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.”
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.”
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Emily Mente, Lauren Soldano, and Iveta Jusova about their experiences on the Summer 08 Antioch Education Abroad Women’s Studies Program. Emily is a third year student at Antioch / Nonstop from Pittsburgh. Lauren is a second year Antioch / Nonstop student from Hamilton, Ohio. Iveta Jusova has led the Women’s Studies Abroad Program for the past five years, and currently teaches at Nonstop.
Iveta: This program was created by Antioch College Women’s s Studies faculty in 1984. Marianne Welchel and Jean Gregorek are some of the College faculty who have been involved in developing and improving the WGSE program over the years. The structure of the program is wonderfully conducive to combining classroom academics and experiential learning. I love the constant back and forth between theory and practice on the program.
Emily: It is a thirteen week program. You take four classes:
Situated Feminism, Feminist Methodologies, Feminist Theory, and an independent research project. This year, we started in Utrecht in the Netherlands. The program starts out wherever the NOISE Summer School conference is which is a two-week program on European Women’s Studies. From there we went to Krakow, Poland, and from there to Prague, then to Berlin, and back to Utrech for two weeks. Then we flew to Istanbul where we spent ten days, and then back to Utrech. It was quite a trip.
Iveta: In the Comparative Feminist Theory course I focus specifically on Continental Feminist Theory, which is different from what is studied here in the US. The North American School of Feminism is rooted in the sex /gender division, and goes back to the idea that one is born with a specific sex, and based on what one’s sex is, one is then socialized into specific gender roles. Of course, the distinction between presumably biological sex and socialized gender has been deconstructed by now, but the sex/gender is the main operational division in this school. Continental Feminism, on the other hand, is rooted in psychoanalysis, and the distinction examined here is one between sex and sexuality. It works on more of a psychoanalytic plane, while Anglo-American feminism focuses on the sociological plane. On the WGSE program, we look at the ways in which Continental feminism incorporates the argument of intersectionality that gender, race, sexuality, class are inter-knotted and mutually co-produced. Race is theorized and experienced very differently in Europe than it is here in the US. Here, you have a long history of slavery, while in Europe you have an entirely different history of nationalism and Anti- Semitism. Race in Europe can never be discussed without talking about nationalism. It is often more a matter of ethnicity. So what I often try to do with this course is make students understand that theory is not just something abstract; that it goes back to your location, and it draws on that historical location and that current situation in a specific country. We talk about colonialism, what it means to have a colonial mind. Issues of post-colonialism and of immigration are very hot topics in Europe.
Emily: We had three lectures a week, that varied on the topics. In Krakow, we focused on birth control and abortion rights. It is such a Catholic country, so women don’t have access to many things. We heard from gynecologists, and women who were involved in visibility for women’s issues. We would have three or four seminars per week led by Iveta, and we would do two readings and discuss those readings. It was very structured.
Iveta: The students have lectures with specific local activists, artists, and scholars, but what I want to emphasis is the activists. We talk about queer issues, and then we talk to Trans-organizations [organizations dealing with trans-people’s issues]. It is interesting to hear from transgendered NGO people what their take is on queer theory. When we talk to Rebecca Gomperts, the founder of Women on Waves, a ship that goes where abortion is illegal, that reminds the students who are not interested in reproductive rights that this is a very important issue for a lot of women. How does this theory contribute to solving this problem? And this connection of theory and practice is of course absolutely Antiochian.
Lauren: Over the summer I was receiving emails about what we would be doing. I hardly read them, and it wouldn’t have gotten me prepared. But the NOISE Summer School! It is a Feminist Summer School! We were there for two weeks. When I got the email from NOISE -which was like Antioch recruitment materials -“Do you want to change the world”?, they asked “are you such and such kind of woman, do you want to write your own feminist manifesto?” I said Yeah! The Noise Summer School is for graduate students, and students getting their PhD’s, but we were allowed to participate, and it was one of those network things that would be lost if it was decided that the program was not profitable anymore. I really liked the structure at the University of Utrech, our home base. We were really involved with the Gender Studies Program there. I got a good idea of what it would look like if I was a Genders Studies student.. We were encouraged to apply to a two-year graduate program in Gender Studies.
