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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.