College revival leaders see village as important partner

Feb 6th, 2009

By Diane Chiddister, Yellow Springs News — read the original editorial here.

Antioch College alumni leaders see Yellow Springs as an important partner in their efforts to bring back the college as an independent liberal arts institution, an alumni leader told Village Council at its Feb. 2 meeting.

“We see the village as a critical part of the rebirth of both the programs and the health of Antioch College,” said Matthew Derr, the chief transition officer for the Antioch College Continuation Corporation’s board pro tem. “We see many opportunities for collaboration.”

Areas of potential collaboration between the college and the village might include the arts, health and wellness facilities and programs, and energy use, Derr said.

“These are three basic areas in which we have common needs and the opportunity to work together in a robust fashion,” Derr said.

According to Derr, those involved in the effort to bring back the college include the Antioch College Alumni Association, the College Revival Fund, the ACCC and its pro tem board, and the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute.

“All the groups are working together to build a future for the college,” he said, in an update to Council on the college revitalization efforts.

The effort also includes close collaboration with Antioch University leaders and the Great Lakes College Association, Derr said, stating that all of those entities have a common interest in helping the college to survive.

The effort to reopen the college, where operations were suspended due to financial exigency on June 30, kicked into high gear at the beginning of January after the Antioch University trustees approved a letter of intent for an independent college. That approval followed a five-month conversation between Antioch University trustee representatives Dan Fallon and Jack Merselis and alumni representatives Derr and Lee Morgan in an effort to reopen the college as an independent liberal arts institution.

The next 90 days are critical, according to Derr. At the end of that period, alumni leaders hope that the letter of intent has become a series of definitive agreements approved by the university trustees.

Most important, Derr said, is the alumni leaders’ current fundraising effort, which aims to raise $15 million within 90 days. And that amount is only the beginning, according to Derr.

“It will take tens of millions to return the college to health,” he said, stating that seven fundraisers are currently traveling the country in an effort to reach the fund-raising goals.

Derr declined to specify a time when the college might reopen if the efforts to achieve independence are successful, saying it’s too early in the process to speculate.

The letter of intent clarifies that, if the college reopens, Antioch College will include the historic campus, including the “golf course,” and Glen Helen. Negotiations will take place with the family of Coretta Scott King to clarify the future of the Coretta Scott King Center, Derr said.

Historic college assets that would remain with Antioch University are WYSO Public Radio and Antioch Education Abroad, or AEA, according to the letter of intent.

The alumni leaders intend that the Olive Kettering Library will be jointly used by the college, the university and the village, Derr said.

“We believe educational assets can and should be shared with the village and with Antioch University,” he said. “We have worked hard to change the tone of the conversation over the last six months.”

The board pro tem, which could become the college’s board of trustees if the efforts to revive it are successful, will meet in Yellow Springs Feb. 20–22, Derr said. One of the board’s first tasks is to evaluate the state of the buildings, and for that effort they have hired the Stanley Consultants of Iowa, the same firm that Antioch University used last year to evaluate the condition of the facilities. The pro tem board hopes to build on that previous work, Derr said.

The board chair is Lee Morgan of Yellow Springs and Minnesota, retired CEO of The Antioch Company and grandson of historic Antioch College president Arthur Morgan. The board’s vice-chair is Frances Degen Horowitz of New York City, former president of the City University of New York, and the secretary is Terry Herndon, who is retired from the Lincoln Laboratories of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT.

Other pro tem board members include Pavel Curtis, a software architect at Microsoft, Allyn Hansson Feinberg, an architect and senior vice president for ERTH Technologies, Inc., Atis Folkmanis, creator of Folkmanis puppets, Joyce Idema, director of press and public relations for the Santa Fe Opera, Jay Lorsch, the Louis Kirstein Professor of Human Relations at the Harvard Business School, Rozell Nesbitt, a human rights activist and consultant for diversity for the University of Chicago, Edward Richard, president of the Edward H. Richard Foundation, and Barbara Winslow, coordinator of the Women’s Studies program at the School of Education at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and former member of the Antioch University Board of Trustees. Honorary pro tem board members are Kay and Leo Drey, and the Honorable Eleanor Holmes Norton. Derr is serving as consultant to the pro tem board.

