Protest and Oppose Censorship of the Record

Protest and Oppose Censorship of the Record

To the Antioch Community:

As adjunct faculty serving as a mentor to students on the Antioch Record staff, I protest and oppose the Lawry administration’s censorship of the Record. I am advising the students to resist all censorship and intimidation.. And I urge members of the Antioch community to support the Record in affirmation of freedom of speech.

Censorship is — of course — grossly unacceptable. It is unethical and immoral. Censorship, or any infringement of people’s rights of free discussion, free expression and free inquiry, violates the most basic values of democracy and community, not to mention liberal arts education.

That students at Antioch College are denied free speech is shocking and absurd.

Censorship of the Record began with its September 22 issue. In a letter to the faculty dated September 20, college president Steve Lawry announced that the dean of faculty, Andrzej Bloch, had been empowered to censor the Record, and that a new board would soon be appointed to “take overall responsibility for the Record.?

In an attempt to justify its censorship of the Record, the administration has made false and inflammatory statements. A letter sent September 18 to faculty and staff, signed by three administrators (Lawry, Bloch, and Rick Jurasek), characterized a feature in the Record (“Question of the Week?) that was clearly satirical — and clearly protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech — as “a crime? that put the Record in “high-risk legal territory.?

This is not true. As a newspaper editor and publisher for 33 years, I can assure the community there is no way that the Record, or any other newspaper in America, would be at legal risk for printing this material. (Record staff confirmed this in a consultation with the Student Press Law Center in Washington, D.C.)

Not true, also, is the charge made by Lawry, in his September 20 letter, that the Record’s “generally poor editorial judgments? and “the persistent presence of anti-social and aggressive speech and prolific use of obscenitites? in the Record “systematically degrade and dishonor? Antioch College.

It is not the Record, but the administration’s censorship of the Record — its denial of basic rights of freedom of speech to members of the Antioch community — that degrades and dishonors Antioch College.

The Record is an essential part of the Antioch community. It is rooted in the values of the community, and it speaks in the voice — or the many voices — of the community. It’s a good newspaper. Despite deep cuts in the Record’s funding, the editors have assembled a large staff of talented, enthusiastic, hard-working students. They have provided the community with a diverse mix of interesting, lively, well-written news and opinion.

Last week’s “retro? issue of the Record, full of articles and pictures the staff selected from Records published down through the years, brilliantly illuminated Antioch’s long and passionate commitment to the struggle for human rights, social justice, and freedom of expression. And fun — the Record brightly illuminated Antioch’s bold, free spirit.

The Record, far from dishonoring Antioch College, honors Antioch in the most essential, meaningful way — by expressing, and embodying, Antioch’s spirit. At the heart of Antioch is the free spirit of Antioch, and all attempts to suppress it must be opposed.

Sincerely,

— Don Wallis

Bringing Censor Back!

Record awaiting installation of new Editorial Board

by Kim-Jenna Jurriaans

Awaiting ComCil’s vote on last week’s proposal concerning the installation of an editorial board for the Antioch Record, hopes persist that this week’s ComCil meeting will bring more clarity about the future outline for the community’s newspaper. The board, if approved, will function interim for the fall term 2006 only, until a permanent board is established by the beginning of spring term 2007.

Dean of Faculty Andrzej Bloch, Vice President Rick Jurasek, and Community manager Levi B. Cowperthwaite, in reaction to recent controversy over student’s answers to “the Question of the Week?, in the September 15 issue of The Record, brought the proposal to ComCil last week. According to a memo sent by President Lawry to advisers and staff on September 18, several resonses to the question “What would you say to the Narc?” were seen by the College’s Lawyer as “high-threat messages” entering “high-risk legal territory”, thereby putting Antioch in danger of liability charges being pressed against the College. This, in combination with strong feelings within the administration that The Record is missing a clearly defined editorial policy, led to discussions about, and eventually putting down on paper of an outline for a new, empowered board to take responsibility for the Record’s content.

REB vs. RAB
The proposal, sent in to ComCil last Thursday, foresees in the installation of a Record Editorial Board (REB) to set out and enforce editorial policy, to be carried out by The Record’s editors. In doing so, the new Editorial Board would take on the role of the little, but more powerful, brother of the existing Record Advisory Board (RAB), which has been functioning as the main source of advice to editors and staff in previous years. So far, the existing Record Advisory Board only had the power to advice on editorial policy, without having the authority to enforce it. The new board, which would not replace but function in addition to RAB, would cover this authority-gap, in favor of more structured, institutional, control over printed content.
When asked about the reasons for installing the new board, Andrzej Bloch answered: ” It is our job to represent the interests of the school as an institution. Everything that is printed in the Record has the Antioch name on it and it reflects the school as an institution. The same applies if a faculty member would do something outrageous in class. The question is always, how do you balance academic freedom with respect of the institution.”

