A letter from Michael Brower ’55

To: Shelby P. Chestnut `05, Community Manager 2005-2006 and to Daniel E. Solis Operations Manager 2005-2006, and to those current students who may agree with your angry letter:
From: Michael Brower `55, Alumni Board Member

I saw your highly critical letter to Steve Lawry posted on SaveAntioch. org. I did not see the version you published in The Record a few weeks ago, nor the other letters in The Record supporting Jimmy Williams. So I can’t respond to other letters, but I do want to write to protest three things about your letter: Continue reading A letter from Michael Brower ’55

The AdCil Spill

By James Fischbeck

In this week’s meeting of the Administrative Council, there were 3 items on the agenda, the first item was the approval of minutes from the October 10th meeting, the second being an overview of the admissions and financial aid plans for the future, and the third item was a discussion of the role and function of AdCil, including faculty personnel issues. The minutes from the October 10th meeting are being re-written to include more of the long discussion that made the last AdCil most memorable. After the discussion over minutes, Admissions and Financial aid gave an overview of their plan to attract future Antiochians. The admissions process works in 2-year cycles, meaning that they are making decisions that will directly affect the next 2 generations of students. The first question raised was is “How are we going to bring in the classes of 2007 and 2008?? Cathy Paige laid out the answer in 3 parts.

First, Antioch is participating in the purchasing of names of high school seniors from a company called Human Capital as they have done in the past. Last year, they bought about 120,000 names, and this year, they plan on buying around 80,000 – 90,000 names. Their reason for buying fewer names this year is conservation of resources and revision to the criteria to be used for the search focusing on Antioch’s strengths (co-op, community involvement, organizing for social justice). For example, they will be cutting people from the search who are looking for a religious education or intercollegiate sports since neither programs are represented fully here at Antioch.

The second portion of the plan is for the “self-initiated? students who talk directly to Antioch because of their preexisting interest and curiosities towards this institution. For them, the online system is being streamlined. When someone asks for information or applies online, the turn-around time is now about 24 hours. Speed is a major focus of the revisions, as they are implementing more changes to hasten the communication process.

The third part is a re-organization of admission councilors time away from campus. They have cut the amount of time they spend off campus by approximately 45%, encouraging more prospective students to come visit Antioch. This year, seniors will receive a sequence of 12 postcards that articulate 12 key points designed to spark student interest in visiting or applying to Antioch. For the students that decide to visit Antioch, the campus visit program is improving, with more communication prior to their visit, better scheduling of time spent on campus, and more follow-up after they depart for home. More emphasis is being placed on visiting because students are more likely to matriculate if they come visit Antioch in person.

They will also work with current high school juniors and sophomores to incite interest in Antioch. The major targets of admissions recruiters include people with diverse backgrounds, and Midwesterners, with a focus on Ohio in particular as 1/3 of the new students are from Ohio originally. Rick Jurassek explained that students nationwide are reluctant to travel far away from their homes and families, thus making the search for Ohioans imperative. Another factor is the money that the Ohio state government gives for financial aid grants and how that can be used to put the college’s finances back on track.

In the coming year, they are seeking a target number of 12,000 student inquires for information. The number for this year was around 10,000, with only 11%-12% applying at Antioch. They are seeking a larger pool of applicants with fewer expenses. New scholarships and scholarship programs have increased the number of students who have deposited money to enroll at Antioch, and the scholarship weekend programs will be continued this year with tentative dates for March 4-5 and April 1-2.

Robin Heise spoke briefly about the federal government raising loan limits, making a greater burden on the college financially. The college’s main focus with scholarship money will be towards students who are the first in their families to attend college, and multicultural students. Also, the school is awarding challenge grants to students that will increase in amount over their stay at Antioch. These grants are awarded to students that show considerable improvement in their academics while they are in college.

There may be an unwritten rule against marketing your college to students already enrolled in other colleges, but Antioch has so much vitality and potential that we are attracting a good number of students from other colleges. With the number of prospective transfer students increasing, one concern that was expressed is the difficulty in recruiting transfer students for a curriculum that currently doesn’t exist for 3rd and 4th year students. Antioch already has agreements with a few community colleges in the area and will encourage more involvement with them in the future.

