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.

“Every member of the Board would love to see a successful plan,” states Kenneth Friedman, BOT member. “No one wants a plan that will be impossible to realize and only be a set-up for disappointment and failure. And, of course, none of us can see the future and know how any plan will actually play out. We’ll have the balance the risk of ‘suspended operations’ against the risk of letting the Alumni Plan have a chance.”

As of October 23, the fundraising total from the Alumni Board is above $16 million in cash and pledges, according to Rick Daily. “We’ve only scratched the surface,” he remarks. Given the short amount of time, he continues, it’s incredible that we’ve raised so much money.

Along with fundraising, alumni have been bringing Antioch into the media, getting in touch with disconnected alumni, and finding board members for a future Antioch College Board of Trustees.

“We have crafted a comprehensive business and fundraising plan that is very workable. The BOT proclaims to be very pleased with it. We have an admissions plan that goes until 2014, information on a physical plan and a proposed governance plan,” lists Christian Feuerstein ’94, Alumni Board Communications Chair. All of this can be found in draft form on the alumni website, “I personally feel as though we’ve just completed the most intense co-op of our lives. We’re all doing this on top of our day jobs.”

The community has also been keeping itself busy. Some of their many efforts include: creating and voting on the two referenda, erecting “Save Antioch, Save Yellow Springs” signs, and encouraging students to vote for town council members whose campaigns deal with keeping the college alive. Students and community members also created the “Non-Stop Antioch” campaign, which includes “Horrace’s Army” meetings that encourage students to take action in areas such as media attention, legal action, planning community events, and rejuvenating Antioch Independent Media Arts Collective (AIMAC). “Most everyone wants to keep Antioch College open,” insures Feuerstein. “All of us have come together saying ‘it doesn’t f**ing matter, it’s got to stay open.”