for an independent investigation into the merger between Mills College and Northeastern University. Since its opening in 1852, Mills College has empowered women and removed barriers to advancement and opportunity for women. At a time when BIPOC, LGBTQ, and women’s rights are under attack, from perpetrators ranging from the Proud Boys to the Supreme Court, it’s critical that we protect and celebrate institutions like Mills College.
I am very concerned about the allegations of misconduct and misinformation that led to the merger. Thank you to my board colleagues for passing my resolution and that of Board Pro Tempore Sheng Thao urging the state to conduct an independent investigation into the merger between Mills College and Northeastern University.
Claudia L. Mercado, Mills Alumnae and Advisor for Save Mills College Coalition States:
“This historic women’s college and Hispanic service institution was intended to serve the education of women for generations to come, not to be traded on the open market for pennies. We must hold accountable the leaders of the Mills administration who were responsible for actively undermining a viable Californian higher education ecosystem and a safe space for women, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students. Bad higher education leaders should not be allowed to fail and profit from the hardships of students and community members. Queremos justice para Mills! said Claudia L. Mercado, SMCC Class Advisor and Mills’ Alumnae of 2006 and 2007.
Kieran Turan, Vice President of Coalition to Save Mills College States: “It is deeply disturbing how little oversight there is in California for small nonprofit colleges, even those of Mills’ historic significance. We are grateful for this resolution, President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao and Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, who will help us bring this issue to the state and federal level. Mills College deserves justice. Women’s colleges are particularly at risk, and Mills is one of only 3 women’s colleges still in California. The irony is that a bill to support women’s colleges with federal funding was in the works, but this administration rushed the Mills acquisition before that proposed funding had a chance to go into effect. . The Coalition and its allies will continue to fight for Mills. , to reverse this destructive acquisition and ensure that small colleges, especially women’s colleges, get the oversight and accountability they deserve.