POSTED BY HANK REICHMAN
The following statement was sent via email on Monday, July 10 by the University of California at Berkeley Faculty Association (BFA):
To: Elizabeth Hillman, President, Mills College
Board of Trustees, Mills College
CC: Roger Sparks, Chair, Faculty Executive Committee
Chinyere Oparah, Provost and Dean of the Faculty
The Berkeley Faculty Association is deeply troubled by recent developments at our neighbor institution, Mills College, including the layoff of five tenured faculty members in violation of professional norms and policies enunciated by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and widely accepted throughout American higher education. While we are in no position to reject the Mills administration’s claims of financial emergency, we still find these layoffs arbitrary and their rationale unsubstantiated. We are also concerned that it seems that Mills is using the college’s financial situation as an excuse to remake the institution’s curriculum with virtually no faculty participation.
We understand that the Mills Faculty Executive Committee has proposed thoughtful alternatives to layoff that might better address the institution’s financial difficulties. We therefore call on the President of Mills College, Elizabeth Hillman, and the Board of Trustees to rescind the layoffs of tenured faculty, to ensure that all changes to curriculum be approved by the appropriate faculty governance bodies, and to work with faculty leaders to devise a fairer and more transparent solution to the college’s difficulties. We also call on faculty everywhere to express their support for our beleaguered Mills colleagues.
The Board of the Berkeley Faculty Association
Michael Burawoy (Chair)
Chris Rosen (Vice-Chair),
Leslie Salzinger (Secretary)
Lisa García Bedolla