The Next week, AdCil will be discussing its role as an advisory committee and how it can continue to function effectively. This meeting is arguably the most important meeting of the year and if you’re concerned about AdCil’s role in campus politics, come to the next meeting, Tuesday at 8 AM in the Main Building conference room. Or if you just want some coffee and juice in the early morning, you’re welcome as well. These meetings are open to all members of the community who want to attend.

Come Together: Fighting the ‘Purification’ of Antioch

Come Together: Fighting the ‘Purification’ of Antioch By Jeanne Kay

An open letter to the community (that includes you, Steve)

Purity is the opposite of integrity—the cruelest thing you can do to a person is make her ashamed of her own complexity. The stories of our lives have no morals.

–Excerpt from Fighting for our lives, CWC.

Two issues are prevalent on the campus political agenda this fall: President Lawry’s would be coup d’etat over community governance and its bundle of repercussions (censorship of the Record, growing risk of expulsion…) and the seemingly unbridgeable gap between first and third/fourth years. And the more I think about it, the more I believe that those two are linked. If we newcomers feel estranged from the upperclassmen, it may not be our supposed puerility that’s to blame but our assumed inability to recognize the gravity of that first matter. “Our Antioch is fading away!? seems to be their leitmotiv, but what can we say after less than two months on campus? Can we even all it ‘our’ Antioch? On what grounds can we join the ranks of old-time Antiochians fighting for the integrity of their alma mater? We cannot root our commitment to a bond to an idyllic past, but we certainly know and care about the Antioch we applied to.

Now because of our relative inexperience of the old Antioch spirit as cherished by the old-timers, we first years might ask what all the fuss is about. We might see it as an exaggeration, a mere case of ‘good-old days’ syndrome, and detach ourselves from the struggle for the preservation of Antioch’s identity. I am writing now so that this does not happen. From the perspective I’ve developed after having sat with Steve Lawry at the Monday 10/2 lunch and the Thursday 10/5 breakfast, read his response to Daniel Solis’ intelligent open letter on Pulse, and listened to third and fourth years talking about their growing frustration and disillusionment at Antioch’s culture shift, I can only conclude that President Lawry’s controversial decisions of the past month have not been a series of spontaneous oppressive interventions in mere reaction to a chain of events but a carefully planned out attempt to make an authoritative stand. He is clearly set upon changing the Antioch culture and has been taking advantage of this start of term’s “incidents? to make it clear to the community that the intended power shift is on the march.

On ideological, personal, emotional levels, we have every reason to rise against the takeover endeavor. The mere idea that our culture of idealism is being threatened on the pretext of economic efficiency—however badly we might need it—should be enough to infuriate any of us. But does this intended cleansing of the campus radicalism even make sense on a pragmatic level? If I think about it, Antioch’s reputation of radicalism is the very reason why I came here. Politics and freedom, especially to the most extremist levels, are why I chose Antioch over any other place in the world. And if those are taken away, what’s left? State of the art facilities? A wide-ranging curriculum? An exhilarating social scene? Or just the overall excitement of living under Ohio skies? Frankly, if you pull out radicalism from Antioch’s culture, if you try to tame the wild forces that make it the unique place it is, these very forces that Steve Lawry dismisses as “corrosive to a learning environment?, and shift our culture from libertarian to merely liberal, then I might just as well move to any other neutral, mainstream college that at least has available Russian literature classes and dorms free of toxic mold! So why does the president seem so positively set upon taming Antioch’s culture a top priority? How does marketing and prospecting for new students fit into this logic? Two possibilities come to mind: either Antioch’s radicalism bothers President Lawry on a personal, ethical level, or he is genuinely concerned with our low retention rate and candidly believes the complaints he has received from discontented transferring students. If it were the case, all would come down to the mission statement, the core identity of the college. Is Antioch for everyone? No! But this answer isn’t as blinkered or elitist as it seems, for it is not based on superficial labeling of someone’s beliefs or identity, but on her ability to deal with our challenging them. In the majority of cases, I think, we are not saying: “Conservatives go home? or any kind of “if you don’t think like us, go away.? What we are saying is this: “We are a bunch of committed, passionate people, and our politics are part of our profound identities, so we will not be afraid to defend them and to confront you about yours.? And maybe not everyone is up to endure this kind of dynamics, which demands perpetual reconsideration of one’s beliefs and the ability to defend them. In this way, and in this way only, is Antioch not for everyone.

