McGregor Students get a Voice

Charlotte Dungan started in the Liberal Arts program at Antioch University McGregor in 2006 in the hope of becoming a teacher. She is a mother of two, and works as a computer contractor. She is also a lunch teacher at the Antioch School, which she calls “probably her best hour of the day.” She says her educational experience at McGregor has been very fulfilling. “I’ve been to three other schools and it’s been by far the best education I’ve had.” She hopes to graduate in the Spring of ‘08.

In 2006, she founded the McGregor Voice, a newsletter written for and by McGregor students. It is published twice a quarter with a circulation of 150 copies.

What is the McGregor Voice?
It’s a student newsletter. Anything a student wants to send in, that is two pages or less, that is legal speech– anything that is covered under the first amendement– is what we’ll print. And we get everything: poetry, articles, upcoming events…whatever is on people’s minds they have a place to say it, and that’s why I started the Voice.

There was no place for students to feel like they had a say in what was happening at their school….

You wrote that the Voice was born out of the realization that there had been no student input in the decision to build campus west?
Yes, I came to McGregor thinking I was gonna be at Antioch College’s campus and until I got into my first class, I didn’t know otherwise. That was the experience that I found for many others–that we arrived and thought this was going to be our school, and then found out it isn’t, it was going to be a different place. And I’ve been to the new school– I took my first class over there on saturday– it’s a nice place. But it’s not what we signed up for. I think if there had been more communication, it might not have been such a surprise and a shock to us.

How is the newsletter funded?
I fund it. Initially I just paid the cost of going to Kinko’s every time. But lately people have been donating. I got an anonymous gift from a faculty member that paid for an entire issue. And I’ve had people literally come up and hand me cash in class saying “I know that this isn’t much but I really admire what this is and I’m glad that’s here.” And I think that the last two and half issues have been completely paid for without me having to dig into my pocket. The first fall issue coming up, I’ll have to pay for. I think.

You wrote that you had tried to make it an official McGregor publication…
I asked for it to be an official student publication and I asked for $150 per quarter for publication–about what it cost me at Kinko’s. All I wanted was a key card for the copy machine to make copies. It’s 6 to 10 pages and we could do double-sided, it’s really not that much paper–not that much ink. But it wasn’t supported by the administration. I talked to Jerry Holt who was the dean at the time, and he said that they wanted to preserve my ability for free speech and that if it were a sanctioned campus publication then it would invite the administration to control the content. I said “That’s crazy.” But it just never happened. The biggest controversy was when I went to put them in the student mailboxes, and they told me I couldn’t. They told me I had to leave them out with the other community publications, and I said no. I said “If that’s the administration’s take then you can tell them ‘screw you, I’m going to do it anyway.’” And I have put them in the mailboxes since them. We don’t say when we’re gonna put them in; they haven’t tried to take them out, I think because they thought it would make more of an uproar than if they leave them. And what we publish is not terribly controversial!

What about the article in the second fall issue about the Listening Session?*

It could have been. But the funny thing about that is we got Univeristy space, they let us reserve a room…. No one has come up and told me this is a bad idea. I’ve had donations from a couple of different faculty members, they just think it’s a very positive thing.

I’m not sure why student organizations aren’t encouraged by the administration. I know someone who started to organize a student government, and that has not been supported. It comes from the same idea as the Voice which is that there is no student representation at all at McGregor. None. The newspaper is discouraged, there is no funding or support for any sort of extracurricular activities, there’s no government, there’s no voice for the students to have any input on anything at all. And I think that they use the excuse that we’re commuters and we don’t really want that. I’ve heard that, and it’s not true. We have unique needs, and McGregor students, probably more so than college students, are very busy: we have families, we have jobs, but we still have a need for community. The struggles that we have and the challenges of going to college are something that we only share with people we go to school with; and we should have chances to get together to share our thoughts as part of our education.

The first fall issue of the McGregor Voice will be out in October and available in the Record Office. Past copies can be found in Antiochiana.

*Mc Gregor Voice, Fall 06, Issue 2, p.2 “October 7th Listening Session” McGregor students speak out on the campus relocation and the identity of their university.