Dispatches from Community Meeting

If Horace Mann’s vaunted credo weren’t so fitting, “Work hard; party hard” might do the trick. So when attendance at Community Meeting waned, one of the parties in Antioch’s Holy Trinity was trash-talked by several community voices.
The Black and Tan Formal, of one of Antioch’s cultural cornerstones, was criticized by several community members for potentially depressing student attendance at important and expensive Community Day events.
Student and former Community Manager, Levi B. Cowperthwaite wanted students to consider monitoring their partying and regulating their workload so that they could participate meaningfully in events planned for Community Day, including guest speaker Allan G. Johnson’s 10:00 a.m. presentation.
Cowperthwaite observed that students have treated the past years’ Community Days as time to recuperate from the previous night’s partying or to catch up on homework.
Associate Dean of Faculty, Eli Nettles said, “I’m terrified Allan’s going to show up and there are seven people here.” She then said that she’d be honored if the date of Black and Tan was changed.
Nettles also said that an anonymous donor gave $5,000 to bring Johnson back to campus, because in light of the suspension of operations, Antioch couldn’t afford Johnson’s price tag.
“Since I was a first year, I though it was unfair to Community Day to have Black and Tan the night before,” said third-year Rachel Sears.
Events Manager Rory Adams-Cheatham was a staunch proponent for the party to remain the night before Community Day, “It’s the best party of the year a lot of the time…Antioch used to be the people who partied the hardest worked the hardest.”
But she conceded to the concerns raised, “I want to do what you all want…Come talk to me.”
And elsewhere in McGregor 113…Community Member of the Week was awarded to a talented cadre of current and former students, Dennie Eagleson was in two places at once to equalize Allan Johnson’s levels, CGC gave an update on Antioch’s next best thing, and announcements revealed that Antiochians are preoccupied with identity, sex, and war.
Community Member of the Week was awarded to fourth years (trivia with) Beth Goodney and (“lost in the Glen”) Julian Sharp. Nobel Prize Winner Mario Capecchi ’61 also got a certificate and most probably a hit-up for a donation.
Author Allan Johnson is coming to talk and do workshops on Community Day. A video of his presentation last term was projected on the wall.

Dispatches From Community Meeting

   Community Meeting galloped hard down the stretch. McGregor 113 was packed by a quarter past and the agenda was front-loaded with guest speakers, the revelation of Community Member of the Week (CMOTW), Beth’s Trivia, and a sluggish announcements segment. A quickly dissembled pulse discussion dismissed attendees by 4:03 p.m..

Manager of Dining Services, Marvin Bohn, snagged Community Member of the Week. Bohn was lauded by the venerable CCR CMs (Chelsea, Corry and Rory) for his service on CafCil and the Campus Greening Committee. A little field research yielded that the apples in the meeting’s fruit bowl were firm this week. Coincidence?

Exiled Clevelander Peter Zummo, a professor from the New York Arts Program, made an appeal to students to join his program. The New York Arts Program offers a 16 credit semester with 12 of those credits coming from an arts apprenticeship.

The irascible Bill Whitesell couldn’t help but inquire as to the big city’s safety reputation. Recounting his experience in the city 30 years ago, he wondered in earnest if students would get mugged if they traveled to New York.

Zummo, a noted trombonist, regaled the community with anecdotal evidence to attest to the city’s current high safety level. Using an epithet in sheep’s clothing, Zummo recalled his personal run-in with a Good Samaritan on the subway. He was promptly clapped for and thanked for coming.

What’s funnier: that CFB funds were reduced by $2,000 or that Horace Mann died of milk poisoning?

The latest CG budget reduced CFB funds to a total $5,600. To request funds, propose your request at Community Meeting. Fill out a CFB request and turn them in to CG by 12:00 p.m. the next day, forms can be found in CG. Then bring your request to CFB at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday in the main building conference room.

