Letter from Andrzej Bloch regarding De-Classifieds

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Dear Andrzej,

This letter is to inform you that statements made in your October 19, 2006 letter are in blatant violation of the Antioch Honor Code, rendering us unable to ethically accept them. Our institution is an intentional community dedicated to the pursuit of social justice. This is neither your institution, nor Steve’s, but ours. We at The Record, a community newspaper are duty bound to serving the information needs of our community. In an attempt to provide all community members a safe space for discourse, our predecessors created the “socalled? Declassified section, where anonymous idioms spur constructive dialogue, pine over a crush, rant about policy, and let out inside jokes. Declassifieds are by no means the most important part of our publication, but they are probably the most popular because they are a collection of a variety of community voices.

In your letter you said, “Menacing and threatening speech cannot be allowed in an official publication of an institution dedicated to education and human betterment.? We find this statement disgraceful. Education is not indoctrination. Opposing viewpoints, even angry ones are valid and have led to human betterment. Human betterment cannot be achieved by oppression and/or repression, and least of all by silence. A liberal arts education must present opposing views, a democratic institution must honor all voices, and the quest for social justice must include the ethics of the populace, not the elite.

We at the Record are students. We participate in experiential learning, and are clearly not professionals. However, we have made every effort to conform to the letter of the law. Through conversations with lawyers at the Student Press Association and discussions with our faculty advisor and former editor of the Yellow Springs News, Don Wallace, we have determined that the statement “Arrogant Shmuck please leave if you want to maintain your balls chop chop chop? is not illegal. You distortion of the legal issue involved is disturbing on many levels in that it shows you do not wish your institution to educate future leaders, but to oppress and silence dissent through intimidation and distortion for a very specific and transient presidential agenda. This is unacceptable and shameful. You denounce menacing speech and go on to indirectly menace our jobs. This position appears hypocritical. You seem to have disregarded the nature of our community through the delegitimatimation of value systems not your own.

Furthermore, by sending us this letter, you circumvented the Record Advisory Board, a body designed to hear complaints about the Record. If you had a grievance, you should have brought it before the board. Please respect democracy and community. For the past four weeks our community’s council has discussed ways to strengthen RAB, and while those present learned from the discussion, your absence contributed only to your own ignorance. Discussion is communal. Mandates are dictatorial. You spurn the opportunity to learn from our community, listen to its concerns and participate in discussion, instead relying on your position to validate your statements.

In your letter you frequently use the term ‘College’ as code for the Lawry administration. Is the ‘college’ really concerned about our practice of publishing remarks such as the Declassified in question? Are we ignoring the ‘college’s’ concerns regarding these kinds of published remarks? If you attended RAB you would know the answer to these questions. Last, you claim our behavior raises questions about the extent to which we are taking seriously our obligations to the ‘College’ as a paid employee. From where can we derive a clear understanding of our obligation to the college, and by that we mean the Antioch college community, if not community- wide discourse? It is our belief that open dialogue and democratic processes have virtues and by participating in that dialogue we can learn and grow, and fulfill the mandate laid forth in our honor code. We are committed to respecting our community, providing a publication reflective of that community, and to democratic social justice, even if that means taking a stand over a trivial Declassified.

Sincerely,

Foster Neill & Luke Brennan
Editors of the Record