OAKLAND – A California women’s college has declared a “financial emergency” earlier this week, as they face drastic staff cuts and plans to restructure curriculum amid plummeting enrollment numbers.
Mills College became the first all-female U.S. college in August 2014 to admit male undergraduate students who identify themselves as female, attracting global attention, reports Inside Higher Ed.
The college’s website reads:
“Students who self-identify as female are eligible to apply for undergraduate admission. This includes students who were not assigned to the female sex at birth but live and identify as women at the time of application. It also includes students who are legally assigned to the female sex, but who identify as transgender or gender fluid.”
The policy adds that “self-identification shall be the driving force behind the College’s eligibility decision.”
However, females who have undergone surgery to become male are not eligible, according to the school’s policy.
“Students assigned to the female sex at birth who have undergone a legal change of gender to male prior to the point of application are not eligible for admission.”
On Tuesday, the college’s board of trustees announced that Mills is currently in a “financial emergency” and running a $9 million yearly operating deficit that will likely result in significant cuts to staff and a reformed curriculum. The school’s deficit is sizeable considering that a $9 million shortfall is about 16 percent of the school’s 2017 budget of $57 million for next year.
According to the college’s bylaws, a declaration of financial emergency can be approved when there is a “need to reorder the college’s financial obligations in such a way as to restore and/or preserve the financial stability of the institution.”
Under the circumstances, the board of trustees is authorized “to restructure all of its expenses, including staff and faculty salary and other expenses, in pursuit of financial stability,” according to the report.
Mills College president Elizabeth L. Hillman anticipates as many as 35 faculty member layoffs. Tenured professors will also be on the chopping block.
The school has been known for offering low-income students a liberal arts education who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it. Often students pay well below the posted $59,163 undergraduate tuition, fees and room and board, leaving Mills shelling out financial aid and scrambling for money.
To make matters worse, applications and enrollments have also taken a dive in recent years, with only 839 applications received for the 2015-2016 academic year. One year before 1,827 applications received, resulting in an estimated 45 percent drop.
In the wake of the college’s financial downturn, the school is exploring a major curriculum reform to include “a bold new education experience” that will focus on issues such as “gender and racial justice.”
It is also slated to “provide students with the tools and confidence to solve complex problems, communicate across differences and take action aimed at transforming their communities and the world,” according to documents obtained by Inside Higher Ed.
H/T: The Daily Caller
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