I said at the outset of my remarks that I have been inspired by many aspects of my initial experience of Antioch. But I have also found some things quite troubling.
‘Campus culture’ and ‘campus climate’ can be very difficult terms to define or phenomena to describe. Because they are characterized largely by a complex set of values and value judgments, they are also terms that don’t easily invite agreement on what a good or less good campus climate or campus culture might be. So I am offering my own value judgments here, but I think they merit consideration and I think that matters of culture and climate are relevant to the College’s future.
This is a liberal arts college, where students are given the opportunity to learn how to think critically and creatively and constructively about the world in which they live; to prepare themselves for lives of meaning and purpose; to come to know themselves and to know and to respect others. An Antioch education does these things and it does them well. Our alumni who studied here over many generations, including today’s generation, are testimony to this.
That said, there are aspects of today’s campus culture that are not conducive to the fullest realization of our educational mission. Radical identity politics and identity-centered discourses, while often drawing attention to mistreatment, unfairness and hypocrisy in our society, also take on a stridency and aggressiveness that too often close down conversation, inhibit learning and send off students who really should be here.
Later in the speech, he talks a bit about his desire to dismantle community governance (or, rather, "to clarify the purposes and practices of community governance") too.
x-posted to antioch_college