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30 June 2007 @ 01:26 pm
Coda  
It was difficult to describe the feeling of Antioch being closed, as I mentioned at the start. Like losing a part of myself? Family? A home? Some of those things, but nothing fit it perfectly. At the 60/70's alumni gathering, I spoke with an alum who compared it to losing a nation - we were becoming ex-pats. I liked this idea, and brought it up a little later, when I was at the 80's+ alum gathering. An alum from the 80's spoke up and said, roughly:

"I was born in one of the very few countries in the world to disappear in the last 20 years (Somalia). It was a beautiful place to be and grow up, and now it's not. Losing Antioch is the same feeling."

Consider, historically, the strength of feeling from people chasing their tribes or nations. Consider the Poles, nationless and rebellious for 130 years. Or the Palestinians and Israelis, each considering the same land home, for the last 60 years.

This is how we care.
 
 
30 June 2007 @ 11:24 am
The Antioch party is a rare and mysterious thing. The combinations of good and bad pop music, of drink and dance, of smoky pool rooms and shouted conversations, of raw sensuality and social anxiety add up to an experience which is almost impossible to duplicate in a house party, bar, club, or even a larger college, because Antioch has so few students that they all come to the parties if they want to. The problem is, they almost always promise more in theory than they can deliver - that social anxiety I mentioned, or some relationship drama getting in your way, or you get dragooned into a debate about the various waves of feminism, or just not enough people show up.

So when one of the CMs kept making noise about having a party in the Dance Space on Saturday evening, "because dammit, after all this, we need a party" it seemed like it would have a high potential for failure. In the aftermath of the fundraising dinner, we dragged the booze and people over to the stoop, for some DJing and talking and "Oh my god did that just happen?" conversations, while the Dance Space got set up. It was a generally good time, and I got to finally talk to those interesting-looking and sounding older Antiochians who had been bouncing around all weekend. It slowly transitioned up to the Dance Space, as I got distracted by a phone call from an interested Obie friend, and there was some drunken mayhem involving a Sharpie.

So when I headed into the Dance Space, it was, surprisingly, full, active, and being DJed by the Lesbop Media Empire, who had pretty much DJed every single party when I was a student. Nostalgia? Sure. Dance? Why the hell not? And then, as I started, those old socially awkward inhibitions were gone. I was with my people. In my space. We had done the best possible job in extraordinary circumstances. It was only a first step, yes, but oh what a first step it was. Why not drink and dance the night away? Current students, recent students, older alums, even some faculty and alumni board members. There was such an intense, obvious collective joy. I found myself exclaiming "I've never felt this uninhibited about dancing!" When they play Decepticon followed by Hey Ya, it's a little too easy, really. During a brief break, I got in a discussion with a slightly older alum from the late 90's, who said "Wow. All those people, trying to relive their youthful fantasies in there." "Yeah," I replied, "but it's ACTUALLY WORKING."

The DJs tried to pack things up at roughly 4AM. We wouldn't let them. I wasn't gonna go to sleep - I was supposed to leave at 7AM, and who's gonna go sleep in a tent for 3 hours after a night like that? Then again, a musical misstep or two, and suddenly the dance floor is pretty much empty. They have to pick a song to immediately start up the party, or no more party. What else could they choose? I shouldn't even have to say it. "Life is a mysterrryyyyy......."

It was basically done at 5:30AM or so. A few straggling all-nighters were left, talking, and in one amusing case, having drunken makeouts (surprisingly few that I saw, all things considered). I got to about 7:30 when I found out my ride had left without me. Oops. I had a backup, and they knew it, so it wasn't that big of a deal, but what to do until then? A stray Alumni Board member found me and almost dragooned me into a Negotiating Committee meeting - they wanted a CM group representative. Happily, my phone rang and I was able to get out of that before I was forced to admit that I had been up all night dancing and drinking, so it probably wasn't ideal to bring me in. Ahhh, leadership!

On the way home, the other person and the car and I discussed, while navigating the Chicago traffic, just how on earth we were going to explain to people who weren't there, what this weekend what like? What it meant?

This is the best I can do.
 
 
 
The original plan for the follow-up to the Community Meeting was to take our action points to a meeting with the Board of Trustees and say that these are negotiating points! Listen to us! Or something along those lines. It was never fleshed out, and we gave them less than 24 hours warning that we wanted to do this, so it was something of a relief when the plan turned into us "releasing it to the community." We did, however, pull some strings through the Alumni Board and get the College President to show up for our release. As a potential ally, of all things.

