Antioch College Board Pro Tempore Meet in Yellow Springs

By Eva Erickson and Vanessa Query

From the 20th to the 22nd of February, the Antioch College Board Pro Tempore came together for the first time in Yellow Springs to create goals and plans for the revival of their alma mater. The four main agenda topics of the meetings were finances and fundraising efforts, evaluating the flood damage of the buildings as well as theirneed for remodeling, the Definitive Agreements for the College’s independence from Antioch University, and Nonstop’s integration into the new Antioch.

Due to the sensitive nature of the current state of negotiations with Antioch University, most of the sessions were closed to the public. In fact, only two events were open: a bird-watching hike in the GlenHelen Nature Preserve and a presentation on Nonstop’s creation, successes, and what it could offer to a new vision for Antioch College.

The bird-watching was a success, if you count seven Nonstop students waking up at 6:30 on a brisk Saturday morning in February a success. Sadly, most of the board did not share the students’ enthusiasm for bird-watching, as only one ProTem member – Nancy Crow, who is also president of the Alumni Board –arrived. Along with board consultant Matthew Derr, they all had a lovely hike in the Glen under the tutelage of bird expert Nick Boutis, Director of the Glen. We were all pleasantly surprised to find out that Derr and Crow really know and love their birds. In fact, Derr got very excited when he spotted, for the first time in his bird-watching life, a Carolina Chickadee. He remarked that he hadn’t realized there was anything other than just a regular old chickadee. Boutis replied that you could tell it was a Carolina Chickadee by its southern drawl.



“It was really nice to be able to interact with Matt and Nancy in such an interesting, informal setting,” said third-year student Jeanne Kay. “I look forward to more opportunities to develop student relationships with trustees.”

Students and the rest of the community are not the only people wishing to become more familiar with the ProTem. In fact, that weekend was the first time the Board members themselves have met face-to-face. Prior to their visit to Nonstop, they have been having teleconference meetings every Sunday and keeping in touch with each other via phone and email. “Except Lee and Matthew, I haven’t met any of the Board members before we had teleconferences, and so for me this was really a great opportunity to actually put faces with people’s voices,” says Board member Allyn Feinberg.

The Glen Helen Building Conference Room was comfortably filled during Nonstop’s presentation to the board.  Eight of the twelve ProTem Board members attended the presentation:  Lee Morgan ‘66, Pavel Curtis ‘81, Terry Herndon ‘57, Frances Horowitz ‘54, Barbara Winslow ‘68, Joyce Idema ‘57, Allyn Feinberg ‘70, and Nancy Crow ’70. Prexy Nesbitt ’67, had left after the closed report from the visiting team about Nonstop’s curriculum. Board members Edward Richard ’59, Jay Lorsch ’55, Atis Folkmanis ’62,  honorary members Kay Drey ’39, Leo Drey ’39 and The Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton ’60 did not make it to the meeting.

For a little more than an hour, community members argued the case for Nonstop to be included in the planning and implementation for a continuing Antioch. The presenters, Acting President of the College Revival Fund Ellen Borgersen, Executive Collective (ExColl) members Chris Hill, Susan Eklund-Leen, and Hassan Rahmanian, Co-Community Manager Chelsea Martens, and third-year student Shea Witzberger gave their testimonials about various aspects of Nonstop, its origins and goals, its successes in its space, the innovative use of IT within a budget, the development of COPAS, the open curriculum, and how above all, Nonstop will make a case for an invaluable resource to the rebuilding of the new Antioch College.


The session ended with Lee Morgan thanking everyone for their efforts, but explaining that at this point in the process, it is too early to speculate about the future of a potential Antioch/Nonstop synergy. He reiterated the four points that originally brought the board to Yellow Springs. He expressed gratitude, admiration, and awe for all that Nonstop has done and is trying to accomplish and assured the community of the Board’s devotion to the college. Matt Derr emphasized that there is “no ambiguity for collective passion about the college.”

Photo Dennie Eagleson

After the meeting with Nonstop ended, several community members were treated to dinner at The Winds. Besides eating delectable food, the dinner gave the ProTem Board another chance to have a more personal interaction with the Nonstop community representatives. Jeanne Kay, the only student at the dinner, says “I had a great time talking to ProTem members at my table: Joyce Idema, Allyn Feinberg, and Terry Herndon. I enjoyed listening to anecdotes about their time at Antioch and sharing my experience as a student; it’s amazing how across generations there is an indomitable core of Antiochianness, it is clear to me that we share the same values and commitment to rebuilding a revived Antioch College.”

Interview with Lee Morgan and Matthew Derr

– Transcript by John Hempfling

The Record interviewed ProTem Board Chair Lee Morgan and Consultant to the ProTem Board Matthew Derr on Monday, February 16th

Stream this audio interview below, or click on the link to download or listen in your preferred audio application:


Download or Listen to full, unedited interview

The Record: Could you both define your role in the process leading to the definitive agreement? Lee what is your role?

Lee Morgan: Technically I’m the chair of the board ProTem, that’s my role, but I was nominated by the Alumni Association Board of Directors to represent alumni on the Task Force to negotiate the LOI.

What are you doing during the 90 day period, what does your schedule look like?

Lee: I’m trying to raise fifteen million dollars and we have to hammer out the definitive agreement and there are problems with the definitive agreements. I made some mistakes in the LOI one of which is mine, so I’ll fess up… which is the reversion clause in the LOI.

You said at the Seattle meeting that this was a deal breaker?

Lee: It is, for me it is, now Matthew might talk me out it but right now to me it’s a deal breaker.

Is this being worked out, has the university agreed to withdraw it?

Lee: It’s not exactly an all or nothing situation it appears that there are grades of possibilities. So, the question was if we try to save and revive the college and fail what happens. So, it’s trying to guess hat the outcome would be if we failed. The university definitely wants the name back, I don’t think they’ll bend on that, and I don’t fault for that. The question really is the physical assets and the issue that we have is (I’m talking too much this is very dangerous) we have to have clear title to the land, so we can borrow against it, so we can buy other land, we can sell land, we can be creative about joint ventures with the village and not have issues where we have to go to the university every time we want to do something. I don’t think we can finance the institution if we can’t get clear title and the way that reversion clause was written, it was almost as though the university had a lean on the real estate and the assets and I don’t think that was the intent, but it kinda came out that way and they don’t seem to be taking a very hard line.