Contact: dchiddister@ysnews.com

Light, energy at new Nonstop home

Feb 6th, 2009

By Diane Chiddister, Yellow Springs News — read the original editorial here.

The Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute community will celebrate its new campus at Millworks on Walnut Street with an open house this Friday, Feb. 6, from 4 to 7 p.m. The public is invited. Shown above are, clockwise from top left, Nonstop IT specialist Tim Noble and faculty members Hassan Rahmanian, Jean Gregorek and Bob Devine in the library; Nonstop students in the new community government loft are, at bottom, Lincoln Alpern and John Hempfling and on top, from left, Kelly Ahrens, Reuben Hesselden, Molly Thornton, Shea Witzberger and Eva Erickson; bottom right and left photos, Nonstop faculty, staff and students took part in a community meeting on Tuesday.

The newly renovated space of Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute is significant on many levels, according to several Nonstop leaders. First, it provides a physical space that grounds the Nonstop community and gives it a home. And perhaps just as important, the new space works as a symbol of the creativity and adaptability that Nonstop has exhibited since it began a year ago, when former Antioch College faculty, staff and students decided to continue the values and traditions of Antioch even after the college closed its doors.

“We’ve demonstrated our adaptability regarding curriculum and also our ability to conserve some critical aspects of the college,” said Nonstop leader Chris Hill in a recent interview. “We have sustained the best of the college and at the same time creatively interacted with the village.”

The Nonstop community inaugurates its new semester and its new space with a grand opening this Friday, Feb. 6, 4–7 p.m. at its new headquarters at the Millworks complex, 305 North Walnut St. The event also includes a multimedia exhibition of art and journalism that reflect the ongoing efforts to revive the college, along with Nonstop’s evolving experiment in education. The event is free and open to the public.

The new Nonstop headquarters is a former manufacturing space that, over the past several months, has been transformed into two areas, one for staff offices and the other a center for the Nonstop community. According to Antioch College alumnus Michael Casselli, who designed the space, he and several others spent considerable effort transforming an “old, dirty” manufacturing space into an environmentally-responsible campus, constructed with a mix of recycled materials and green -innovations.

It was a labor of love, according to Casselli, an artist and set designer who moved to town last fall from New York City.

“It’s been a satisfying experience,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for the people doing the Nonstop project, and I’m happy to give what I can.”

Nonstop’s adaptability will be tested even further this spring, as plans for an independent Antioch College move ahead. In early January, after five months of conversations between representatives of the college alumni and Antioch University trustees, the trustees approved a letter of intent with the goal of creating an independent college. Alumni leaders are now engaged in fundraising efforts, with the intention of raising $15 million within 90 days in order to meet the terms of the letter. Should that happen, an independent Antioch could open its doors in the fall of 2010.

While much about the future college remains unclear, Nonstop leaders see their efforts as contributing to the reopening of Antioch.

“Nonstop is a bridge to an independent Antioch,” Hill said. “We’re reacting to the situation as it unfolds.”

Students return
No one knew what to expect last fall when Nonstop opened its doors. The majority of Antioch College faculty and much of its staff, funded by the Antioch College Alumni Association, last spring decided to launch Nonstop in an effort to continue Antioch College’s values and traditions even after college operations were suspended June 30 by Antioch University. Without a campus, Nonstop leaders chose to integrate into the Yellow Springs community, holding classes in churches and homes.

While Chris Hill hoped that villagers would take part in the classes, she had no idea if traditionally aged students would show up. While the cost of the Nonstop education was a fraction of what it had been at Antioch College, the current program is not accredited, and students had no central gathering place, no student union, no dorms.

But young people came anyway. About 15 fulltime Nonstop students, mainly former Antioch College students, came from across the country to town last fall to help launch the educational experiment. And even though the launch required from both students and faculty tremendous energy and more than a little inconvenience, almost all of last fall’s students have returned this spring.

For Ashley McNeely of Delaware, Ohio, her last semester’s experience at Nonstop was “the biggest adventure of my life. We had done so much, but we still had so much to do.”

Two of last fall’s Nonstop traditionally aged students dropped out this semester, due to pressure from parents, according to Nonstop faculty Hassan Rahmanian. However, that loss was more than made up by new students and former Antioch students who had been abroad last semester. The number of traditionally aged students has increased to more than 30 this semester, Rahmanian said.