Iveta: Students take a Feminist Methodology course, that focuses on ethical issues and issues of power, what it is to be an American person interviewing in a language that is not their own. These are issues that students encounter when they do their own research. Then they design an independent project.
Emily: I did my project on Cosmopolitan Magazine in all of the different countries, and how the advertising within the magazine portrayed the ideal feminine. I bought a magazine in each country and went through and did advertising analysis.
Lauren: I was living in a collective in Chicago this summer. Suddenly I am interpolated as a practicing lesbian, and I would see the gay community in Chicago or what had been endorsed as the gay community, and I saw shortcomings, compared to my own personal experience, not shortcomings…. gaps, discrepancies. My project is how the fable of the lesbian has been created. I am using Derrida, some Judith Butler. I made a Table of Contents. One of the chapters is Trends in Lesbianism and Trendy Lesbians. I was looking at different phenomena that has been set up as specifically lesbian phenomena. I was interviewing women who are lesbians or queer. (My subjects) were people on the program who had given us a lecture or a tour. It was a good environment to do this work. I had some pretty cool interviews.
Can you talk about traveling to Istanbul?
Iveta: We had to stop going to London, unfortunately. We were working with Nira Yuval Davis, one of the most famous feminist theorists, but it is just too expensive. We were looking for another place, and Istanbul was suggested because when we deal with immigration issues, both in the Netherlands and in Berlin, many of the immigrant population come from Turkey.
Lauren: . The first thing we did in Turkey was meet some Lambda activists. It was very cool at the Lambda headquarter. We all went to the Turkish bath house together (except Ethan, who is male bodied) and that brought us together in a strange new way.
Emily: I loved Istanbul. We had been in the Netherlands, it was one of my favorite places, but it rained every day, and it was cloudy and 45 degrees, and we went from there to Istanbul. The light is just different. It is just golden. It looks like sunset all of the time, so going from a grey place to this beautiful, golden, hot place where there was music and pomegranate juice everywhere. That was my favorite part, and we were also not having classes, so it was like a vacation.
Iveta: While we did not have theory/methodology seminars in Istanbul we did have plenty of lectures.
How was the dynamic of the group?
Emily: There were fourteen students and Olivia Leire, the Teaching Assistant. Eleven of us were from Antioch, and three were from other schools.
Since most of the students were from Antioch, a lot of the language was very similar. There was a lot of Antioch present. I had worked at a summer camp last summer which a hard experience for me, going from Antioch with Antiochian values, to this camp, where I do not really share their values, so it was very comforting coming back to a space where I felt good about what was going on and the conversations that we had. The dynamics were difficult because we were with these people all of the time. You are going to school with them and you are hanging out with them, and it is hard to make new good relationships with everyone. There was no schism in the group, which Iveta mentioned was very unusual. Usually something happens half way through, and you have two distinct groups.
Iveta: It was wonderful, partly because most of them were from Antioch. Our students are perfect for Women’s Studies. We click like that. I understand perfectly where their concerns are coming from. The group was cohesive, helpful, and appreciative about what the program had to offer. They wanted to help with any kinds of problems we had. They were not whiny at all. We didn’t have any big dramas. The group dynamic affects so much of what you can do in the classroom and in the program. A sense of humor makes such a difference.
How has the trip changed you?
Lauren: When I entered college, I entertained ideas that I would be a Creative Writing major. I like to imagine myself as a cartoonist. Now I feel like the trip has crystallized my Gender Studies major ambitions, so I guess things have shifted a little bit. I wonder what job I am going to get as a Gender Studies major? Something the program showed me is that maybe I will get a job as a professor or as an accountant for a gay rights organization. I am in this state of ever-constant change. Things were different when I got back home. One of the things is, I imagined myself to be more politicized, as usual, just like when I got back from Antioch. Things that I had never thought about have become pressing issues. Nationalism, and gender identity, and the way crimes against the gay community are used to perpetuate racism and anti- immigration, and to create panic, which are things I never thought before, but now I could talk about all day.