You’ve already talked to the university about this?

Lee: Before we signed the LOI we already had realized that that would be a problem area. So they know about it and I think we can work it out; it’s just that i screwed up. My recollection is that I was the one who suggested the reversion clause in the first place and then I’m the one who figured out OOPSY! thats a mistake.

Matt Derr: With a reversion clause, I think, is something that the [University] lawyers would’ve inserted at some point.

Lee: And our lawyers would’ve objected

Matt: The reality is with the credit markets shut down, it’s not that much of an issue for us tomorrow, as it is for the people that will come after us years from now in the next five years because it’s actually linked to the accreditation of the college. But the University’s pledge that their interest is in making the college viable and anything that doesn’t make the college viable or threatens that viability is a problem. At least right now, they have expressed a willingness so that in the end their interests are protected but we can do what we need to do to rebuild the college.

What work needs to be accomplished during the 90- now 60-day period of, mostly fundraising, but what else how are you working on the definitive agreement?

Matt: I think their are two levels here, we’ve been focused on the University for a very long time, and now we have a board ProTem that has its own standards and its own agenda. So the fundraising really is not about meeting what the university wants but meeting our own standard for what we think is a healthy goal and allows the college to come back in the way that we want it to, so fundraising! Fundraising! Fundraising! Absolutely. The definitive agreement process is defined by the taskforce working together and the lawyers working together and that’s moving along its a sort of boxed in process that has to happen. We’re ambitious in wanting to finish it in 90-days but one of the things that we do know is that at the 45-day mark, half way through, we’re gonna give a report to the community about how far we’ve gotten and where we see any challenges that may exist. The 21st of April is the 90th day, so you can figure out where the 45th day is, I think it’s the 13th.

Lee: It was march 13th, which is Friday the 13th, and we decided not to do it on Friday the 13th. [laughter] We’re not superstitious but just didn’t seemed to be a good omen.

Matt: So I think its Monday the 16th of March.

Lee: Yeah, thats what we were looking at, I think, tentatively.

Matt: Jeanne Kay, can you do that math to make sure we got that date right?

Not at this second but I will. [laughs] So, can you give the record an exclusive fundraising update?

Matt: Ya know, we can’t, other than to say we think things are moving forward. That’s information we should essentially keep privileged because its part of a whole process of separating the college and the university.

Lee: Mathew, I did blurt out a number in Chicago.

Matt: That’s a bad thing

Lee: And it’s not fair for them to know and not tell Jeanne. The number that I threw out was approximately 8 million. Risa [Grimes] corrected me that it was 7.9 some decimal places but its approximately 8 million.
Matt: I can speak to why we wouldn’t share because i think that would be interesting. We want people to be motivated to give because its not about getting to 15 million, its about getting well beyond that. We want to have operational moneys in place so that we can support the college for a few years. So our fear is that because we have this figure that we’ve been talking about in the LOI or related to the LOI that people will feel, “Well thats as much as we need to do”. Well its not, we’ve got a long way to go. Its really gonna require the whole community to support this to make it successful.

Two weeks ago Risa [Grimes] said that there was a donor that said that when the 10 million would be reached, he would match it with 5 million. So basically, does that mean that we only have 2 million to fundraise to get to the 15?

Matt: Well the donors never agreed to that; we have proposed that.

So is it likely that it will happen that way?

Lee: We certainly hope so.

Matt: We hope so.

Lee: And your right, according to that formula we have roughly 2 million to go, that we will then go to that anonymous donor and say okay… are you good for the 5 or not? Thats going to be a big deal. But I want to just emphasize that i agree with Matt one-hundred percent. I think the toughest decision that the board ProTem is gonna have to make, is at the end of the 90 days, do we have enough money to responsibly restart the college? We’ve got a lot of things were doing to make that an intelligent decision. But the University doesn’t drive it, we expect to drive that, cause the ProTem board has no interest in doing something that poorly or failing so the pressure on the fundraising is tense.

Can you give an update on the state of accreditation for the college?

Matt: Well Francis Horowitz is chairing the group that’s looking at accreditation. It’s important that we get some outside expertise from the North Central Association and from the Ohio Board of Regents, of course. One of the things we’ve done in the last few weeks is we’ve hired Len Clark who’s the former provost Earlham College he comes to us recommended by the GLCA (Great Lakes College Association) to help us create the plan for accreditation. As part of the LOI we have to produce a plan about how we’ll seek accreditation and thats where we are as of today and we’ll start setting up meetings in Chicago and Columbus in the coming month.

The plan for accreditation will prob have to include a curriculum plan, right?

Matt: We’re not actually building the plan that will be accredited, we’re building a plan to get the accreditation.

Oh, OK.

Matt: So, its an important distinction. The board to a person believes that curriculum comes from faculty. We’re not confused about that, and we have a history here, but there has to be ahead of that a plan which particularly looking at some of financial issues that Antioch has faced recently and its history for accreditation around those issues.

Lee: I’ve been shocked at how much of accreditation is about money. It’s kinda sad in a way.

What are the next steps of the presidential search?

Lee: Good Questions.

Matt: Go ahead.

Lee: Go ahead, Matt.

Matt: Well-

Lee: You first Alphonse. [laughter] This is a very very tough question. The board is struggling with that question; we don’t have a good answer. There’s a couple things we don’t know. We don’t know how long it will take. Heres the dream. The dream is that we would have enough money in five year pledges, so that we could hire a world-class president who wouldn’t have to worry about money from the first day. If we can get the money to do the deal and give a cushion to whoever becomes the leader of the campus, then frankly we’re in good shape. We’ll be able to get a world-class leader. If we cant get the money, then it’s going to be much tougher, cause we’ll be looking for someone who can walk in and somehow find millions of dollars. We’ve been beating the bushes already; its going to be very difficult. The board ProTem is struggling with this exact question, we don’t have agreement about it.

