11
Feb 11

Heal divide on college faculty – A Letter to YS News

Here’s a letter from the Ad Hoc Former Tenured Faculty Committee printed in this week’s Yellow Springs News (2/10/11) on the Community Forum page in response to the letter from the BPT printed in the 1/17/11 YS News. The YS News gave it the headline: “Heal divide on college faculty” (note: the YS News will only print a certain number of names, so the letter was submitted from the entire Committee but we could only list a few names):

We were puzzled to read the recent editorial about faculty hiring policy from the Antioch College Board of Trustees, as it takes pains to refute several positions which we, the Ad Hoc Committee of the Former Tenured Faculty, have never espoused. First, no one in our Committee (nor the American Association of University Professors) has claimed that the College has a legal obligation to acknowledge the tenure status of former College faculty. We understand the legal meaning of “non-successor corporation”; our position has always been that there are strong ethical, professional, and pragmatic reasons for the College to welcome our experience and institutional knowledge, and to work with us. Also, no one has opposed the principle of national searches which we, too, see as the generally preferred procedure for hiring faculty in a liberal arts college.

Our point has been that national searches are at this time only necessary for *some* positions in which qualified former faculty are not available. We have already been selected through national searches and then demonstrated our ongoing value to the College through a grueling multi-year process of rigorous peer review in order to achieve tenure.

Because we, too, desire that Antioch will once again take its rightful place among pre-eminent U.S. liberal arts colleges, we continue to request that the Board seek the imprimatur of the AAUP on matters of academic policy and hiring practice, as these are the standards across the academy. Yet the Board of Trustees has so far ignored the Association’s recommendations. The Board of Trustees also recently heard from the Alumni Board Task Force on Former Faculty, whose report made the recommendation that “it is in the best interest of the opening Antioch College that faculty initially hired include a representation of the faculty of the closed Antioch College so that faculty familiar with Antioch’s educational approach can mentor new faculty and can carry forward experience with Antioch’s educational approach.”

A broad coalition of alumni, faculty, staff, students, and Yellow Springs residents fought for and were critical in winning the independence of the College. The Board’s claim in their editorial that following the College’s closing in June 08 that they were the sole actors in securing the College’s independence is simply not the case, as almost any issue of the Yellow Springs News during that year will show. Different representations of the history of the last three years, and ideas of what constitutes a “just” solution to the situation of the former tenured faculty, have, sadly, divided College supporters. We had hoped that the Board would see the logic of working to heal these divisions, especially as we, like many alumni, believe that Antioch would immediately benefit from our wide-ranging institutional, curricular and academic expertise, and our abundantly demonstrated commitment to the College.

– Jean Gregorek, Anne Bohlen, Chris Hill, Hassan Rahmanian (for the Ad Hoc Committee of the Former Tenured Faculty of Antioch College)


02
Dec 10

Fairness begins at home

December 2, 2010

By the Ad Hoc Tenured Former Faculty Committee, Letter to the Editor, Yellow Springs News

We’d like to thank Diane Chiddister for her in-depth article regarding the complex relationship of former tenured Antioch College faculty with the “new” revived institution. The article offered various points of view providing factual information, elaborating differences of opinion, and revealing the contradictions that have become the fabric of our relationship with the current Antioch College Board and administration. We do, however, want to clarify our position. We are engaged in a labor negotiation, and our position is supported by the American Association of University Professor’s standards respecting faculty hiring and faculty tenure. We believe that as former tenured faculty we should be hired on our merits where suitable in the current curriculum. We understand the Board’s desire for national searches, since we too were hired in national searches and see this as the preferable mode of hiring in most cases. However, in the current anomalous situation faced by the newly reconstituted College, experienced senior faculty are needed immediately. Antioch’s incoming president Mark Roosevelt will confront many challenges, and having some faculty who are familiar with the educational model will be essential for the College to succeed and to continue its educational legacy.

In truth, there is no legal or professional impediment to the rehiring of qualified members of the former tenured faculty. National searches were not conducted for the current Director of Work or the College Archivist, most likely because they bring vital institutional knowledge and experience—as would we. The majority of the current administrators and staff were either reinstated or hired into positions that were not even advertised. Faculty hires are one of the few categories at the “new” Antioch to which national searches are being applied.

Some background: when the University closed the College, the tenured faculty filed an injunctive lawsuit to keep the College open and protect its assets into the future; we did not sue for personal damages. When the University gave us the option of taking a year’s salary buyout we stayed and helped mentor students to ensure their graduation. After the College closed, the faculty produced a cutting-edge situated learning experience in the form of the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute supported by the Alumni Board and College Revival Fund. Perversely, the tenured faculty’s long-term investment in the College has been interpreted by some as an indication of our unworthiness. Assumptions appear to have been projected onto the faculty that bear no resemblance to the facts.

Statements made by the current College leadership in last week’s Yellow Springs News article underline the contradictions we continue to face. While Interim President Matthew Derr claims that the College will be conducting a completely transparent and fair faculty search process, Lee Morgan, Chair of the Board, informs us that “donors will not give to the College if the former faculty are favored over those turned up in national searches.” This statement creates the distinct impression that this supposedly ‘open’ hiring process would actually be biased against us.