During his Monday lunch with first years, Steve Lawry cited the case of a student who dropped out because of his Nike sneakers being vandalized by some Antiochian extremists. He presented it as an example of radicalism being “corrosive? to the community and the kind of attitude he was determined to make disappear. This might look like a reasonable demand, considering that you don’t believe in the use of violent means in ideological struggles, (it is not necessarily the case— and although this might not be the point here, I believe it would still be good to acknowledge it), but it is not something to be enforced from the top-down. Imagine that I knowingly chose to go to a conservative college; I would stand in the minority on an infinite number of issues and I would face different kind of pressures—in a variety of degrees of violence. Would I still call the school president to complain because people have attacked my anarchist beliefs? Would I expect him to start a campus-wide campaign to promote ideological tolerance? Of course not. But because at Antioch the voice coming from the flock is that of the minority position, it changes everything. It seems threatening to the average person who isn’t used to it being expressed freely, who isn’t used to living in a place where our alternative realities are considered the norm. So any judgment, censure or condemnation of the means we use to fight for our minority positions is up to us as a community, and to us only. Bottom-up is the only healthy approach. And, of course, we will be hearing about the threat of physical violence as a latent upshot of too much libertarianism and as an argument for more control and censure. But we all know where instrumentation of people’s fears lead to, don’t we?…

A top-down attempt to transform any pre-established culture anywhere is not only dictatorial and oppressive it is also absolutely impossible. The only way Steve Lawry can succeed is by gradually phasing out Antiochians and replace them with the mainstream, tamed, innocuous students he wishes populated this college. Only by screening entering students at the source, in Admissions, can he ever obtain his dream student body. But that’s not us. Like ungrateful brats quintessentially incapable to please our exacting parents, we’ll never be up to fulfill our president’s expectations. Should we sigh in relief? No, because even if our identities are untouchable at the core, our freedom to express them in the open is likely to be increasingly jeopardized by the administration’s attempts to sanitize the campus.

“Antioch-this is/Your chance to come together/To unite and fight? reads a Haiku Declassified in last week’s Record. The idea that an ideological battle between part of the administration and Antiochians has started is slowly making its way to the stratum of first-year students. I am part of it, and ready to meet the challenge. Are you?

Letter from Elizabeth Collier

Dear President Lawry,

As a third year transfer I have not had the same experience with “old? Antioch but I know what has impressed me about this place for the last 6 years and what disturbs me about these changes. Personally I feel a sense of betrayal. Admissions compiles a group of students who are independent and looking to change the world, regardless of what political leanings they may have. The school has always been rightly advertised as a place that is different – not just academically but socially. It seems now that group is assembled and our voices are quieted in order to make the school more appealing to the general population. It seems that our talent, energy and idealism is stifled and that we are not trusted enough to guide the direction of our education. The self-designed curriculum is present, yes, but a college education is more than that. We grow and learn to “shape our surroundings,? to quote the current website.

My roommate brought to my attention that so much of this process has been marked with what is wrong with the school and how the culture is driving people away. Why isn’t the focus on what brings people to Antioch rather than reinventing a long respected process? Bastardizing the school to attract the masses is not the way to bring glory to Antioch. Great schools are not recognized because they have huge numbers attending, they are respected because of the quality of the education and the opportunities available to students.

Despite how idealistic I may sound I understand that schools are in fact businesses. I understand that to continue running and offer those opportunities that bring respect that school must be properly funded. However I believe that in the long run more value will come from being a place of continued principle. Students will be attracted to a school that recognizes their competence and alumni will be more likely to feel a connection to (and donate to) the school that continues to use the methods and values they learned from.

Finally, it seems to me that imposing your will upon a culture that is so thoroughly resistant is an unnecessary waste of energy. Perhaps you believe that future students will expect less involvement in their government so this conflict will be short lived. Why exactly are you so publicly defiant of these long held beliefs? Any business, Antioch included, must answer to those who pay the bills, or risk irrelevance.

