Letter from Daniel E. Solis ‘06

An Open Letter to President Steve Lawry
October 5, 2006

Dear President Lawry,

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I write this letter to you. As a proud alum of Antioch College, I am deeply disturbed by the emerging direction of your presidency. You have taken actions that not only violate the most cherished of Antiochian values and traditions; but also move against the fundamental mission of the College – education.

Given that your actions affect not only the on-campus community, but also everyone who has sweated, cried, and sacrificed for Antioch in its long history, I felt it appropriate to address this letter to you in a very public way. I understand that this will be taken by you as an act of confrontation, for indeed it is. When people in power commit gross violations of the power they have been entrusted with; ethical people have no choice but to be confrontational. That is why I write to you now in the form of an open letter.

In your rather short time as an Antiochian, you have single-handedly chosen to impose a top-down cultural shift at the College. You find a pessimistic “Culture of Confrontation? to be undermining Antioch, and have decided – with minimal input from all sectors of the community- that this culture must be eradicated for the College to grow and be successful.

You have seriously attacked the intellectual freedom of faculty and staff through seemingly arbitrary dismissals or forced “voluntary retirements.?

You have attacked the community’s free press, The Record, by legalistic manipulations and the imposition of an Editorial Board controlled by you. This has very serious implications in an academic community that depends on open and unfettered deliberations.

You have unilaterally moved vast extents of decisions traditionally made collaboratively through the legitimated bodies of the Antioch community, into the hands of a small cadre of relatively new high administrators. Through these actions, you have eviscerated both Administrative Council (AdCil) and Community Council (ComCil).

Most tragically of all, you have birthed a culture of fear at Antioch. Through the strict enforcement of “the President’s Agenda,? the thoughtful deliberation that you claim to cherish has completely disappeared. Faculty and staff members fear for their jobs. Students fear that they will be summarily expelled or suspended for confronting you or your Agenda. The entire community fears honest discussion for how it might offend you.

Given the state of our nation at this present moment, when fear rules our lives, when fear is pessimistically manipulated for the gain of a small elite; it is not only tragic that you too have chosen to rule through fear – it is shameful. Our institutions of higher education have no greater responsibility in our society, than to educate our youth to be responsible members and advocates of democracy. It is reprehensible that your leadership has moved Antioch away from its long-standing role of educating the defenders of democracy.

To further illustrate your own hypocrisy, I quote at length from your welcoming speech to first year students and their families this past September. You said,

An authentically liberal learning environment should be one where complex ideas and problems can be studied, discussed and debated- -openly and freely. This is how we learn; this how we come closer to a truer understanding of ourselves and our world. We are a Community of Inquiry.

From time to time, we somehow convince ourselves that we have possession of the answers to complex problems, and further discussion or debate about them surely is not necessary. And those who express contrary views should be ostracized, and made to remember the error of their ways. This causes pain and anger, and is corrosive of the freedom to learn and inquire that so many have fought so hard to maintain in our society. It is corrosive of the Community of Inquiry that we are and that we must be diligent in protecting.

So, I invite you to an Antioch life, a life of sifting and winnowing, of doubt and discovery, of trying to do better by our families and communities and our planet. The Antioch community, for me, is grounded in a commitment to intellectual freedom and respect among all community members, students, professors and staff. These two qualities—intellectual freedom and mutual respect—must always be present if we are going to continue to succeed as an educational community. I have high expectations that you will embrace these values in your time at Antioch and beyond.

I respect these words for they truly represent what lies at the core of the Antioch Community: thoughtful and critical engagement, contentious deliberation, and respect for one another. While I will be the first to admit that this has often not been the case at Antioch, you cannot address this issue by doing the exact same thing. One does not end a disrespectful and closed-minded discourse through disrespectful and closed-minded actions.

President Lawry, your relentless belief in the supremacy of the executive is not only detrimental to the deliberative process that is the bedrock of a democracy; it is also inefficient and wasteful. Rather than focusing on how to strengthen Antioch College and secure lasting financial stability or ensuring the success of the new curriculum, you have decided to consolidate your power within the College on the backs of Intellectual Freedom, Deliberation, and Democracy.

President Lawry, I hope that you will take this letter as a chance for thoughtful reflection and will truly question your motivation and actions. However, I am not encouraged by your past reception of criticism or confrontation. While I do not expect a radical change of course, I do hope that the faculty, staff and students that agree with the views expressed in this letter will creatively and appropriately rise up to challenge the attach upon Antioch. Antioch is a community of critical thought and action. Only time will tell if the current caretakers of Antioch will accept their responsibility and protect our core values you seem so unfamiliar with. I, for one, remain committed to responsible actions and am willing to dialogue with you on this matter. I do believe that you have strengths that can greatly aid Antioch, but you must be educated first. I look forward to assisting your on-going education as a proud Antiochian. I leave you with a quote,

“If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.”

~Louis D. Brandeis


Daniel E. Solis ‘06

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.

Vandals Supply Steamy Welcome to New Semester

By Kim-Jenna Jurriaans

A recent spree of vandalism that struck the campus last week leaves Antioch to pick up the $3500 bill to pay for the restoration of destroyed artwork and windows, general repairs and labor hours.