Our respected colleague Al Denman’s suggestion that we volunteer (on an unpaid basis) to support the revival efforts of ‘pioneer’ faculty unfortunately conflates the situation of mid-career academic professionals with that of retired and emeritus faculty and fails to recognize that we are facing a serious academic labor issue.

The American Association of University Professors was founded by John Dewey and Arthur O. Lovejoy in large part because maintaining the independence of advanced research, teaching, and the search for truth was recognized as a public good. The organization was part of a wave of Progressive-Era reforms that sought to insulate public institutions (and educational institutions which served the public) from the direct influence of donors and corporate sponsors. Bowing to the whims of wealthy donors in matters of academic hiring and curriculum is a very serious violation of this fundamental principle of independence. This is not an auspicious starting point for the new Antioch College.

If, as Interim President Derr stated, ethical and fair hiring practices are as dear to the hearts of the current College administration as they are to the Antioch community and to the AAUP, then we will be in complete agreement. Fairness begins at home.

Signed: Ad Hoc Tenured Former Faculty Committee

Read Antioch College’s response to the Yellow Springs News story mentioned above.


02
Dec 10

Former Faculty Essential to Antioch

December 2, 2010

Editorial by Diane Chiddister, Yellow Springs News

As someone who has reported on Antioch College off and on for the past 25 years, I find the apparent exclusion of former faculty from the college’s revival to be heartbreaking. Not all former faculty were stellar; there were a few slackers, some burn-outs. But over and over I’ve been deeply impressed with the dedication and talent of this tiny, scrappy group of teachers. A significant number of former faculty performed extraordinarily well under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

There are two critical reasons why Antioch College leaders should reinstate former tenured faculty in positions for which they are qualified, and also increase the number of those positions. First, it’s the right thing to do. According to AAUP guidelines, the college has an ethical obligation to reinstate former tenured faculty. And in a higher education landscape in which academic tenure is increasingly threatened, this move would place the new Antioch College squarely among the ranks of principled liberal arts schools.

Equally important, the revived college needs former faculty. All agree that the college’s unique educational model should be continued: how, without experienced faculty (or administrators), will new hires learn this model? How will new students be guided? People don’t learn from an abstract example; they learn from other people who have a passion for a subject. Those people are former faculty, who have a passion for Antioch.

Everyone involved in this controversy cares deeply about Antioch College and wants it to succeed. A mix of new faces and a substantial group of seasoned veterans, as proposed by some alumni, may be the best path forward. Whatever the specifics, former faculty should be embraced as valued partners in the rebirth of Antioch College.


29
Nov 10

An Open Letter from the AAUP to Antioch College

November 29, 2010

Reopening Antioch: An Open Letter to Antioch’s New President and the College’s Stakeholders

A letter from the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) to Antioch College

The AAUP’s 2009 investigative report on “Antioch University and the Closing of Antioch College” included the following clearly stated expectation:

“The committee is concerned about the role that the Antioch faculty members who were released when operations were suspended will play in the development of the academic program at a reopened Antioch College and in teaching there when operations resume. The investigating committee trusts that the Antioch College Continuation Corporation will appreciate the fundamental importance of the tenure system and will offer reinstatement to those whose appointments terminated with the closing, restoring their tenure rights.”

In the summer of 2010 staff members of the national AAUP’s Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Shared Governance met with the interim Antioch president and members of the Pro Tem Board in the AAUP’s Washington, D.C. office to reiterate those concerns. AAUP president Cary Nelson also attended the meeting at the interim president’s request. The staff reminded those present that the AAUP would follow its standard procedures in handling any complaints received from tenured Antioch faculty who subsequently asserted they were denied appointment to suitable positions at the college after it was reopened.

Now that Antioch College is about to begin the process of appointing faculty members, the AAUP believes that specific guidance to the new college about academic freedom and the rights of faculty who were laid off is appropriate. The AAUP recognizes that the new Antioch College is a different legal entity from its predecessor, that it will require reaccreditation, and that it must phase in faculty appointments as funding and enrollment permit. We note also, however, that the new College continues to invoke not only the history and legacy of the old institution and to bear the name and goodwill of the old, but to benefit from many of the tangible assets of the historic Antioch College, including the alumni, the campus and facilities, and the substantial endowment. The faculty of the old Antioch College, including those faulty who were laid off, were at the core of creating and sustaining those assets. Thus we believe that such benefits entail certain continuing responsibilities to those long standing employees who are qualified for and remain available for positions in the new college–especially the tenured faculty. Further, although we respect the decision of the new College to phase in faculty appointments as funds and enrollment permit, we do not believe that the decision to defer some appointments beyond the College’s re-opening in fall 2011 moots the College’s obligation to appoint formerly tenured Antioch faculty who are qualified and available for such suitable positions as become available. A suitable position is one for which the faculty member is qualified by previous training and/or experience or may become qualified by modest additional training.

It would not be appropriate for the college to prevent those involved in defining faculty positions from being informed about the qualifications of former faculty. There appear to be, we should emphasize, no legal impediments to the reappointment of faculty who held tenure at the former college.

The AAUP is also deeply concerned that comments by Pro Tem Board chair Lee Morgan published on November 25th in the Yellow Springs News suggest that donor objections to appointing previously tenured Antioch faculty are broadly influencing planning and hiring decisions. If this report is accurate, we must emphasize that such considerations run counter to values at the core of the AAUP and widely recognized in the academy.