Elizabeth Collier

The Past 50 Years of the Antioch Presidency, Part II (1985-1997)

By Marissa Geiger

[The first part of this articles was published last issue (Vol59/Issue18)-BS.]

The Man in White Came in Riding on a Horse

After a presidential search, the BOT chose Alan Guskin to replace William Birenbaum. Guskin’s presidency spanned from 1985 to 1997 and I split them up into two very distinctive periods: 1985-1990 were the calm years and 1990-1997 was when things started to get severely problematic. According to Guskin, when he arrived here, AC was an estimated 12 months from closing. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, in the first two years Guskin was here, in order to reverse a downward spiral, he had to fire some people, begin phasing out the Law School in D.C. and balance a budget some $800,000 in the red.

While Birenbaum named the University, Guskin sustained it at a very high level of prosperity for most of his tenure as an administrator. It is not until the period of 1990-1997 that you can see why he may be so controversial. Things started going sour when the Record investigated an administrator whom Guskin appointed without approval of any pre-established legitimate processes (AdCil various committees of the time). Michael Bassis was unilaterally hired in 1989, and just happened to be one of Guskin’s old University of Wisconsin colleagues (where he held a position previous to Antioch) and also created a position for him, AU Executive Vice President to assist Guskin with the College. This was a developing trend for Guskin, as he appointed many people who shared his interest to high-level authority positions. The Record unearthed that Bassis lied about the concentration of his PhD: it wasn’t in Sociology as he and Guskin adamantly proclaimed time and time again, but in Education. This raised serious questions about his qualifications for the job and honesty relating to his academic record. But Guskin shot back, “Mike Bassis will be here as long as I am”.

The Snowball Effect

The problems snowballed. That little lie set the stage for the rest of Guskin’s tenure. Guskin had been rearranging positions and departments since he got to campus, but nothing was as epochal as the restructuring of 1992, which stretched until 1994. This was often referred to as “decentralization”, or Guskin implementing his “federal model”, in which there was is autonomy but within a negotiated policy framework. According to Devine, who was also the Dean of Faculty a short while during Guskin’s tenure, “The federal model allowed the College its autonomy to have the governance that we have, to have the program that we have and provided the safe harbor to say ‘We had a bad year’ and we had some subsidies to help cover what we’re doing.”

The subsidies Devine mentioned refer to the other units of AC. It was at this time the position of AU Chancellor was created, to link all the other executive directors (i.e. presidents) of the other campuses. This decentralization was said to promise the reduction of the responsibility and workload of the central administration. It was at this time there were only five units under the AU (six if you count the AU administration as a separate entity): Antioch College, McGregor School, Seattle, Southern California, and New England (last four are adult campuses).

Instead of AC pumping money into the adult campuses, Guskin reversed the flow of resources and they turned into, in effect, the College’s endowment. Money flowed toward the AC from all the centers it birthed years ago. It usually added up to about $1 million from each center (this number fluxes depending on the source). Devine added, “Guskin was good at working a board. That’s what a CEO of a non-profit has to do. Love him or hate him, he did rebuild the finances of the place.”

Under Guskin’s model, the affected offices were Personnel, Business, Financial Aid, the University Registrar, and (at the time) possibly the 1993 equivalent of Tech Resources. The campus was assured that the consolidation of these departments would save money.

Administration for each unit would be central, but would report to the BOT through the Chancellor of the University, which made the relationship between campus administration and the Board a little more ambiguous. Denman calls Guskin as a loving parent and all the units his children, “Guskin fell into the trap of getting too close in his sense of identity to the College and its future so when he began to receive criticism after the romantic period was over (1985-1990), he withdrew periodically, began to see faculty and students as aliens. At times he tried. When it didn’t pay off for him, it was a reason for anger, and he would move back into the authoritative role. He loved Yellow Springs; his love affair was too great; love in the romantic sense. Love of one who could maintain own independence, and offer independence of College to itself. Its like the love of a parent and letting the child become an independent person that bewilders, disappoints but also achieves its own visions.”