Matt: There are two paths. One path would be, we go slow, we hire a president and then everything happens. Or you ramp up and you reach some stability and then you do a search for a president. There are good arguments for either of those strategically, I think that it’s just the fact that we haven’t had enough time together to really think about the strategy of that. Certainly, I know I’ve said this many times, endowing the presidency, or funding the presidency, is something that I hope is attractive to someone among the alums, so that’s making sure that that president knows that he or she is coming into a job that they can do, is really a critical piece.

What is a world-class president, any names?

Matt: There really isn’t.

Lee: You’re talking to a bureaucrat here, I have no idea.

Matt: I know that there is a lot of curiosity about this — no names, not one name has been discussed related to this.

Lee: We can’t even agree on — Do we want a scholar? Do we want a manger? Do we want a brilliant fundraiser? The board ProTem is struggling on what that person should look like.
The board ProTem is meeting in Yellow Springs next week, what’s on the agenda?

Matt: We’re actually going to make the agenda public today, I just have been traveling all day and I haven’t had the chance to do that, so rather than go through it that there are a lot of different items, i think everyone can just look for it on The majority of the sessions are closed because they relate to the definitive agreements. This is an unusual meeting, in that so much of what we’re doing right now relates directly to negotiations with the University and that cant be public but there are sections that are open and in particular the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute session, which is at the end of the day on Saturday, is open. We’re in the Glen Building, so we hope you can come to that.

Will anything be decided in terms of the college reopening year or term?

Lee: Decided? Not, now.

Matt: [It’s] not on the agenda to be decided because it’s linked with fundraising. If someone walked up to the college tomorrow and said, “heres a hundred billion dollars….”

Lee: Were in business! [laughs]

Matt: We would start much more quickly than if the fundraising takes longer. It’s a really pragmatic equation.

What is your estimate for the reopening date of an accredited Antioch College?

Lee: I’m the optimist and I’m being beaten up. My original date was ’09 – that’s gone. ‘010 was the latest one and people are telling me that that’s unrealistic and that realistically it’s probably 2011. I don’t know – Matt might disagree.

Matt: I’m sticking with 2010 because it helps us do the fundraising.

Lee: 2010 is what we assumed but I’m hearing pretty respectable voices that say the hiring, the recruiting and rehabbing the buildings is going to take more time than that. Once we get  the money, we’ll be ready to rock ‘n roll. By the way, Jeanne, are you the one that called Barbara  and Atis and did interviews?

[It was] one of the staff members Rose Pelzl

Lee: She did a nice job. They were very pleased with the interviews and they thought they  were very well done.

Rose Pelzl did that, she’s a first year nonstop student and fifth-generation Antiochian.

Lee: Fifth!?


Lee: Gee!

Matt: I was thinking of something of a variation on the question of when the college opens. We’ve had almost two years of struggling, with the University controlling our fate (and yes we  still have to get to the end of the definitive agreements) but right now is talking about the future, as far as the president goes, opening the college. Our fate is more and more in our hands around raising funds and if the alumni body wants the college to open in 2010 it has the capacity to make that happen, we just have to do the fundraising as well as we can and not be distracted by all the things that we can be distracted by in the coming months. These are open-ended questions for new reasons.

Nonstop, according to Ellen Borgersen, the refunding decision will be taken by the Alumni Board in March. Is that still true or will the ProTem board have a say in it?

Matt: That’s news to me.

Well, the funding of nonstop is through CRF.

Matt: Right, I didn’t know that they were considering something specific at their board meeting. I don’t think that the board ProTem would have much to say about it.

So the jurisdiction of Nonstop is still the Alumni Board?

Lee: Oh Yes

Matt: Absolutely.

So the ProTem Board delegation came to Yellow Springs last week to learn about Nonstop. What are the next steps after the report?

Matt: The report will be public it will be up on this week.


Matt: Out of respect we’ll probably give it to the Executive Collective first and then get it out on the web soon thereafter. And then on Saturday Nonstop has a big chunk of time on the boards agenda to come and present whatever they’d like to present. And then (assuming that it’s structured this way) there will be questions and answers after that. But there’s no intention of making any decisions around the future of Nontop that’s an Alumni Board issue. This is an opportunity for the Board ProTem to get to know more about what’s going on in Yellow Springs on a face-to-face basis.

In the article by Charlotte Allen you [Lee Morgan] talked about a possible collision course between Nonstop and Antioch can you expand on that?

Lee: Charlotte Allen, she’s the right-wing newspaper-lady who called me. Well, I just think that it’s clear that it’s going to be a difficult thing to sort out, the relationship between the two. How’s it going to play out I don’t know. There are timing issues. There are curriculum design issues. There are personnel issues. These are all tough issues and any of those things will be difficult but I don’t have any particular agenda, I just know its going to be tough. That’s my prediction, if I’m wrong that’ll be great.

Do you consider that the Nonstop faculty and staff and students of nonstop are Antioch at this point?

Lee: Are Antioch? I don’t know that anybody is Antioch at this point. I claim to be Antioch. the university claims to be Antioch. Nonstop, I think, claims to be Antioch. The emeritus faculty would claim their Antioch. So i don’t think anybody has an exclusive on Antioch. That’s just my personal view on it. In fact, we have a meeting this week with the emeritus faculty to talk to them about what role they would have going forward. Everyone has their own view of what Antioch is and who they are in relation to Antioch. I think Nonstop has a slightly more intimate involvement because of their recent history. But the recent history’s been such a mess frankly, with the university everyone’s been acting kinda weird. It’s not what you’d call a healthy educational environment. But then to some degree, that’s Antioch. So I don’t know. I think it’s going to be interesting. I don’t know how it’s going to sort itself out. It’s an unfortunate fortunes (?) of what I’d call a fair game. That means i don’t know the answer.

Matt, can you talk about Trancil (which has now become the Transition Advisory Group[TAG]) can you talk about their role, how the membership will be decided?