AAUP (American Association of University Professors)
Anita Levy, Senior Program Officer
Gary Rhoades, General Secretary

Read Antioch College’s response to this letter.
Read the original posting of this AAUP letter to Antioch College.


12
Nov 10

Why should Antioch College follow the AAUP recommendations?

November 12, 2010

“The committee is concerned about the role that the Antioch faculty members who were released when operations were suspended will play in the development of the academic program at a reopened Antioch College and in teaching there when operations resume. The investigating committee trusts that the Antioch College Continuation Corporation will appreciate the fundamental importance of the tenure system and will offer reinstatement to those whose appointments terminated with the closing, restoring their tenure rights. Moreover, the committee trusts that the corporation will approve a system of shared governance when the college reopens, ensuring primary faculty responsibility for academic matters as called for in the Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities.” – 2009 AAUP Report

There are a number of distinct advantages to be gained from following the recommendations of the AAUP and respecting the tenure of the former College faculty. The AAUP’s recommendation will provide a core of experienced and properly credentialed faculty (i.e. having earned tenure through a rigorous process of peer review and review by the College) to anchor the enormous work of hiring new tenure-track faculty along with part time and visiting faculty. This small core will be available to mentor new hires into a complex academic curriculum and the educational philosophy and pedagogies associated with Antioch’s distinctive Co-op model and community orientation. The acknowledgment of the former tenured faculty will go far to assuage the increasingly vocal concerns of younger alums from the past three decades that their College and their college education are being dismissed as subpar. (There is evidence that loyalty to the College on the part of these generations of alumni is plummeting as we write.) It will dramatically reduce tensions and bad feeling in the Village where the College lives, and it will prevent the hiring of new faculty into what one alum at the last reunion called a “poisoned well” of intrigue and acrimony.

In 2002 the North Central Association, in the process of the re-accreditation of Antioch University, made their scheduled site visit to Antioch College. Their official report opens with comments about the abundant evidence of neglect and deferred maintenance of the College’s Yellow Springs campus. However, the Report continues, once the accreditors looked deeper, past the conditions of the campus facilities, they discovered much that impressed them; they found the very “spirit of idealism and academic excellence.” They found the living educational community of Antioch College: “Indeed, it was not until after frequent and focused dialogues with administrators, faculty, staff and students, and observations of documents, records, and artifacts on all campus sites that the Team developed a degree of respect and admiration for the institution. This is a place where administrators, faculty, and staff appear to be extraordinarily committed to implementing the Antioch mission and academic excellence…In spite of the Team’s concerns about finances, enrollments and facilities, the Team believes that Antioch is a place that has earned continued accreditation—primarily because of the people who work for the University.” How ironic that the daily efforts of these very people to carry on the College’s mission of academic excellence in the face of steadily deteriorating infrastructure, staff cutbacks, faculty hiring freezes, and an unresponsive governance system—the very work and idealism that persuaded objective reviewers that the College and the University merited accreditation despite manifest institutional problems—has now been scapegoated as contributing to the College’s closure in an unsupported and opportunistic justification to begin with a ‘clean slate.’

As members of the academic profession, we strongly believe that the emerging College needs the blessing of the AAUP. If one is trying to resurrect a famous hospital, it does not behoove the institution to defy the respected professional guidelines of the American Medical Association. Criticism or sanction by the AAUP will unquestionably damage the College’s reputation and standing in the academic community. This will not go over well with alumni who hail from the traditional groves of academe, and will be registered with particular force in the progressive sectors of the academy of which the College has historically been a leader and a source of inspiration. Two of the major fronts in university reform of the past decade have been graduate student unionization and defenses of threatened ethnic studies programs. The young faculty and newly-minted PhDs shaped by these agendas are often among the best and brightest, and have exactly the values and commitments we want for faculty at Antioch; they are also the very pool most likely to heed AAUP criticism.

Everyone understands that the revived Antioch College cannot legally be held accountable for contracts technically signed by Board of Trustees of Antioch University (despite the equally clear fact that tenure meant a commitment to the College only; the College was the only University campus that maintained tenure). But relying on this legal sleight-of-hand is hardly going to win friends among the thousands of academics and alumni who believe in the importance of hard-won protections granted through unions and professional organizations. At this delicate moment in the College’s history, there is too much to lose: the College cannot risk a national reputation for unprofessional hiring practices and violations of widely-held industry standards to add to its existing reputation for instability and financial insolvency. The college needs to hold fast to established academic guidelines of fairness rather than the problematic process currently being put forth by the administration. And it needs to hold fast to the higher ideals that will draw and keep talented academic professionals with a social conscience and a spirit of collective enterprise. Only this way will the College be able to serve its students—past, present, and future—and its revered educational mission honorably.

Ad Hoc Former Tenured Faculty Committee


07
Oct 10

Welcome to FacultyJustice.org

October 7, 2010

The Ad Hoc Tenured Faculty Committee announces the opening of facultyjustice.org, an online archive of letters and documents spanning 2008-2010.

