“We’re here to learn:” ProTem Board Delegation Visits Nonstop

The ProTem Board has asked this visiting team to come and learn as much as we could about Nonstop. We will write a report to the board. We will make no recommendations, we will make no judgments. Our goal is to understand, to observe and to learn. And Im Frances Horowitz, 54 graduate of Antioch. The basement of Lee Morgans house was packed on Friday, February 14th, as Nonstop students, staff and faculty gathered around ExCils table to welcome the ProTem Board delegation, chaired by Horowitz.

Discussion Continues as ExCil Session Comes to an End

After introductions, IT Coordinator Tim Noble proceeded to present the board with an overview of Nonstops technological prospects. He emphasized the possibility for Antioch to become the first private college [in the United States] to be completely open source, and explored avenues to develop partnerships with the village of Yellow Springs. ExCil members were then given an opportunity to talk about specific aspects of the Nonstop project. Professor of Philosophy and Politics Scott Warren talked enthusiastically about the integration of Yellow Springs community members to the classroom, and considered the wide age range of students from 18 to 87 years old as an asset. Media Arts Professor Anne Bohlen emphasized Nonstops fidelity to Antiochs tradition of shared governance. Associate Coordinator of Student Services Carole Braun pointed out that a Nonstop experience was a mix of co-op and academics, since students had to live off campus and work part or full time while taking classes.

The ProTem contingency proceeded through Nonstops rhizomatic venues. In the Presbyterian Churchs assembly Hall, they mingled with students, staff, faculty, alumni and villagers during the ComCil-sponsored Community Potluck. Students then gathered around an ad hoc table to answer the delegates questions and share their Nonstop experience. I would say Ive learned more at Nonstop than I learned at Antioch. Its been a brain strain for sure, said Ashley McNeely 11. First Year student Nic Viox declared: We really want to be here. We really want this education we really want to be taught by these professors theres so much value in the education that were getting here. We could be at other schoolsbut were here because theres value in this place.
ProTem Delegates meet with students (Photo by Jonny NO)

Students share their experience with ProTem Board

Delegate Steve Schwerner 60, who is not currently on the ProTem Board but served on the ACCC and claims to have attended more Community Meetings than anybody else in the history of Antioch, commented: Students havent changed, theyre all Antiochians. Its a very Antiochian place, dealing with a time of troubles.
Student Shea Witzberger (forefront) and Delegates (Photo Jonny No)

Shea and Zee Compete for Best Mesmerizing Stare Award

Chairs were pulled in a circle in the Alternative Library at Nonstops Headquarters at Campus North for another round of introductions, this time among the Nonstop staff. Staff members, -some of them having worked for the College for as long as 40 years- briefly described their Antioch background. ProTem Board Member Prexy Nesbitt 67 commented: You all shouldnt be thanking us. We should be thanking you. Registrar Donna Evans presented the board with enrollment numbers and statistics. Community Manager Chelsea Martens, who handled Nonstop admissions in the Summer talked about the effectiveness of student-lead recruitment. Tim Noble 02 emphasized how difficult it had been to recruit when Nonstops funding through June had only been confirmed at the end of October 08. Nesbitt enquired as to Nonstops diversity in terms of race and class. ExCils resolution to remedy institutional classism by implementing a partially sliding-scale tuition policy the previous term were mentioned as an example of the communitys efforts in this regard.
ProTem Meet Staff (Photo Dennie Eagleson)

Nonstop Staff meet with the ProTem Delegates in the Alternative Library at Campus North, Millworks

Isabella Winkler and Colette Palamar, who team teach Queer Animals at Nonstop, introduced their course as a philosophical enquiry into the preconditions and effects of identifications, their foundation for political foundering, and their implications for environmental ethics. ProTem delegates actively participated in the class, asking and answering questions, commenting on the studied textKafkas short story Jackals and Arabsand even joining in the reading circle. Delegate Everett Mendelson 53, who teaches History of Science at Harvard University, commented on his Queer Animals experience: I was fascinated by the way in which the material the teachers and the students were interacting with it in that it was not a one way movement-that the questions were going really in three ways from the material to students to teachers back and forth. I just found the use of that material very innovative.
Queer Animals Class

Pro Tem members visit the Queer Animals class

You heard the story of Nonstop from different perspectives: students, staff… this is our story and we thought that we can share with you our reflections and our experiences, said Executive Collective member Hassan Rahmanian, Welcome to Faculty Meeting. With a slideshow by Dennie Eagleson, Nonstop Faculty members gave brief presentations about remarkable aspects of their classes; Nevin Mercede presented students poems and visual arts work; Iveta Jusova stated that she saw Nonstop as a laboratory for studying how power works and hoped to create a space for students to examine various theories of power resistance and justice and to measure it against their experience with Nonstop and beyond; Jill Becker showed pictures of her dance class choreographing between the Presbyterian Churchs pews. If there is a thread through all these courses it is …our creativity as a group, our flexibility, our adaptability and our resilience as well as our dedication to dealing with each other in a humane fashion, Chemistry Professor Kab Butamina summarized.
Pro Tem meet with Faculty Photo by Dennie Eagleson

Faculty meet with Pro Tem Board Members

Im thinking about what can be learned from this experience regardless of what comes out of it, and I think a lot of things can be learned especially how to make do with less; sustainability underlies this idea, said delegate Z. Gameson, who hoped to capture the spirit and energy of Nonstop which is very impressive given the circumstances.
Frances Horowitz stated that the visiting delegation would report to the ProTem Board the following week during their Yellow Springs Meeting. She said it would be up to the board to decide whether the report would be made public. She further confessed she had no idea as to what would be the next steps in regards to the future of Nonstop. Im very appreciative of all the effort that everybody made. It was interesting and informative, she said.
ProTem trustee Prexy Nesbitt said he was glad to have pushed for this visit to take place, but could not make promises about the becoming of Nonstop and its integration into the college. The ProTem board faces so many challenges right now, he said, Its hard to predict anything but the value of today is immeasurable, whatever happens.

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