Trivia with Beth was a joke. Winners this week get first dibs on that big cake for Founder’s Day. Whitesell correctly answered that great American novelist, Nathaniel Hawthorne was Mann’s brother-in-law. Natalie Martin won big by explaining that old cows who ate bad grass produced bad milk. Mann drank bad milk, which explains that bad milk in the Caf is a tradition, not a mistake.

In pulse, student AdCil representative Julian Sharp announced that a press conference will be held at Antioch next Tuesday, October. 8, at 3 p.m. –in place of community meeting– to produce the community referendum vote to the media. A debriefing about this event will be held, per the Legislative Code, next Monday evening. Look for more announcements around this event.

Rowan Kaiser ’05, shared his observation that the university structure was approved at a BoT meeting on October 16th, 1977. This means, he said, the university will be celebrating its 30th birthday on college’s community day on October 16th. He recommended the college throw its ill-conceived experiment a party.

Dispatches from Community Meeting

Antioch is starting to come around. Due to great planning from a tireless on-campus leadership core and a focused and talented alumni presence at this weekend’s teach-in, more and more students are joining the effort to save the school. Attendance reports for the event became progressively stronger throughout the weekend peaking with the meeting behind the C-Shop on Monday night that garnered more than 60 students. Riding the swell of pride and hope that students felt this weekend, community members piled in to McGregor 113 for this week’s installment of Community Meeting.
What ensued was a gem. The thank-you section ran through four stacks. CFB proposals moved efficiently. There were over 20 announcements about fresh events and opportunities for the community [for real, you have to go to Community Meeting to know what’s going on at Antioch.] Community Members of the week went to Record editors Jeanne Kay and Kim-Jenna Jurriaans. Trivia With Beth went down like “The Price Is Right,” and Susan Eklund-Leen outbid her opponents in a Pencil-Case Showdown to walk away with the grand prize. And for once Pulse was contentious and controversial for all the right reasons.
The cup overfloweth with thank-yous. The capstone came from 4th year, AdCil student representative Julian Sharp, who thanked the community, he said, “We’re looking out for each other and it feels great.”
AdCil member Julian Sharp gives an update to the community: “The search for Steve continues. He was last spotted near the Pine Forest in the Glen.”

That community spirit manifested itself in Pulse through community members  bringing up issues of transparency, honoring governance structures, and challenging the notions for appropriate ways to challenge authority.
4th year ComCil student representative Sarah Buckingham rang the first bell by asking Director of Student Affairs, Milt Thompson about a rumored $50 charge to student accounts for laundry services. Once students arrived on campus this term they found the formerly coin-operated laundry service to no longer require quarters. Students were under the impression that the laundry service was free.
However, Thompson confirmed that the charge was indeed real. Thus commenced a discussion on if the change was ratified through the proper channels.  Thompson said he brought the issue to either ComCil or AdCil either one and a half or two years ago.
Associate Professor Nevin Mercede, who sat on AdCil as a student representative when Thompson presented the proposal, said that it was sometimes difficult to teach class to stinky students, and, “Quite frankly we hoped [non-coin-operated laundry] would encourage you to do your laundry more often.”
4th year student David Bishkoff argued that he should be exempt from the blanket laundry charge because he does his laundry about once a term which used to cost him around $2.00. He also wanted to know why he wasn’t notified of the charge.
Former Community Manager Levi B. Cowperthwaite responded as a point of clarification that, “There isn’t really a precedent for being notified of tuition or fee increases.”
There may be more news about this to come…
5th year student Nicole Bayani brought up a question of process to Community Manager Chelsea Martens.  Bayani asked if Martens would take a step back in facilitating tough discussions with current Chief Operations Officer Andrzej Bloch. Bayani thought that in last week’s Pulse Martens restricted the space for community members to aggressively interrogate Bloch.
Bayani’s point was that there’s a difference between being disrespectful and being aggressive she said, “Demanding that he [Bloch] answer a question is not being disrespectful.”
There were a variety of views espoused on how to facilitate an effective dialogue and how to ask the most productive question. It was the perfect way to finish one of the most perfect Community Meetings.

