Torture, Terror, and Hope for Resistance

By Jeremie M. Jordan

Fear and intimidation arrange a barrage of waves systematically eroding rights, freedoms, and liberties. After the events of 9/11 the world had an overwhelming outpour of sympathy for the U.S., which was promptly turned into heated condemnation over human rights abuses and torture taking place daily in the “Global War on Terror.?


Antioch community members are helping to bring some much needed attention to the atrocities being committed on our behalf with a series of informative events, including documentary showings and a live panel discussion to take place on the 5th of October.

This institutional activism couldn’t be more timely as a bill is currently being rushed through the Senate, with bi-partisan support, which could in effect legally solidify the President’s idiom “enemy combatant? rather than “prisoner of war? in order to bypass the rules of engagement outlined in the Geneva Convention. The “Military Commissions Act of 2006? will also essentially legalize mass torture, limit Habeas Corpus (the right to be released if there is no a formal charge against you), immunize government personnel involved in acts considered cruel, inhumane, or degrading, from criminal prosecution, and also permit information gathered through torture to be used as evidence in military commissions, as the tribunals are being called.

Presently, under the Geneva Convention’s international law of armed conflict, a soldier is granted not only the right to not be tortured, but coercive interrogation is also outlined as unlawful.

In June of 2005 a nine-page memo surfaced from the White House concerning detention tactics, interrogation, and prosecution of terrorism suspects. Two top officials – acting Deputy Secretary of Defense, Gordon R. England, and Councilor of the State Department, Philip D. Zeilikow – called for a return to the minimum standards of treatment exemplified in the Geneva Convention and the eventual closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, especially for suspects to be taken out of their secret prisons cells and tried. President Bush who for three years has not applied the Geneva Conventions in the fight against terrorists is being urged in the memo to act in accordance with Common Article 3 and not just comply with the conventions minimum standards, but to also to place a ban on “humiliating and degrading treatment.?

Perhaps these recommendations came from England and Zeilikow not because they felt compelled by international law, but to acquire wider support from American allies and to make court interventions less likely. Nevertheless, the memo is bringing to light the apparent division that exists between the White House and the State Department. For example, Donald Rumsfeld, said to have been so angered that he had an assistant gather copies of the memo to be shredded.

Over the past year, the Bush cabal has garnered an ever-increasing amount of criticism both at home and abroad as more and more details come to light regarding the practices and general conduct of the war. With the shocking revelations of the abuses taking place at Abu Graib, there was conversation about the depth of the abuse throughout the military system or the prison system. Horrendous holding conditions, abuses targeting mental and spiritual “weak spots,? harassing and intimidating civilians in their homes throughout Iraq, and intimidating prisoners with the threat of their lives is growing serious questions of ethics on behalf of the United States military and of usefulness of any information that could be obtained. Furthermore, high-ranking officials in the Department of Defense who encourage coercion to obtain information need to acknowledge that the disturbing practices of the U.S. military are causing a backlash that suggests we may be doing more to encourage terrorism than to prevent it.

Unfortunately, however, it appears as though the attempts to prevent and curb the dangerous progression of these war tactics have been swiftly undermined by the wartime fervor. The president, under congressional approval during the current war conditions, has gained the ability to apprehend anyone anywhere and hold them indefinitely without ever being officially charged with a crime. Every American should be appalled by not just what is being carried out but how it being carried out.

A professor at Seton Hall recently published a study that analyzed data from the military’s tribunals 2001- 2006, excluding contended information. Using only the military’s official conclusions, he found one inconsistency after another. In regards to those who are being held at Guantanamo, Vice President Cheney claims these men were picked up on the battle field, when records clearly state only 5% of prisoners were actually picked up on the battlefield. Ninety five percent were evidently apprehended through another means. Leaflets were distributed depicting a smiling Afghan saying “Get wealth and power beyond your dreams… You can receive millions of dollars helping the anti-Taliban forces catch al-Qaida and Taliban murderers. This is enough money to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life. Pay for livestock and doctors and schools books and housing for all your people.? According to the military data eighty-six percent of those in custody were turned over by people who received the flyers. Cheney also says that the men detained at Guantanamo are Al Qaeda fighters when ninety two percent are not demonstrated to be associated with Al Qaeda at all. For the majority of the captives, there is no evidence of them ever committing violence against the U.S. or it’s allies.