“I didn’t know what to expect when I came, but I’m happy about what’s here,” said former Antioch College student Shea Witzberger of Solon, Iowa, who came to Nonstop from Antioch Education Abroad. “Nonstop has so many great classes and interesting people. You have to be engaged in community and help design what’s happening. It’s a continuation of the magic.”

And this semester Nonstop attracted several new students who had never attended Antioch College before. Previously at Northeastern Illinois University, Kathleen Connolly of Chicago decided to transfer to Nonstop because she wanted more of a sense of community, and her older sister had found that at Antioch. She found what she was looking for, Connolly said last week.

“These classes are smaller and all the professors are incredible and dedicated. We can see how passionate they are,” she said. “Young people need an environment like this, a real learning community.”

Many challenges
But establishing and maintaining that community last fall was one of Nonstop’s most significant challenges, according to Rahmanian. Without dormitories or a college cafeteria, students had to fend for themselves, and it was a stretch for some young people who had not yet taken on adult responsibilities. Consequently, Nonstop faculty and staff sometimes found themselves helping students with day to day tasks, including making budgets and organizing weekly community meals to make sure the young people were eating well. Former Antioch theater professor Louise Smith, who recently received a masters in counseling, offered her skills in working with students to address both daily needs and other challenges.

This semester, Nonstop leaders are putting even more focus on helping students learn to function well in a community. Smith is again offering her services, and more students are taking advantage of her skills. And Nonstop is offering a newly created class, Community, Organizing, Participation and Service, or COPS, that helps students both look at the importance of community, and develop needed skills, according to Nonstop faculty member Dennie Eagleson, who helped to create the new class.

“We’re trying to make the community learning more intentional and more supported,” said Eagleson.

Nonstop organizers are also for the first time requiring that each fulltime student give four hours weekly to activities necessary to meet the community’s needs. Overall, according to Rahmanian, Nonstop recognizes that the creation of community is a significant part of the Nonstop learning experience.

“This time community is taking place not by default, but by design,” he said. “This creates the space for enhancing community involvement.”

Another new aspect of Nonstop this semester was prompted by last semester’s experiment in incorporating older students into classes with traditionally aged young people. Because some older students have been out of school for many years and their skills were rusty, this semester Nonstop added an evening academic support program housed at the new space.

But overall, the combination of non-traditional and traditional students in classes sparked a richer learning experience, according to Rahmanian.

“The quality of conversations was heightened,” he said. “Questions were more thought provoking, because they came out of different sets of assumptions.”

Nonstop organizers tried to restructure some classes this semester to better meet the needs of villagers, recognizing that most adults don’t have the time during weekdays to take a regular schedule of classes. This time around, Nonstop is trying more abbreviated classes and daylong workshops.

So far this quarter, about 55 traditional and non traditional students have signed on for either classes or workshops, and more are continuing to sign up, according to Rahmanian this week. And again this semester, Nonstop organizers are offering Nonstop Presents, a series of evening and weekend talks and events.

Creating a home
Adding to Nonstop leaders’ challenges this fall, their first attempt at creating a common space in a Davis Street house didn’t work out. After zoning problems and concerns from neighbors about potential noise, Nonstop community members were again looking for a home.

One possibility was a large empty space in Millworks, in an area near downtown that is zoned light industrial. But the space, once used for manufacturing plastic molds for the former Corner Cat business, did not inspire visions of community and hominess.

Except, that is, to Michael Casselli, a former set designer and Antioch College 1987 visual arts graduate. After last June’s alumni reunion, Casselli decided to move back to Yellow Springs. He had lost his job in the production department of the New York Theater Workshop due to budget cuts, and realized he could continue his freelance design work while living elsewhere. He and Michael Jones, the partner of his former art teacher Karen Shirley, had begun planning for Eminent Domain, a new arts venture in Yellow Springs, and he had rented out a 5,000 square foot studio in Millworks, a size that he could never have afforded in New York.

Caselli moved back to Yellow Springs, he said, because “I wanted to help out with Nonstop. I have a strong belief in saving the college and maintaining the faculty.”