I haven't really mentioned the Pres. yet, I think. Steve Lawry. Not a name that was beloved by recent Antioch grads, as he came in about 18 months ago heavy-handed, thin-skinned, and antagonistic towards the anarcho-libertarian aspects of Antioch culture, i.e., very, very free speech and getting trashed. He earned my ire when he moved to stop my beloved Record from appearing on the web, and took excessively strong steps against some perhaps dubious, but not dangerous quotes from the Question of the Week feature. In short, he was the cranky old white guy in suits yelling at the kids to behave...then threatening to call the cops. Not a good reputation to have with Antiochians. At any rate, at the first meeting on Friday, he came out firing. When one of the Board of Trustees members said that he was their point person for the College, he got asked if he'd asked anyone about the school closing. He said, essentially "Honestly, I had no idea this was on the table." He also dropped a fairly passionate speech about how, if the College was going to survive after its reopening, it would require its own, non-University Board of Trustees, as the system was just too broken right now. I whispered, then, to a friend next to me: "Who is this guy and when did he get on our side?" The Alumni Board had been going out of their way to make him feel like he could, and should be the President if the school stayed open. Steve was, if nothing else, doing his best to stay in everyone's good graces.

Back to the story...I went to the library, where our next meeting was supposed to be. Only it wasn't. A lot of us were sitting at computers, hastily typing in the notes from the breakout groups. A few conversations. Some were designing pledge cards. There were some brief meetings, calls for pizza, a couple beers...wait, no, this was the library. No beers. And that was about it.

It was somewhat baffling. Someone was already typing the notes from my meeting. I was expecting coordination. Nope, everything being done. A few people said that we might want to put together a press release. Seemed a good idea. I went along with that small group to talk over what we wanted to say. The problem, of course, was that we didn't know exactly what we wanted to say, because we didn't know exactly what we were. And to define what we were, well, that may have been something we didn't want to do. To get opinionated here: the CM group was comprised, at its core, of the younger generation of Antioch leaders. Problem was, they didn't want to be seen as leaders. No, they were facilitators. They wanted to aid the flow of conversations, not push them. Not have their own, away from anyone else, where decisions couldn't be seen. And these are all fine and noble goals, and important...but they're also seen as leaders. Our elected representatives. The people we were supposed to trust, and generally did. Hell, the first people of authority we met at Antioch at our orientation. That kind of thing. A social power. Likewise, the CM group had a large amount of social power from being the lower, grassroots organization. As I said earlier, the younger people weren't represented. So here we were. May as well speak, right?

A statement was eventually released Monday, but the CM group hasn't coalesced beyond anything temporary. I hope it will.

Time, of course, eventually ran out on these discussions on the nature of organizing and power. We'd promised information by 7:30, and it was about 7:30. The stuff was still being printed, and I wasn't directly involved, so I volunteered to head to the Stoop and Fishbowl and just let people know that it was coming soon. Along the way, I ran into someone who said that the Alumni were still eating in their tent behind Main Building, so we may as well distribute it there. I decided to stay as a human signpost - I'm tall enough - and guide people to the right place. I was there about 25 minutes, chatting with passers-by, including a fascinating townie who was curious as to what was happening.

I should, perhaps, have been there, to see what happened.

As I understand it, the CM group came and articulated the action points of the meeting. We had a Plan. Or rather, a combination of several different plans, but a Plan nonetheless. That's the Action Items document: http://antiochians.org/announcements/action-items-from-community-meeting. The next stage is when things got interesting. One of the printouts done in the library, it turns out, had been a pile of pledge cards. And a few days of the Alumni Board leaders saying that they were setting up a fund for certain things, and the pledge cards showing up, and an action plan...well, it was time for the money to be collected.

Take notes, gentle readers, on how to collect money at a dinner. First of all, have the money collecting people standing right behind the food table. If you want food, you have to look them in the eye. Second, free alcohol. Beer and wine, plenty of! Third, make it rain. Not so hard that people scatter. Just enough that leaving the tent is....uncomfortable. Now toss in a bunch of enthusiastic, intelligent young people who can make you proud to be an Antiochian, give them some pledge cards, have some speeches, and...bon, voila. You have an effective fundraising environment.

