1. Mills College Is Worth Billions. Who gets the prize?

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LATEST UPDATE: #2 - 135 Acres Worth Less Than $300,000?

Recently Mills College blindsided students, staff, alumnae and the Oakland Community when they announced that after 169 years they would cease issuing degrees - essentially closing as a college.

What will Mills be in the future? Who will be running it? What is their agenda?

The answers to these questions seem vague and undefined from President Hillman's media interviews with the SF Chronicle and NPR and her statements on the Mills College web site and Facebook page.

Mills College is beloved by all who attended and plays a vital role in developing the raw potential of young women from black, latinx, LGBTQ and other minorities into the leaders of tomorrow.

Whoever is taking it out is dealing a huge blow to Oakland's culture, history and diversity.


WHO BENEFITS? FOLLOW THE MONEY

There are three main assets at Mills College:

  • real estate
  • endowment
  • archives

REAL ESTATE
A contiguous parcel of land of this size very rarely comes on the market in the San Francisco Bay Area, which has some of the world's most expensive real estate.

Some of the real estate holdings are historic buildings, which can be expensive to maintain. Grants from government, foundations, alumnae and other funding options are available to deal with this, a problem faced by every college. As well as the just announced $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus package, the government is working on a $2 trillion infrastructure stimulus package. It seems reasonable that most of Mills capital maintenance needs could be covered by one or more of these funding sources. Or do the developers want to just knock down as much as they can and build condos?

Some of the real estate at Mills is relatively new and highly coveted, such as the music department and its crown jewel - the recently restored Littlefield Concert Hall, widely praised for acoustic quality and architecture.

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As the only large patch of green West of I-580, you can see that the Mills land parcel is of enormous ecological significance.

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We can come to a crude approximation of the value of the land by looking at the area it's in. Think of this as a worst case scenario - ignoring the land, improvements, million+ square feet of buildings, and premium for the uniqueness of the parcel. Residential development is worth more than commercial or industrial development; Mills College is already mixed-use. Is this grandfathered in with the property titles and rights, dating back to the 19th century?

Just assuming industrial use - the site is leveled, and used for a factory or parking lot - we can get the $/sq ft rent for the area, and with average yields calculate a capital value.

Campus size 135 acres
Square feet: 5,880,600

East Oakland commercial real estate
Industrial rent $0.97 / sq ft / month

=$5,704,182 / month
= $68,450,184 / year

at 4% yield=

$1,711,254,600 - $1.7 billion

If the land was to be developed for residential, average sale price per square foot for Oakland is $612 - which values the parcel at $3.6 billion

Lots in the surrounding area are approaching $1 million on Zillow. There is room on this massive site for many thousands of residential units.

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ENDOWMENT

Mills College's endowment was $191 million in 2018. Their accreditation review in 2020 rated their financial situation as healthy, with sufficient reserves to sustain deficits for several more years.

The Endowment draw-down was deliberately reduced from 7% to 5% several years ago. Could this be restored? The difference if it was increased to 7% is another $3.83 million per year.

There is a deficit of $3 million and a budget of $50 million. With an endowment of nearly $200 million, shouldn't they be able to cover that? It's 1.5% of the endowment and 6% revenue shortfall - many organizations have faced much worse due to COVID and stayed open.

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ARCHIVES

In 2020 Mills College set a new record for auctioning off their priceless archives. A Shakespeare Folio gifted to the College expected to fetch a few millions brought in $9.9 million. Another priceless archive item was also being sold to a private collector for an undisclosed sum: a “musical transcript" of Mozart’s five epistle sonatas created in the early 1770s.

Mills College also has the San Francisco Tape Music Center, an important part of the Bay Area's vibrant 60's cultural heritage and Oakland's musical legacy.

Who gets all these archives? Who will hold the digital rights for licensing this intellectual property in the future?

Who gets the endowment funds? What happens with Alumnae Donations?

What is the plan for funding the Mills Institute, if there is no longer tuition?


WHO SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE TERMINATION OF MILLS?

When their accreditor extensively investigated the college last year, they found the leadership team had failed to execute their Financial Stabilization Plan.

