Black Lives Matter

Mills supports our Black students, staff, faculty, and allies against anti-Black racism, police violence, and racial inequity. It is our responsibility to lead at this critical moment and fulfill our commitment to pursuing gender and racial justice. Our actions must create lasting impact both at Mills College and beyond.

What We're Doing

Since the protests of the summer of 2020, Mills has been proactively striving to become an antiracist institution, informed by the voices and efforts of our Black Student Collective, Black MBA Students Group, Black Faculty and Staff Association, all Black Mills faculty and staff, and the Alumnae of Color Committee of the Alumnae Association of Mills College. We have listened to and learned from our community to identify what Mills can do to be better and do more. As a result of this learning, we created a Commitment to Antiracism and action plan.  We have incorporated the following principles in developing our antiracism plan:

  • Go beyond “standing against” anti-Black racism, police violence, and racial injustice and embody racial and social equity.
  • Go beyond optical allyship to address the institutional, interpersonal, and structural racism that shapes Mills’ policies, behaviors, and the lived experiences of Black students, staff, and faculty.
  • Go beyond just studying and investigating racism and lead tangible institutional policy and practice efforts to end it.

While we know that this is a beginning of the work ahead, we approach this process openly and with full transparency. If you have any feedback or questions, please email president@mills.edu.

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The Mills Public Art Initiative

Mills College debuted a new public art initiative at the front entry of the campus on Monday, October 12, 2020. Conceptualized by two Mills MFA alumnae, this installation was inspired by the sign Mills student-activists posted to demand justice after the death of George Floyd. Our goal was to amplify the voices of Black students and alumnae while connecting Mills with our East Oakland community in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

View the Public Art Installation

What We've Done

While we recognize that we have much work to do, here we share some of the progress that Mills has made to be an inclusive, diverse environment that provides access and opportunities to Black students and students of color.

  • Mills Promise Scholarship Programs: Mills developed a series of partnerships with Oakland and East Bay school districts to encourage high school students of color to attend a four-year college by providing scholarships, mentoring, and leadership development experiences to help them succeed.
  • Test-Optional Admissions: Recognizing the inherent inequities in standardized testing and their impact on communities of color, Mills stopped requiring that students submit Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT) scores as part of our admission process in 2016.
  • Faculty Diversification: During the past four years, Mills has transformed faculty hiring processes using best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion and hired 19 new full-time faculty of color.
  • Black Action Forum (BAF): As a result of ongoing feedback from black students, faculty, and staff, the president appointed a special assistant for equity and inclusion to address persistent issues faced by the Black community at Mills. The BAF meets regularly with the president and special assistant to address the challenges. The BAF compiled an extensive summary of the work they have done since 2020 (PDF) and the goals that have been achieved collectively to date. While Mills had been working to increase our recruitment, retention, and support of Black students for a number of years (see summary PDF), the Black Action Forum has been collaborating with the President's Office and others across campus to accelerate the rate of change and to engage in the work involved with the transition to Mills College at Northeastern University. 
  • B.L.A.C.K. Speaker Series: This speaker series was created in 2020 to celebrate Black and Brown voices in a monthly virtual dialogue exploring the uplifting power of Black artistry and the difficult and provocative challenges facing Black artists and creators of color today.
  • Summer Academic Workshop: More than 30 years ago, Mills created the Summer Academic Workshop designed to provide a multi-week residential experience to prepare first-generation students of color for college. The success of this program resulted in the creation of a variety of summer bridge programs to support talented students of color on their college journey.
  • 50 Years of Ethnic Studies: In 2019, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of ethnic studies at Mills—the first program of its type founded at an independent college in the country. In 1969, the Mills Black Student Union protested against the lack of Black professors on campus, and their demands for representation led to the creation of the Ethnic Studies Program at Mills. Learn about the history.
  • Established Juneteenth (June 19th) as a Mills holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.

Who We Are

Founded in 1852 to create educational access for women, Mills has expanded our mission to include a commitment to dismantling gender and racial barriers. While we are recognized for our diversity and commitment to equity and inclusion, today, we are taking action to deepen this commitment as an antiracist institution.

64%
students of color
13%
Black undergraduate students
(vs. 4% at peer institutions)
17%
Black graduate students
(vs. 5% at peer institutions)
44%
of our faculty are people of color
16%
Black faculty
(vs. 5% at peer institutions)
55%
staff of color
16%
Black staff
(vs. 8% at peer institutions)
18%
Black management

Infographic Source Data: 2020–21 Facts & Trends (Mills data); 2020–21 US Department of Education (comparison data); 2020–21 IPEDS and 2020 Standard Occupational Classification System (management data)

Black student, faculty, staff, and management statistics do not include individuals reporting as multiracial (two or more races).