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Grad Programs Developing at the Sake of Undergrads

When Mills announced its Strategic Plan, it became clear that the focus of the college has shifted to the graduate program. With the new public policy degree, MBA program, a potential women’s centered law school, and the recently announced charter high school, the college is overextending itself.

President Holmgren has been in a fundraising whirlwind the past few years, and these funds are mainly being allocated to the new graduate programs and not the existing undergraduate ones. Why, with all this fundraising, have the last years seen the death of the drama and media studies departments, and the dramatic shrinking of foreign language studies?

The eager fundraising for the growing graduate programs has diverted interest from the undergraduate program. With the on-campus living situation being continually discussed and complained about by students, why isn’t the college focusing more on existing students and conditions?

The on-campus housing situation has grown particularly bleak. Students complain of mice and bug infestations in addition to the incessant problems with the wireless connection on campus. Despite all the complaints by students, the college has done little to solve these problems; some students have filed multiple work orders only to have them ignored, others have complained to computing services only to be turned away.

Student activities for undergraduates are also sorely lacking. There is a good range of clubs and sports, but little going on outside of those groups for students who live on campus. Reasons for commuting students to come to campus when they don’t have class are even fewer and farther between.

With all of these problems among undergraduates, why is so much money and attention being turned towards the graduate program? We know Mills is only attempting to continue the growth of the college and its reputation. But the main concern is that we may be overextending ourselves at the sake of what gave Mills its reputation in the first place.

Mills needs to focus on the students it has, and the women’s undergraduate program that has made Mills what it is today. The college must reinvest in the undergraduate programs and student services rather than sacrificing them in the name of prospective students and growth.