Where others saw a huge, empty old building at Millworks, Casselli saw potential. He began designing the new Nonstop center in October and, with the help of Antioch College alumni Gerry Bellow, Tim Noble and Meg Fleck, worked much of the fall turning the vision into reality.

The new Nonstop headquarters has two components, an area for staff offices and one for a central community space. For both, Casselli wanted to create as much natural light and warmth as possible, to enhance a feeling of hominess. He also aimed to use green practices and recycled materials as much as possible.

The public is invited to see the results on Friday. In the office area, walls separating the offices rise up to a foot below the ceiling, so that offices share both light and warmth. Much of the lighting comes from solar tubes in the roof that capture natural light. On a sunny day, the solar tubes provide all the light needed, Casselli said.

In the community area, Casselli designed a loft for community government, as well as an open-walled library and seating areas. He plans to build movable walls that can be used to create meeting spaces or present exhibits, and meetings will be held in a portable geodesic dome. An atrium at the entrance will provide more natural light.

Throughout the process, he sought input from Nonstop faculty, staff and students, Caselli said.

“I tried to keep it about community as much as possible,” he said. “It’s important that people care about this space.”

Nonstop students have contributed to the new space in a variety of ways, and in recent weeks could be found putting on finishing touches before the open house.

Not surprisingly, Nonstop leaders have incorporated the creation of their new space into their learning experience. While most elements of the new space are created so that they can also be used on the Antioch campus should efforts to reopen the college succeed, they offer a material home for the flexible and creative educational endeavor that is Nonstop.

“The decisions made about the space, the sensitivity to the environment and to community, became a metaphor for Nonstop,” Chris Hill said. “It became a teaching opportunity for us all.”

Contact: dchiddister@ysnews.com

A Response to “Antioch – Will It Flatline Once Again?”

Feb 2nd, 2009

Posted by Bob Devine — read the original blog posting here.

It’s a shame that Charlotte Allen did not have the benefit of an Antioch education. If she had, she would not be publishing thrice-repeated rumors, pedestrian opinions, inaccurate factoids, half truths, and back-fence gossip in what purports to be journalism, but is actually just another anti-intellectual drive-by.

By way of example:

a) Allen notes that, “Famous during the 1950s and 1960s for its top-notch academic programs whose graduates included Coretta Scott King, wife of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling, paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, and the Nobel Prize-winning physiologist Mario R. Capecchi,” but fails to note that Antioch also produced the leaders of The Putnam Funds, the Segal Company, Dayton Hudson department stores, as well as continuing to produce — right up until its closing, an extraordinary number of Fulbright scholars and McArthur genius awardees.

b) Allen cites one of the reasons for the closing of Antioch College as, “a draconian date-rape policy drafted by the Antioch “Womyn’s Center” (its actual spelling) that became the laughingstock of the nation after it was parodied on Saturday Night Live in 1973,” when in fact the policy actually boosted enrollment, and in pieces and in whole, the Antioch policy found its way into the sexual offense policies of more than 200 institutions across the country.

c) Another contributing factory Allen asserts, was “…the jettisoning of traditional arts and sciences majors in favor of a loosely structured program that essentially allowed students to take whatever courses they wanted.” That’s just downright false. The College maintained some very rigorous requirements for general education (including work in the arts, sciences, social sciences and humanities) and major field requirements as daunting as any undergraduate program. Our majors were interdisciplinary, which has, in case Charlotte hasn’t noticed, become the norm for quality undergraduate programs.

d) Yet another comfortable rumor repeated as fact is the assertion that contributing to the demise of the College was “the creation of a radically left-leaning and notoriously intolerant student culture (aided and abetted by some members of the Antioch faculty) that ostracized dissenters and turned off potential applicants.” Antioch College’s final President circulated several mythic stories about the toxic culture of the institution to all who would listen during the time before he was terminated. Turns out, in spite of how much people wanted to believe that toxic culture played a role in Antioch’s downfall, and how much they attracted the attention of Charlotte Allen and others, that they just weren’t true.

e) Allen notes that “its accreditation was on the verge of revocation, and its relations with its parent institution, Antioch University, were overtly hostile.” The accreditation was never on the verge of revocation, and in fact the last North Central Association review of Antioch commended the faculty of the College for the quality of the academic program and their commitment to delivering it with scarce resources. More on the strained relations with the University below.

