Mending Fences

Rick Daily“We have a hole in this triangle as far as trust is concerned,” Antioch College Professor Hassan Rahmanian fumed to a crowd of alumni and students and villagers last Thursday at the Yellow Springs Senior Center. The three points in the triangle, Antioch College alumni, the University, and the campus community, are engaged in the Alumni Board’s efforts to keep a viable Antioch College open past the announced closing date in 2008. The relationship between the three has recently been tested by direct intervention of the University Chancellor in the operations at the College.

The meeting, organized by the Alumni Board, was meant to facilitate dialogue about the future of the college in an informal, off-campus environment. Attendance was high, with many guests taking position against the wall or on the floor.

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Never mind the Pentagon, here’s The Antioch Papers

Today, launched another batch of files disclosing information about financial measures taken at College and University level over the decade leading up to the current crisis.The files, among which letters from former College President to then Chancellors of the University James Hall and Jim Craiglow in 2001 and 2002, show that red flags about the college’s financial challenges and government structure have been raised for years. In a letter dated February 22nd 1999, Bob Devine wrote: “The top-down implementation of the plan to charge depreciation to each campus is, for the college, the crushing blow. It renders the challenge of building a healthy and viable college a Sysyphian nightmare, in that it means that the college’s revenue over expenses will never again be a positive number.”

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College faculty pass vote of no confidence against Chancelor Toni Murdock

Toni MurdockFor the second time of her administrative career, Antioch University Chancellor Tullise “Toni” Murdock has received a vote of no confidence. The resolution was unanimously passed by the 26 faculty members present at Tuesday’s faculty meeting.

The decision was a result of the events of Friday August 31st, when the news broke unexpectedly that Steve Lawry was stepping down immediately from Antioch’s presidency. Issues surrounding the Offices of Development and Alumni Relations were also raised after staff was sent home for a ‘long weekend’ and their offices’ locks changed. The announcement raised numerous questions within the community as the reasons surrounding Lawry’s sudden departure were unclear; in July he had announced his resignation as of January 2008. Moreover, the news that Lawry was under a gag order which prevented him from commenting on the situation raised further suspicion about the real reasons behind his “resignation.” Continue reading College faculty pass vote of no confidence against Chancelor Toni Murdock

University putsch changes climate on campus

Sentiments at Antioch College are changing fast these days. Euphoria over the August 27 announcement that the Board of Trustees of Antioch University is willing to work with college alumni on a business plan to keep the College open past June 30, 2008, over the weekend has been replaced by distrust and fear.
On Friday, University Chancellor Toni Murdock in a series of press releases announced college CEO President Steven Lawry stepping down effective immediately, to be replaced by a an “administrative team,” headed by former dean of faculty Andrzej Bloch who assumes the new title of chief operating officer (COO) at the college.

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BOT to collaborate with Alumni Board on plan for viable future of Antioch College

Stakeholders’ Meeting“This tree is not ready to die. New twigs are budding; you’ve heard them today,” faculty member Hassan Rachmanian told Antioch Trustees and close to 200 stakeholders assembled at a Kentucky airport hotel on Saturday morning. Whether it was his plea or that of dozens of others last weekend, the Board of Trustees of Antioch College on Monday announced its willingness to collaborate with the college Alumni Association to further develop a business plan for the future of a viable Antioch College. In addition, the trustees in a separate vote expressed their willingness to consider the creation of a separate Board for the college with “significant authority”.

The Board adopted a resolution to that affect on Sunday, following a weekend hearing of stakeholders from the wider College and Yellow Springs Community whose collective efforts over the last two months have brought to the table over eight million dollars in cash and pledges to keep the doors of Antioch College open past the academic year 2007.