This group of former tenured faculty of Antioch College, having lost their professional positions through Antioch University’s arbitrary and unnecessary closure of the College, is requesting that the new Antioch College Board of Trustees Pro Tempore agree to conduct a hiring process that acknowledges their former tenured status at the College and is consistent with the procedures and standards recommended by their professional organization, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). The AAUP has stated in its investigative report, ratified by its national membership in June 2010, that it “trusts that the Antioch College Continuation Corporation will appreciate the fundamental importance of the tenure system and will offer reinstatement to those whose appointments terminated with the closing, restoring their tenure rights.”

The Ad Hoc Committee believes that the reinstatement of some faculty into positions consonant with their qualifications has much to offer the College as it works to gain academic accreditation and prepares for the arrival of students in fall 2011. With few exceptions, the tenured faculty was hired through comprehensive national searches. Their tenure status was earned through rigorous multi-year processes of peer review incorporating numerous internal and external evaluations in order to assess their long-term value to the institution. They bring a unique wealth of experience with Antioch’s distinctive mix of Co-op and the liberal arts, with its long traditions of faculty and community participation, and with its outward-looking, globally-oriented educational mission.

The Ad Hoc Committee has requested in a recent presentation to a delegation from the Board Pro Tempore that AAUP staff be brought in to advise directly on determining which of those former tenured faculty are “qualified” to teach in the new curriculum, who would serve as “opportunity” or “transitional hires” hires. Such action would reverse, rather than reiterate, the actions of Antioch University. The former tenured faculty members stand ready to share their collective experience and knowledge to advance the efforts of an independent Antioch College.

Ad Hoc Committee of Former Tenured Faculty at Antioch College:
Jill Becker (Associate Professor of Dance), Anne Bohlen (Professor of Film & Communications), Kabuika Butamina (Associate Professor Of Chemistry), Chih Tsong Chen (Associate Professor of Computer Science & Mathematics), Bob Devine (Professor of Communications), Dennie Eagleson (Associate Professor of Photography), Jean Gregorek (Associate Professor of Literature), Chris Hill (Associate Professor of Communications), Pat Mische (Professor of Peace Studies), Nevin Mercede (Associate Professor of Art), Hassan Rahmanian (Associate Professor of Management), Louise Smith (Associate Professor of Theater), Chuck Taylor (Professor of Physics), Peter Townsend (Professor of Geology & Environmental Science)

Please link to share material from facultyjustice.org.

Contact Chris Hill or Jill Becker for further information (see below).

Ad Hoc Committee of Former Tenured Faculty at Antioch College
c/o Chris Hill and Jill Becker
P. O. Box 453
Yellow Springs, OH 45387
866-372-9460
info@facultyjustice.org


18
Sep 10

Faculty Presentation to Board Delegation

September 18, 2010

Eleven members of the Ad Hoc Tenured Faculty Committee met with Interim President Matthew Derr, Board President Lee Morgan and Board Member Tendaji Ganges in the Herndon Gallery, Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH (see complete list of those present at end of document). The following statements were read by faculty spokespersons.

I. REINSTATEMENT POSITION & OTHER ISSUES (Chris Hill)

Good afternoon to you all on this beautiful early autumn afternoon, and thank you Matthew, Lee and Tendaji for agreeing to meet with us today.

The former tenured Antioch College faculty here today request that the Antioch College Board Pro Tem acknowledge the professional recommendation by the AAUP to reinstate “qualified” faculty members who were hired through national searches and earned tenure through a rigorous multi-year process of peer review that assessed our long term value to the institution. I will quote again the conclusion of the AAUP investigatory report, ratified by its national membership in June of this year— “we trust that the Antioch College Continuation Corporation will appreciate the fundamental importance of the tenure system and will offer reinstatement to those whose appointments terminated with the closing, restoring their tenure rights.”

As we have stated in our recent letters, we acknowledge that the projected size and curriculum requirements of the College may mean that not all tenured faculty will be reinstated. The AAUP’s respected practice considers “qualified” faculty for reinstatement as those for whom the new curriculum is substantially similar to earlier curricula, and those who have not secured a tenure track job elsewhere. Given the available public information about the new Antioch College curriculum, it would appear that approximately 14 faculty positions, not including Coop, will be needed in the first year. When considering those projected 14 positions, there may be between 7 to 9 former tenured faculty who would qualify for reinstatement.

We are advocating today that a process be developed for working together toward the reinstatement of those qualified tenured faculty before positions are posted with stated commitments to national searches. We understand that you may be considering posting positions in the near future, and so we do understand that moving toward reinstatement means beginning work on an agreed upon process as soon as possible.

What would such a process look like? First, Antioch College administration would finalize a list of what positions need to be filled for the 2011-12 academic year. Next, College administration would work together with the group of former tenured faculty or their representatives with assistance from the AAUP staff to review the list of positions and curricular needs, review the professional and teaching experience of the former faculty, and then determine who among the former tenured faculty are “qualified” for reinstatement for positions within the new curriculum. Remaining searches for 2011-12 would go forward following the decisions about reinstatement.

Such a process is very much in line with the one recommended by the AAUP that includes faculty input on decisions about searching and filling positions following a determination of financial exigency. We recommend reviewing the AAUP Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure for the spirit of this collaborative process that must include faculty input.