f) Allen states that, “The university, which mostly operates adult-focused graduate programs taught by part-time instructors on five barebones campuses around the country, was subsidizing the struggling college to the tune of $3 million a year.” This might be what the University told Allen, but the University campuses are hardly “barebones”. Antioch McGregor just built a $13 million building in Yellow Springs, Seattle owns its own campus, Antioch New England has a thriving and well appointed campus in Keene, N.H., and the two southern California campuses are hardly sparse or struggling. The “adult” campuses were, until 5 years ago, required to provide “overhead” to subsidize the College, as franchises of the flagship institution. Antioch focused on building adult campuses during a period of time when peer institutions were building their endowments. The subsidies to the College — going back to 1985 — were intended to substitute for endowment, until such time that the College was able to build its endowment to the level of its peer institutions. In effect, the adult campuses WERE the endowment of Antioch College. In their adolescence, however, the adult campuses wanted to be released from their obligation to the elderly parent, and in fact, participated in the “smothering” of that parent in order to collect the annuity (campus, real estate, endowment, library, brand), to continue to grow, and to collateralize borrowing.

The actual contributing factors in the demise of Antioch College include:

-The University harassing until they left, or firing the last 3 presidents of the College;

-The University removing the CFO and seizing control of the operating finances of the College;

-The University mysteriously losing $5 million through an accounting error;

-The University withholding the College’s endowment growth;

-The University Board imposing a curriculum on the faculty — which cut enrollment in half in just two years — and guaranteeing funding for this labor-intensive “innovative” program for five years, but pulling the plug after two;

-The University Board’s giving to the College (as part of their stewardship and fiduciary responsibility) diminishing from approximately $1m a year to approximately $25K a year in just three years.

No, the demise of Antioch College was more of an Enron/Bear-Stearns/AIG/Merrill-Lynch kind of organizational failure, rather than a casualty of the demon PC. A friend once described Antioch as “the cockroach of modernism”, and as the anti-intellectual times fade away, it’s a pretty sure bet that Antioch will once again be on the landscape of higher education.

Antioch – Will It Flatline Once Again?

Feb 2nd, 2009

Posted by Charlotte Allen — read the original blog posting here.

When Antioch College, the venerable liberal arts institution in Yellow Springs, Ohio, shut its doors in June 2008, its professors laid off and most of its students transferring elsewhere, it had become the shipwreck of a perfect storm of political correctness run amok. Now, more than six months later, Antioch’s alumni have launched a plan to revive their alma mater with a “newly independent” (as a press release puts it) Antioch College, promising to raise $6.5 million in for the new entity right now and another $15 million over the next few years—but it’s hard not to wonder whether the ghosts of the old Antioch, which over the past few decades nourished a campus culture so aggressively radical that few students wanted to enroll—won’t continue to haunt the historic campus in southern Ohio that predates the Civil War.

Famous during the 1950s and 1960s for its top-notch academic programs whose graduates included Coretta Scott King, wife of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling, paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, and the Nobel Prize-winning physiologist Mario R. Capecchi, Antioch had been on a 40-year downward drift before it closed. Contributing to its decline were a devastating student strike in 1973 that halved the undergraduate population; failed experiments in the “bringing the university to the streets” movement that created dozens of money-hemorrhaging urban satellite campuses that nearly bankrupted the flagship campus in Yellow Springs; a draconian date-rape policy drafted by the Antioch “Womyn’s Center” (its actual spelling) that became the laughingstock of the nation after it was parodied on Saturday Night Live in 1973, the jettisoning of traditional arts and sciences majors in favor of a loosely structured program that essentially allowed students to take whatever courses they wanted; and the creation of a radically left-leaning and notoriously intolerant student culture (aided and abetted by some members of the Antioch faculty) that ostracized dissenters and turned off potential applicants. One disillusioned observer described the student scene in Yellow Springs as “toxic.” Typical student activities seemed to consist of flaunting one’s body ornaments, dealing marijuana on campus, advertising for sex in the college newspaper, and harassing authors and customers at a nearby store’s Christian book-signing event.

