A New Acronym: CSKC Prepares to Open its Doors

By Madeline Helser 

Coretta Scott King once said, “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members…? and it holds true today, especially when applied to our institution.

Construction is slated for completion on the Coretta Scott King Center for Cultural and Intellectual Freedom, designed to enhance knowledge and awareness about cultural identity in our community and beyond. It aims to educate future generations about cultural struggles and focus on how, as a community, to increase the unity among the different cultural identities.

The CSK Center was the notion of Bob Devine and Team 7. Team 7 was part of the renewal plan for Antioch College given to us by the Board of Trustees. The idea for the center was motivated by an essay written by Dr. Everett Freeman on some of Dr. King’s writings on community. Dr. Freeman was then on the Board of Trustees, and is now the President of the University of Indianapolis. It was in the renewal plan that Team 7 would articulate some sort of center for cultural and intellectual freedom. Out of the plan and the mind of Team 7 and Bob Devine, The CSK Center was born.

After a few weeks on the project, Bob Devine resigned, and Beverly Rodgers became the chair of Team 7. Team 7 was one of the most diverse teams working on the renewal. The team had good community representation; students, staff, and faculty were all represented in a very diverse manner. The team created job descriptions for Diversity positions within the administration.

The positions created were Director/ Diversity Advisor to the President of the College and Administrative Assistant/Diversity Advocate. “The position of Director is loaded with responsibilities, including fundraising, which will be important to the Center’s programming and future staffing. The new director will also need to be visionary, and carry out projects and ideas to better inform and engage the community. They will also serve as a special assistant to the president on institutional diversity; this is crucial to the retention and recruitment of faculty, staff, and students of color. We are a very white campus, especially in the upper-administrative positions, and the Director will hopefully be able to assist with this problem as they sit in the President’s staff group and bring in resources to support faculty, staff, and students of color.? Says Lauren Hind, an upperclassmen working for the Center. As of now, they are in the process of interviewing and hiring an administrative assistant and are in the last steps of hiring a director, which includes visits to campus and talks given by the three candidates in the Inn during Lunch.

When Steve Lawry was hired as President, things were not flowing together very smoothly, so Beverly Rodgers was asked to step in as Interim Director for the Project. Beverly’s job is to oversee the entire renovation of the building that used to be used and known as the G-Space and Security. From overseeing the installation of the carpet to the programs hopefully being set into place, Beverly deals with it all. The main part of Beverly’s job as Interim Director is to organize. She is to get all of the little things out of the way so when the Director starts in early January, the little things will be out of the way and the director will be able to start their job right away. She also has staff meetings with the people that are going to be occupying the new offices in the CSK. Until now, the groups to occupy those offices have had no direct supervision. She is also to get a handle on the budget for the CSK Center. The CSK Center, until just recently, has had no direct monetary support.

The As far as physical changes to the building, the laundry equipment was removed, which included the floor having to be leveled, the electricity taken out, and the walls needing to be repaired and painted. The rest of the building was carpeted and painted as well. It is now being wired for Computers and Internet Access. There are new doors on the front and main entrance and the fireplace is being replaced from a wood burning type to one with gas logs. There are going to be 8 offices set up. The director, the administrative assistant will occupy two of the offices. The other offices will be for the Bonner program, the Makeit program, Vista Americorps, and the community engagement office. The office furniture has already been ordered and should be in by the week of October 16. Once the furniture is in the building, everything should be set within 2 weeks. The Lounge furniture for the common room, formerly known as the G-Space, won’t be in, however, until the middle of November.

As far as programs in the future, Beverly has positive outlooks. “Antioch has a lot to offer our community. But sometimes we get very hidden under a bushel basket. Let’s look at how privilege plays out in the outside world. We need to continue dialogue about it. It’s an important facet of education.? A goal is to be able to have a good developed program for next term. A positive step was bringing Allen Johnson to campus, as he opened up the arena for discussion on topics of cultural identity on a new level.

She has in mind a program educating about Youth Urban Violence, specifically in the Dayton area. It would be for volunteer work or for co-op. Beverly believes that it would be a wonderful way to expand students’ ability to connect with the area.

Another possible program would be focused on immigration. “ I feel like immigration is something that people just do not know much about,? said Rodgers, “we have so many opportunities to interact and focus on what we already have.? The aspects of things like availability of healthcare, work, and ESL courses are important to the immigration issue. There are so many struggles associated with it that it is very much linked to cultural and intellectual freedom. Beverly remarked, “Allen provided good grounds for discussion of that once again. To be able to express culture freely and respectfully, you have to be empowered. It doesn’t necessarily have to be regional or national, but we can look at it on a smaller level, because in some way, it all connects.?

Overall, The Coretta Scott King Center for Cultural and Intellectual Freedom is headed in the right direction. “I went to Atlanta to talk to Mrs. King, and I feel we have a serious responsibility that we do honor her name. She expanded on Dr. King’s ideology with the fight for the rights of women and gay’s as well as supporting HIV research. She was courageous and forceful, yet elegant. A truly amazing person,? said Beverly.

There will be an opening celebration for the center sometime in the spring of next year. The orchestra will play and alumni will flood Kelly Hall. It will be a celebration of cultural freedom and diversity. As Beverly said, “We may be small, but we’re pretty mighty!? We can accomplish anything we put our minds to, and the King Center is solid proof of that.