Matt: Sure, the membership is intended to be broad-based but the original intention of Trancil, the Transition Advisory Group is that it be Yellow Springs-based. I know there were a few people who were at a greater distance who expressed some interest in serving, but my concept of it is that it would start with a small group advising me about events and issues here in Yellow Springs that it would involve a few members of the Nonstop community, some emeritus faculty and representatives, potentially, even of the village who have an interest in what’s going on. It would be a two-way advisory and communications body. The events last week with main building made it difficult, I actually intended to move that forward but it seemed under the situation of the flooding that it would probably be better to wait so it’ll happen this week. One of this things that’s not necessarily known by everyone is that I meet with Executive Collective weekly and try to come to community meeting bi-weekly and Lee does when he’s in town. So, the level of communication between the board ProTem and the Nonstop community, Yellow Springs Alums, and emeritus faculty is pretty significant at this point – Yellow springs has got a big voice.

The transition advisory group will be a liaison between the ProTem board and Nonstop?

Matt: Not Nonstop, no, that actually I think is reserved for the Executive Collective. It’s a group of people who have a vested interest in the future of the college here in Yellow Springs. That’s partly why I changed the name, because Trancil means the college, that’s our history and it’s sort of a silly legacy to convert it Tracil.

Lee: One of the difficult things is we’ve got to focus on the future and everybody wants us to focus on the past. The past, whether it’s Nonstop or the flooding of the building or some legal issue the university wants to argue about that’s ancient history. I think the challenge for Matthew and I is to focus on the future and designing it so that if we’re successful we’ll be happy about it. We’d hate to do the deal and then find out “oh god, what a mess.”

You’re talking about being focused on the future. Are you sometimes afraid that the argument will turn into a sort of blank slate argument, for which now we can start from scratch and rebuild Antioch in a way that will be very different from its past and that’s not recognizable to its alumni anymore?

Lee: If the alumni don’t support it we won’t survive. We have to have the support of the bulk of the alumni. Now, we can’t make everyone happy, I love the Bill Cosby quote, “I don’t about success but I do know about failure; the key is trying to make everybody happy.” We can’t make everybody happy. But the alumni as a group have to support it, otherwise we will not survive. It’s predicated on the alumni support, so if we get so radical that the alumni can’t recognize it, we’re dead, we’re not going anyplace. Everything’s alumni right now. Everything, the ProTem board all the key players everybody’s alumni. All the money, everything has come from the alumni.

Matt: You know I think there are two areas where there has been a sort of consistent theme of concern and this is one of them. That somehow the college will not be recognizable to the next generation of Antiochians that are looking for the kind of education that the college was providing the alumni. I think there are some really basic elements to what it means to offer Anitoch education. Experience and work are critical to it, community governance is critical to it. So you look at the bones and the question is what does the flesh on the bones look like? I do think that there’s room for radical reinvention of the college, there has to be. This is a different economic time, this is a different social time and there are opportunities embedded in that. But at the end of the process of defining the concept of the college, it has to be recognizable to all of us as Antioch College. If it doesn’t have that identity then, as Lee’s describing, people won’t support it. Everyone right now involved in this, principally, we are all Antiochians, which you could argue is a strength or a weakness, because we’re blinded by our passion and our love for the college but at the same time we’re really motivated by it. I think at the end people will be pleased by what the college evolves to become because they participated in it and that’s a really big piece of the puzzle for the ProTem board. The reason we’re going out to the chapters meetings and talking about the college is that we really need that feedback in order to understand what we do next. And [that’s] also why the Board ProTem appointed the visiting team to come and talk to nonstop, to try to collect as much conversational input as we can.

Thank you, can you talk about the issues of the Main Building damage and… who will pay? [laughs]

Lee: We think the insurance company is going to pay.

Matt: We hope the insurance company is paying.

Lee: Yeah

Has their been a confirmation of this?

Lee: I have not had it, no.

Matt: We’ve been very judicious about commenting, this is the university’s business.

Lee: They’ve been very explicit that we have no standing on the physical plant at this point. We have been arguing that we do and they have been arguing that we don’t. But I think they’re moving more in our direction. They’ve agreed at least to try and keep us informed about things. We find out about this stuff the same way you do.

Matt: In the end the ProTem Board has to make a decision about the condition of the campus and whether they’re willing to accept it. Our expectation is that the campus is in the condition it was in when the suspension happened.

Lee: With the possible exception if the insurance company settlement is appropriate we might be able to rehab Main Building and make it better than it was. For example, we could improve the technology in that building, wire it up to things that had never been thought of before. We have to be creative about this, what worries me is that the University is not really talking to us about that. And it would grieve me if they went back in their and restored it-

Matt: I wouldn’t worry about that.

Lee: -and everything’s okay but we missed an opportunity to something that would be better.

Or they turn it into McGregor [laughs]

Lee: They won’t do that.

Matt: All pastels. [slight chuckle]

Can you try to give an estimation of a time-line as to the main crucial events in which we will know things such as: What will happen to Nonstop? When do we get accreditation? When does the college reopen? When will the curriculum be set? When will we start recruiting students? Can you give an estimation of a time-line?

Matt: Which one of those do you want — [laughs] — you’re gonna have to go through them again.


Matt: So at the end of 90 days we hope to end up having a definitive agreement with the University for the separation of the college. Shortly thereafter, we’re imagining that we’ll actually take possession of the campus, the keys come out. I don’t know exactly what the legal process piece will take. And there’s obviously the issue of the endowment, which we’ve talked about a lot with the Ohio Attorney General, so there are shades of gray here. So, essentially at the end of that period of time (if the board ProTem is willing to accept the college) then we would have had level of success at fundraising. And the amount of, and the degree of success we’d have fundraising would fuel those other things that you’re outlining. So, if we’re very successful with fundraising then we’re making decisions about reopening in 2010 [and] that means that the curriculum piece needs to be planned sooner than if it’s 2011. Decisions about who’s hired – faculty, staff, administration, president — all those different  pieces speed up or slow down depending on what happens with our ability to afford what we want to do. We’ve had this really weighty history of making promises that weren’t backed up by funding; whether it’s curriculum or otherwise, and we just don’t want to do that. So, it’s very difficult I think for Antiochians to hear that the finances are essentially controlling the trajectory of decision making, but responsibly and ethically it has to be that way this time.

