JointCil Moves to Present Referendum to Community

  “Unanimous.” AdCil chair Andrzej Bloch thus took note of the result of the vote taken by AdCil and ComCil members, united around the table of Main Building’s conference room on Tuesday morning. A special session of JointCil had been called to approve the submission of a referendum to the Antioch college community; a course of action not required by the Legislative Code, but that would add extra legitimacy to the process according to ComCil student member Sarah Buckingham. “We’re here out of good faith asking you to please be a part of this.”

Before bulking up into JointCil, the heavily agendized  meeting had started as a traditional Administrative Council. Director of Business Operations Deb Caraway presented its members with the budget for the current academic year. College COO Andrzej Bloch specified that the budget had been drafted under the auspices of the suspension of operations, and that, in the case of a reversal of the board’s decision in late October, another budget would promptly be presented to AdCil. Union member Carol Braun asked why the budget was presented to AdCil so late, “It seems like it was postponed even before the decision to suspend operations,” she said.

Bloch responded that college president Steve Lawry had been working on the budget until the last minute–the end of April– because of the uncertainty in enrollment numbers for the upcoming year.“It was a moving target,’” he commented.

Several issues were raised in regards to the proposed budget. AdCil faculty member Hassan Rahmanian questioned the process of “eating the endowment,” a decision which, according to him, was not taken in consultation with AdCil. Several members also expressed concern at the consequences of the restructuring of the IT department. Faculty member Patricia Mische suggested that, if the college stayed open, it might be cheaper and more efficient to have an independent IT department rather that sharing it with the University. Finally, the question was raised as to whether it was fair to integrate depreciation into the budget under the assumption that the college would suspend its operations the following year; the deficit might be exaggerated if depreciation was not reassessed.

As no definitive answers were brought to these questions, AdCil resolved to postpone the vote to approve the budget to a subsequent meeting.

At 9:40 a.m.  ComCil chair Fela Pierrelouis took over the chairing of the meeting as AdCil mutated into JointCil. The members were presented with the final drafts for a student-initiated community referendum to take place on Monday, October 8th. Two issues are addressed by the referendum; the first is a vote of no confidence against University Chancellor Toni Murdock; the second supports the independence of the college from the auspices of the University.

After the drafts were distributed around the table, a series of questions followed about the specifics of the documents; however ComCil member Sarah Buckingham, who was responsible for the language committee throughout the process of drafting the referendum, wished to make a clarification: “The initial draft was created by one student AdCil rep’ and one student ComCil rep’, and that initial draft went out in all faculty and staff mailboxes, it went out on FirstClass, and it was in the Caf’ both at lunch and dinner on Thursday and Friday, trying to get edits from the entire community, and we received very little input; so I just want that to be out there when people make suggestions like this.”

It was then clarified that JointCil would vote to support presenting the referendum to the community, not to support the actual content of the drafts.

Before voting on the motion to place the documents for a community-wide vote, Andrzej Bloch wished to elucidate who had authored the drafts. Community Events manager Rory Adams-Cheatham replied that the question was illegitimate, as the process involved was one of consensus; “It’s a student initiated community referendum, very much in line with the theories that we’re taught at Antioch,” she said, “it belongs to everybody.”