I want to mention two more issues that are important to put on the table now. For all former faculty, whether reinstated or unable to qualify for reinstatement given the requirements of the new College, library privileges should be established along the line of what has historically been made available to emeriti faculty, that is, ability to use the library and Interlibrary Loan system not only from the terminals in the library when the library is open, but to be professionally recognized in such a way as to have remote access to this system at any time and from any place. Former tenured faculty remain active professionals and the 14 signatories to our letters have collectively contributed over 150 professional years of service to the College that included major contributions toward building the collection of the Olive Kettering Library.

There is also deep concern among us about unsubstantiated criticism directed toward the former faculty and the quality of an Antioch College education in the years, and even decades, before the closure. Such criticism has been allowed to circulate unchecked and largely unchallenged. Again, we remind you that the AAUP report, the only independent investigation of the closure of the College by a team that included 3 economists, documented a long history of fiscal and governance violations that undermined the institutional health and security of Antioch College and the professional lives of its tenured faculty. Unsubstantiated criticism of the College’s professional workforce is unwarranted and undermines us each professionally, whether our individual futures lie with the College or not. Such conclusions ignore the complex fiscal and governance issues that undermined the College as well as faculty’s best efforts in an under-resourced institution. We would like to work with the College administration in coming weeks to address this situation. The reinstatement of qualified former tenured faculty would certainly help affirm the tenured faculty’s value to Antioch College, past and present.

II. FACULTY ASSETS (Anne Bohlen)

The reinstatement of qualified faculty represents our firm support for the professional standards regarding tenured faculty established by the AAUP long ago, and we recognize that it is our duty to bring these issues to the Board’s attention since we have heard the Board express support for tenure. In addition such recognition and support of the professional standards of the profession will speak well to the new faculty hires about the Board’s commitment to carry those standards into the future.

We think the newly constituted College needs senior faculty to prosper institutionally and educationally. Having a group of senior faculty that are familiar with Co-op and understand the pedagogical strengths of Antioch’s Co-op program and situated learning experience would be a tremendous boon to the institution, and to the newer faculty that are hired.

Our experience has indicated that faculty either fresh out of traditional graduate programs or experienced faculty from non-co-op institutions have a steep learning curve when it comes to appreciating the pedagogical strengths of Co-op and working in a program where their students are regularly off campus for a term. The rigors of a year round program delivered with a small faculty will also be mediated by our experience. Most of us have taught in quarters, semesters and block systems, and that experience will strengthen the current program.

We believe that the new Antioch needs a faculty with experience teaching in an intensive block structure and in interdisciplinary courses such as the Global Seminars; we have that experience, know what could work, and have demonstrated over decades that we can develop new ideas and innovate with creativity and collegiality.

We think the College would profit from our collective experience as a faculty that understands and has contributed to the development of community-based learning, and governance, again with an emphasis on the tried and true pedagogical strengths of situated learning. Since all of the new students will be working on campus, the entire community will be involved in promoting Antioch’s vision of a community of committed and involved learners.

Our experience working on institutional matters will also be a tremendous boon to the College. This group of 14 former tenured faculty represent 3 former chairs of the Faculty Personnel Review Committee, many faculty who have chaired search committees, and many who have mentored younger faculty members. The group includes a former Dean of Faculty, a former Asst Dean of Faculty, former Curriculum Development leaders, a former College President, and faculty who have created curricula and developed Co-op jobs domestically and internationally.

We would like to point to the high scores that the college earned on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) over the last decade. We see these scores as directly connected to our success as committed teachers, developers of curriculum, and strong student advisers.

We believe that as a group we have proven our commitment and dedication to the program of Antioch College over many years of institutional change with aplomb and grace. Three of our members are Antioch College alumni. In addition we all have strong, close relationships with the College alumni of the last 25-30 years.

Finally, this group made significant contributions to the Revival of the College with the support and encouragement of Antioch’s Alumni Board and the College Revival fund through both the faculty lawsuit and the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute, where we fulfilled our obligations and commitments to create an interdisciplinary, community-adapted, situated learning project that was developed successfully in a very short time because of our accumulated experience—through vision, leadership, and the ability to work with each other knowledgeably; and also through the generous support and partnership of the Alumni Board/College Revival Fund and the support of the Yellow Springs community. As people who have lived in this region for 15-30 years, we have many professional connections that could be helpful as the College restarts.

III. SUMMARY (Chris Hill)

As we have articulated in our letters and in today’s presentations, reinstatement is both professionally supported by decades of AAUP-guided precedent, and morally just given the circumstances of the closing of the College and the faculty’s critical professional and legal contributions to the revival. Reinstatement will serve the near and long term interests and needs of both Antioch College, the former tenured faculty, and alumni of all generations.

As Anne’s presentation has documented in detail, reinstatement will deliver experienced and nationally searched faculty members who have demonstrated their deep commitment to Antioch College and to its revival, as well as their flexibility over the last 25 years working in a resource-strapped environment. Most of the former tenured faculty eligible for reinstatement still live in Yellow Springs.

We share the Board’s articulated concern for diversity, and many of us have worked creatively to achieve a more diverse faculty, staff and student body despite setbacks that were often dictated by fiscal cutbacks. We would like to point out that 3 of the 14 signatories to our recent letters are faculty of color with strong teaching records. Also 3 of the 14 grew up outside of the U.S. and so bring expanded international perspectives to their teaching and would represent resources to an educational community that has foregrounded global educational engagements.