Lee: There’s one of those calender things that I think may be a problem it’s getting our 501c3 status. It turns out that educational 501c3’s take more time than other types of 501c3’s. They tell me there’s a queue and you just have to wait. And we will try to exercise political clout to see if we can jump the queue but that’s the kind of thing that could cost us 30 days or something, we don’t know. And that’s a condition to close. […]The nonstop piece I’m gonna let Mathew take care of that.

Matt: I’m happier doing these interviews in part because there’s been an impression I think for a long time because Lee is the spokesperson and I’m out there talking too, that we’re just working out all of this stuff on our own. […]But as you go through and conduct these interviews and Francis [Horowitz] is overseeing the process for the plan for accreditation she’s looking at variety of things related to accreditation . Allen Feinberg is working on facilities along with Terry Herndon. We have people working on fundraising , we have people working on communications, so it’s a very sophisticated and talented board that’s been assembled and as we move forward with all these little baby steps other people will step forward and we’ll see more people involved. We have good a strategy and a good plan in place to work through all of those steps but some of it is still unknown, because of the finances basically. A lot of it is still unknown.

Thank you, I think that’s all but if you’d live to finish by answering what does Antioch mean to you?

[They decide who will go first]

Matt: Right now, it really is a privilege to do this. I think of Antioch as an incubator and I loved the experience that I had as a student. It was an empowering personal and certainly intellectual experience. But being involved with Antioch now again in my 40’s means being involved in something that could create opportunity for reinvention in higher education. We really have this long tradition of values-oriented secular education that has so much to say about our current situation culturally and economically and otherwise and i think that the college could be a wonderful incubator. This is one of the greatest opportunities in higher education and I’m involved in it. It feels terrific.

Lee: It depends on whether you look back or forward; it’s true I was struggling with that. If you look backward I was an advocate for the University for all these centers and stuff, so I thought that was exciting. But I agree with Matthew, right now, if you look forward this is one of the great opportunities in American higher education in the United States and Antioch historically has not engaged in denial about reality, and I appreciate that. Whether it’s evolution or abortion issues or political issues or gender issues we’ve generally been pretty open about reality and now the reality is we have a huge opportunity. But it’s not about reinventing the past it’s about some combination of Antioch values going forward and being a disruptive element in American education (disruptive means a major change). And I love one of the members of the ProTem Board, I say “Now what other schools imitate the stuff that we do?” and she said “Not in our lifetimes.” I love that comment. Another comment made by a board member that I love said, “The students that we want are students that want to learn and want to change the world. If they don’t want to do both of those things they should go to some local school, we don’t want them.”

Nonstop students all apply to that category.

Lee: Now this is very ambitious learn and change the world. This is not about vocational training, this is not about becoming a cog in a big machine. This is about managing the future. It’s a huge opportunity and I just hope that we can pull it off. […]

Matt: I think that if walked around the Alumni Board and asked them and asked the ProTem Board too, “You got involved initially because of what your heart told you to do. You love’d Antioch and you grieved because this place was so important to your development may not be there for other people. But then once I became engaged in it you started to see that you could do something really important for higher education with Antioch as the vehicle to make that happen.” And I think that that’s why a lot of the ProTem members and a lot of the donors were able to make that additional step, which is to become a member of a board of a college that’s going to struggle for some time and it’s gonna this fair share of difficulties, you don’t do that just out of nostalgia and reminiscence you really have to do it because you think it’s really important for bigger, more broader reasons.

Lee: And we’re getting actually broader alumni constituency, people who had not been involved before because they were not interested in perpetuating the past but they are interested in the potential for the future. The other thing that I can mention that Mathew can’t is that Mathew’s been the one who synthesized all the ideas and integrated them into a  coherent but pretty radical education program. He’s not allowed to blow his own horn but I can blow it for him. I don’t know that they’re all original thoughts but he has integrated all the ideas from all these strange quarters into what I think is a marvelously compelling vision for the future.

So you would say that their is already an articulated plan?

Matt: No, I’d say there is an articulated concept.

OK, how would you sum up that concept?

Matt: Well, it has lots of different pieces to it. the important thing is separate this conversation from conversation about curriculum.


Matt: So, a concept that I know has been talked about in some of the chapters and otherwise is the idea that you could complete a undergraduate degree in 3, rather than 4, years. So, it’s that sort of basic understanding of the formation of an education, than it is the curriculum and what’s offered. The sum total of what’s in the plan is about how Antioch reemerges as a place that takes on new ways of looking at the delivery of a liberal arts education. We’re committed to small size, we’re committed to liberal arts, we’re committed to tenure, we’re committed to all those pieces but shouldn’t we be the first liberal arts college that acknowledges, that in fact, a majority of students going into American higher education in the next generation are likely to be African American and Latino non-white communities. And how do you create a college that addressees that seismic shift in American education population? How do you look at cost of education? The 3-years is one way of doing that, by going year-round students would cut down on the number of years they would be enrolled. But also looking at the way financial aid is structured and the way tuition discounting is structured and thinking about ways you actually pull down the whole cost of the education from the very beginning, rather than discounting. So, there are a number of things in this concept-paper that I think would help guide the development of curriculum but it’s not a curriculum in and of itself. I mentioned diversity but also mention that in vast majority of countries an undergraduate degree is 3 years. The United States is out of step with the rest of the world, and I’m starting to see this as a way of Antioch embracing the metric system in joining the rest of the world in thinking “actually it’s a 3 year experience.” Ours includes summer and ours includes work and international work assuming that students would not only work in the united states but work overseas, things along those lines. To really make it not just an American school that’s international but a truly global college.


Matt: One of the plans is to take the concept paper as it exists now and reduce it into a pointer set of standings and then share that more broadly and everybody wants to do that. There’s some people on the board ProTem who feel that it has some value to sort of as a key statement for fundraisng or that it has some value and we don’t want them stealing our ideas, that’s another element of it. But mostly, I think, if I go right to the base of some of the concern, it was concern that people would think that this was a plan and it’s not. A plan takes process and a plan takes participation and it’s much broader in scope. This is a really great set of concepts.

Who wrote that concept-paper?

Matt: I did.

Who did you consult with?

Matt: Well, a wide variety people but it is my concept and the reason we produced it, is that we wanted to have a document to present to the University as the plans and process for the development of the college. It was only written for one audience, and that was the University Board of Trustees. Now it has more utility because people like it. So that’s great but it’s not fully developed and one of the very first paragraphs says “this was designed for the University board of trustees to facilitate the separation.”