I walk in, "hey, what are we doing? Oh, distributing pledge cards? I can do that!" So I wander through the tables and give people some cards. Seems like that's mostly done, so I head towards the front. Hellllo, an open keg. Grab a glass of beer. Start wandering through the tables, calling "Pledge cards! Pledge cards!"  I see the President, with a slight comfortable smirk. I smirk back, hand him a card, and nod. Some people didn't get one. Some wanted extra, for their friends.Some just wanted to know where to write the checks. The Alumni Board's plan for the weekend, by the way, was to reach $40,000 in pledges. Meanwhile, the cards are coming to the front with pledges and checks, and are being read off, one by one.

So I'm wandering around with pledge cards in one hand, raised far above my head, waving them like raffle tickets. Beer in the other hand. Behind me, the echoes of the amounts were ringing. "One thousand dollars. Five hundred dollars. One thousand dollars cash. Five thousand dollars. A handful of bills. One hundred fifty dollars."

It just kept happening. To the mental image of my beer/pledge cards and wandering, add a slow, somewhat dumbstruck smile, that widened whenever I saw the equivalent look on another wandering pledge card youngster. We'd rocketed past $40K. The first count was at roughly $81K. That's not a good story, of course, the MCs declared. We needed $100K. A few minutes later...we had $100K. Kept coming in bits and pieces. There were urges for $200K. Not gonna happen, when pocketbooks were exhausted at $80K. The mic goes quiet for a few seconds. "Ladies and Gentlemen, the class of '67 has just pledged sixty-seven thousand dollars!"

When the dust settled, we had a little over $180,000. Combined with the auction held earlier that evening, and roughly $200,000 was pledged or raised in a few hours. When the goal for the entire weekend was $40,000, the end result, after all the alums headed home, was ten times that much. $400,000.

I was no longer on the verge of breaking down.
 
 
26 June 2007 @ 05:03 pm
There was a bit of time for reflection at the start of Saturday. The first meeting this day was at 10, not 9. I took my time to write the second blog post in the library, instead of pondering what would happen that day. I'm not sure what I could have pondered. Everything was running on a momentum that led one event to another, and by the end, well, by the end I was bundled into a car I hadn't been planning on being in, trying to catch my first bits of sleep in over a day, wondering, with the driver, how on earth we were going to describe the events of the weekend to those that hadn't been there.

The answer to that, of course, is "as best as we can." So here I go.

Where Friday started with an outpouring of rage and grief, then settled into a process, Saturday was like a slow, meandering walk up a hill at the start. First up, the official Alumni meeting and brunch. Some of the same ol' same ol'. "What are we doing? We should do this!" mixed with election results and awards. The primary point of interest, to me, was that the Alumni Board seemed to be entirely willing to work with the CM group in terms of our focus points for organizing. That is, instead of duplicating effort, or ignoring the (mostly) kids, they respected and trusted our efforts. A lot was being invested in this community meeting. That's a phrase I've been involved with before, and rarely has it turned out well. In fact, I was once briefly recruited for a CM collective, but was so embittered by various Community Meetings that I decided that if I ran, it would be on a non-Community Meeting platform. However, there was no other time when we could get so much of the Reunion together, and especially when we could set the agenda to be healthy and proactive. Plus, by this point, we had decided fairly definitively on having smaller breakout groups, which generally made such meetings work. I wasn't worried. But I was still, occasionally on the verge of breaking down. One person said to me that they had gone to the Glen for a good cry. Didn't seem a half-bad idea, but no time. Had to go to meetings. Had to organize. Had to facilitate a breakout...did I really volunteer for that?

Keep the momentum going. Off to the faculty press conference. This, happily, is documented and <a href="http://blip.tv/file/280445/">already online.</a> I highly recommend watching this, because the faculty, more than any other group, is really the anchor that Antioch College is built upon. They connect the students and administration, they're smart and personally invested in the situation, and used to dealing with some sort of public.

You can catch me with a question roughly half an hour into it (not that the other questions aren't important, but if I can't self-aggrandize on a blog, where can I?) At a certain point I took off to prepare for the big meeting. Changed my shirt. I brought one collared t-shirt to wear in case I wanted to be slightly more "respectable." I didn't know I'd be wearing it essentially three days straight. Shave? Why not - and this time with a mirror. Bathing...out of the question. Staying in a tent for three days, not much you can do. Good thing it's Antioch.
I arrive to find the Community Meeting being planned chaotically but effectively. The breakout groups have been organized - and hey, they're under the outline I drew up. Er. Well. I pick my pet issue and stake my turf (creation of a narrative history). There could be some problems at the start - the Community Managers want volunteers from various groups to describe what they've been doing to come up, take the mic, and spit their rhymes. That can take a while. Alumni Board, Faculty, Union staff, current students, non-union staff, the Board of Trustees, townies. Things looked briefly like there would be a bit too much storytelling, or too many questions, but amazingly, did not get bogged down. The breakups happened. Some initial problems - too many groups in Kelly Hall so concentration was hard. But hey - they moved. And things got down to business.