Reinstatement is a sound use of existing resources, both financial and human. The College will save tens of thousands of dollars and the time and resources required to conduct a number of the projected national searches. Reinstatement will bring on board a critical mass of committed professional educators, representing expertise across the curriculum, in a short period of time. Through the employment of former tenured faculty who themselves have been nationally searched and peer reviewed, the College will secure an experienced core faculty that will speak to the concerns of accrediting agencies as well as prospective parents. These are professional educators who can assist with other faculty searches, and contribute to the ongoing work of curriculum development and its integration with Co-op and community. Their knowledge of the history of the College and the resources of the region and the village will bring confidence and insight to the advising and welcoming of prospective students and their families in coming months.

In closing I’d like to quote from the letter that we will be passing out:

“The revival of the College stands as a bold and heartening refutation of the University’s unlawful closure of Antioch; we sincerely hope that the College’s new leadership will continue to chart a more positive course, and to honor the values of justice, fairness, and community that Antiochians of all generations cherish. We stand ready to share with you our collective experience and knowledge in order to forward the efforts of an independent Antioch College.”

Note: At the end of this meeting there was a decision between the Ad Hoc Committee and the Board delegation to meet again; there was also an agreement to issue a joint statement soon (to be posted when completed)

Attendees

Board Pro Tem Delegation:
Matthew Derr (Interim President)
Lee Morgan (Board Chair)
Tendaji Ganges (Board Member)

Ad Hoc Faculty Committee:
Jill Becker (Associate Professor of Dance)
Anne Bohlen (Professor of Film & Communications)
Chih Tsong Chen (Associate Professor of Computer Science & Math)
Bob Devine (Professor of Communications)
Dennie Eagleson (Associate Professor of Photography)
Jean Gregorek (Associate Professor of Literature)
Chris Hill (Associate Professor of Communications)
Nevin Mercede (Associate Professor of Art)
Hassan Rahmanian (Associate Professor of Management)
Louise Smith (Associate Professor of Theater)
Peter Townsend (Professor of Geology & Environmental Science)

Also present:
Scott Warren (Associate Professor of Philosophy & Political Science)


18
Sep 10

Ad Hoc Committee Letter to Antioch College

September 18, 2010

This letter was delivered to the Board delegation from the Ad Hoc Committee during the discussion at the Herndon Gallery

Dear President Derr and the Board of Trustees of Antioch College Pro Tempore:

The undersigned tenured faculty of Antioch College, having lost their professional positions through the arbitrary closure of the College on the part of Antioch University, are requesting that the new Antioch College Board of Trustees Pro Tempore agree to enter into a hiring process which acknowledges our former tenured status at the College and which is consistent with the procedures and standards recommended by our professional organization, the American Association of University Professors. As you know, the AAUP has stated publicly that it “trusts that the Antioch College Continuation Corporation will appreciate the fundamental importance of the tenure system and will offer reinstatement to those whose appointments terminated with the closing, restoring their tenure rights.”

We believe that the reinstatement of some faculty into positions consonant with their qualifications has much to offer the College as it works to gain academic accreditation and prepares for the arrival of students in fall 2011. We are experienced professionals whose commitment to the College has been tested by time. With few exceptions, the tenured faculty was hired through comprehensive national searches. Our tenure status was earned through rigorous multi-year processes of peer review incorporating numerous internal and external evaluations in order to assess our long-term value to the institution. We bring with us a unique wealth of experience with, and deep knowledge of, Antioch’s distinctive mix of Co-op and the liberal arts, with its long traditions of faculty and community participation, with its outward-looking, globally-oriented educational mission.

We have come to realize that fully grasping the benefits of Antioch’s vision of Co-op poses a steep learning curve for many academics from traditional graduate programs, whereas we are intimately familiar with its pedagogical objectives–all of us have helped to develop Co-op jobs, incorporated Co-op learning into the classroom experience, and/or articulated its value to numerous constituencies. We also bring with us our deep roots in the Yellow Springs community and in the region, as well as our irreplaceable connections with decades of former students.

Persuasive practical reasons exist for the College Board Pro Tem to entertain the reinstatement of some tenured faculty. As fall of 2011 is fast approaching, the hiring of a ‘core’ start-up faculty to aid in the recruitment of students and to implement the planned academic program becomes an immediate necessity. Reinstatements of tenured faculty would reduce the number of time-consuming national searches, with their attendant costs. The vital process of obtaining accreditation could be expedited and the labors of the current Morgan Fellows shared; having a core faculty with significant experience preparing for prior accreditation reviews can only enhance the nascent institution’s prospects for speedy accreditation. This core group would help to conduct searches for other faculty positions and mentor subsequent hires into the nuances of the Antioch curriculum and vision of education. The tenured faculty have consistently demonstrated the ability to ‘hit the ground running’ effectively and creatively. And the presence of recognizable Antioch faces would reassure alumni and donors that the College was maintaining points of continuity with the past while participating in the creation of something exciting and new.

We are well aware that the hiring and creation of an academically-excellent and smoothly-functioning college faculty is a highly complex undertaking, and one that involves a certain amount of risk and uncertainty for any institution. A reconstituted Antioch faculty in which at least a portion of its members are known entities who come with established track records of success at this institution promotes a stability and predictability much needed at this time, and works to minimizes the risks of the enterprise at large.