The Crowfoot Dismissal

Guskin took the chance to become Chancellor of AU, thereby ending his dual presidency. After a presidential search (which also caused an uproar in the way it was conducted), Jim Crowfoot was chosen as the 18th President of AC. He only lasted one year (1995-1996). This particular year in our history is the reason the AIF was born and part of why some alumni feel so severed from the AC community.

The Crowfoot controversy is a complicated one and depending on who your sources are, can be entirely hearsay. According to a faculty compiled chronology of events, a new College budget came out on July 1st, accompanied with restrictions on the budget. Crowfoot left for planned vacation on the 22nd. The 23rd, the University imposed a freeze on spending and College could not authorize any spending. A memo given to faculty read Severe disciplinary action if procedures are not followed. Crowfoot was contacted and said a freeze may be helpful and that it is essential to cooperate.

On August 6th, Crowfoot flew home to attend an AdCil budget meeting and found that $600,000-800,000 deficit is why the University took over. It was announced the 13th that Crowfoot “resigned”. Guskin replied with “Sometimes you have to act.” Now, I have heard from some that Crowfoot was a terrible President and the campus culture didn’t mesh well with him.

Denman said “These climatic events, turning points… In the minds of some of us, we felt these were moments where it was established, or should’ve been established, that certain kinds of processes are legitimate here and other processes are not. It stands as a precedent that the University can’t get rid of a College President without consultation, without real involvement of the AC process for hiring and firing. It all goes back to the notion that we make decisions collaboratively at the College. We have normative processes that we should follow for making decisions.”

The dismissal of Crowfoot, was out of line with the College practice of due process, up until that point, that is. There was a flood of articles posted in every newspaper in 25-mile radius, and one thing resounded, the actions of the Executive Committee of the BOT were necessary and the stability at the top of the College hierarchy was the key consideration. Less than a week later one of the Board members, Malte von Matthiessen resigned, citing a lack of confidence in the leadership of AU Chancellor Al Guskin. Malte’s concern lay in the fact that Crowfoot wasn’t given the resources or the support to deal with the College’s problems and was not informed as to how severe they really were. It was doomed from the start merely from miscommunication.

Do you need clarification at this point?

From 1972-2002, the College had 16 different leaders. In the first ten years, 1972-82, enrollment dropped from 2,470 to around five or six hundred, where it has remained. I asked Bob Devine his what he thought of the stagnate admissions rate in the past 20 years and he replied, “You gotta meet 100% of financial need to compete. We need consistent financial aid and more people on the road promoting Antioch College.” Money is always the issue with this question. When we spike the money to be able to bring people here, we spike in admissions. There is a direct correlation between the two. All distractions aside, I set out to determine the root cause in our current crisis, and I believe it lies within the Dixon Network. Superfluous educational imperialism of the early days of the University set the precedent. But I should probably describe what I mean by the “current crisis”. Not really knowing who is really in charge compounds the effects of living within, as Devine calls it, a manufactured crisis. The Board made the decision to charge depreciation to the College’s budget (and every other unit) two years ago. “Depreciation is the $1 million worth of physical plant and it’s going to wear out in 10 years so you must show expenses of $100,000 each year. It originally showed up on AU’s budget (started in 1993, since it was required to have it)- depreciation as an expense, and endowment growth and revenue and they wash each other out.” Numerous consultants advised AU financial executives not to charge each unit for depreciation, claiming the College can’t take the hit.

It is a good strategy, since the money can be used to revitalizing dorms, inadvertently addressing issues of retention. However, it is taking a huge chunk out of the school’s budget for depreciation. At the same time that it was a shock there was no reserve funds set aside to counteract dilapidated conditions of the grounds, $1.8 million dollars was also wrenched from the College’s pockets at the same time when all the other units decide to stop paying the overhead they have been sending our way for years. Instead, the subsidies are called (money from adult campuses, because remember, they were thought to be our endowment) “allowable deficit”, meaning they will go away sooner or later if we get our finances in order. Glenn Watt’s attitude and the rest of the University is destructive, as both think it is time for all other satellites to concentrate on themselves, to better themselves with all their revenue, instead of pumping money into a black hole of a college. Devine responds, “The College is a black hole cause we don’t know what people do, and we don’t necessarily share the values.” But the University seems to forget that the College is a vital part of AU. The central administration is located here and without some of the resources we have (library, cafeteria, etc.), the other schools could not be accredited.

