Three empty chairs
The absence of Toni Murdock, Art Zucker and Steve Lawry in main building’s conference room at 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning might not have been a surprise for AdCil members, but they nonetheless expressed their dissatisfaction. The invitation drafted by the Administrative Council at the first meeting of the term had been transmitted to the University Chancellor, the Chair of the Board of Trustees and the College President (on administrative leave since August 31st) in a formal letter signed by college COO Andrzej Bloch. Bloch reported that the recipients had acknowledged the invitation but that their coming to AdCil would have to be postponed until Art Zucker came to Yellow Springs. Faculty member Hassan Rahmanian was not satisfied by Bloch’s explanation, “I don’t know if the letter conveyed the urgency of the situation. It’s a question of crisis of legitimacy.”
Letter of the law vs institutional values
Bloch asked Rahmanian to clarify the statement “crisis of legitimacy,” as, according to Bloch’s reading of the events, there is none; AdCil is not to be consulted when dismissing or choosing the college president. As to leadership, Bloch specified that he was running AdCil as CAO/Dean of Faculty, which is standard procedure for when a president is on a leave of absence. “There is letter of the law and there is historical consolidation of traditions and values of an institution,” contested faculty member Hassan Nejad, pointing out Antioch’s history of shared-governance, “These are values that we preach, we tell our students to uphold these values, we tell the world that we cherish these values, the feeling is that these values are not being honored and respected by higher-ups.”
Transparency & Procedure
Faculty Member Patricia Mische explained that the crisis of legitimacy as a result from the procedure by which the August 31st events were conducted. “We don’t have faith in what Toni said, I feel like she lied to us, to the faculty, that she is saying things in public that we know are not true” she explained, “so even if she came and apologized, what is done is done but we need to register that procedure.” Student member Julian Sharp also emphasized the lack of transparency as a critical issue, “Aside from being trampled on and such there has clearly been a cover up, (…) the University released press statements that are misinformation, lies” he said, “If Lynda Sirk was working for our college wouldn’t it make sense for her to put out a press release in behalf of the college, saying that in fact our president didn’t step down, he was placed on administrative leave and banned from campus?”
Call to Action
Faculty member Hassan Nejad stressed the need for AdCil to formulate a specific request to the University Administration, as he confessed his doubts about their good faith in engaging in candid dialog. “We are dealing with people who have very little respect, if any, for shared governance process, for honesty and integrity in administration, and for consultation and transparency. That’s my conclusion; I could be very wrong,” he declared.
The possibility of a student action to register formally their concerns to the Board was briefly discussed as a means to emphasize community’s dissatisfaction with Toni Murdock’s actions.
Olive & FPRC
AdCil then engaged in a discussion about the Olive Kettering Library. The 3 year long subscription to Ohio Link is about to end, and no funds at this time are designated to pay for its renewal. Moreover, Union Staff member Carole Braun pointed out that the renewal was conditional upon the continuation of acquisitions—a problematic fact because the Olive’s acquisitions manager has been laid off.
Andrzej Bloch sought advice from AdCil as to whether a Faculty Personnel Review Committee should be appointed. Even though questions of tenure are postponed at the moment, faculty members could still seek promotion. AdCil voted to approve the formation of FPRC.
When AdCil went into closed session, no resolution had been voted on in regards to the governance issues raised during the meeting.