What happened with that plan? What was implemented? Has the Board of Trustees held anyone accountable for the dismal financial performance of Mills - which was happening for years before COVID?

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It appears that since that February 2020 report President Hillman and her team have continued to fail to financially stabilize Mills College. Rather than risk losing accreditation over it - and thus be called to account for her results as leader - she has announced the College will close. No accreditation review necessary!

Do stakeholders have a "clear picture" of Mills' financial status? Are the Board of Trustees asking hard questions about this? Or are they just there to rubber stamp whatever Hillman decides is best?

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WHO DARES, WINS

If the team keeps losing, change the coach - don't cancel the team.

History has many examples of teams that flourished under #NewLeadership.

Mills College is a prize that doesn't need to be given away to any other team.


REFERENCES

Commission Action Letter, February 2020 Action
https://wascsenior.box.com/shared/static/dhgmp2gqknmsd8ac7eqtqghn5zcvng96.pdf

Team Report, Reaffirmation Visit, February 2020 Action
https://wascsenior.box.com/shared/static/uyf83gz15endntryapq78qk6ztb3wlbz.pdf

SF Chronicle, St Patrick's Day 2021
https://www.sfchronicle.com/local/article/Mills-College-will-stop-granting-degrees-ending-16033236.php

Beth Hillman address on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/millscollege/videos/3476691499104116/

Mozart Manuscript sold privately:
https://www.kqed.org/arts/13871311/mills-college-to-sell-shakespeare-first-folio-mozart-manuscript-amid-budget-woes

Shakespeare's First Folio sells for $10 million
https://www.finebooksmagazine.com/blog/shakespeare-first-folio-sells-just-under-10-million

Tape Music Center Becomes Center for Contemporary Music at Mills
https://hoodline.com/2014/08/the-san-francisco-tape-music-center/

SQ4 2020 East Bay real estate report, Cushman & Wakefield
https://www.cushmanwakefield.com/en/united-states/insights/us-marketbeats/oakland-marketbeats

Oakland has some of the lowest real estate yields in the world (at 4%)
https://www.cbre.us/about/media-center/weight-of-capital-driving-global-industrial-and-logistics-prime-yield-compression

Oakland Residential Housing Market
https://www.redfin.com/city/13654/CA/Oakland/housing-market


DISCLAIMER

DISCUSSION OF INFORMATION IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST. PUBLIC COMMENTARY WELCOME. WE PROVIDE CITATIONS TO PRIMARY SOURCES, FOLLOW THE HYPERLINKS. ANY PERSON MENTIONED HERE IS INVITED TO SHARE THEIR SIDE OF THE STORY IN THE COMMENT SECTION. ALL IMAGES USED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES UNDER FAIR USE PROVISIONS OF THE COPYRIGHT ACT. WE ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH ANY ORGANIZED MILLS COLLEGE GROUP, BUT WE JOIN THEM ALL IN RESISTANCE TO ANY ATTEMPTED TAKEOVER.

#MILLSFOREVER


SEE ALSO

1. Mills College is Worth Billions - Who Gets the Prize?

2. 135 Acres Worth Less than $300,000? College Owns Hundreds of Millions in Equities, Real Estate

3. We Got the Mills College Receipts - From the IRS

4. Mills College Financially "Very Healthy" With 100% Rating From Charity Navigator

5. Mills College 2017 Financial Stabilization Plan

6. Gasoline on the Burning Platform - Men to Live on Mills College Campus

7. UC Berkeley "Life and Death" Financial Crisis, How Can They Afford Mills College Problems Too?

8. Strong, Proud and Determined to Save the College We Love

9. Sue the Board - It Worked For Sweet Briar, Could It Work For Mills College?

10. Déjà Vu - Organized Faction of AAMC Pushing UC Merger Plan Similar to Board of Trustees

11. Mills College Leadership Caught Speechless by AAMC Resistance

12. Save Mills Coalition Steps Up, Hillman Administration Gets Voted Down

13. Mills College Community Stunned by Another Hillman Hand Grenade

14. The Art of the Steal 2.0 - Billion Dollar Black Holes From Barnes to Bender

15. Trustee vs Trustee - Mills College Board Members Sue For Transparency

16. F*CK YOUR INDEPENDENCE: Hillman Declares War Against Mills College Alumnae

17. White Supremacy Reigns in Mills College and Northeastern Boards

18. The Defendant Tells The Media About The Plaintiffs

19. Good News For Women's Colleges - Congratulations, Beth!

20. $25 Million To See The Books

21. "Damage So Severe The Community May Never Recover"

