Letter from Elizabeth Collier

Dear President Lawry,

As a third year transfer I have not had the same experience with “old? Antioch but I know what has impressed me about this place for the last 6 years and what disturbs me about these changes. Personally I feel a sense of betrayal. Admissions compiles a group of students who are independent and looking to change the world, regardless of what political leanings they may have. The school has always been rightly advertised as a place that is different – not just academically but socially. It seems now that group is assembled and our voices are quieted in order to make the school more appealing to the general population. It seems that our talent, energy and idealism is stifled and that we are not trusted enough to guide the direction of our education. The self-designed curriculum is present, yes, but a college education is more than that. We grow and learn to “shape our surroundings,? to quote the current website.

My roommate brought to my attention that so much of this process has been marked with what is wrong with the school and how the culture is driving people away. Why isn’t the focus on what brings people to Antioch rather than reinventing a long respected process? Bastardizing the school to attract the masses is not the way to bring glory to Antioch. Great schools are not recognized because they have huge numbers attending, they are respected because of the quality of the education and the opportunities available to students.

Despite how idealistic I may sound I understand that schools are in fact businesses. I understand that to continue running and offer those opportunities that bring respect that school must be properly funded. However I believe that in the long run more value will come from being a place of continued principle. Students will be attracted to a school that recognizes their competence and alumni will be more likely to feel a connection to (and donate to) the school that continues to use the methods and values they learned from.

Finally, it seems to me that imposing your will upon a culture that is so thoroughly resistant is an unnecessary waste of energy. Perhaps you believe that future students will expect less involvement in their government so this conflict will be short lived. Why exactly are you so publicly defiant of these long held beliefs? Any business, Antioch included, must answer to those who pay the bills, or risk irrelevance.

Elizabeth Collier