When I saw this I was very sad and upset. I knew Mills, my alma mater, had problems, but has it come to this? It is very disturbing when a college like Mills comes to an end because of money problems. This reeks of sickness in society. There’s a fly in the ointment somewhere!
Mills College was founded in 1852. It was the first women’s college west of the Rockies. You mean to tell me that after 169 years and being founded during a time that women had no rights, we can’t keep this College going? WTF is wrong with this picture?
I went to Mills because it was a women’s college, founded by and for women. What the heck is happening here?
Mills will become an “Institute” now!!? WTF does that mean? What kind of institute and is this a good thing? In any case, I don’t want my school and the school that has been important to so many women in the world to go out of existence. This is tragic. I feel like we’re loosing our cultural history and we’re going backwards. If we loose our landmarks, then where are we?
What the hell is an institution versus a college, anyway?
Ok. Mills will no longer grant degrees. What does that even mean?
I wanted to find out what institutions were so I looked into two of the most famous institutes that I could think of off the top of my head.
M.I.T. – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Hello, not really an “institute.” It is a degree granting private university.
Established in 1861, M.I.T. is a private land grant research university which means it is a “institution” of higher education designated by the State to receive the benefits of the Morrell Acts of 1862 and 1890 which was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln.
The Morrell Act funded educational institutions by granting federally controlled land to the states for them to sell and raise funds to establish and endow “land grant colleges.” There are 112 land grant institutions, 19 are historically black and 33 are tribal. There is one land grant institution in every state. Kansas State University was the first founded in 1863. Cornell is the only Ivy League.
The focus of these colleges was to be on the teaching of practical agricultural science, military science, and engineering as a response to the industrial revolution. However, it does not exclude classical education. But the mission was in contrast to the historic practice of higher education which used to focus on the liberal arts, which is what Mills is/was.
Some of these land grant colleges have now become large public universities.
Some are private like Cornell, M.I.T. , and Tuskegee University
The Morrell Act if 1862 was enacted during the Civil War.
The Morrell Act of 1880 was aimed at the Confederate states and required them to prove that race was not an admission criteria. However it did allow them to designate a separate land grant institution for persons of color. Yet another mind-fuck by those in power. Thank you Abraham Lincoln. Anyway, this is why we have the historically black colleges. At least it allowed us to learn in peace without anyone busting up our shit and lynching us. I think it helped us to try to catch up at least with some type of peace of mind while not having to worry about the existence of our bodies. This was ultimately not a bad thing.
In any case, M.I.T is not really an institute per se. It is a private university that grants degrees. A regular institute does not.
Mechanics Institute of San Francisco
Mechanics Institutes were originally formed to provide adult education particularly in technical subjects to working men. The Mechanics institute was founded in 1854 and is the oldest institute on the west coast. Its mission is to provide a center for intellectual and cultural advancement. Anyone can join the institute for a small annual fee.
It is located in the financial district of San Francisco.
It is a sort of private club not unlike the Drones Club of Jeeves and Wooster. No, it’s more like the Diogenes Club of Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s brother. I like that. I could totally join this club and probably will.
Mechanic means “Homo Faber, man the fabricator”
Neither of these “institutes” seems to be compatible with what Mills is trying to be.
I suppose Mills is thinking they’d be a research institute.
Here are some examples of famous research institutes:
Rockefeller Institute Institute of Government
Carnegie Institute for Science
What would Mills look like if they followed the model of these world famous Institutes?
Here’s Mills’ commitment from their website:
We Are Committed to Equity.
“Mills recognizes that diversity and social justice are inextricably linked to academic excellence and innovation. Critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, creativity, and collaboration are all enhanced when a diverse faculty and student body interact and learn from one another. By offering a traditional liberal arts curriculum while engaging new pedagogies and diverse perspectives, Mills provides a transformative educational experience that prepares students for excellence and effective leadership in their careers, professions, and in graduate education.
Years before it was the norm, Mills students, faculty, and staff created a powerful statement of our commitment to equity, inclusion, and social justice. Our collective voice, as represented by the statement below, demonstrates what we believe in and what we fight for as an educational community.
Mills College embraces diversity and social justice as key components of academic, cocurricular, and residential life. The College encourages every member of our community to embrace this vision and to work to attract, support, and retain students, faculty, and staff who reflect the diversity and social justice values of Mills.
Diversity refers to the variety of personal experiences, values, and worldviews that arise from race, ethnicity, gender/gender identity, religious and spiritual beliefs, class, age, color, sexual orientation, disability, immigrant status, and national origin. Social justice refers to a commitment to challenging social, cultural, and economic inequalities imposed on individuals arising from any differential distribution of power, resources, and privilege at Mills and in the larger society.
Since its founding, Mills College has remained committed to empowering women to overcome the social barriers that have excluded them from educational and career opportunities. In the 20th century, Mills recognized the importance of extending this access to women from diverse backgrounds, including resumer (23 years of age and older) women, parenting students, and first-generation college students. In addition, Mills graduate and professional programs are designed to provide a coeducational environment that values women’s leadership and promotes gender equality. Because the College aims to educate all students to acquire the knowledge and skills to effect thoughtful changes in a global, multicultural society, we seek to create opportunities for engagement in activities that promote equity and justice.
Mills honors freedom of expression and respectful discourse as fundamental educational cornerstones. We recognize that students learn best in an environment that is safe for disagreement, recognizes and addresses diverse learning styles, and values holistic growth and wellness.“
Ok. That sounds good. So what will they become?
The Mills Institute for Social Justice and Equity?
Actually this might not be a bad idea.
How are institutes funded? Who pays for Science? Click here.
As you can see, it’s a very slippery slope.
Here’s something for you to do Bill Gates, never mind, I’ll just ask Elon he seems to really put his money where his mouth is. Ad astra infinitum.