Further, the resurgent Antioch College requires the recognition and support of the wider academic community. The acknowledgment of tenure would provide an immediate demonstration of the College’s commitment to the professional standards adhered to by top-ranked liberal arts institutions. And it would reverse, rather than reiterate, the unjust and unprofessional actions of Antioch University.

The revival of the College stands as a bold and heartening refutation of the University’s unlawful closure of Antioch; we sincerely hope that the College’s new leadership will continue to chart a more positive course, and to honor the values of justice, fairness, and community that Antiochians of all generations cherish. We stand ready to share with you our collective experience and knowledge in order to forward the efforts of an independent Antioch College.

Note: At the end of this meeting there was a decision between the Ad Hoc Committee and the Board delegation to meet again; there was also an agreement to issue a joint statement soon (to be posted when completed).

Respectfully,

Jill Becker (Associate Professor of Dance)
Anne Bohlen (Professor of Film & Communications)
Kabuika Butamina (Associate Professor Of Chemistry)
Chih Tsong Chen (Associate Professor of Computer Science & Math)
Bob Devine (Professor of Communications)
Dennie Eagleson (Associate Professor of Photography)
Jean Gregorek (Associate Professor of Literature)
Chris Hill (Associate Professor of Communications)
Pat Mische (Professor of Peace Studies)
Nevin Mercede (Associate Professor of Art)
Hassan Rahmanian (Associate Professor of Management)
Louise Smith (Associate Professor of Theater)
Chuck Taylor (Professor of Physics)
Peter Townsend (Professor of Geology & Environmental Science)

cc: Gregory Scholtz, Director, Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure & Governance, AAUP; Anita Levy, Associate Secretary, AAUP


20
Aug 10

Ad Hoc Committee Statement with Timeline

August 20, 2010

This statement was read during the streamed discussion at the Antioch College Friday Forum on Community.

To the Antioch College Community: An Update on the Tenured Faculty of Antioch College

Last month, thirteen members of the tenured faculty of Antioch College sent a letter to the Board of Trustees Pro Tempore of Antioch College seeking to discuss procedures for the reinstatement of qualified tenured faculty whose professional credentials fit the needs of the new curriculum.

A very brief timeline of relevant history:

June 2007: The Board of Trustees of Antioch University announces its intent to suspend operations at Antioch College.

August 2007: The tenured faculty of Antioch College file an injunctive lawsuit in order to prevent the destruction or sale of the College’s assets (the campus), and to challenge the legality of the College’s closure. The College faculty provide initial financial support for this lawsuit; within the next year the College Revival Fund assumes financial support for this lawsuit.

March 2008: The College Revival Fund, the fundraising arm of the Antioch College Alumni Association, resolves to fund Antioch-in-Exile, a sustained collaboration between the College alumni and the College faculty and community. Foundational planning includes maintaining ExCil (AdCil) and ComCil as governance bodies, and eventually streaming those meetings and Community Meetings to maximize information exchange among stakeholder groups and supporters.

September 2008-June 2009: Antioch-in-Exile, now renamed the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute, collaborates with entities in the Village of Yellow Springs, and continues the educational mission of the College, teaching courses and running free arts and cultural programs. These programs are also designed to bring visiting alums to engage directly with conditions and issues around revival efforts in Yellow Springs.

October 2008: The Nonstop Executive Collective begins a series of requests for dialogue with the newly constituted Board Pro Tempore about the role of the Nonstop Institute and the tenured faculty during an extended transitional period or in a revived College. Promised dialogues do not materialize.

March 2009: The Nonstop community submits a Proposal to the Antioch College Alumni Board outlining ideas for Nonstop’s contributions to the anticipated transitional period. The Alumni Board authors a resolution that includes the following statement:

“…In the hope of strengthening the united movement that has informed the Alumni Board’s creation of three separate entities: one for finance, CRF; one for academics, Nonstop; one for governance, the Board Pro Tem, the Alumni Board establishes a Taskforce to foster collaboration and to build consensus with the representatives of the key stakeholder groups who have played such an important role in our movement to develop an independent Antioch College: Nonstop, the Board Pro Tem, and the Alumni Board. The Taskforce is charged to develop the proposal presented by Nonstop to this Board yesterday [March 6, 2009] for presentation to the Board Pro Tem.”

June-July 2009: The Proposal Taskforce sends a detailed 33-page proposal describing options for the reintegration of the Nonstop community into the revived Antioch College (“Report from the Alumni Board and Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute Task Force to the Board of Trustees Pro Tempore”). To date, no response from the BPT has been forthcoming nor was the Report used as a resource in further planning as publicly stated.

June 2009: The Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute is defunded by the College Revival Fund.

September 2009: The Antioch College Continuation Corporation completes the agreement which formally separates Antioch College from Antioch University.

November 2009: The American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the national organization that defines professional academic values and standards and monitors compliance with these standards, publishes an investigative report analyzing the closing of Antioch College by the Antioch University Board of Trustees. The report concludes that the University’s declaration of financial exigency in order to terminate employees and eliminate tenured positions “remains unsubstantiated.” The AAUP investigators further declare:
“the committee trusts that the Antioch College Continuation Corporation will appreciate the fundamental importance of the tenure system and will offer reinstatement to those whose appointments terminated with the closing, restoring their tenure rights.”