It is crucial to the preservation of civil liberty and freedom that the torture that is going on as you read these words does not go uncontested. Antioch’s involvement in a broader examination of the human rights violations in the War on Terror along with other institutions of higher learning adds weight to the chorus of dissent. Not only torture, but the entitlement of individuals apprehended in foreign countries to rights at least embodying the ideals of the American justice system is of vital importance and can not be fully addressed in one article. Look for more information in coming weeks as the resistance gains momentum.

From The Editors

20061020-luke.jpgTo my Beloved Community,

There are several things I’d like to address in my corner this week, among them how little I had to do with the title “Bringing Censor Back�?, how much of a slacker a certain over-classman reporter has turned out to be, our new Declassified policy, and my increasing frustration with the state of our affairs; institutional, national, and international.

However, to save time, and space because we have another rather crowded paper this week, I will just talk briefly about our new Declassified policy. From here on out, we will only ‘declassify’ Haiku form poems. That means five syllables, followed by seven syllables, followed by five syllables. Some of you may be asking why we’d do something like this to you. Well, the answer is complicated.

1. I hate Declassifieds in general.
2. Most of them are not very clever.
3. The only ones to me are mean.
4. I expect more from my talented, beautiful community.
5. We need more poetry in the Record

So there you have it. Put on your thinking caps and make a subtle, sublime, structured tone poem to communicate your message. And try to cut back on the menacing and hateful speech; we’re reserving the right not to print it.

Luke C. Brennan Esq.

20061020-foster.jpgDear Community,

If you’re reading this, good. That means you’ve either already read Declassifieds or you are one of our most valued readers. Welcome. While many editors, including myself have left this portion of the newspaper until last, this week I am actually writing this days ahead of time. I actually have something to say. Any guesses?

Surprise! I want to talk briefly about the ‘DeClassifieds’ section of the Record. Great isn’t it? Indeed, as I suggested above and as we all know, many of us read declassifieds first, sometimes the only thing read at all. Fine. We can’t make you read the work people have put into the Record. However, a few points of respect would be appreciated.

Declassifieds are not news. Declassifieds are not even factual. You have no idea how many little declassifieds I’ve typed up, knowing full well that their sharp statements are entirely false. It is the Record’s job to know what is going on and inform the community. If we don’t report on it, it’s because there aren’t enough facts. If you think you’ve got a scoop, tell us and we’ll check it out. Declassifieds are not intended as a medium to stab at people behind anonymity. They are there for cute notes, crushes, thank yous and light hearted humor. It is not intended as a subversive political machine. Really. Got something to say to someone? Say it to their face. Leave them a note. Just keep the Record out of it. Everyone already knows the rumors and accusations so printing them in the Record only makes the Record accountable. The Record, as I said before, has printed absolutely false statements just to keep readers happy, but really, we have no business doing it, and neither the Record nor the greater community is gaining anything in this.

Also, flooding declassifieds with numerous, meaningless doggerel isn’t cool. It takes us time to fit all that in and it’s all fluff. Often, it’s not even witty fluff. Keep it short and have something to say, even if only to one person. And if you are addressing someone, it would be nice to let them know they were being addressed. If you are saying something not so nice, but acceptable, have the guts to put your name on or don’t submit it at all. You can always write us a letter, and opinion piece…there are lots of ways of getting our voice in the Record that actually make a difference. Do you get what I’m saying? Want declassifieds to stick around? Don’t want the paper to take shit over nothing? Don’t want the Record to get censored? Care about the community? Let’s have fun, but let’s be able to serious and thoughtful also. Think about what you’re saying, whether you really know what you’re talking about, factually and whether your putting it in the appropriate forum. In the name of respect for the community and yourself self, grow up.

Foster Neill
Layout Editor

No Man is a Swan Island.

