Antioch University Seattle Not Affected by Decision
YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio – Antioch University’s Board of Trustees has re-affirmed its June 2007 decision to temporarily suspend operations of Antioch College, concluding negotiations with the Antioch College Continuation Corporation.
Following months of good-faith negotiations with Antioch College alumni to determine an alternative to university suspension of college operations, the Board of Trustees voted Thursday night against an ACCC proposal that would have resulted in the forced resignation of existing university trustees and created an untenable leadership structure for the remaining five-campus university system nationwide.
The board expresses deep sympathy to faculty, students and staff, as well as the local
community of Yellow Springs—all impacted by the temporary suspension of operations at the college. “Our board is filled with Antioch College alumni, making up 78 percent. We care deeply about this college, and we know that many people across the country feel the same way,” board Chair Art Zucker said.
“The spirit of Antioch lives on in Antioch University,” Zucker noted. “While we remain committed to renewing the operation of Antioch College in a workable model for the 21st century, we continue to serve Antioch’s education mission through the remaining five campuses unaffected by Antioch College’s temporary closing.”
He noted that the board has fiduciary responsibility to take actions that are in the best interest of Antioch University as a whole. “The board has repeatedly told ACCC that it needs financial benchmarks in any proposal. Because the college faces a very deep financial crisis, these benchmarks are necessary to assure that there would be a firewall in place to assure the financial security of the university,” Zucker said.
The board also felt that the ACCC proposal did not provide enough detail to indicate how the college could remain open beyond the first year, including academic and business plans.
The decision Thursday came after months of negotiations, Zucker said. As late as April 28, the board approved the ACCC proposal for reconstituting the board of trustees with one minor change regarding the identity of one member of the reconstituted board. The reason for the change was to provide balance on the reconstituted board. ACCC rejected this board-approved proposal on April 29 and responded with a final proposal which the Board of Trustees voted against last night because it would have placed the Antioch University system in jeopardy.
Zucker deeply appreciates the strong efforts of the Board of Trustees over the past year to find a viable solution that would allow the college to continue operations. Zucker says the Antioch College Continuation Corporation left the Antioch University Board of Trustees no alternative but to re-affirm its original decision to suspend Antioch College operations.
“The timetable of events shows that we have been responsive in working toward alternative solutions to suspending Antioch College operations,” Antioch University Chancellor Toni Murdock says. “At no point have we ever said it was too late to keep pursuing a viable college transfer from the university that would permit it to stay open. In fact, we have gone back to ACCC many times to pursue new talks after we have been told by the ACCC that negotiations are over.”
Representatives of the board of trustees offered to continue discussions by establishing a joint session with the ACCC. This session took place on April 16 in Columbus, Ohio, where they engaged in direct facilitated discussion.
In response to ACCC criteria, the Board offered the Immediate Transfer of the College proposal (ITC). This proposal would permit Antioch College to continue operation under control of ACCC utilizing university credentials. The proposal further set out to separate the college from the university at the close of the 2008-09 academic year.
The ITC proposal granted to ACCC:
- Full responsibility to run Antioch College from an ACCC-funded $10 million escrow account for the 2008-2009 academic year, while creating a one-year transition period for ACCC to establish its own board of trustees for the college and remove it from university governance.
- All assets associate with the operation of Antioch College for $6 million payable July 1, 2009, and $6.2 million in a promissory note to be paid in equal annual installments over five years secured by mortgaging and financing on all college assets.
- University support to ACCC to obtain necessary accreditations for independent operation starting in 2009-2010 and access to any shared university services desired by ACCC.
- Leeway to establish a separate foundation for Antioch College to deposit any gifts to the college during the 2008-2009 academic year.
The Immediate Transfer of the College proposal (ITC) fulfilled all of the expressed criteria of the ACCC, yet they rejected it.
“Alumni as led by ACCC have insisted that the only option they would accept is an independent Antioch College immediately divorced from the university system, but every time we have offered a solution to make that happen, it has been turned down,” Zucker says.
“Now the board will continue to bear responsibility for the future of Antioch College. We recognize that the long-term future of Antioch College will require a separation from Antioch University to achieve the college’s long-term academic and financial sustainability,” Zucker says. “We continue to bear the torch for the ideals of Antioch College throughout Antioch University and will never extinguish the flame.”