But you have been using it for fundraising?

Matt: Yes. Yeah, we have. Because there have been (and I know Risa has been saying this for a very long time) many, many people, potential donors who would say, “Come back when you have a plan, come back when you have a business plan.” And we’ve been unable to address that because of good process that we wanted to have within our community and also the sort of Catch-22 we were in with the University. That’s done now, so we have a concept, we have a basic business plan. Those are not likely to end up being the final concept or strategic plan and it’s not likely end up being the final budget but we have an understanding of how we could rebuild the college financially and that there are good ideas that are innovative and radical, that fit within the context of a college that’s identifiable as Antioch College.

Has the ProTem Board vetted the business plan and the concept-paper?

Matt: Only for it’s original use which was to separate the college from the university so the only original mailing went to all the University Board members, through the chancellor’s office. And then once the agreement was signed (the LOI) there were a lot of board members who were very excited about it and others, obviously this was endorsed not only by the board ProTem but the Great Lakes College Association. So with the GLCA stamp of approval we were able to show it to some donors as well.

OK, well thank you very much for your time.

Lee: You were well prepared, you did a good job.

Against the Odds

By Erin-Aja Grant

This past weekend Antioch was alive with visitors. They were alums, town members, and the Antioch community’s first glance at the newest abbreviated in-group. The AC3, or ACCC, or Atrip, is officially named the Antioch College Continuation Corporation. This all-star alum group came to Antioch hoping to gain a community perspective on the College’s current situation. Students, faculty, and staff were provided the opportunity to interact with the ACCC Saturday in smaller groups. The AC3 members are: Frances Horowitz ‘54 (co-chair), Eric Bates ‘83 (co-chair), Laura Markham ‘80 (secretary), David Goodman ‘72 (treasurer), Steve Schwerner ’60, Catherine Jordan ’69, Lee Morgan ’69, Barbara Winslow ’68, and Terry Herndon ’57. Some of these people are familiar faces from the Alumni Board and some of them are just outright familiar names. There was no doubt that as Antioch Alums each member feels a responsibility and nostalgic love for the school, but the community still had its questions.

After breakfast planning, the day kicked off at 10am with a community meeting. It started with Andrzej Bloch, who made a few brief remarks concerning the recient power outage on campus. The meeting proceeded with an introduction by the ACCC members, and a brief presentation on the new corporation. McGregor 113 was packed with Yellow Springs residents, faculty, staff, and students. Many people said during the meeting, and after, that they were confused by the presence of Glenn Watts. Watts, the former CFO of the college, stated that he was only there to record the events happening and is no longer affliated with the University or its board. Continue reading Against the Odds

July 1: Independence day?

By Kim-Jenna Jurriaans

Major donors intend to make Antioch College independent by July 2008

As of yesterday, the Antioch community has one more acronym to add to their daily vocabulary. After two weeks of negotiations with representatives of the Antioch University Board of Trustees, on Friday a group of deep-pocket donors and former trustees established the Antioch College Continuation Corporation, or ACCC, scheduled to take over operations of a fully independent Antioch College by July 2008.

“We have to raise a lot of money in a hurry to make this work, but we believe that we can, now that the goal is in sight,” says Eric Bates ’83, deputy managing editor of Rolling Stone Magazine, former trustee and co-chair of the new corporation. In a resolution adopted last week Thursday, the University Board of Trustees authorizes University Chancellor Toni Murdoch to explore the feasibility of turning over the 155-year-old college to the new corporation. This should happen “in a way that protects the interests of the university while also ensuring the viability of the college,” adds Antioch University Board Chair Art Zucker in a press release on Tuesday.

The corporation, whose members spring from the group of major donors that emerged as new power brokers over the past two weeks, is taking over the position as lead negotiator with Antioch University, after similar efforts by the Antioch College Alumni Association resulted in a widely criticized deal last month. Meanwhile, the ACCC is awaiting a letter of intent from the university chancellor that outlines a transfer of assets to the corporation. Such a letter should be drafted “as soon as possible, but not later than its regularly scheduled meeting set for February 21-23, 2008,” the release states.

The letter would detail what both sides need and want and would give the new group “sort of a work plan,” says Catherine Jordan ’72, member of the Alumni Board governance committee and one of nine directors of the new corporation. “And we have a lot to do. We are basically talking about taking over the operations of a college starting July 1. That’s a huge effort.”

In the meantime, the new corporation is moving forward to take all measures necessary to put the college on a stable basis, come July of next year. Raising large amounts of money to guarantee the success of the operation will be a key part of the ACCC’s focus in the next weeks and months. “All excuses are gone,” says Bates. “All the donors, all the alumni have to come together in an unprecedented way to provide the resources to show we can make this work. If we don’t have the resources, we can’t do this.”

Show me the Money!

As a first step towards significant donations to the “new” college, members of the corporation have raised $7 million amongst themselves to be put in escrow by the end of this month. The new agreement overrides all obligations of the earlier Agreement in Principle, including the December 15 deadline for the transfer of $4.6 million to Antioch University. In addition, the university is in the process of giving back the $2 million that was transferred to its account last month as part of the previous agreement, confirms Ellen Borgersen ’72, chair of the governance committee of the Alumni Board.

The new $7 million pledge in part overlaps the previous total of $18 million pledged to the College Revival Fund. The money, according to Bates, is held in a separate bank account and will not be transferred until a satisfactory letter of intent has been drafted.

In addition to gearing up for a major fundraising campaign, representatives of the ACCC on Tuesday began direct conversations with the Ohio Board of Regents, the regional accreditation body for higher education institutions, and will fly to Yellow Springs to meet with constituencies on campus as soon as next Monday.

“The way I’m thinking about this board is, it’s not even the interim board, it’s sort of the founding organizational structure,” says Jordan. “We will have to work very hard in the next three to six months to raise the money to do the hand off and get our college back.” The tasks of that founding body, according to Jordan, will include establishing an independent board and beginning the search for a new president of the college.