I've never officially facilitated a meeting before. But, informally, I've taken such roles before, so I wasn't terribly concerned. 10-15 people showed up, multigenerationally, from a current student to faculty to early 60's alums. The goal, as I explained, was twofold. First to explain parts of recent history that older alums weren't around for, such as the Renewal Plan, and second to get a group to help write a coherent, total history. With only a little more than an hour, getting those two halves of the same whole on the same page was going to be difficult, especially because some people were very hungry to have the recent history questions answered.

But things actually went smoothly. There were a few hiccups and frustrations, of course, but after answering initial questions, a basic plan went into place. Write and research the history, with documentation. Put it on the web, with a wiki and a FAQ and all that good stuff. Create a writer's group for everyone interested in using their pen for saving Antioch. Boom boom boom. That's what I said, with a bit of a joke, when called upon to announce my group's conclusions to the meeting.

There were probably 300 people, at least, in the room. It was the largest group I'd ever spoken publicly in front of. It was also, despite the brevity and my relative unimportance as one facilitator of 12, the most important speech I'd ever given. I think I did just fine, of course, but I have an old public speaking problem where eventually my body demonstrates the problems of nervousness though my mind doesn't: I start shaking.

If there was a time for the impending breakdown I'd been expecting the past few times, this was it. But it didn't happen. The groups all had their plans. Their facilitators had simple, effective action points. The whole thing was collected for distribution to the community in a few hours. Bizarrely, my outline was still intact, which I felt a few moments of pride over, but it mostly gave way to shock. The shock came from the Antioch community surprising me in such an extraordinary fashion: I expected bitterness. I expected infighting. I expected different groups staking out claims in turf wars. I expected some people to be on the BOT's side, and some people to be simply depressed. I did not expect efficient, effective organizing. I did not expect a detailed plan. I did not expect to be thinking "Oh my, we have a chance. Everything is fitting together." And I certainly did not expect to feel such activation from a Community Meeting.

After the facilitators had given their presentations, an older alum came up to give a speech. It was short and sweet. He announced his history at the college a bit. He pledged a good chunk of money. And he declared that, if we wanted a slogan, he had one: "Be ashamed to let it die." That could have caused the breakdown. Instead, it triggered an amazing wave of energy that would manifest itself shortly in most stunning fashion.

And yes, that's a cliffhanger.
 
 
 
25 June 2007 @ 06:04 pm
I am awakened at 7:20AM. Antioch security needs my tent to be moved. Main lawn, apparently, is not an option for tent placement. With the news media all over campus, this is understandable and something I'm not entirely willing to fight.  The reason for this set-up is a 9AM meeting, where the Board of Trustees and President of the College are going to report the state of the College to the Alumni. In short, this would be the first public statement by those who decided to shut down Antioch. Ten to twelve members of the BOT showed up, of the 22 who made the decision. Since their votes and arguments were private, we had no idea if these were all members staunchly opposed to the closing or those who stuck the knife in directly.

First, however, came a statement from the faculty, which has been widely disseminated - http://antiochians.org/faculty/faculty-statement/#respond. This was the first major gathering of Antiochians, and this was the first major statement of opposition to the closing which could win almost unanimous approval. I suspect there were few dry eyes in the meeting hall. From then on, I felt on the edge of breaking down at almost completely random speechifying. It was raw. There are dozens of major media reports on the meeting, so I feel very little need to recap much than my reaction to it. In typical Antioch "community meeting" fashion, the construction of the meeting - large audience focusing questions and statements on a few people - there was never going to be enough time to answer the questions, if the questions were even answerable. "How could you?!?" is simply not an answerable question, and the majority of questions came in that fashion.

However, between this meeting, and the brief snippets of the meeting I wandered into the nights before, I was putting together a framework of how the school could be killed in this fashion. The financial structure of the College in relation to the University was simply untenable. Instead of being disappointing, this was settling in my head in a way that would give me optimism. The problem was not that the College was trying its best and failing. It was being crippled. Which meant that if those structural problems could be fixed, then it would be possible to save the College and have it be financially healthy.

This was the point at which I realized it was entirely possible to save Antioch, and worth saving as well. I was never going to be simply an impartial observer, but this is the point in my story when I move from observer of a larger story to participant - even a crucial participant - in the story.