Adult campuses are the most important source of revenue for the University. Not only do they bring in more money, but the other branches of the University are growing amazingly fast, in comparison to the College, which is currently struggling to maintain its existing attendance figures, as it waxes and wanes like it always does, or has for 20 years. A liberal arts model of education is expensive and there are two ways of remedying it: large endowments, which we don’t have, and/or high enrollment rate, which we don’t have.

Again, the structure is questioned

“But when the autonomy goes away [supplied under Guskin’s federal model] and the subsidies go away then I question whether the College does not need its own BOT, its own structure.” which is Devine’s response to how he feels about the current AU/AC dichotomy. AU administration is putting us in a very difficult situation, as all our money is tied up in projects that should have happened a long time ago. It is really easy to fall into the trap of not seeing the end in sight when it comes to campus projects, since we have adopted the “band-aid fix” for many years now. I asked Denman for his opinion on AC/AU and he said, “I have been convinced that it would be good for the College to regain its independence, but I have concluded in the last four months that this is an impossibility, that the AIF was the last good try, that now the future of the College lies within the University and that we better do everything we possibly can to have the entire University system thrive with the College as a part of it. The trustees will never really entertain the question, let alone answer it favorably.” (In a Record from 1993, it said the Board will no longer entertain questions about whether the University should exist or not.)

I asked Pelakoudas the same question and he mentioned that other places had Board of Visitors and depending on how the BOT defines the BOV, they can be delegated whatever powers the want. He suggested, “Total abolishment of current hierarchy. The University is a holding company with five separately incorporated units. It’s a business model. It doesn’t produce anything. Make the University a non-operating unit, contrary to what we have across the street. The superstructure can exist, but while not running programs. Each unit can make decisions about assets and leadership as long as they are consistent with the holding company (AU) and the BOT. As long as AU owns the resources we cannot be successful. We must manage our own resources to be successful, if we have any chance. (And here is where Al and Connie agree) It may be that we are beyond the stage where anything will work. I hope not… but I don’t think we can work under the present structure.”

I ran into an article in a Record from 1985 titled Is the University good for the College? Professor of Co-operative Education Dan Hotaling responds with, “Accountability and sense of responsibility are so spread around that no one can get a handle on how to run the place. No one is in a position to make a significant difference. No one can truly lead here since advocacy for this campus clashes with subservience to the University’s administration. Who is in charge of AC and what can s/he really do?” I want to challenge and prove Guskin wrong when he says, “It is an academic truism that trying to change a University is like trying to rearrange a cemetery.” It doesn’t sound like Connie’s suggestion would be that painful.

Reports of linkage problems

Even if our ideas are not heard or just completely ignored, the current system should not go to waste or make us go to waste. We have a communication problem with the University and it is to our benefit to remedy it. I read in the NCA report from the last time the accreditation team was here in 1993. A serious fault they see within our system is the problem of linkage, connecting different departments, especially between AC and across the street. Duffy explained to me that, for a long time, Glenn Watts didn’t know the air condition was broken in the library. He told Duffy that no one had told him, to which replied to me during the interview, “Kettering Building might as well be in Mexico.” Although, I do know information slips through the cracks over there and irresponsibility cannot be blamed on workload. If that is the argument, a review is in order of the consolidations that occurred more than a decade ago. So…what?

This summer, I was blaming Joan, and then I convinced others and myself that it was the BOT. Recently, I think that it is we as a community. Richard Lapides, a trustee of nine years, resigned June 8th, 1995. He was interviewed in the Record and he had this to say about the “blame game”, “Sometimes people like to talk overmuch about leadership because it’s a way to avoid dealing with them. It’s a lot easier to hold a leader responsible for what’s good or bad, more often what’s bad, instead of looking to oneself and one’s own role. It’s ridiculous. It happens all the time. It’s human nature.” I don’t fully agree with that statement, but I do think he makes a valid point by singling community members out and telling them to take responsibility for their surroundings. Times have changed since 1995, and I wonder if any Trustees would agree with his statement while still recognizing how many times students voices and efforts have been quashed on this campus.

