The Road to Financial Exigency

Research: Kim-Jenna Jurriaans & Brian Springer

“Based on projections of enrollment, if we would have gone beyond the next year, there weren’t going to be more resources to cover expenses.” So says Antioch University CFO Thomas Faecke, in response to the question what his personal reason was to support the suspension of operations at Antioch college in 2008. “There was a fear that the university would become insolvent and that was primarily because of the deficit of the college,” he adds. Presented with this scenario, on June 9th, the vast majority of the members of the University Board of Trustees voted to suspend operations at the 155-year-old college.

“I think in the early 90s, it wouldn’t have occurred to anyone to close the college and keep the university open,” says Ann Filemyr, a former journalism professor, interim Dean of faculty and serving vice president at the college until 2005. “At that time, the college was clearly considered as the center of Antioch University.”

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Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, How Say You?

This weekend, the future of Antioch College is sitting in the hot seat of a court room. Antiochians, Yellow Springers, Alumni, members of the Board of Trustees (BOT), and many reporters with pen at hand have come to witness a decision that could be either a death sentence or an Antiochian Renaissance. No one, not even BOT members, knows what the decision will be, yet everyone has strong feelings about the outcome. Some people think that the Board’s decision to close is unlikely to be reversed. Others believe that the Board will keep the college open. Gina Potestio, a first year, is, “trying to stay optimistic, and hearing the feedback from the upper-level students saying it’s going to close is a little hurtful after seeing … what everyone’s doing for us.” Many students are in denial about the possibility of Antioch closing. “I just really didn’t want to think about [the closing],” explains James Kutil, a second year student, “so, I’ve kind of been in a numb panic, because the school closing means a lot to me.” There is still a gut feeling that the college just can’t close.

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Five More to Go

During five days of on-the-road fundraising across the country, representatives of the alumni association and college development offices have brought the College Revival Fund up to a current total of “between 14 and 15 million dollar,” says treasurer of the alumni association, Rick Daily.
The money raised over the past week, according to Daily, consists of pledges that will become available by the end of the academic year. “There’s a lot of cash coming in, part of which is from people making good on their pledges,” he explains, “which makes a it a bit difficult to count right now.” Although money coming in from various fundraising teams and initiatives makes it difficult to announce an exact number, he is positive the total amount is “around 15 million.”
Daily himself is part of the team of fundraisers that hit the road last Friday, which includes head of development for the College, Risa Grimes, as well as alumni Ina Frank and Matthew Derr. The group is working in different combinations throughout the country, depending on who is available in the various target areas that day. “On Monday I was on the road with Ina [Frank], today I’m with Dave Goodwin, class of ’55.” Grimes said in a phone interview while on the road in Oregon. “Dave’s from Oregon and he did a lot of fundraising for Glen Helen.”
Grimes so far has visited five major donors and is energized by the outcome: “We’ve just sat in a man’s office for 20 minutes telling us how Antioch changed his life; things are going very, very well.”
The team has another week to raise an additional $5 million to round the total up to $20 million. This is the amount the Alumni Board wants to bring to the negotiating table at the decisive meeting with the University Board of Trustees, on October 24-28, that will determine whether the suspension of operations, scheduled for June 2008, will be lifted and recruiting for new students can begin.

Chair Breaks The Tie

By Natalie Martin
After the obligatory approval of the previous week’s minutes, ComCil heard a petition from student Meghan Pergrem regarding the upcoming CG officer elections.
During its last session, Comcil decided to set October 26th as the application deadline, which Pergrem felt did not give potential candidates enough time to process the information from the October 25th Board of Trustees meeting.  After some debate about whether or not to shorten the amount of time dedicated to campaigning or the time ComCil reserves to interview the candidates, it was generally agreed that the application deadline should be pushed back.
A long and somewhat heated discussion ensued regarding the deadline and whether it should be extended one week or if the whole election should be postponed until next term.    Those who believed the election should be postponed until next term argued that the extended deadline will increase the pool of students who will apply. They stressed that some form of electronic voting could be used for students who graduate in December. Those Comcil members opposed to this idea argued that the level of participation will be much lower with an electronic vote and that holding the elections is a symoblic show of support for Antioch.
A motion was proposed to extend the application deadline and interview dates one week, to November 2nd and November 8th respectively, and not change the other agreed upon dates. Discussion continued for some time after the motion was made, until Comcil member Scott Warren made a motion to call the question. In doing so he moved the discussion to a vote.   After some confusion over what ComCil members were voting for, the result was a rare split – five in favor of the motion, and five opposed – requiring that ComCil Chair Fela Pierrelouis cast a tie-breaking vote. Pierrelouis voted in favor of the motion, and the CG election deadlines were extended one week.