Historic Antioch College Shuts Down

Antioch Hall: Antioch College, Yellows Springs (OH)

Earliest Known Photograph of Antioch Hall (1852)

Coretta Scott King (’51) Accepts The Horace Mann Award, Antioch (2004)

Glen Helen: The Antioch College Forest Preserve

Antioch College, a 154-year-old liberal-arts institution in Yellow Springs, Ohio, widely known for for its socially activist tradition, will close next year because of mounting budget deficits and dwindling enrollment, college officials announced on Tuesday.

The college in Yellow Springs (OH) is the undergraduate residential component of Antioch University, whose Board of Trustees voted over the weekend to shut the campus down. The Antioch Board members said that it was their hope that by closing the college now, a sound financial state might be restored that would enable them to reopen in 2012. Antioch University also has five nonresidential campuses around the country, all of which will remain open.

Paul Fain wrote in the Chronical of Higher Education:

The decision was agonizing,” said one trustee, Barbara Slaner Winslow. “For many of us, the meeting was like a funeral,” said Ms. Winslow, an Antioch alumna who is an associate professor of women’s and social studies at the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College.

Antioch officials said revenue from the college’s small endowment of $36.2-million and tuition from a projected fall enrollment of 309 students would not be enough to cover budget shortfalls, which have been exacerbated by the cost of maintaining Antioch’s historic campus, in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

We really need a much larger critical mass of students,” said Tullisse A. Murdock, chancellor of Antioch University, noting that only 125 new freshmen were scheduled to arrive next fall. Of the decision to close the college, she said: “Certainly it’s going to be a huge disappointment to our college alumni.”

The trustees also declared a state of financial exigency, which means most of Antioch College’s 160 full-time faculty and staff members will be laid off by July 2008. College operations will be suspended at that point, but a university spokeswoman said an undetermined number of staff members would stay on to maintain facilities. The university will also establish a commission to determine the college’s long-term future, and some staff members might be included on that commission….

Antioch is perhaps best known for its liberal initiatives, such as eliminating grades and a sexual-offense-prevention policy from the mid-1990s that required specific “verbal consent” for every step of intimacy. But the college also has a long list of famous alumni, including Coretta Scott King, Rod Serling and Stephen Jay Gould. Its first president was the education reformer Horace Mann.”

Interested readers can read a detailed account of the closing of Antioch in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Cary Nelson, Ph.D., Professor of English at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign writes nostalgically about his experiences as an undergraduate student at Antioch College during the mid-1960s, which you can read here.

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Duke Lacrosse Player Reade Seligmann Testifies at Prosecutor Nifong’s Ethics Trial

Reade Seligmann’s Full Testimony: Prosecutor Nifong’s Ethics Trial

Reade Seligmann’s Full Testimony at Prosecutor Nifong’s Ethics Trial

(Click Image for Video)

Reade Seligmann testified how he was sure that the DNA tests would clear his name.  He broke into tears during his testimony, while he described finding out that he had been indicted and thinking about how he was going to manage breaking that terrible news to his mother.  Mr. Seligmann, 21, gave emotionally moving testimony about the anguish of having to face false charges that interrupted a year of his education and could have sent him to prison for 30 years.

Mr. Seligmann choked up and repeatedly wiped back tears as he described hearing the news of his indictment and telling his parents.  “My dad just fell to the floor, and I just sat on the ground,” Mr. Seligmann said.  “And I said, ‘My life is over.”

Mr. Seligmann recounted how last winter, Mr. Nifong refused to meet with his lawyer who had evidence that he was not even at the party when the assault supposedly occurred.  He said that Mr. Nifong had said he was not interested in such “fiction” and that the district attorney had “smirked” on another occasion when the evidence was offered.

Mr. Seligmann described how people in familiar restaurants, as well as on the Duke University campus, turned against him after the charges were filed.  Mr. Seligmann said people in a restaurant that he used to eat in every day, and who he considered to be his friends, put up a “Wanted” poster showing the entire Duke lacrosse team.

The feeling on campus was as lonely as you can imagine,” he said.

Immediately following the conclusion of Seligmann’s testimony, Nifong voluntarily resigned from his position as the Durham County Prosecutor.  The North Carolina State Bar has charged Nifong with withholding critical DNA test results from defense attorneys, lying to the court and Bar investigators and making misleading and inflammatory comments about the players.  If the Bar’s three-member Disciplinary Hearing Commission decides that he violated ethics rules, he could be disbarred.

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