A Biased Account of the First Official Party of the Year
By the Cooperative Council for a Non-Wack Social Scene
20060915-noman1.jpgPhotos by: Kari Thompson

In an age of automatically locking doors with 30 second alarms, campus wide crackdowns reminiscent of the war on drugs, and a segregation between entering and older students that feels all too intentional; sometimes it seems like a party is all we need to inspire some campus wide solidarity. Last Thursday night first years got their first taste of the ritual beast that is the Antioch party. It was a balmy full moon night, and the mood was calm at first, but Prince and Michael Jackson soon got people on the dance floor. First years came and went as they bounced between their dorm rooms to clandestinely pound alcohol, and the dance floor where they were seen cavorting and trying out new and exciting dance moves. First year student Walid was seen impressing hordes of ladies with his fancy footwork. First year student Mariel was quoted as saying “ I felt a little awkward at first, people always dance in circles and sometimes those are hard to infiltrate. But then I really feel like I hit my groove, I had a great time. I got to make out.?

Smoke hung heavy in the air, and the bar hung heavy with one-dollar drinks available only to those students bearing over 21 proof of age. Several students were seen lurking near by with empty drinks in hand ready for refills like truck drivers at an interstate truck stop. It is commonly regarded that this new “crackdown? on underage drinking on campus is creating a drinking culture that is dishonest and criminalized. Younger students are encouraged to hide out in their rooms, drinking fast and hard as opposed to having it be an open practice where they will be exposed to older students who might serve to encourage responsible and open drinking. First year Frank said “Usually when I go to a party people are dancing crazily. It seemed a little chiller here at Antioch. People were just swaying. I don’t really care either way. It was nice that Antioch cared enough to bring a band.? These reporters found it ironic that after trash talking weak American beer an unnamed international transfer student was twice seen falling on her face.

The new alcohol enforcement policy didn’t stop people from seeking channels for uninhibited fun, and student’s experiences varied throughout the night. First year student Eddie was quoted as saying; “It was fun, I didn’t go to listen to the music, I just kind of hung out with people, there was a happening little party on the stoop. Where… absolutely nothing was going on. Maybe a skunk died near by.? Another first year student Preston was drawn to the party for the music, he told us; “I didn’t dance… but I don’t really like to dance. I liked that they were form Oregon, and they came all the way here. It made me feel like I wanted to go listen to some Indie music or something. The night had a nice vibe. I liked that it was an indie band, and not some hippie band with ring makers and sitars.? Emma Emmerich says “(She) went for the social scene, not specifically for the music. But I enjoyed dancing with people. I really thought the energy of the party was very positive, and uplifting and it made me excited for parties to come. I liked seeing all the dresses. I’d like to see more dresses on guys, but I understand…? An anonymous partygoer was heard screaming “It’s my own life, let me live it!? In true Antioch fashion an after hours mud wrestling party topped off the evening, and many first and transfer students retreated to the safety of the Spalt second floor balcony to socialize and process the night’s events.

The evening peaked when Swan Island, the reason for the night’s merriment took the stage. They brought with them their Queer core energy, a DIY ethic, and rocking stage presence inspiring devoted fandom from the young hopefuls at Antioch looking to fuck their way to underground stardom. An anonymous older student was quoted as saying “I had to change my pants twice, it was like a Prince song all over my thighs.?

20060915-noman2.jpgSwan Island hails from Portland Oregon, also known for it’s dark beer, good coffee, and large population of street kids. Swan Island self describes as “End-of-the-world-music?. In an interview they described the night as “Mag=ic?. Their accessible sound is reminiscent of a friendlier, more attractive Black Sabbath with hints of Sleater-Kinney. Singer Brisa has a entrancing alto, which has a very thick and distinctive sound, as well as an inviting and charismatic stage presence. You can learn all about them by checking out their MySpace page at www.myspace. com/swanisland. If you didn’t pick their record up at Thursday night’s show, it is called The Centre will Hold and will be out on Holocene records on October 24th. The title comes from a W.B. Yeats quote that says “the center will not hold? but the band is more hopeful.

In summation we leave you with our mission statement: We are everywhere, we see all, and we aren’t scared to report on it. If you fall down, we will write about it, if you vomit on your pants we will write about it. We seek the truth, we are avengers of justice, we like good beer and good conversation. We are sex positive, we support the abolishment of social hierarchies, we want a good time for all. We are the cooperative council for a non-wack social scene.


