Commitment to Antiracism

“It is time to commit to being an antiracist institution. As the work of Black Lives Matter has demonstrated so forcefully, racism in the United States is systemic. We must acknowledge the reality that Mills College is not isolated from the White supremacy that has shaped American society, since its founding, and continues to this day. We must reckon with our history, find effective ways to react to and repair the damage caused by racist incidents at Mills.”

- Excerpted from the Commitment to Antiracism, Board of Trustees of Mills
College, October 15, 2020

Mills College is committed to racial justice and to dismantling the barriers to educational opportunity that race, class, and other intersecting systems of exclusion and oppression have created. It rejects all forms of racism and seeks to eliminate racial discrimination in all aspects of learning and working environments, including direct and indirect racism, racial vilification, and harassment. Eradicating expressions of racism and challenging the attitudes that allow them to emerge is the shared responsibility of all within our community.

We can, and must, take action now to ensure Mills recognizes and encourages equity, racial justice, and antiracism in all policies, procedures, training, and College-sponsored activities. Recent communications from students, faculty, staff, and alumnae have expressed concerns about accountability, reflecting where the College can improve. They also demand change and acknowledgment of current practices. As Mills commits to doing more, we also seek the input and engagement of all as we make the work of antiracism central to the College’s mission and hold ourselves, and Mills, accountable.

Goals for Academic Year 2020-21

  1. Identify third-party resources for training, educational support, and review of policy and practices, and develop implementation plans for their support.
  2. Share communication and feedback channels for stakeholders who experience racism or who are engaged in antiracism efforts, relying on new structures, such as the cross-divisional Intersectional Antiracism Team (IAT), to lead ongoing equity efforts.
  3. Request and review antiracism plans for each division of College operations, and make those plans part of annual operational assessments.
  4. Elevate equity and co-design in Mills’ partnership with UC Berkeley.

What is Antiracism? Antiracism is a form of action that dismantles structural, systemic, and interpersonal racism and is closely related to efforts to resist the oppression of marginalized groups. An antiracist college supports and prioritizes efforts and actions to provide equitable opportunities for all on an individual and systemic level. Individuals can act against racism by acknowledging personal privileges, including white supremacy, confronting acts of racial discrimination, eliminating and working to change personal and/or implicit/explicit racial biases, and practicing equity and inclusion in reviewing, revising, and following antiracist policies.

Background. Recognizing and appreciating the diverse collective identities, experiences, perspectives, and abilities of the students, faculty, staff, and community partners with whom we collaborate, the College commits itself to enriching academic and operational experiences through the advancement of diversity, equity, inclusion, antiracist, and anti-oppressive practices.

The College commits to building on past efforts and improving in the areas of diversity, inclusion, equity, antiracism, indirect discrimination/microaggressions, and anti-oppression to inform the development of our students, faculty, and staff, as well as our community partnerships. Through these efforts, we aim to promote awareness of systemic racism within our own community and in the world around us.

Values. The College acknowledges historic and current injustices in our community and strives to cultivate an environment where equality is a staple in all that we do.

  • Collaboration: The College will continue to listen to and learn from those who have suffered from a lack of equity and restorative justice.
  • Courage: The College will be a strategic partner and take the initiative to strongly advocate for and work closely with our Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) students, faculty, and staff to bring additional awareness and support to campus.
  • Accountability: The College will act with transparency and integrity to advance the knowledge of what it means to be an antiracist institution, and to understand Mills’ history with respect to equity and injustice.
  • Equality: The College will continue to identify racial disparities and inequities that result from past and current policies and practices, seeking equitable outcomes as a measure of success.

Change and Accountability. The list of commitments and short-term actions below is a starting point; long-term efforts, which will be essential to creating sustainable and measurable solutions, will require more listening, learning, understanding, and adapting. As this work evolves, and as strategy and planning efforts continue, Mills will regularly keep the College community informed of outcomes and progress. Many affinity groups have ideas about how to move forward. The College will draw on that knowledge by engaging and encouraging the community to inform, understand, advance, and achieve transformative change. To drive collaboration, we will find ways to gather additional ideas that will build on the first steps.

Commitment. The College will make diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism central to Mills’ mission of education and community engagement. We commit to actions that will lead to transformative and sustainable change.

We will accelerate our actions within three critical commitment areas:
  1. Equitable systems and inclusive culture: Develop sustainable antiracist organizational structures to drive change and accountability by empowering every operational area of the College to review its practices and culture. Examine the impact of student, faculty, and staff-facing systems and make changes to address inequitable outcomes and systems that negatively impact our Black, Indigenous, and people of color community stakeholders.
  2. Talent: Increase the diversity of the College’s students, faculty, and staff through recruitment, hiring, and retention of those who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color.
  3. Education and training: Identify third-party vendors to provide educational workshops and guidance on how best to support the representation of students, faculty, and staff who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color and those from marginalized communities. The Provost’s Office (faculty), Division of Student Life (students), and the Human Resources Department (staff) have already begun antiracist training and planning; as their work matures, engages external experts, and assesses results, it will cross divisions and operational units.