Dispatches from Community Meeting

It was one of those community meetings where no one throws punches because the CMs broke up the fight before it could start, but props for showing up. Great attendance at this community meeting, I personally didn’t show up this week I just cribbed this from another reporter.
In short order:  Andzrej had a conversation with Ruth in Pulse.  Trivia came back to school with Beth.  There were seven announcements and each was repeated twice.  Rory explained that there’s $6,500 in CAB or CFB or whatever.  According to their reports AdCil was a little off the chain, ComCil didn’t do anything but deem Fela chair, and GreenCil didn’t meet.
In Pulse Andrzej again stood in front of the community to play pitch and catch.  He came prepared with some answers from last week’s questions.

Continue reading Dispatches from Community Meeting

Dispatches from Community Meeting

On Tuesday afternoon Antioch’s most famous weekly rendezvous again gave daytime tv a run for its money. First years: Community Meeting is Antioch 101.  It’s where progressive ideals and the quirks of living in a tiny community grind against each other in the hopes of accomplishing the week’s business. And the whole institution facing annihilation twist just ups the ante as Corri, Chelsea, and Rory moderate the room.
With a guest appearance by Andrzej Bloch, the college’s new Chief Operating Officer (COO), the meeting climaxed and reached its restless denouncement during Pulse.  Bloch, appointed to the COO role in light of former president Steve Lawry’s hasty resignation, danced in front of the room while he fielded questions from an array of community members representing nearly every constituency on campus.
Bloch, in a speech pre-empting Pulse, stated that Lawry’s early resignation came as a surprise and he refused to answer any questions pertaining to the specificity of Lawry’s decision. Bloch made it clear that as COO he is committed “to secure the best conditions for students and  faculty.”
He announced that he was making budget room for new library employees.
He also stated and reiterated throughout the course of the meeting that he must serve a dual role in the capacity of COO. First he must keep the closing date of the college in mind and he must keep an eye on the possibility that the college might stay open.
Many faculty members raised issue with the tenor and significance of the new language of the title “Chief Operations Officer.” Scott Warren asked that, if in a standard corporate structure the COO must report to a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who the CEO of the College is. Bloch  responded that he had not thought of the implications of the new terminology and that he didn’t have an answer to the question at that time.
Susan Eklund-Leen asked that Bloch clarify the reasoning behind Lynda Sirk’s hiring into the new position as assistant to Bloch. The latter responded that with Syrk installed as an assistant that communications would be streamlined.  Eklund-Leen then asked Bloch who she worked for, the University or the College, and to “run tight herd” on her.
Bloch was later grilled by alumni relations officer Aimee Maruyama ‘96 whom on Friday was one of the employees who were asked to go home early. The locks to their offices were subsequently changed, their FirstClass access was restricted, and the IT department constructed out of office reply messages to any incoming email to their account, signing their names at the bottom.  She asked, “I wonder if any of us have given you a reason to show that level of mistrust for our professionalism?”
Bloch answered, “Already the decisions were made. And I’m not going to second-guess why those decisions were made.”
His response garnered dismayed laughter, boos, and hisses from the crowd. He promised to speak to Maruyama about the decisions and asked them to “just accept it for what it is.”
Nicole Bayani asked Bloch if he would want the College to stay open, to close, or to reopen again in four years.  He said, “Suspending operations at the college is not a wise idea,” and that he was “open minded to any possibilities that could keep the college open.”
Emily Mente asked if Bloch would continue Lawry’s commitment to attend each community meeting for the rest of the term to which he agreed.
Earlier in the meeting candidates for AdCil and ComCil announced their intentions for running and listed their credentials.  Some old faces and some new, but each candidate was on board with perrenial ComCil candidate Scott Warren’s charge that “this year, more than ever, we need to build community.”
But looking on the bright side if all this happened second week what could we possibly be afraid of eighth week?