22. Desperate Defendants Finally Speak: Gaslighting Frenzy Before Court Monday

23. Failed Leadership Fakes Support With Fake Forum

24. Mills College Has $85 Million Without Restrictions, So Why Can't It Stay Independent?

25. Hillman Plan Cheerleaders On The Payroll: 0.75%; 99.25% Afraid To Speak Out Due To Culture Of Intimidation

26. Simple Solutions For Mills College Financial Situation

27. Online Education In The Bay Area: New Gold Mountain

28. Mills College Trustees Rushing Into A Deal Without Knowing The Terms

29. What Happened At The First Mills College Court Hearing?

30. Mills College Might Be Lost, But The Perpetrators Of Its Downfall Remain


DISCLAIMER

DISCUSSION OF INFORMATION IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST. PUBLIC COMMENTARY WELCOME. WE PROVIDE CITATIONS TO PRIMARY SOURCES, FOLLOW THE HYPERLINKS. ANY PERSON MENTIONED HERE IS INVITED TO SHARE THEIR SIDE OF THE STORY IN THE COMMENT SECTION. ALL IMAGES USED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES UNDER FAIR USE PROVISIONS OF THE COPYRIGHT ACT. WE ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH ANY ORGANIZED MILLS COLLEGE GROUP, BUT WE JOIN THEM ALL IN RESISTANCE TO ANY ATTEMPTED TAKEOVER.

#MILLSFOREVER


SEE ALSO

1. Mills College is Worth Billions - Who Gets the Prize?

2. 135 Acres Worth Less than $300,000? College Owns Hundreds of Millions in Equities, Real Estate

3. We Got the Mills College Receipts - From the IRS

4. Mills College Financially "Very Healthy" With 100% Rating From Charity Navigator

5. Mills College 2017 Financial Stabilization Plan

6. Gasoline on the Burning Platform - Men to Live on Mills College Campus

7. UC Berkeley "Life and Death" Financial Crisis, How Can They Afford Mills College Problems Too?

8. Strong, Proud and Determined to Save the College We Love

9. Sue the Board - It Worked For Sweet Briar, Could It Work For Mills College?

10. Déjà Vu - Organized Faction of AAMC Pushing UC Merger Plan Similar to Board of Trustees

11. Mills College Leadership Caught Speechless by AAMC Resistance

12. Save Mills Coalition Steps Up, Hillman Administration Gets Voted Down

13. Mills College Community Stunned by Another Hillman Hand Grenade

14. The Art of the Steal 2.0 - Billion Dollar Black Holes From Barnes to Bender

15. Trustee vs Trustee - Mills College Board Members Sue For Transparency

16. F*CK YOUR INDEPENDENCE: Hillman Declares War Against Mills College Alumnae

17. White Supremacy Reigns in Mills College and Northeastern Boards

18. The Defendant Tells The Media About The Plaintiffs

19. Good News For Women's Colleges - Congratulations, Beth!

20. $25 Million To See The Books

21. "Damage So Severe The Community May Never Recover"

22. Desperate Defendants Finally Speak: Gaslighting Frenzy Before Court Monday

23. Failed Leadership Fakes Support With Fake Forum

24. Mills College Has $85 Million Without Restrictions, So Why Can't It Stay Independent?

25. Hillman Plan Cheerleaders On The Payroll: 0.75%; 99.25% Afraid To Speak Out Due To Culture Of Intimidation

26. Simple Solutions For Mills College Financial Situation

27. Online Education In The Bay Area: New Gold Mountain

28. Mills College Trustees Rushing Into A Deal Without Knowing The Terms

29. What Happened At The First Mills College Court Hearing?

30. Mills College Might Be Lost, But The Perpetrators Of Its Downfall Remain

31. Investigate Mills

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