Thursday, December 18, 2008

Message from Antioch in Ohio!

We, the members of the Antioch College Action Network, offer our support and solidarity to the community of the New School. We believe that your struggle and our struggle are intrinsically linked.

The state of higher education

All across the country, in schools large and small, public and private, faculty, staff, and student concerns are being undermined by "business" practices. Tenure, academic freedom, and quality education are being undone by the same mentality that has led to the world's current economic crisis. Antioch College is precariously suspended. The Institute for Social Ecology has greatly reduced its operations and lost its own campus. New College in San Francisco has already fallen, and the New School in New York is fighting back. Antioch College with the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute (http://nonstopinstitute.org/) is, too.

Antioch has faced many of the same problems that the New School is currently facing:

Consolidation of power

The board and administration of Antioch University have placed huge amounts of power in a single executive, Chancellor Tulisse Murdock. The chancellor has consistently undermined the college and any attempts to save it. The New School faculty and students have stood up to President Kerrey's move to become provost as well as president.

Lack of transparency in governance

The administration of Antioch University, corporate owners of Antioch College, operated without checks and balances and in an increasingly secretive fashion. Cut off from the community they nominally served, the administration and board have made increasingly destructive decisions, culminating in the suspension of operations at Antioch College, the rejection of alumni offers to keep the college open, and the destabilizing of Antioch University's educational mission, and thus to the larger University community that they should serve.

Erosion of tenure

Antioch University has been eroding tenure at its other campuses, and there is strong evidence in board minutes and administrative practices at Antioch University to suggest that the suspension of operations at the college is an attempt to eliminate faculty job security at Antioch University as a whole. Like the New School's imbalance of 333 full-time (tenured) to 1,733 part-time faculty, a disturbing trend has emerged across higher education.

Community voting "No Confidence"

Like the New School's "No Confidence" vote in President Bob Kerrey, Chancellor Murdock has faced no fewer than four votes of "No Confidence" from faculty, students, and staff. The Board of Trustees have let warnings from their invested constituents and loyal staff go unheeded and let Murdock remain in power. Let us hope the New School's Trustees do not do the same.

Faculty losing authority over curriculum

The Antioch University Board and administration imposed a disastrous new curriculum on the faculty of Antioch College, cutting enrollment in half, and precipitating a financial disaster that led to the Board voting to suspend the operations of Antioch College.

We stand in solidarity with the autonomous occupiers of the New School against the rising prices of education, the reduction of education to a business model, the erosion of rights in our workplaces, and for the right to a sound and relevant education and the call for a just and responsible social solution to humanity's immediate and devastating crisis.

ACAN is an independent collective of autonomous alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends of Antioch College and villagers of Yellow Springs, Ohio. ACAN is a grassroots movement working collaboratively for a continuous and sustainable future for Antioch College. ACAN has no affiliation with Antioch University, the Antioch College Continuation Corporation, the Antioch University Board of Trustees, the Antioch College Alumni Association, or Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute.ACAN is responsible for the content of this statement. For more information about ACAN visit http://saveantioch.org/

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