On Tuesday, November 7, Honorable Judge Brad Seligman gave preliminary approval of a $1.25M settlement for "former students at Mills College in Oakland who claimed they were misled, and forced to spend more on education..." S.F Chronicle, 11/8/2023.
408 students will share the settlement, after lawyer fees. The "damages" will vary based on each individual student's case. A hearing for final approval is scheduled for March, 2024.
Despite the possible consequences, a handful of students stepped forward to represent the entire body. We applaud these five students for "showing their Mills" with moxie, grit and courage.
The Oakland City Council has unanimously passed a resolution calling for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of Mills college.
Thank you to Oakland City Council's Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan and Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao who believe in justice for Mills College, which primarily serves women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, first-generation students, and resuming students (including mothers). Oakland needs more leaders like Sheng and Rebecca who are willing to fight for women of color and the LGBTQ+ population.
Please read Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan's editorial in the SF Bay Times about why she believes this investigation is important.
More background on Mills College and why the Mills community is calling for this investigation:
1. Mills is one of only 33 remaining historically women’s colleges (HWCs) in the US. Like HBCUs, when an HWC closes it will never reopen due to antidiscrimination laws.
2. With a $220 MILLION endowment, Mills is one of the wealthiest colleges in the entire U.S. The Mills endowment is higher than 80% of 4-year colleges and universities.
3. Mills has educated world leaders, business leaders, and artists around the world. Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Dave Brubeck (Contemporary Music grad program) are Mills grads. Discover more amazing Mills alums here.
4. To justify the closure, the Mills President and Board have provided misleading and inaccurate financial information—including to a Superior Court Judge in Alameda. This was revealed by 2 renowned, independent economists who specialize in educational finance.
5. It has been confirmed that the Mills President and Board of Trustees plan to move money from Mills' $220 MILLION endowment to their own lucrative new, potentially for profit "Institute" (aka "think tank").
6. The Mills President has been awarded a new, probably higher paid position as a result of brokering the “sale” of Mills. But she has refused to disclose her new salary and bonus structure to the Mills community.
7. Mills students were promised that the acquisition would offer them more opportunities and allow them to graduate from Mills until 2023. Instead, they were lied to. Hundreds of Mills students have been told their majors will no longer exist at the new Northeastern campus. These students are being forced to transfer, repeat years of coursework, and take out tens of thousands of dollars in additional student loans so they can graduate. This is FRAUD, plain and simple.
8. Mills total assets, including land, a $220 million endowment, and priceless art works and rare books are worth more than $1 BILLION. Yet, Mills Leadership has agreed to “sell” Mills to Northeastern University for less than 1% of its total worth (under $30 million). Northeastern has a history of predatory college takeovers. They charge their students as much as $75k per year to attend Northeastern—more than all Ivy League colleges. Previously an all-male college, the majority of Northeastern students, faculty, and Board of Trustees are white men. Essentially, a majority male college was allowed to “buy” a racially diverse, historically women’s college for less than 1% of its total net worth.
9. Northeastern is not a “good neighbor.” As journalists have reported, Northeastern has a private on-campus police force that carries semiautomatic weapons and has been found guilty of covering up on-campus rape. Residents of Massachusetts are also currently embroiled in a land dispute with Northeastern. Are these signs of what’s to come in Oakland?
Thank you so much for your support!!!
We believe that real social justice isn’t about virtue signaling or issuing appropriated “talking points” written by Northeastern’s PR agency.
This is what REAL social justice looks like.