Emily: I have a very clear idea about what I want to be studying. and a different appreciation for how big the world is. One of the things Olivia told me is this experience will make you worry about America, and I didn’t understand that until I came home. I am realizing that the world is very big and we are very focused on ourselves, and that is going to be a problem. How culturally and economically we are so focused on ourselves, and Europe is focused on us, and to be so far away, and to still be hearing about American news. It is a scary thing. At one point we were in Poland, and we were putting missiles in Poland, and everyone in Poland was talking about it, but we would go on line, and could find NOTHING about it in the US press, and that was so pertinent to my life!
Nic Viox (Chair)
Shared governance is a historically important part of this institution, and I am privileged to be a part of it. In Nonstop’s ever changing future, I hope to provide as much continuity as I can by sitting on CoCcil again this term. I intend to do my best to provide service and support to the community as a whole: staff, faculty, and students.
I think ComCil is important as a venue for the community to address important (if often dull and day-to-day) issues about how we sustain and improve ourselves as an institute and as a community. On ComCil, I intend to serve this community to the best of my abilities, and to do my bit to fill the student quota. In the unlikely event of a real controversy, I will attempt to be a calming influence and voice for reconciliation and constructive dialogue.
I am running for ComCil because I want to make sure that our actions line up with our values, and that these Antiochian values that we hold so dearly as apart of our identity are preserved in the future Nonstop/Antioch, regardless of what happens. I also want to try to make this semester be as good as we can make it. I’m looking forward to being involved in this facet of community government, and learning how ComCil is apart of the bigger picture.
I intend to represent my constituency, with your consultation and input. I intend to keep you informed with what’s going on in Comcil and to focus on the success and survival of our organization.
I originally began attending and later sitting on both ComCil and ExCil because I had heard that in theory it was an essential component of the learning experience both at Antioch and now at Nonstop. I’m pleased to be able to confirm that this is indeed true. Sitting on councils allows one to participate in the formation, development and nurture of community structures and expectations. As luck would have it, it turns out that when you nurture community, you empower yourself and all those around you, and this is a crucial part of our struggle. I feel lucky to have been able to sit in on (and then sit on) these councils beginning shortly after the exigency announcement, and feel as if this provides a basis for seeking re-election. Not merely to pay lip service to the history of community, but to make sure we are still baking it fresh daily, as the saying goes. Recipes have to get passed down, you know? You can’t get this stuff from books or lectures or conferences, you can only learn as you go.
My choice to join Excil this term was made in awareness of the ambiguous yet critical nature of our present time, for Nonstop as well as the future of Antioch. I look forward to enjoining my intellect, enthusiam, and skills with the continuing efforts of the group. Excil is an essential place of our efforts. My wish is to apply my wisdom and good ideas to its worthy cause.
I really want to be on ExCil. I intend to represent the students. Also I’d like to participate in the process of developing the relationships between ExCil, the Executive Collective, the CRF and Gommunity Government (to name but a few) since no one can explain to me what their relationships to one another actually are.
My last words.
Throughout the entire term I have been racking my brain as to what my last editorial would be. At times I thought maybe I could just go all out and say some things I have wanted to say for three years. I am angry, angry that I didn’t graduate from the place I have dedicated so much energy towards, but instead of saying angry things I want to celebrate my time here. So, with that said, I want to say thanks to the people that have made my time here enjoyable. Natalie Adams, you are a beautiful, brilliant and talented person. I have traveled thousands of miles with you; you have been there when I needed a shoulder to lament on. You are my sister and best friend, and I can only hope to be more like you. Rachel Hamilton, our friendship was rocky in the beginning but it has blossomed into something beautiful that I wouldn’t trade for anything. You laugh at my jokes (when no one else does), and you’re my dance partner forever. You are also my sister, my confidante and I am a better person for having known you. Continue reading From The Editor – Bryan Utley