Educational value

In another memo, sent to the college faculty two days after his first testimony of concern about the content of this newspaper, President Lawry urges faculty to “be supportive and responsive” to requests to join the editorial board. In the memo, forwarded to the Record by various members of faculty, Lawry states that: “The college is the owner and publisher of The Record, which functions as part of the College’s educational mission. As an educational institution, we are responsible for the ethical and educational development of young people. Too much of the content of The Record suggests to me that we are failing in that mission.”

It is precisely this educational development, which the president urges so strongly, that others fear will be the first victim of the new policy. Community manager Levi B on ComCil concerns to the proposal: “There are several parts of the proposal that ComCil isn’t happy with. For example, why have two boards? Why put energy into this reactionary ad hoc board instead of investing in the old one? But there’s also the educational side. Part of education is taking risks. Taking away that option is taking away part of the educational value.”

According to Levi B, the CM, the number of seats on the board and the way they are filled is also an issue that worries ComCil. The proposal mentions the board as consisting of 4 members, 2 members of faculty and two students, who will be appointed collaboratively by the College President and the Community Manager. The latter mentions ComCil’s view that this board is not representative of the community.

Continuity

One major problem that RAB seems to have been struggling with in the past is continuity. Finding former editors to take a seat in the Advisory Board, for example, has been difficult at times. Introducing a system of stacked appointment in the board is one of the goals Andrzej Bloch sees for REB. The interim editorial board doesn’t solve the problem of continuity; it merely bridges the gap until negotiations over the form and authority of a permanent Editorial Board have finished. The administration sees a permanent Editorial Board as the best means to guarantee continuity and future implementation of the new editorial guidelines that will be set out by the interim board this term. So far, a lot of questions about the approach that the interim board will handle and what the permanent board will eventually look like, remain up in the air. Hopes are that a decision on the interim board proposal will be announced in this weeks ComCil meeting, with or without amendments.

Where it started

Back to the roots

Going back to what has started the argument about “bad editorial judgment” and the need for a cleaner editorial policy, the administration’s reaction to the comments printed in the September 15 issue of the Record managed to surprised many on and off campus, including faculty and people from the Yellow Springs community. And for many, it is seen as an example for the iron wind of change that seems to be blown thru the Antioch campus recently, to radically clean up whatever leaves of campus culture are still left lying in the grass, that characterize a college identity that doesn’t fit into the vision of the clean cut suburbia lawn that is set out for it.

Reports of students being called into the Dean of Faculty’s office, Memo’s to student advisers, urging them to meet with their advisees to denounce “hostile street-language” and “menacing speech”, in addition to the need for a midnight proof-read of a recent issue of the Record to protect it from further repercussions, are widely perceived as ways of intimidation and signs of an institutional tour de force to streamline the college.

Jen Parnell, who’s comment was found to be most damaging by the College’s lawyer, was called into the Dean of faculty’s office to discuss the possible consequences of her comment. “I was told that my statement was found prosecutable and felonious by the college lawyer and if the ‘Narc’ would feel offended, he could press charges. I had been in contact with my lawyer, who told me that since there is no clear and present danger to specifically named person, there is no liability. Andrzej insisted that that wasn’t true and that I had to watch what I say.” Denouncing rumors around campus, Andrzej Bloch made it clear to he Record, that “Jen’s comments were never and will not be a reason to expel her from school.”

Phone calls to the Civil Liberties Union, as well as attorney Mike Hiestand, legal consultant for the Student Press Association, also point towards the absence of liability in Jen Parnell’s specific case. Mike Hiestand: “even if the ‘Narc’ would make himself known and claim to be offended, that is his problem, not the student’s. There is no liability here.” This stands in strong contrast to the college’s legal council, that, according to the September 18 memo, said “these responses clearly signal that an unnamed person has cause to fear serious physical harm. This is intolerable as it is illegal.”

Since the school is a private institution, the 1st amendment, which prohibits censorship by government officials doesn’t apply. Actions to prevent certain material from being printed are therefore left to the discretion of the college. “Even so,” Hiestand continues,” Although actions against a student or the student paper would in this case not be illegal, it is still highly out of proportion.”