Which leads me to four criteria I found in a commentary I found in the Record by student Matthew Rick. 1) The people who control the money call all the shots. 2) Important decisions are made from the top down. 3) The people in control don’t have to apologize. 4) Protest is tolerated as long as it doesn’t change anything.

These were written in 1992 and I remember discussing these same issues in the days following Joan’s meeting with us. We protested about DOS restructuring and the blatant weakening of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. If you have noticed other parallels through out this report to what is going on now, do not be surprised. It all goes back to the Guskin era, at the start of his difficult years. Notice that Guskin created a position specifically for Bassis. We ran into that issue this past summer with how obvious some of the positions were designed and written. Some purposely excluded while others were inclusive. It was as if some of the positions were being molded around individuals. Also notice in Guskin’s decentralization/federal model how there was decentralization of less centralized power in one area (AHEM DOS) and this command came from above, namely the BOT, but implemented by President <enter name here>. The College Community has yet to see the Restructuring Committee notes that were compiled at numerous social settings and via email. Again, whom are we supposed to go to for it? I gather there is some hesitancy from up above Joan to release them, or she would have put them out by now. Or maybe not. The students don’t have the money to be able to call the shots, but we certainly have every other constituency beat by majority. And without us, there is no reason for the College to continue operating. “If you don’t feel influential over your environment, then you loose the will to change.”

There are interesting parallels between the past and present. McGregor School merged with AU in 1995. Of course there was a lot of discussion on taking on such collaboration. At the same time, the Yellow Springs campus dwellers were in an uproar about the College renting out Units to McGregor. And here we are, in 2003, McGregor is threatening to leave, and we are negotiating with them to rent out Units (or maybe it was quashed by Housing). It was also the same time as racism/systematic oppression were active issues on campus. You would think the administration would have it down by now, right? We are moving in circles around a circle. It seems as if we keep asking the same questions over and over again, and they are the wrong ones every time because we don’t get the right answers. The question “Is AU good for AC” is becoming tedious and gets us nowhere close to achieving some sort of independence within the College.

We have been operating in the same cursed structure for 20-odd years. The fear that I mentioned before plays an important role in keeping us in this static position. Pelakoudas states, “An environment in which you feel squeezed by limited resources and constant economic constraints makes dealing with the other issues difficult (those of race, class, gender, etc.) It makes people angry and scared. It comes down to ownership of resources and the quality of life campus. If you don’t feel influential over your environment, then you loose the will to change, and not just financial, governance side. It is also the ownership of assets, issues surrounding governance. If you really feel that [influence] working with colleagues, you can make a difference. If you don’t have that possibility, what is the point?”

I personally, do not feel like I am, or have been, influencing my environment. The resistance against that this summer was suffocating and culminated at one particular community meeting where two executive administrators began to tear up. THEY WERE ACTUALLY LISTENING FOR ONCE. And its not like they had a choice. There is no room for power hungry individuals in administration. Guskin is a member of the Renewal Commission. Check out and click on “Project on the Future of Higher Education”. Notice who is on it: Guskin, BASSIS, and a few other of his friends he appointed to administrative positions while President/Chancellor.

Should this scare you that he is once again a part of a crucial decision making process? I will leave that for you to decide. I am not placing blame on any one individual for all our current woes. However, it seems odd to me that we are tackling issues that have root in the Guskin era, and he is on the Commission. People say the Commission and its members have the best interest of the College in mind. But what they mean is the members have their own interest for the College in mind and in turn, come to the table wielding their own agenda.

I am not a proponent of this, it is merely an observation- I already pointed out that we, as students, have the majority, population wise. Students in 1973 took advantage of that and look at the damage they did. We are still recovering from it. I say we escape this perpetual victim mentality that comes along with living in an environment where we have no control. We are at another crucial bend in our cycle, where we could possibly break off. The Renewal Commission, restructuring of the DOS, presidential search- its all happened before, and all at the same time and Antioch College reacted the way we always do, with fear and trembling submission. I am going to take Duffy’s advice and “adopt” a trustee, alumni, or a member on a commission and open my heart to them totally so I can feed them so they can make the judgments by they know from me. I cannot accept “Nothing will ever change here”, because the means lie within all of us.