The Past 50 Years of the Antioch Presidency, Part 1 (1950s – 1980s)

By Marissa Geiger

[History will help us see our present circumstances and the future more clearly. This two-part series is presented thanks to several months of work from Marissa, researched through dozens of interviews and lengthy searches through Antiochiana and back issues of the Record. –MH]

When an institution doesn’t have lax leadership, it becomes driven by law and finance and the result is it is a fear driven institution rather than a mission driven institution” -Bob Levin (as quoted by Bob Devine)

By now you have heard the horror stories from the summer, how the renegade administration took matters into their own hands to achieve efficiency, the unjust firings and demotions, and a stagnate air to campus starting the week our President Joan Straumanis gave us her the update on the Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting. Straumanis mentioned that the BOT is paying close attention to the College, even more so and has decided to create a Renewal Commission to revitalize every facet of the campus. She also told us there were plans for a restructuring of the Dean of Students (DOS) office. And then there was the Antioch Independence Fund (AIF), calling for the centralization of the College and moving it out of the University’s control while using $1.2 million (collected from like-minded alumni) to coax University administrators to comply with their demands.

It was at Joan’s meeting that I met some feisty alumni who worked closely with the AIF. That was the start of my mission to find out about the relationship between the University and the College, since Joan’s meeting had me near panicked tears. I was determined to eradicate this growing fear within me by discovering where the deepest root of our current crisis lies. I use the term crisis lightly, as we have been in much worse condition, as I hope to point out to you. I contended most of the summer that the cause to all our woes was merely a mismanagement issue. I began by asking the question, “Who is really in charge here?”

I think that question is integral to understanding the Antioch College (AC) and Antioch University (AU) relationship and I hope to show you where the line lies between the two. I apologize in advance for holes in my research/writing. As I am limited as a student for time and limited in terms of length, I have meticulously selected what I am discussing. I am hoping this will start a dialogue on campus about our history and I welcome any corrections/arguments against what I say here.

Summer wrap-up

If you haven’t heard about the summer’s course of events, allow me to clarify. The former DOS resigned in April. It was this and many other issues that led Joan to believe the position put too much responsibility and expected too much out of one individual. So goes the reasoning for the actual restructuring. People had issue, however, with how the new positions were being drafted in written form. Some people even believed certain positions were created for specific people. Joan called for a “DOS Restructuring Committee” who would pool together opinions and suggestions from the community. We held various forums and the Committee gladly accepted feedback from those off campus via email. The Committee was to report to join about their findings, and from there she was to make a decision.

The outcome is what we have in place today and it isn’t quite what the community at large suggested. But what you didn’t see, and what you don’t hear about today is that there was blood spilled along the way; people lost their jobs and others were demoted unfairly who were integral to the campus community and whom everyone loved. The AIF situation ended badly, and from the view of the community, was handled badly on all rungs of the Antioch hierarchy, starting with Joan and ending with the BOT. There were some stipulations to receiving the money collected by the AIF that seemed outright ridiculous and on the verge of blackmail, for example severing from the University, while others had been demanded since the birth of the University, for example College President would be ex-officio BOT member.

However, $1.2 million dollars is enough and a lot of community couldn’t get the bitter taste out of their mouth, thinking that more deliberation could have taken place (with the community involved) and that it appeared as if it was another situation were the Board was asserting its power. AIF gave a deadline to Antioch a few years ago that ended this past August, the money they raised being given to a bunch of secondary designations, mostly in Yellow Springs and other nonprofits.

The Dixon Years

James P. Dixon is credited with creating “the Network” (which eventually went on to become AU). Dixon’s presidency spanned 25+ years, starting in 1959 until 1975. In the early 1960’s, individual initiative caused many “centers” affiliated with Antioch to sprout up all over the country. The first established was the Putney school in Vermont (which is now a grad school known as Antioch School of New England). Less than four years later, Antioch had established 30-35 centers around the world (including a law school in DC and programs in Alaska). It was also during that time that those satellites created their own sub-satellites, as did they, and so on and so forth. There was inequity among the units, as it was difficult for Antioch College to manage an “empire” this enormous. Institutional control was virtually impossible, mainly because of geographical constraints. The College at the time had its own BOT, but when we started to expand to create the University, they had to divide their time. It was impossible to attend to all the centers, so they mainly focused on administration from centers and the College. Former Antioch Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Law, Al Denman, says, “[Dixon] was willing to sacrifice the future of the College if we were to be true to our destiny as educational leaders. And if we were to be true to our destiny it didn’t matter if we survived cause we would be setting the pace, we’d be an example, we’d help others ride with the tides even though we might go under… the job of the administration was to enable those who were catching the visions of the future that were destined to be, not stand in the way.”