In an issue of the Record, printed in June of this year, last term’s editor William Parke-Sutherland was already voicing his concern about what he called efforts to censor the Antioch Record, calling it “a path down which I refuse to walk.”

Unclear

An interesting point of attention will also be the choice of sources that the interim board will turn to for information to base the new editorial policy upon. Levi B: “I don’t know the specifics yet, but I say we will look at Internal policy, the Honor Code, the Civil Liberties Code and advice from lawyers. The idea is that the board sets editorial policy to create a relationship of trust. It will not have hiring and firing power.”

Although they both tabled the proposal for the interim board, when it comes down to the appointment and position of the permanent REB in the community, the Dean of faculty’s view seems to be different from that of the Community manager. In answer to the question what procedure will be followed to install the new permanent board, Levi B. says: “My understanding is that it goes thru Comcil and that a rewriting of the legislative code is necessary. That means there has to be a two third majority in two different terms before it can get installed.” Contrary to CG’s views, Dean of Faculty Andrzej Bloch says he does not see the need to write the new Permanent board into the College leg-code: “Actually, I see this as business for AdCil rather than Comcil. The suggestions for appointments should be made by AdCil, with final appointment by the president.” Community manager Levi B.: “The Record comes out of activity fees, not part of the annual operating budget. Appointments don’t represent the community ownership. “Installing the interim board for this semester only requires temporary suspension of the code, which can be done with a majority vote. Following regular procedure, the permanent board should have to go thru a tougher procedure in order for REB to be written into the Leg-code. Whether a proposal for the permanent board will be presented to ComCil or not will likely be the result of discussion between the Community manager, the Dean of Faculty and the office of the President. This and other issues, including whether REB will have hiring and firing power over The Records editors need to be resolved within the course of this term.

Campus Life Gets a Life Guard

by Christopher DeArcangelis

It had been a groggy start. Head in the shower, clothes on the ground and no breakfast. The class had been one of irritation: “McGregor still has no elevator or handicap accessible entrance and its recent cleaning has unleashed a fierce mold.? When class was over I couldn’t stop thinking about eggs and mayonnaise. My hunger was trying to take me for a ride.

I ran into Joe and he said “Listen: I cant get into Birch.? I looked at him and rubbed my guts. I had consumed the coffee stimulant, but no food. I needed Birch for its kitchen.

“Come on, ole Joe. I’ve got a key. “ Joe looked back pensively, not letting me in on his inner understanding. We walked down the path past the dew and craters that compose one of Birch’s main pathways. Joe almost broke his ankle stumbling into the hole in the ground. Examining his reddening joints he remarked,

“Oh, I hope lunch is good.? I helped him up and we made it up to the door. I reached into my pocket, stained from last night’s Gin, and fumbled for my keys. I found them buried beneath my coinage and whipped them out into the keyhole. Turning the key gave way to nothing; the sweat on my brow now ran down my eye sockets. I began to turn the key more aggressively, pulling on the door handles and muttering oaths.

I had not yet received my new Antioch ID. These new IDs include the ability to unlock the dormitory doors, standing for a new era in the General Safety of Antioch. This also means that until someone walked by with an ID card, my friend and I would be pressing our faces to the glass of the doors hoping to see a concerned face. And there she was.

It was Kim Deal, from the rock ‘n’ roll band The Pixies. She is also from Dayton, a nearby industrial city. She was making her way down the stairs and saw our flustered faces. She let us in through the door with the sympathy of a sailor, saying “Hey, we’re all on this ship together.?

I said, “Why, with all this good nature about, I can’t help but wonder if you know something I don’t.? Her eyes widened. Her shining teeth revealed themselves to me as she announced her new position as the Campus Life Guard.

“Campus Life Guard tell me more!? Joe beckoned. The Campus Life Guard took us aside to the Birch Space Kitchen and began preparing some sandwiches a she explained the various changes occurring on Antioch College that require our immediate attention, as well as the aid of a skilled Campus Life Guard.

“This term is but another in a series of swift changes in policy towards the students of Antioch College. The college moves on with its Renewal Plan, and the Housing website still shows a picture of Birch while leaving it out of its Internet tour of Antioch’s student housing.

Changes that face returning students this term: The necessity of a written proof of illness in order to partake in the Cafeteria’s Food Exchange Program; the lack of a smoking friendly dormitory or hall; the reorganizing of financial aid, of the FWSP; the key card identification system that took years. The understaffed faculty. The Pepto-Bismol nightmare interior of the Antioch Inn Practice Spaces and Hailed Hallway of The Dance Space. The largest first year class in years is also welcomed this term.

