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.
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.
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.
To strengthen our institutional focus on racial justice, the Mills College Board of Trustees adopted a Commitment to Antiracism on October 15, 2020 (excerpt below). This commitment reaffirms our values and will inform our action plans for the future.
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. Further, we will support faculty and staff as they identify and change policies and practices that yield disparate results for White and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students, faculty, and staff on campus, and we will be proactive in developing initiatives that advance our goal to become an antiracist institution.
Antiracism begins with the recognition that explicit and implicit White supremacy, rooted in a fabricated theory of race, has shaped institutions in the United States since its founding. The concept of race has been used for more than 400 years to rationalize colonialism, enslavement, immigration exclusions, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other systems of injustice that betray the vision of a more just society. To achieve structural change in our society, and eradicate anti-Black racism, it is incumbent on every institution to examine its role in perpetuating the racist status quo.