On a personal level, the meeting excited because I started finding my people. The two people* I decided to tag along with turned out to be exactly the right people for my intellectual curiosity to be sated. One of them had the idea of a meeting of former Community Managers, which they both were, and they were starting to gather people and space for the meeting. This one, I would not be kicked out of, despite my lack of being a Community Manager. This meeting was where the fun started.

*I am vaguely uncomfortable with using people's names, though I probably shouldn't be. I suppose it's that I haven't asked these people if they want to be mentioned as heroes.

Lunch was acquired, and then it was off to the Community Government room for the meeting. It was, by and large, former Community Managers from '92 or later. There was one CM from the 60's, and there were a few of we non-Community Managers (but still people who were engaged in the school politically, whether elected or not.) All in all, there were about 12-15 of us, though the group grew as the meeting continued. It started a bit poorly, with these strong personalities, no specific agenda, and no moderator. The CMs (shorthand I will use from now on despite the fact that many of us were not, they were a majority)  were also practiced organizers as well as opinionated individuals, and quickly decided to figure out an agenda and appoint a moderator to get to the task. The agenda became "What the hell is going on here and what the hell can we do about it?" which was probably roughly everyone's agenda, but we were finally forming a group to make something happen. This process should have been my first clue that something special was going on.

The form taken was that we would go around the room in a circle, and say a point or two about what we wanted to be discussed. Someone quickly decided to take notes of it on the white board. Those ideas were examined and collated. The action plan was to take these ideas to the different alumni decade meetings occurring in the next few years, and that they would provide the framework for initial discussion.

My role changes drastically here, and in saying so, I should also mention that my Day 0 post was, in some ways, a lie. Certainly, I am interested in the creation of narratives in an intellectual sense. But more importantly, in this case, I wanted to be a part of this narrative creation. I wanted my story to be one of the stories which got told. It won't just be "fascinating" to observe this. It'll be amazing to actually DO it. Theory, yes, but now I'm practicing.

I attached myself to the group of people who were taking the different discussion points and placing them into a coherent whole. At some point, I declared myself an able synthesizer and writer, and found myself in control of the keyboard. A few minutes with the document, a few minutes rewriting and reorganizing, a few minutes discussing things with other people involved in the process, and voila - an outline was created, printed, and disseminated.

We took this document to the various decade groups, two or three of us per group, and introduced them as the basic forms for discussion. I volunteered to go the 60's and 70's group. They weren't entirely interested in the document as a framework - but they were interested in talking. My partner in organizing and I went around to each group, listening, trying to understand. Others, from the Alumni Board and various ad hoc alumni groups, had their own statements to give to us. The collation of information we desired was happening.

After the decade groups, we re-convened in the CG office to plan, well, what the hell are we doing next? A member of the faculty was there and said what they were doing, and affirmed their support for our group. A member of the BOT dashed in, and declared that she was very impressed, and that there would be a meeting at her place in the near future for organizing her local alums. (It was reasonable to assume that she had voted against the closing, I thought.) A specific plan of action became clear - we had a meeting under complete control of the current CMs, part of this working group, and could set the agenda. We decided to avoid the traditional Community Meeting I mentioned above - with everyone trying to ask questions or make statements at once, and break out into working groups based on the three categories we had decided upon: Finance, Governance, and Communication.

Now, I'm feeling activated. This is not a meeting I cannot be part of, and get kicked out of. This is not a meeting of nothing but bitter recrimination. This is actually something happening. A plan.

And, I got to meet some amazing people, or connect with some others whom I'd barely known. The flaws of the opinionated Antiochian have been hammered out slightly with age, and the eloquence, intelligence, pragmatism and humor come to the foreground. There was occasional frustration, but no acrimony. There was, instead, signs of efficient, effective organizing. And, of course, friendliness. It was time for a social party, heading over to someone's house for a bonfire, veggie burgers, moonshine, impromptu concerts, old friends and new. It was not a blowout. Low key, friendly, almost sweet.

But after the disappointment of the first day, on a strictly personal level, things were looking up. My people were around. My skills were being used. And the plan was looking more and more feasible. I was still close to breaking down, but hadn't. Yet.
 
 
 
23 June 2007 @ 10:37 am
I got progressively more anxious as the time to leave showed up. Was I ready for 3 days of meetings? The sheer levels of engagement provided by an Antioch experience? Once I got in the car, though, it faded away. This is the third Antioch visit in three years for me. The two people I was travelling with hadn't gone since they graduated - seven years and thirty years, roughly.