This term Antioch will posses the following abandoned residence halls: West, Mills, G Stanley, and Norment. “

The sandwiches were served, along with the proper end of summer cordials. Kim peered out through the Birch Space windows as she elaborated.

Housing

“Gazing about the halls of Birch one cannot find a common space. Instead, the passageway, the hallway, is the common space. Folk hang about as if waiting for the bus or a ride, one leg crooked against the wall, cigarettes in hand.

Fuck not smoking, a bright second year says.

The rooms seem to be in fine working order. Aside from the closet full of ancient piss and the incriminating fleabites that spell “get out.?

Though things seem to have taken a turn for the worse at Birch Town, its residents still have faith in the future. A fancy bench has made its way into one of the dorms halls, providing what would seem to be an attempt at the creation of a common space.

As for smoking, Ohio and many other states have decided to tighten their brassiere in a collective show of progression by banning smoking in some way or another. In Ohio it has been county by county, and while Green County remains indoor smoking friendly Antioch College does not.

The ratio of smoking detectors to smoking Antioch student has continuously caused unwanted smoke alarm detonations, particularly during the last few terms in Birch. It is rumored that tensions are rising between the Yellow Springs Fire Department and Antioch College. It seems that Antioch has been trying to save face, however, what with the sacrificial offering of the recently abandoned Torment Hall to the Fire Department for training exercises.

The RA of Willet Hall in Birch, Rob the Rev, says: “Over the last few terms their have been a lot of fire alarms going off which I think is straining our relationship with the fire department. I think that in the interest of maintaining the basic safety of this campus and the students it would be the logical course to ban smoking.?

For the first year class, North has been rehabilitated with all the floors open and ready for business. Dorm life is being kept closely monitored. Near the entrance to Green Hall there is posted warning about the seriousness of underage drinking and drinking in North. Underage drinking and smoking will not be tolerated. Steve Lawry has voiced his personal concern with underage drinking in North.

Whatever you do, don’t buy any minors beer this term.?

Campus Life

“The Financial Aid restructuring has continued to affect the Community Government and Independent Group’s on campus. The various groups provide resources and outlets for the diverse minds and bodies that compose Antioch College’s student body. These outlets show the true potential of Antioch College as a place for creativity and progress. With their diminished importance and volunteer status, they are threatened to disappear completely without student initiative. Even the Antioch Record itself has been struggling keep a hold of funding.

The first years are on a completely different curriculum from the upper classmen. Their days are spent in class. Most of the steady teachers have been usurped into the CORE program for the first years. For a while the fresh key cards given to returning students did not work in North.

Weekend Dance Space parties have long been a staple of Antioch College nightlife. This term, alcohol will no longer be sold at CG parties. It is sad to see the eradication of one of the most ancient forms of socialization. BYOB is encouraged, but still serves as yet another division between the older and younger students at Antioch College, a school with a very small student body.

The cafeteria has taken a new stance on the food exchange program limiting access to a great idea: take home some of the raw goods that the cafeteria uses. You must have a written notice from a doctor validating your need to partake in this program. At a school that is known for its progressive posturing, you would think the food wouldn’t put people asleep or straining at the toilet! But it does, and the cafeteria remains stigmatized.

Kim Deal really had taken this job full on. My stomach was full, but my head was filled with questions. These questions, like many, desire an answering. I leaned forward on the fancy table and asked, “But Kim, what does anyone think?? I looked at her plainly, naïve to the whole thing. She reached an arm into her pocket and prepared a mini cassette record to myself and Joe. “In order to better understand the changes, I thought it best to speak with some upperclassmen. Here for your pleasure and understanding are the true testimonials of Rob the Rev, and Emily Thornton Wourms

Emily TW

Q: How has your housing situation changed?
A: When I entered I lived in north and it was cesspool of first year debauchery and I liked it that way. The biggest problem with housing is that they don’t differentiate from the people who do drugs and the people who don’t and because of that people are put in awkward positions where their lifestyle conflicts with people around them and I thought that was a very valuable thing and that school did too.

Q: With the changes in smoking and alcohol tolerance do you feel that the school is changing its stance?
A: Oh yeah, we used to have a semi official harm reduction policy when I first entered and now it seems more like z parental relation ship between the students and administration

Q: Do you feel distanced from the first years this term?
A: Yes, but not as much as last year, which I think is very important and a very good sign. I think the issues over housing last year caused a lot of animosity over the first years and older students. I think having the older students in Birch here they’ve always been since I’ve first got here was important.