Establishing centers around the globe promoting all the values and ideals of Antioch was sound ideally, but not in practice, as it turned out. Connie Pelakoudas, who was Professor of Economics at the time stated, “There was interesting motivation [to establish the satellites]- take a program to less fortunate areas. It was not intended to be permanent. It was initially intended to empower the people in the community to take charge of their education that couldn’t otherwise attend a rural liberal arts college.”


Meanwhile, back home in Yellow Springs, the campus was in the beginning stages of severe budget crisis. The bills eventually started to come in for the previous three years of expansion from all the satellites; we had overspent; all of our reserves were gone and we plummeted into great debt in a matter of months. As a historical note, the Vietnam War was raging as were campus uprisings all over the country speaking out against our involvement in Vietnam. Nixon took this personally and threatened to take away student grants.

Since most of the students here were supported by financial aid, and upon hearing the resounding threat from Nixon, the students demanded the administration promise that they would be financially supported through their four years here. Denman states, “The administration knew something they couldn’t actually tell everybody, namely they had already overspent everything (mainly on the Network), so there was no money for guarantee of student support and these messianic visionaries (the students/ faculty on strike) got together and shut down the school.” However, this was the second strike. As Stephen Duffy in the Library will tell you, the first strike was that of the newly established Union on campus. The totality of both strikes paralyzed the campus for weeks. The doors reopened, but with far fewer students than when they closed. Within a year, the enrollment plummeted from 2300 students to about 1600 students.

The BOT is AOK

Dixon was dismissed in 1974 mainly for mismanagement of the network and finances, and other controversies surrounding him and his associates. The BOT was urged to act the year before by many constituents, including students (via the Record) and faculty who claimed Dixon was incompetent as a leader, which, they concluded, clearly led to disintegration and degradation of the community (as reported in Dayton Daily News 09-23-73). The constituents also challenged the Board’s thoroughness when dealing with recent events, alluding to the possibility that they are completely ignorant about what goes on at the school. However, a commentary to the Record in 1974 by Prof. John Sparks, offers a retort and defends the position of the BOT.

He points out that, at the time, the College’s Charter states the president serves “at the pleasure of the Board”. Sparks continues by supplying evidence that Dixon did not comply with the Board and, in fact, filtered what he told them. Members of the Board mentioned in Sparks’ article stated that the President did not keep them sufficiently informed of developments for them to be able to do their job intelligently and responsibly and that they continually asked for information but were held off or ignored. Dixon acted on his own numerous times and even went to the extent of quashing AdCil’s rulings or avoiding AdCil all together.

The Wrestler Comes to Antioch

Insufficient attention was paid to the 35 units, and they were financially mismanaged and poorly run which is a violation of the financial management responsibility of the Board. Putting this into the context of our current situation, the Board does not want it to happen again to the College and according to Denman, “they do feel a grave responsibility for it.” (Maybe this explains the tightening of the financial reigns in recent years?) The Board sought out a replacement for Dixon and landed William Birenbaum from Long Island, NY.

Birenbaum’s presidency spanned from 1976 until 1984 (the period between his entrance and Dixon’s exit was covered by a joint interim president wife/husband team, Bob and Kay Levin). This period is the most crucial of all three examined here, as Birenbaum was the creator of what we know now as Antioch University (AU). He had the distinguished job to do whatever it took to keep the College alive. He was hired to cut down Dixon’s Network, to whittle away things that were hemorrhaging, entering with an axe to chop away anything that would drag the rest of the institution down. However, Birenbaum did not like Yellow Springs nor Antioch from the beginning (his wife reportedly despised Ohio), so he moved the offices to New York City. His logic was he had more financial connection and could raise more money in NYC (even when factoring the cost of his travel twice a week back to campus). As Duffy pointed in an interview, “Absence does not make the heart grow fonder. He couldn’t know the actual problems unless he was here. He only knew what he was being fed. Who does the feeding? Who’s ever ego is involved.”