The events approximately started on Sunday, September 3rd with bricks smashing the windows of both the president’s and the vice president’s offices, and ended in the flooding of the first floor of the union building early Tuesday morning, after unknown vandals purposely clogged and repeatedly flushed the upstairs toilets. The broken windows in Main Hall were discovered on Monday morning between 11.30 and noon, when one of the bricks was found on the floor of the president’s office. Another was found in the surrounding area.

According to Darrel Cook working at the physical plant, the flooding at the Union didn’t occur till the following night or early the next morning. After clogging the toilets, the offenders urinated into the water, causing urine filled water to leek into the cafeteria. Four workers spent two hours non stop sanitizing the area in order for the cafeteria to open on time for Tuesday morning breakfast. Dean of students Jimmy Williams was especially alarmed about the effects the incident might have on the ability to feed the campus community. “We’re talking health violations here. Those requirements are quite strict. We were close to having to shut the Caf down.?

In addition to the incident at the Union, vandals found a way into the science building where they left a $2500 trail of damage to artwork in the downstairs hall. The art consisted of digitally re-mastered photographs of the first generation of Antioch alumni from the 1850s. “Those Photographs had only been up there for about a year?, says Darrel Cook, assistant manager of the Physical Plant in charge of the clean up. “Whoever it was took them down and tried to flush them down the toilet. All artwork was urinated on and smeared with feces.?

According to Dispatcher Campbell of the Yellow Springs police department there are no official leads so far as to who is responsible. Given the nature of the vandalism, however, both campus crew and administration find it likely to be someone familiar with the buildings and the community.

The Science building is usually locked over the weekend, but with the number of keys in circulation among students that is hardly a barrier. Dean Williams goes on to say: “This is Antioch. This is not a place were we keep busy locking people out. If you want to get into a certain building, you will find a way.?

Cook says he above all felt discouraged by the incident: “The maintenance crew had worked very hard for the last three weeks to get the campus nice before the new students arrived. It only takes a couple of people some hours to make our lives hell.?

Dean Williams was similarly disheartened by the nature of the vandalism: “We’ve had vandalism before, but in terms of nastiness it has escalated?, he says.

Like many students on campus he links the events to the recent policy changes that took place at the college and which threw a rift between many of the older students and the Antioch administration: “The community is broken right now. And all sides are convinced that they are right.?

According to the Dean the atmosphere was tense at the end of last semester. With the arrival last January of yet another president to lead “the new Antioch? into becoming a less ‘toxic? community, debates arose over the use of authority and distribution of power on campus, leaving many students frustrated with the new status quo. “We’ve become a community suspicious of change, partly because we’ve had so much of it these last years?, says Williams. “People felt devaluated, they didn’t feel they were heard. There was a vacuum and if there is a vacuum something always slips in.?

Although the issue was addressed at last weeks RDPP orientation for entering students, the reaction of the community to the incident was surprisingly calm. Some interviewed students had heard of the events vaguely, others who were off-campus for several days last week, hadn’t heard of it yet at all. Second year transfer Mariel Traiman was quoted as saying: “When I first saw the broken windows on Monday morning I remember ‘thinking this will be a big issue on campus this week’. I’m actually surprised of how not a big issue it is.? Indeed there didn’t seem to be much of a ‘whodunnit’- atmosphere amongst students. Lunch conversations tended to focus more on upcoming classes and everyday business than speculations as to the motive of the vandalism and whether the events that took place on separate days were the works of the same persons. “I know that the college portrays the events as one incident, but I’m pretty sure they’re not?, continues Traiman, who has been living around Antioch the last months before entering as a student this fall. “For me the throwing of the stones was a political act. The rest was just plain stupid.?

One of the reasons the administration has taken a low-key approach to the incident seems to be not to want to spoil the overall upbeat vibe on campus that came with the arrival of the 150 new students two weeks ago. “That’s why we were so disappointed when it happened,? continues Williams. “We had had a really good week so far. And then Bam!? At the RDPP meeting Williams encouraged students to step forward if they had any information, but so far none have. ?I do think it is a problem that people know about it and choose to stay silent?, he says. He acknowledges that the atmosphere has changed over the previous years, with a low point being last semester. “The culture has gotten a little mean-spirited.? Part of the problem he attributes to a lack of communication between administration and students. “If people don’t get answers, they find answers. Administrators need to know students. In a place as Antioch that should be really easy. We should fix that.? The Dean of students nevertheless denounces the choice of action. First year Caitlin Murphy seems to agree: “This is simply not the way you get things done.?

“The irony is, we used to brag about being really tolerant here?, continues Williams. “Now we’re less tolerant. This used to be the place where dissenting opinions were discussed, petitioned. Somewhere along the line that got lost. We’re in a time of confusion right now, but I think our problems have an easy fix. This is not a student – faculty problem, but a student -administration issue. We need to get out more, be more approachable.?

So far the events don’t seem to have put a damper on the new community vibe. Since the College itself isn’t planning a large-scale inquiry into the incident, the vandalism is likely to stay unaccounted for.

Antioch is currently looking into options to get the pieces of artwork restored, but it is still unclear whether that is possible. If not, the 2500 dollars reserved for the restoration will go towards new artwork for the Science Building.

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.