June 2010: The national membership of the AAUP ratifies the report and votes to sanction Antioch University for unprofessional practices and violations of academic freedom.

July 2010: The former tenured faculty of the College send the aforementioned letter to the Board Pro Tempore.

August 2010: The tenured faculty have so far been denied any opportunity to represent their own positions about employment or reinstatement as faculty to the Board Pro Tempore or to the College administration. It is our sincere hope that, given our innumerable and critical contributions to the revival of Antioch College, such a conversation will soon take place.

Note: Interim President Matthew Derr responded on 8/20/10 to faculty representatives with information that a delegation of the Board would meet with the Ad Hoc Committee in September; this information was also announced by Derr at the Friday Forum streamed discussion.

–Ad-Hoc Committee of the Tenured Faculty of Antioch College


12
Jul 10

Letter in Response to AAUP Report

July 12, 2010

Ad Hoc Committee Letter sent to Antioch College Interim President and Board of Trustees Pro Tempore

To Interim President Matthew Derr and the Antioch College Board of Trustees Pro Tempore:

We tenured faculty of Antioch College are writing to express our support for the College’s revival and its preparations for an incoming first class of students. As you know, tenured faculty members were denied their rightful employment when the Antioch University Board of Trustees voted to close the College in June 2007, in violation of Faculty Personnel Policies that required faculty involvement in the pursuit of less drastic measures in response to a declaration of financial exigency.

This tragic decision to close the College was made by a University Board and administration that abrogated professional academic standards of governance and the commitments inherent in tenure contracts. A coalition of dedicated faculty, alumni, students, staff, and townspeople challenged this decision by sustaining organized resistance for three years. The tenured College faculty was instrumental in the long struggle to revive the College. Our critical contributions included extensive on-the-ground organization and mobilization, the filing of an injunctive lawsuit to prevent the sale of College land and assets, and the operation of the strategic Antioch-in-Exile, or Nonstop project (March 2008-June 2009). The latter initiatives received major financial support from the College Revival Fund, the fiscal arm of the Alumni Board and the same body that created the new Board of Trustees Pro Tempore in 2008.

Both faculty initiatives applied strategic pressure on Antioch University during this extended period of uncertainty. The lawsuit achieved its immediate goal of preventing the possible disposal of College property and buying the alumni time to negotiate for the campus. The Nonstop project inspired local support and publicity, as well as wide interest and acclaim in the world of higher education. The determined and sustained collaborations of multiple stakeholders pushing on multiple fronts came to fruition with the hard-won negotiation of independence from the University in September of 2009.

During the winter of 2008 and through the summer of 2009 the local tenured faculty sought to organize a dialogue with the Board Pro Tem about their role in the revived College. The most recent formal proposal, a joint effort of members of the Alumni Board and Nonstop Institute, submitted in July 2009, received no written response.

You are now aware that the American Association of University Professors has authored a report documenting a long history of fiscal and governance violations that undermined the institutional health and security of Antioch College and the professional lives of its tenured faculty. To date this has been the only in-depth investigation of the closing of the College. This report was first published in November 2009 and subsequently ratified by the AAUP membership this past June 2010. In discussing the future of the College faculty, the AAUP Investigating Committee stated: “the committee trusts that the Antioch College Continuation Corporation will appreciate the fundamental importance of the tenure system and will offer reinstatement to those whose appointments terminated with the closing, restoring their tenure rights.”

We, too, hope that the Antioch College leaders appreciate the significance of adhering to the tenure system and the fair labor practices and academic freedom it preserves. In moving forward to retake its place as a distinguished liberal arts college Antioch needs the recognition and support of the wider academic community.

Further, faculty members who held tenure when the University closed the College request an audience with the Antioch College Board of Trustees Pro Tempore by September 15, 2010 to discuss procedures for the reinstatement of qualified faculty. We acknowledge that the projected size and curriculum requirements of the College may mean that not all tenured faculty will be reinstated. However, we urge you to honor the standards of our professional organization, the American Association of University Professors, and to work with them and with us to reinstate tenured faculty as appropriate.

If Antioch College seeks to perpetuate its founding values of justice, fairness, and respect, it is then bound both professionally and morally to engage the tenured faculty and/or its chosen representatives in a timely manner as it plans to receive students for fall 2011.

Yours,

Jill Becker (Associate Professor of Dance)
Anne Bohlen (Professor of Film & Communications)
Kabuika Butamina (Associate Professor Of Chemistry)
Chih Tsong Chen (Associate Professor of Computer Science & Math)
Bob Devine (Professor of Communications)
Dennie Eagleson (Associate Professor of Photography)
Jean Gregorek (Associate Professor of Literature)
Chris Hill (Associate Professor of Communications)
Pat Mische (Professor of Peace Studies)
Nevin Mercede (Associate Professor of Art)
Hassan Rahmanian (Associate Professor of Management)
Louise Smith (Associate Professor of Theater)
Peter Townsend (Professor of Geology & Environmental Science)

cc: Gregory Scholtz, Director, Dept. Academic Freedom, Tenure & Governance, AAUP; Anita Levy, Associate Secretary, AAUP

Note: Interim President Matthew Derr responded on 8/20/10 to faculty representatives with information that a delegation of the Board would meet with the Ad Hoc Committee in September; this information was also announced by Derr at the Friday Forum streamed discussion.