It was a big mistake on Birenbaum’s part to live far away from campus. How could he grasp what Antioch was all about, both in principle and practice? His mission clearly was not to make friends, but to straighten out the mess of the previous decades. He was known as a bully and when challenged in public forum (meetings, AdCil, etc) he would ask if they wanted to step outside and wrestle, as he was a wrestler in his undergrad years. The campus, at large, generally felt hostile towards him and fought back by writing letters to the Record or attending his few and far between public appearances. When it came to him paring down what was suffering the most financially, that is where he ran into problems. According to Pelakoudas, “We had a lot of issues getting out of certain programs. Legal issues were involved in the process of closing them down”.

The Infamous Name Change

In a resolution dated Fall 1977, Birenbaum proposed an amendment to be taken to the Board of Regents of the State of Ohio to change the name Antioch College to Antioch University, and included in this “university” was the remnants of Dixon’s Network: Antioch College, Yellow Springs; Antioch School of Law, Washington, DC; Antioch-East, Maryland; Antioch-West, San Francisco; and Antioch International also located in Yellow Springs. The reasoning was “by nature of its degree offerings and organization Antioch conforms to the definition of a ‘University’”. We were no longer a small liberal arts college; we were a part of a whole. But it wasn’t (and shouldn’t be) the College that managed the Networks. According to Birenbaum, as stated in YS News, “It should clarify what Antioch is to the public”. “College” is used to describe an institution that is exclusively or primarily undergrad in nature. Administrators saw what was Antioch, at the time, operating on a university model. In the next three years, there would be three Provosts (our equivalent to AC president) under Birenbaum as he continued business in NYC.

Worst Financial Crisis in the Late 1900’s

In 1979 there was the worst financial crisis in years. Faculty and staff both worked for free, called “pay-less paydays” for weeks. AU issued I.O.U’s and most workers went on welfare programs, such as food stamps. Duffy calls it “a creative gamble to get out of fiscal exigency”. There was a huge administration created by the AU expansion, and the newly incorporated campuses were expensive, namely AC and the Law School. However, Bob Devine states, “AC actually caused it to default. AC caused the default, which caused a bank to seize part of our endowment. The drop in enrollment [is the issue], not the University that took our endowment.” The campus went into survival mode. According to stories from Duffy, students, faculty and staff teamed up during the summer and worked on the campus grounds for little to no pay. Already two years after the name change, the finances crashed and the AC community lost the little faith they had in their administrators. As Denman put it, “The entire institution was insolvent, by that we mean that there was literally no money flowing either in nor out. Nobody was being paid, no bills were being paid and nothing was being purchased. The campus was on the verge of bankruptcy. There was a great doubt as to whether we would open in the fall.”

It was during this time that Birenbaum suggested to sell off what is now Antioch Commons to the town as a form of capital; we ended up buying it back years down the road when in decent financial standing.

Al Denman answers questions with legal backing

The severe budget crisis took a toll on the campus as a whole and people started to really question the college’s current system. Denman took the summer off to research his guide to “Legal Means for Separating Antioch College from Antioch University”. It outlines many issues that are strangely echoed today: AC has fundamental cultural and general differences with AU and its administration; capital assets (endowment, alumni, property, etc) that belong to AU actually belong to AC and were stolen from AC.; an attempt may be made to close AC to save the rest of the University; and the AU administration is incapable of superintending itself, let alone the rest of the units (and their budgets). “Antioch College” cannot have standing to sue in order to separate because it is not a separate legal entity and is not a “person” in the eyes of the law.

There are correlations to today’s problems, but the most dramatic was that, according to Denman, “Birenbaum felt that the College stood in the way of the University and that the College needed to either die or be sufficiently metamorphosed so that it was no longer the Antioch College that we know but would be a different kind of creature cause it needed to give up its life so that the life of the University should continue.” (This striking historical repetitiveness bears contemplation.) Birenbaum was in close contact with the BOT, especially Leo Drey, who has given millions of dollars over the years. Without him, our College would not be alive today. But it is contended that BOT waited too long to dismiss Birenbaum, as he hostilely severed himself from the campus, and it was noted by several interviewees that during his tenure here that his judgment got progressively more clouded. But, without Birenbaum, there would be no precedence set for the entering president who would, in the long run, build a equal exchange among the units of AU, and would illustrate how all the parts of the whole funded each other through troubled times.