Mills College Plans To Eliminate Philosophy Department


Following up on the report about the threat to philosophy at Mills College: the Board of Trustees and administration at Mills announced late yesterday afternoon the details of its “Financial Stabilization Plan” and it includes laying-off both Marc Joseph, a tenured full professor, and Jay Gupta, a tenured associate professor, who together comprise the entire philosophy faculty at the school. 

Mills College, which at the undergraduate level only accepts women students, describes itself as offering “a renowned liberal arts education” and boasts that it “has been setting the standard for quality in liberal arts education for more than 160 years.” It is unclear how the administration’s plan to eliminate its philosophy faculty is consistent with this vision of the school.

Professor Joseph writes that he is “sad beyond words”—not just for the threat to his career, “but for what the College is losing—our great intellectual tradition—Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Spinoza, Kant, etc. etc. No one left at the Mills can teach these authors.”

Readers are encouraged to write letters to the chair of the Board of Trustees of Mills College, Katie Sanborn ([email protected]) and the complete Board of Trustees ([email protected]) to protest the plan.

 

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Alfred MacDonald
4 years ago

philosophy students are invariably some of the highest-aptitude students at any college, and some of the most truthseeking

mills, there are better options for budget cuts. do the right thing instead:

https://www.mills.edu/academics/undergraduate/wgss/
MillsReport

Paul Whitfield
Paul Whitfield
Reply to  Alfred MacDonald
4 years ago

First they came for…Report

Alfred MacDonald
Reply to  Paul Whitfield
4 years ago

under that reasoning, we should fund lamarckian evolution because they might eventually cut philosophy too.Report

ChrisTS
ChrisTS
Reply to  Alfred MacDonald
4 years ago

Because Philosophy, as a discipline, is just like Lamarkian evolutionary theory as a … sub-field theory?Report

Maja Sidzinska
Maja Sidzinska
Reply to  Alfred MacDonald
4 years ago

As a Mills alum I can say with relative certainty that many folks at Mills, students, faculty, and staff alike, value the WGSS program just as they value the Philosophy program, and on similar grounds. There was worthwhile interdisciplinary interaction between these two departments at (least before Dr. Elizabeth Potter retired).Report

Jovida Ross
Jovida Ross
Reply to  Maja Sidzinska
4 years ago

Another Mills alum here, and totally agree with Maja on both points. One of the standout philosophy classes I took at Mills was a collaboration with the WGSS program on women philosophers. I loved reading de Beauvoir and Arendt. Report

Leinad
Leinad
4 years ago

A team of administrators has failed for several years to deal with a financial and enrollment crisis. The former has been crystal clear for at least six years. The latter for three. None of the people whose job it was to deal with these challenges will be held accountable. Instead, faculty are told “prove to me why we should keep you.” It’s crap management of the most boringly mundane kind. If these folks don’t have enough imagination and leadership to turn the place around WITH faculty who have devoted their lives to the institution, there is zero chance they will be able to pull the institution out of the death spiral they’ve sent it into. They are so downgrading the product that no one in their right mind would send in an app now. Report

Teresa Blankmeyer Burke
Teresa Blankmeyer Burke
4 years ago

I am a Mills alumna and a philosopher (Associate Professor at Gallaudet University). I studied philosophy at Mills with Helen Longino and had many conversations with Libby Potter, both of whom shaped my interest in feminist philosophy. To say that I am outraged by this decision is an understatement! Please do write to the Board of Trustees — I’m calling on my Mills networks to mobilize. If you are a Mills College alumna and a philosopher, please get in touch with me by email.Report

Ellen Spertus
4 years ago

In case anyone wants to join me in donating to the fundraiser for laid off faculty: https://www.youcaring.com/colleagueswholosttheirjobs-841847Report

A
A
4 years ago

Dr Gupta’s 19c Phil course was by far my greatest single theoretical learning challenge and achievement. Images of “What does it mean?” scrawled across my papers still looms large in my waking dreams. I learned more about my own writing in a single semester with Jay than the entirety of the rest of schooling and professional work. I’m devastated by these cuts, as well as the near annihilation of the Ethnic Studies department and WGS.

It is worth mentioning the college does not only admit women. There are many non-binary, gender non-conforming as well as transmasc undergraduates. The graduate programs also admit cismen.

Mills Alum ’17Report

Maja Sidzinska
Maja Sidzinska
4 years ago

On June 26, 2017, the Mills College Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote to ratify college’s Financial Stabilization Plan (FSP) that involves firing 11 tenured faculty, and cutting the Philosophy and Journalism departments. This move threatens academic freedom, and is ethically unacceptable absent financial exigency. Faculty have made alternative proposals that would result in the same budgetary savings, while preserving jobs, yet these proposals have been ignored.

Here is a petition addressed to the President of Mills College and the Board of Trustees urging them NOT to ratify the FSP. Please sign!

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/160/462/167/Report