“There is an incredible amount of work that has to be done to make this work,” agrees Bates, “one of which is creating a board that’s going to be Antiochian, that is going to be inclusive, that’s transparent, that’s present on campus, but that also does what boards are supposed to do: raise money and keep their nose out of the daily business of the college.”

Joining Bates as chair of the new corporation is Frances Horowitz, president emerita of the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. Other directors are Laura Markham ’80, clinical psychologist and secretary of the ACCC; Dave Goodman ’69, principal of North Arrows and e-Solar Properties, who will function as treasurer; Barbara Winslow ’68, professor of Women’s Studies at Brooklyn College, former trustee and member of the Alumni Board; faculty emeritus Steven Schwerner ’60; president of the Antioch Company, Lee Morgan ’66; and Terry Herndon, entrepreneur and class of ’57.

Schwerner, who jokes that he wasn’t asked to join the corporation for his deep pockets after working at Antioch for 30 years, hopes that his position as a Yellow Springs resident and his background at the college will contribute to creating a process that is true to the college’s values. “Some people have not been a part of Antioch because of the university and are now interested in being very much a part of it.” He is optimistic, but cautions for the work and negotiations that are still to come. “There are no guarantees in life. There is a lot of work to be done, but I am certainly more hopeful now than I have been before.”

Getting Down to the Beef

A next step in the negotiations will be a full assessment of the assets and obligations that bind the college and the university. A long-time call of faculty and alumni for an external audit of Antioch University’s finances and the flow of money from and to Antioch College will then likely be answered.

An independent audit is part of the plan, believes Nancy Crow, president of the Alumni Board Association and ex-officio member of the University Board of Trustees. “It was certainly part of our plan.”

Paula Treichler, a ’65 graduate of the college and current trustee on the university board, underlines that the board promised to assist in an open process as negotiations continue. “The leaders of the board and the university assured us that all relevant documents would be made public and a great deal of further information will be shared with the executive committee of the new corporation.
This includes the general inventory of legal issues to be adjudicated.”

Main issues on everyone’s mind are the ownership of the historic Yellow Springs campus, with its land and buildings, the endowment and the name ‘Antioch College.’

“I think everybody realizes for the college to raise the level of funding and support that it needs, it has to be Antioch College, says Laura Markham, who will chair the governance committee of the new corporation. “People aren’t going to give to some no-name college. Everybody understand that and of course the college will keep its name.”

Sharon Merriman, current trustee on the university board and college graduate of the class of ‘56, likewise sees the name as an intrinsic part of the future college: “I have nothing to base this on besides my intuition, but I cannot imagine them loosing their right to use the name Antioch College,” she says. “I simply cannot imagine that ever being negotiated away.”

For those brokering on the Antioch College side of Livermore Street, like Catherine Jordan, leaving the negotiation table with the endowment and buildings in hand is a natural understanding. “If I have anything to say about it, we are taking every asset that comes with the college. Of course this is me talking as Catherine, but yes, we are very much interested in keeping all the historic assets of the college.”

No fools

In order to bring negotiations to the most positive outcome for the college, the ACCC solicited the help of a prestigious international law firm, Dewey & LeBoeuf, headquartered in New York and known for its expertise in mergers and acquisitions. The notion that the original broker group is bringing the level of negotiations up a notch is one that current trustees, like Merriman, did not fail to notice. “The other side is quite sophisticated. We are not dealing with fools,” she remarked in a phone conversation after the announcement on Tuesday.

“I think it is imperative if this is to work that a reasonable transition should be negotiated, in good faith,” says Treichler, “and I’m sure that can be done. I think we all want a robust, successful independent Antioch College.”


At a joined meeting of subcommittees of AdCil, the college’s administrative council, yesterday, faculty members were overall positive about the outcome of the drawn-out and secret negotiations that had the college community waiting in anticipation for the last two weeks. But most are well aware of the Sisyphean task that still lies ahead.

“The long view of stabilizing and reviving the college and getting back our personal and professional lives is encouraging,” says Chris Hill, Professor of Film at the college, via email today. “But In the months ahead there is still trailblazing to do.”

As chair of the College Budget Committee, Hill experienced first hand the stifling effect of the veil of ambiguity in regard to future college operations that had dominated discussions on campus in recent weeks. Coming up with a budget based on limited information on facilities, faculty levels and recruitment had so far proven to be a difficult task. Likewise, other campus committees charged with the task of establishing a plan of operations for the coming three years have worked largely blind, with no combined leadership or assistance from the current administration.

Plan for the future

To expedite the process of creating a solid plan for operations at Antioch College in the next months and beyond, the ACCC has established committees of its own that will incorporate members of the current AdCil and Alumni Board. “Those committees can be the place were all the work is brought together, to coordinate and move forward together,” says Bates. “We don’t need to re-invent the wheel and we don’t need to substitute our judgment for that of people who are in the position to know better.”

Both chairs of the ACCC, Horowitz and Bates, will meet via conference call with the on-campus committees today and the full executive committee, including Laura Markham and Dave Goodman, is planning on being in Yellow Springs for further meetings on Monday.


“This group wants very much to be the reverse of the [Antioch University] board of trustees, that is approachable and open and available,” explains Schwerner. “People are talking about flying in next week and most definitely at the beginning of January to talk to people and listen to people and hang out and find out what’s going on. That is one of the great criticisms of the board – how distant it has been. And this group wants to change that.”

While Bates and members of his group are committed to listening to the needs of the people on the ground in Yellow Springs, he stresses it is essential that the community, too, once again step up to the plate. “We need to talk to people who accredit Antioch, we need to talk to people who owe Antioch money, we need to talk to the community, to students, faculty staff and the Alumni Board and really sort of lay out what this looks like. There obviously will be a lot of questions. But there also needs to be a sense of ‘everybody look at this together and what can I do to make this happen?’”