Q: Do you think that the role of the older students as potential mentors and friends is being eradicated on campus?
A: I think they are trying to formalize that role. I know they have all these official mentor ship programs but when I arrived here there was a lot of informal mentor ships which in a lot of ways worked better because it entered people lives more it was just if you had a problem with homework you had a name you could hunt down, you actually had these relationships. Maybe they are trying creating this in a more formal way, great, but I haven’t seen that happening.

Q: How do you feel about the lack of a common space in Birch?
A: I’m trying to do my senior project, and someone just moved a couch literally a foot and a half from my front door and I think that is going to be very detrimental to me trying to do my senior project, and this was done to compensate for the lack of a proper common space.

Q :Do you feel that a common space is really better than a couch outside your door?
A: A lot better for me.

Q: Why do you think they took the common spaces out of birch??
A: Probably to try to get rid of the community atmosphere that many older students enjoyed here that was somewhat destructive and somewhat dirty but I think that people are just creating that atmosphere in a narrower place that only intensifies that atmosphere, literally narrower.

Q: How do you feel about the need for a doctor’s note in order to partake in the Food Exchange program?
A: I have a bigger problem with not being able to get a refund for your meal plan and take
the money you would have spent on it. The food exchange program is great and if people
can utilize it I think they should but you should be able to opt out of the whole thing.
Q: What would you prescribe to Antioch if you were a doctor?
A: Hmmm, some antibiotics and some Valium.
Reverend Rob
Q: Do you feel cut off from the first years?
A: I do indeed I feel that the first years are in a bubble within a bubble. At the same time when the first
years were put in Birch last years it was the same thing so, I don’t think its so much a spatial issue as
much as a generational issues, as the older generations tend to cut themselves off from first years
and the first years tend to put themselves in a cocoon, it seems this problem would be inevitable
Do we stand a chance?
“Well Kim,? I started, “thanks for taking a good keep over the flock. I feel like my place in the community
is still pretty blurry though. I almost feel sick thinking about these changes. What do we do, Kim??

She stood up from her seat.
“The upperclassmen and first years are presented with some daunting challenges at a college
typically known for its strong community and support of radical thought. The leaves will all being
to fall and time will pass. A healthy diet and good sleep remains important, as well as dancing
and the occasional well supervised consumption of a cold beer and a book. It is up to us to get
what we want, or do what we want. As this term unfolds we will see just what’s in store for us.?
She then jumped through the window, glass shattering in slow motion, and walked off to
stand post as the Campus Life guard.

From The Editors

Luke BrennanConcerning the first year with the loose lips or the sticky wire…
I am ashamed, and deeply troubled by these events. This is not the Antioch that I know, love, and respect. The events of above are not that actions of a community that has devoted itself to peace and social justice. We claim to be change agents……well, one cannot be effective by engaging in destructive and nasty behavior. This is violence….and we cannot support this. Antioch is in the midst of change…we all know this…we also know that not everyone is on board with the changes….and this is okay…change is hard, and almost nobody likes change, but if you don’t like the changes, protest them in acceptable ways. Let us not become a community that operates in darkness. This has always been a place were people could be open with their viewpoints. Let us continue to be.
– Luke
P.S. Thanks B.P. you said it better than I could have.
P.P.S. Big ups to Burritodemuerto, you’re a genius.

Foster Neill

Dear Community,
Thank you for and welcome to the first Antioch Record of Fall 2006. Everything in this issue is the product of dedication. I cannot express my gratitude to everyone for this great start. Both Luke and I are extremely happy with the content in this issue. We actually had too much content, all of which deserved its own spotlight.
A few things I am especially pleased with:
Morgan’s photo in Question of the Week. I worked hard to make it look like that, and damn, it looks good.
Kari’s photos – They were perfect. The right size, beautiful, on time. Everything is perfect with them.
All our staff for submitting their assignments on time. They are all great.
Also, I would like to thank everyone who stopped in to the Record office. Please keep coming by.
The next issue should be at least as good as this one.
A plea: Please actually read the articles in this. Our staff worked hard on them with little time to find the facts. If you read something you like, the next time you see the writer, shake their hand or something. Tell them they did a good job.
Think you can come up with a better Question of the Week than the Record or Morgan? We dare you.
Also, if you hate something in the Record, say nothing. We don’t want to hear it.
Until next time,
Foster Neill
Layout Editor