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Mills’ rankings cause questions on diversity on campus

According to the Mills College website, more than half the student body (graduate and undergraduate students) are students of color. (Abbey Flentje)
According to the Mills College website, more than half the student body (graduate and undergraduate students) are students of color. (Abbey Flentje)

Recently Mills College ranked high on two prestigious lists from U.S. News and World Report.

Mills ranked #5  on the “2016’s Best Colleges in the West” by receiving a college rating of 85 out of 100. Mills was also ranked #14 in the “Best Campus for Ethnic Diversity” list by U.S News and World Report. Every year, the report creates a list of distinguished colleges and universities, ranking 618 of them across the U.S as “Best Regional Universities.” According to a press release on the college’s website, 90 of those institutions are listed as the best in the west coast.

Last year, Mills placed #6 on the “Best Colleges” list. Mills has been at the top tier of this list for eight consecutive years.

“It is gratifying to be ranked as one of the top institutions in the West again and recognized for the high-quality academic experience and good economic value we provide,” President Alecia DeCoudreaux said in a press release.

Decoudreaux also expressed her excitement for Mills students and their career paths.

“We’re committed to cultivating a new generation of creative, independent thinkers who will forge distinctive paths throughout their lives,” Decoudreaux said.

Dean of Students Dr. Chicora Martin (whose preferred gender pronouns are they/them) also showed hope for Mills with the ranking. Martin believes the ranking will give a positive outcome for prospective students.

“I think that the ranking systems for colleges are very complex and what I am excited about with the the release of these rankings is that more students may see this information and go online, request a campus visit, and learn more about the potential of Mills College,” Martin said.

Although Martin has been at Mills for a short period of time, they believe that Mills holds the reputation to support its ranking.

“Mills has a wonderful traditional of exceptional education and once you visit, meet students and experience the campus, you realize the Mills of today should be at the top of everyone’s list,” Martin said.

However, this ranking in diversity brought questions for many Mills students, especially about the relationships and ideas about diversity on campus. Erin Clark, junior and ASMC Vice-President, believed that the rankings placed in the report does not show the issues on campus.

“We can be one of the best colleges in the West, we can even be one of the most diverse, but until we’re actually committing to a community based education […] we’re not really going to be making this space an optimal place for learning,” Clark said in an email.

According to senior and ASMC President Rachel Patterson, she believes that these rankings should be taken with a grain of salt. She felt that Mills still has to work together to continue the diversity.

“I am proud to be attending a college that ranks so well in both of these categories,” Patterson said in an email. “I think we are all very privileged to go to such a good school, though there is still a lot of work to be done here.”