The last straws consisted of invitations extended by Antioch’s students to Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther and the convicted murderer of a Philadelphia policeman, to be commencement speaker in 2000; and to Ward Churchill, the since-fired (for scholarly plagiarism) ethnic-studies professor at the University of Colorado who famously referred to the victims of the September 11, 2001, massacre as “Little Eichmanns,” to be commencement speaker in 2005. (Mumia delivered his speech from Death Row by prerecorded tape, but Antioch administrators and faculty managed to talk the students into disinviting Churchill.) During its last years Antioch’s undergraduate enrollment had cascaded from more than 2,100 during the early 1970s to just over 300 by 2006, its once-handsome 200-acre campus in Yellow Springs was a weed-choked shambles of crumbling and graffiti-decorated buildings, its accreditation was on the verge of revocation, and its relations with its parent institution, Antioch University, were overtly hostile. Antioch University had been formed out of the viable remains of the college’s satellite campuses during the late 1970s, and a 1990s restructuring gave the university board control of the college as well as the satellites. The university, which mostly operates adult-focused graduate programs taught by part-time instructors on five barebones campuses around the country, was subsidizing the struggling college to the tune of $3 million a year.

Finally, after some last-ditch efforts to spiff up Antioch College’s decrepit labs and recruit more students whose parents were willing to pay the college’s $40,000 annual costs (the latter drive failed dismally), Antioch University announced its intention in June 2007 to suspend the college’s operations, fire its remaining faculty members (there were only about 40 left by then), and reopen in 2012 in a vastly different form. The announcement goaded Antioch alumni, many of them successful lawyers, businesspeople, and academics who had graduated from Antioch during the glory years of decades past and were intensely loyal to their alma mater, to raise some $18 million in cash and pledges in an effort to keep the struggling college open, Negotiations broke down amid mutual acrimony—and pledges were withdrawn—when the alumni could not persuade the university’s trustees to grant the college the autonomy they wanted to see. Now, under the auspices of an independent mediator, the university and a corporation set up by the alumni have issued a letter of intent that would allow the creation of a new and independent Antioch College, wholly separate from the university, that would license its name and the flagship campus in Yellow Springs from Antioch University but function as a separately governed entity with its own board, budget, governance, and faculty.

A letter of intent is not a binding agreement—and the emergence of such an agreement depends on the alumni’s ability to raise $6.5 million in cash and bonds within 90 days in order to buy its independence, plus an estimated $15 million or so over the next few years to rehabilitate its infrastructure, recruit a student body, and hire faculty. The current economic downturn doesn’t help the new Antioch’s prospects. Even more problematic, however, may be the likelihood that the new Antioch will be unable to banish the old Antioch’s off-putting ultra-left culture. After the college was shut down, several of its laid-off faculty started an operation in downtown Yellow Springs called the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute. The goal seemed to be to continue offering Antioch-style classes to former students and other Yellow Spring residents until a new Antioch materialized (there also seemed to be an expectation that Nonstop students and the laid-off Antioch professors who made up Nonstop’s faculty would form the core of the revived Antioch College). Nonstop has the backing of the Antioch College Alumni Association, which is conducting a $225,000 fundraising drive to keep it operating through June of this year. Nonstop is not officially accredited, but its administrators have expressed hope that other colleges will accept its credits unofficially.

The Nonstop curriculum for Spring 2009 is an odd hybrid of soft-edge but non-controversial courses in music, art, dance, and “conversational” foreign languages clearly aimed at Yellow Spring’s working-adult and retiree population (a sample course title: “Gentle, Joyful Dance for Seasoned Bodies”) and tendentiously titled offerings redolent of the radicalized Antioch College culture of the past two decades at its most in-your-face. Courses titled “New Continental Feminist Theories.” (“ongoing feminist examinations of the gendered character of local and global power relations” is how its instructor, former Antioch women’s studies professor Iveta Jusova, describes it), “Toxic Tours Documentary Project,” and “Palestine in Literature and on the Ground” appear to be geared to the same narrow band of alienated-leftist students whose culture was at least partly responsible for Antioch College’s anemic enrollment during its last years.

