MILLS COLLEGE! OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT! MEMORANDUM!
To: Mills Community! From: Alecia A. DeCoudreaux, President! Date: March 21, 2014! Re: Update on Progress Toward Concerns of Mills’ Black Students!
! In response to the recent concerns of Black students, I am writing to update the Mills community on the progress the College has made to address the nine demands made on March 3.! ! Appointment of Black Student Enrollment Task Force!
After receiving recommendations from the Black Women’s Collective, the Alumnae of Color, and others, I have appointed a Black Student Enrollment Task Force charged with identifying, reviewing and assessing the College’s practices in its recruitment, retention and matriculation of Black students at Mills. I have asked that the Task Force make recommendations to me no later than April 1, 2015 of initiatives, policies and procedures to enhance access to a Mills education and to support the success of Black students. While the focus of the work of this Task Force will be on Black students, I anticipate that the forthcoming recommendations will benefit all Mills students. The Task Force will begin meeting as soon as possible and will report back directly to me on a periodic basis. I am very grateful to the individuals who have agreed to serve on this Task Force. They are:! ! Judy Weisinger, Assoc. Professor of Business - Chair (faculty) ! Monique Butler, Director of Residential Life (staff)! Kristina Faul, Assoc. Professor of GeoChemistry and Environ. Geology (faculty) ! Kira Lewis (’13) (graduate student)! Daisha Mshaka (’14) (undergraduate student)! Brian O’Rourke, Vice President for Enrollment Management (Cabinet)! Rachel Patterson (’16) (undergraduate student)! Kaniya Samm (’16) (undergraduate student)! Jeanne Wilson (’07) (alumna)! ! The work of this Task Force will continue over the summer and into the Fall. I will provide updates to the campus community as recommendations are made and adopted. To the extent recommendations are not able to be implemented immediately or at all, I will explain the rationale for my decisions. The Task Force’s work will be done in collaboration and/or consultation with the College’s existing Retention Task Force, whose role is to assess the factors impacting persistence and retention of all Mills students as well as to determine interventions, both proactive and reactive, to promote student persistence.! ! Diversity Trainers!
I have asked Aurora Rezapour, Chief Human Resources, EEO and Compliance Officer, to identify and interview diversity trainers to facilitate conversations and training for our community.
Although we have internal expertise in this area, I think it is important to utilize the expertise of external experts who have addressed similar issues in other institutions. Aurora has already reached out to 14 potential diversity trainers and has conducted extensive interviews with 7. She will be speaking with 3 additional trainers by the end of this week. The campus community will have an opportunity to meet with the final candidates before we select the diversity trainers. It is likely that different training will be offered for different campus constituencies. We will announce the selected trainers and the proposed dates for training as soon as possible. Given that there are only a few more weeks in the semester, the training may occur in the Fall.! ! Cabinet Member Responsibility for Each Student Demand!
Given the complexity of some of the concerns, the time line for successfully addressing each issue will vary. Because of the importance of the concerns expressed, I have appointed a Cabinet member as the point person for each of the student demands:! ! ! · General Education: Kimberley Phillips, Provost and Dean of the Faculty!
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· Enrollment Task Force: Alecia DeCoudreaux, President! · Policies! · Public Safety: Renee Jadushlever, Chief of Staff and Vice President for Operations!
! · Office of Student Activities: Eloise Stiglitz, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students!
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· Emergency Fund for Black Students: Eloise Stiglitz and Tammi Jackson!
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· Tenure track faculty: Kim Phillips!
! · Student of Color Data: Kim Phillips (in consultation with Alice Knudsen, Director of Institutional Research)!
! · Emergency Crisis Response Team: Eloise Stiglitz (in consultation with Dorian Newton, Director of Counseling)!
! · Revision of Social Justice Mission Statement: Kim Phillips (in consultation with Faculty Executive Committee)!
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· Diversity Training: Alecia DeCoudreaux (in consultation with Aurora Rezapour)! Other Meetings and Events Addressing Concerns!
! A number of campus meetings and discussions have been held by the administration, committees, and departments on campus.! ! ! · Provost Phillips convened a breakfast meeting of faculty to discuss classroom dynamics and approaches to resolve classroom tensions.!
! · The Ethnic Studies Department and the Diversity and Social Justice Resource Center ! (DSJRC) partnered to sponsor a meeting for staff and faculty entitled: “Facing Racism: Beyond Facebook.” Different scenarios were presented for small group discussions in an effort to understand how racism and micro aggressions show up and to identify creative solutions for resolving these problems.!
! · Students have attended the Faculty Curriculum Transformation Committee meeting and have presented curricular issues and recommendations.!
There are numerous events planned before the end of the semester, including:! ! ! · April 7-11: Ally Week, sponsored by DSJRC, with a variety of opportunities to learn about social justice and what it means to be an ally.!
! · April 8, 7:00 pm: Bleached, film screening and dialogue: As part of SAMEAPI Awareness month; Bleached is a short film about colorism in a Filipino American family. !
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· April 9, 12:15-1:00 pm: Social Justice Bite on Allyship!
! · April 10, 6:30 pm: Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible, film screening and dialogue with the Institute for Civic Leadership (ICL) and the Center for Urban Schools and Partnerships (CUSP)!
Counseling Hours! ! Six hours of counseling provided by black crisis counselors will continue weekly through the month of April. In addition, the Healing Circle in the Solidarity Lounge will be held weekly, Tuesdays at noon, throughout the rest of the semester.! ! I know that this has been a very stressful and hurtful time for Black students and indeed for the entire campus community. We must address our challenges collectively and collaboratively and be committed to making improvements in the quality of our interactions with each other, and in our community. I have no doubt that each of us is capable of contributing in a respectful and meaningful way to improve the quality of campus life and make measurable improvements. ! ! I will continue to apprise the community on progress toward meeting the Black students’ demands. In the meantime, please know that I am grateful for the progress which has been made to date and for everyone’s efforts in this regard. We have made a great start in addressing the issues of concern and I look forward to working with all members of the Mills community to move forward positively.
Published on Mar 22, 2014
Email from the Office of the President at Mills College. For readability, The Campanil has made a few changes in formatting in the document.