Bates is aware, he says, that the Antioch community only is were it is today in terms of negotiations because of the work of the Alumni Board. “That said, even when I went to Antioch 25 years ago, I always said – even at that time – there only is an Antioch today because of the incredible sacrifice of staff and faculty. There only is an Antioch today because people have devoted their lives to it, who have worked for way less than they could get elsewhere, and who have put up with way more shit than they would elsewhere.” Although neither Bates nor Crow were in the position at this point to guarantee that all of the faculty would keep their jobs, the attitude of the new group appears to be a solid step away from the “dimming” model Art Zucker and Nancy Crow proposed in previous weeks, as part of the failed Agreements in Principle. “We will all be negotiating, interacting with the faculty to keep the faculty in place under the new board of trustees,” says Crow. She added that her hopes are that none of the college’s faculty had to be laid off.

New Students

Like many professors on the ground in Yellow Springs, Hill hopes that the new corporation will be able to take on the responsibility for the college and ensure a clear message in moving forward. “Right now, I think, there must be a plan developed for recruiting students for the next year that will not be encumbered by the risk averse strategy of the current university and college administration.”

Although talks with accreditation bodies have just begun, Bates and Schwerner operate under the assumption that a letter of intent, no later than the February deadline, will aid in clearing the way for the corporation to act on behalf of the college, start off invigorated without a declaration of financial exigency and work towards the admission of a first-year class for 2008.

“I’m hoping way before a letter of intent to have an admissions office up and running,” says Schwerner. “I would be very disappointed if we would not have an admissions office up by new year’s. He sees a clear distinction between accepting and recruiting students. “I want people who are interested to say ‘we are interested, we’re going to have a look at it,’ and for us to be ready to get into touch with those folks.”

“There is a lot of due diligence that has to be done,” says Bates, “but it has to happen quick, because we know people’s livelihood are on the line, people’s degrees are on the line and we need to be in a position where we can tell everybody that we are moving forward and recruiting new students.”

Dire Conditions

While college faculty are hoping for new students and an official notice that they will still be employed past July 2008, service staff who have been challenged to provide the best services to students with a bare minimum of resources are crossing their fingers for an influx of money and manpower in the following months.

Manager of the cafeteria, Marvin Bohn, is one of a number of staff members whose daily job has been made near impossible with the current budget. With no money to provide warm breakfasts and several of his employees laid off following cuts in February and after the June decision to close, this term has been extra hard. “I have no ambition to become a big mogul somewhere, I don’t need a McMansion. I like what I do. But it’s just been bad lately to do it under these circumstances.”

Tuesday’s announcement does make him more hopeful for the months to come. “I am much more happy at this moment,” says Bohn, who reveals he had extreme doubts about the October agreement. “I had been so unhappy that it hurt.” The fact that the group of deep-pocket donors is stepping up for the college alone is key to make the institution work, he thinks. “You need a group of people solely interested in the well being of the college. And they seem to be.”

Tipping the Scale

With all its uncertainties, last week’s agreement is still a milestone that had some trustees baffled how they had gotten to this point, says one trustee who likes to remain anonymous because of the ongoing negotiation. It indeed is a long way from the late-August stakeholder meeting in Kentucky, when the Antioch College community first turned the tide by convincing the Antioch University Board to open the way to explore options to keep Antioch College open, to full separation of both institutions less than four months later. The combined weight of the donors’ checkbooks eventually tipped the scale.

The group of major donors convinced university trustees that the move towards full independence was the only viable option, after an initial meeting two weeks ago had made it clear that the Agreement in Principle of November 2nd between trustees and the Antioch College Alumni Board did not meet the donors’ demands for far-reaching autonomy of the college –- a conditionality they had attached to their original multimillion-dollar pledges. “There simply wasn’t money forthcoming for that plan and we looked at what we could do about that,” Bates recalls of the meeting.

Prior to the first donor meeting, which took place secretly in the office of Board of Trustees Vice Chair Dan Fallon at the Carnegie Mellon Foundation in New York, a group of former trustees had worked on a memorandum of understanding to flesh out the content of the Agreements in Principle. At the meeting, however, it soon became clear that the group of deep-pocket donors were not that easily pleased. “The donors that went to the New York meeting said, ‘we are not interested in this. Even this would not satisfy us – this structure is too dysfunctional,’” recalls Bates, who worked on the initial memorandum. “Major donors made it clear that they wouldn’t support any plan that would not include a completely independent college with its own board.”

Following the New York City meeting, representatives of the donors and former trustees, including Bates and Markham, were invited to attend the executive meeting of the University Board of Trustees in Dallas the following Sunday. There, both parties further explored the idea of establishing an independent non-profit organization under Ohio law that could assume full responsibility over Antioch College by the end of this academic year. The corporation was established under Ohio law on Thursday and the board voted on a charge to the university chancellor that same day.

Momentous Opportunity

Merriman, who voted on the recommendation of the governance committee on Thursday, says she was not surprised by the attitude of the deep-pocket donors. “I am hopeful and I am optimistic. My personal opinion is that this would be the best and possibly only way to save the college. I do believe that the trustees tried, but they couldn’t raise the money from those who are presently coming forward. And if the people that are currently coming forward are only coming forward for an independent college, then that is what we have to do.”

“This is a momentous opportunity for us,” underlines Markham. “Obviously, there is an entire process to got through. We are working out the details on how to go forward without damaging the university and giving Antioch College the foundation to be reborn. But this gives us a chance, the Antioch College community, alumni, major donors and everyone that loves Antioch – an opportunity to rebuild it and insure its future. This means the Antioch community has to come together in an unprecedented way.”

“It’s a shame this couldn’t have happened while there were students on campus,” says Alex Borowicz, one of a-hand-full of students still left in the deserted dorms, “but at least we’ll have something more concrete to come back to. Having wandered around an empty campus for the past week, I have seen what a closed college would look like, and it’s a scary thought to have that become reality. Antioch deserves better than that.”

Collaborations at the Herndon Gallery

  A series of work collected from the past sixteen years hangs proudly in the photo show “Collaborations” at the Herndon Gallery. The show provides spectators with an overview of pieces by Professor of Photography Dennie Eagleson and her students, taken from larger projects.

There is an atmosphere of accomplishment in the gallery, as this work is what characterizes Eagleson’s experience of teaching at Antioch College. It is the reviving of a complex form of art that does not hang lightly for the casual observer, and this is why it is essential to Antioch. “Nobody comes to Antioch and finishes casually,” Eagleson says.

Continue reading Collaborations at the Herndon Gallery