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Testimony to Mills College Board of Trustees: Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies Vivian Chin

(Photo courtesy of Chad Lutz) Vivian Chin, associate professor of ethnic studies and Mills College alum, testifies before the Board of Trustees while current and former students stand in support at Mills College on June 22, 2017.

Vivian Chin
Statement to the Board of Trustees
June 22, 2017

I stand with all 11 mostly tenured faculty who received the “potential status of your position” (probable layoff) email.

I am an associate professor in ethnic studies who costs less than a full professor.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and ethnic studies is a revenue generating department. Cutting from ethnic studies is bad for business.

Listening to students and to faculty is good for the college.

In these desperate times let us carefully consider the consequences of our actions.

Attacking the heart of a healthy and essential department – ethnic studies – is bad for the college. Dismissing the first East Asian American professor to obtain tenure at Mills is bad for the college.

Ethnic studies is a robust department that serves the college with high enrollment and a high number of majors.

(In the planned merger between ETHS and WGSS, only two tenured faculty will remain. Originally, ETHS had FOUR tenured faculty and WGGS had two, making a total of six. Two thirds of the combined faculty gone? How does this make sense?)

Students sent a petition on my behalf that gathered over 480 signatures. The many letters from students and alumanae AND the letter of support from the faculty, including those in ethnic studies and women’s, gender and sexuality studies – which are set to merge – attest to the fact that my positon is vital to the needs of students and to meet the needs of MillsNext.

Disregarding tenure is bad for the college.

Hasty executive decisions are bad for business.

I am familiar with the ebb and flow of human rights. My mother was interned as an American of Japanese ancestry during WWII and could not finish college. My father was able to stay in this country because the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed. Mills is my alma mater. I am Mills. Ethnic studies is the social justice that Mills sells. Is bait and switch good for business?