Perhaps the most outre course offering this spring at Nonstop is “Queer Animals,” team-taught by former Antioch environmental-studies professor Colette Palamar and former Antioch comparative literature professor Isabel Winkler. “What does it mean to think about queerness when it comes to animals?” the two ask in their written description of the course, which promises to explore such topics as whether “animals can be homosexual, bisexual, or transsexual” and “thinking about animals as the other.” Along similar lines, former Antioch philosophy professor Scott Warren’s course “Legitimation and Capitalism” might be better titled “Capitalism Is Evil.” In his course description Warren presents a list of eight questions, including “Is capitalism the very negation and distortion of human nature?” and “Is capitalism a system that robs us of our very humanity?” Prospective students who answer “no” to these questions are advised not to sign up for the course.

Transsexual goats and Marxist proselytizing are not the sort of academic material that would appeal to many of the potential students that a resurrected Antioch College would need to attract in order to recover its former luster. They also could be said to be replicate exactly the sort of claustrophobic, ideologically driven campus culture that led to the college’s fatally low enrollment during it last years. Lee Morgan, a 1966 Antioch graduate who heads the pro tem board of trustees for the revived college—and who, as a successful entrepreneur who built a $350 million, 600-employee publishing business in Yellow Springs before his recent retirement, might be a candidate for reeducation camp in Scott Warren’s hammer-and-sickle universe–admitted in a telephone interview that Nonstop’s current ethos and the alumni goal of bringing back to life the college they knew and loved decades ago are on a “collision course.”

“There’s going to be a problem sorting out the relationship between Nonstop and the college,” Morgan said. “We know the faculty suffered a great deal when the college was closed, but we’re not interested in perpetuating the past,” he added “They [the Nonstop faculty] are not going to set the curriculum. I don’t object to their expressing their views, but we need to have an inclusive curriculum.”

Antioch College had an illustrious history, and one cannot help but sympathize with the alumni who are desperate for the college not to disappear into memory. But it seems that even a dead institution can’t be free of the ideologues who slowly strangled it into oblivion.

New HQ for Nonstop Institute

Feb 2nd, 2009

By Aaron Keith Harris, Xenia Gazette — read the original article here.

YELLOW SPRINGS — The Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute, formed as a reaction to the closing of Antioch College last June, began its second semester of classes this week, but with a new headquarters.

Nestled into the Millworks complex at 305 N. Walnut St., the new administrative space is still being put together under the direction of Michael Casselli, a theater designer, sculptor, builder and Antioch College alumnus.

Casselli said part of the challenge is to make the former manufacturing space “a warm, welcoming space for students, faculty and staff.”

Another challenge is to construct the space in an environmentally sustainable way, which is why Casselli and crew have used solar tubes for lighting, recycled lumber and other building materials and used heat from the computer server to keep part of the building warm.

The space, which will also feature movable walls, is scheduled to be finished in time for an open house Feb. 6. Most of the institutes courses will continue to meet in churches, businesses and homes throughout the village.

With about 25 full- and part-time students and another 50 or so who are slated to take one course, the institute is trying to reach out to Yellow Springs and beyond.

“We have really set out to integrate learning with the community in a more direct way than we could at Antioch College,” said Chris Hill, a member of the institute’s executive collective and former Antioch College faculty member.

Hill is not alone, as most of the institute’s faculty and staff formerly worked at the college. Most of the institute’s budget comes from Antioch alumni in the form of cash or donated equipment and services.

Hill added that, even though the institute is not yet accredited, students could likely transfer their credits to another university or a resurrected Antioch College.

Kathryn Hitchcock, of Yellow Springs, came to the under-construction headquarters Thursday afternoon to register for a class called “Gentle Movement for Seasoned Bodies.”

“I wanted to increase my flexibility and I thought it would be fun to do it through dance rather than an exercise course,” Hitchcock said.

Of those responsible for the Nonstop Institute, Hitchcock said, “These are the gutsiest people I have seen in a long time. The alumni are spending their money wisely.”

The Record is Online!

Feb 2nd, 2009

How are Nonstop staff, students and faculty dealing with the uncertainty regarding the future of Nonstop? Why did Atis Folkmanis agree to join the ProTem Board? What are the plans and visions of your new Cil Representatives? How did Shea learn Bamanankan so fast? If Nonsters were snowed in indefinitely at a community meeting at Campus North, who would Molly eat first and why?

The answers to all these questions (and more!) are on www.recordonline.org