I was expecting excitement when I arrived. A tent city, with guerilla knitting circles around massive bonfires, with piles of beer bottles built into architecture.

The campus was deserted.

We wandered around for a little while, seeing what was new (not much, to me, slightly more to them) until, in the search for an open building with a bathroom, wandered into a faculty/alumni board meeting. Some greetings were done, and I was invited in by faculty. A lawyer showed up and gave a quick presentation about what the alumni board was doing. This is the organization of official Antioch alums, with the board elected by whoever votes. They had quickly moved to set themselves up as the financial counters to the Antioch University Board of Trustees, the people who had voted to shut down the College.

And, they had a plan. Negotiations with the University. A nonprofit organization to be set up if that failed. Specific, reachable financial goals. And most importantly, keeping the College open as the first condition for everything they were doing. The faculty, meanwhile, was considering legal action, based on the terms of their contracts being violated.

Things Were Happening.

But they were things I wasn't intended to be part of. The general feeling in the room was to close the meeting, except to the faculty, lawyers, and specific organizers. I got politely asked to leave. Damn. An hour on campus and already booted out.

The rest of my time that night was spent wandering around, trying to connect with people. I ended up hanging out at a bar with some alums I only vaguely knew. But it was fantastic. At their best, Antiochians are brilliant, funny, irreverent, personable. And this reunion, this closing, was bringing out Antioch's best.
 
 
 
21 June 2007 @ 12:49 am
It's been almost two years since I was a regular blogger, and while I don't plan on starting again on a daily basis, I am heading to Antioch Reunion, in part, to report on what happens.

I'm an '05 alum, though I really was the year before, as I hadn't been on campus since Spring the year before. When I heard about Antioch closing, I wasn't terribly surprised, or extremely disappointed. We'd certainly heard the warnings enough. I'm not even sure I wanted it to reopen, if people could even make it reopen. Yet, I felt obligated to do what I could. Attend the Chicago "Save Antioch" meeting. Work with that facilitator to try to get a group going, and to actually go, and see what was happening at reunion.

This sense of obligation is my Antiochian activist spirit, or at least, as it manifests in me. I'm not driven to do good things, I'm not passionate, or even terribly idealistic. But when it's there, I feel I have to do it. So, when I was given the opportunity to go, I had to do it.

There is a certain intellectual curiosity about it. I'm am interested, and have been in most of my academic work, on how people change their minds. What motivates them. I keep coming back to those moments in history when something new and previously unthought of becomes part of the public discourse. There are bursts of energy around it, people trying to comprehend it, changing their mind, forming factions relating to it. These factions tend to crystallize, slowly, making alliances with other groups, until opinions on the subject become part of a greater whole. The historical example I like to use is birth control. When, in the early 20th century, birth control became a major issue, its proponents struggled to fit it into political discourse. Eventually, the birth control activists found people who they could fit in with, with the racist eugenicists. Both wanted to control population, both felt that they were using the best of modern science to achieve a better world. Today, we see birth control as left-wing, and racist eugenics as disgusting and far out of the political discussion on the fascist right, but this was not always the case. These alliances can be shattered, and the political alliances reformed. Watch the Republican party in the next few years, as the fundamentalists, liberatarians, and militarists continue to butt heads.

What does this have to do with Antioch? The old semi-factions which existed have been thrown into disarray by the news of the school's demise. People no longer have to decide what's wrong with Antioch - it's now how best to bring it back. There will certainly be those who want to follow the administration's lead, and funnel money into the new plan - Renewal Plan Take 2. The majority of alums and community members, though, I think feel betrayed by the University structure, and will try to find an alternative plan. The seeds for that will come here. I'd rather not miss it.

It'll probably be done mostly through narrative construction, of course. The two dominant explanations I've heard for Antioch's demise are that it was too "liberal" for society after the late 60's, or that a generation gap caused two different visions for Board and administration members. Both can be correct, and not mutually exclusive. However, the occasionally vitriolic reaction, by those who consider it a generational gap, to the New York Times op-ed about Antioch's closing, which took the "too liberal" position, indicates to me that they won't necessarily be much common ground. How the history of Antioch's failure is framed will likely determine the positions taken by those who want it back. It'll be fascinating to observe how those crystallize.

I also have a simple gut reason to want to go. Antioch is my home. My family. My self. It's also not all of those things, or isn't anymore. My last several trips to Antioch have been apocalyptic. Graduations, senior parties, vacations, goodbyes, good riddances. And this is much much bigger.