The Antioch Papers - May 9, 2008
Antioch University Rejects $14.5 million and the Future of Antioch College
On April 28th, the Antioch University Board of Trustees made a historic decision. A majority of the Board voted to approve an offer by the ACCC to replace a number of Board members with people distinguished in higher education, journalism, and business. All were Antioch College grads, and most had served previously on the Antioch University Board of Trustees. They would bring with them their personal financial resources, exemplified by a $14.5 million gift to the University/College, and their commitment to correct the existing Board's fundraising failures.
This renewed Board was ready to keep Antioch College open. After 9 months with the historic alma mater's head on the block, the College would be saved. After every other vote since June, Board Chair Art Zucker had asked for everyone to endorse the decision so the Board could speak with one voice. Not this time.
After the April 28th vote both parties negotiated a few minor changes to the agreement. The negotiating teams agreed to change 2 (out of a total of 20) trustee memberships on the newly constituted Board. Longtime University/College supporter Lillian Pierson Lovelace was added to the new Board. Another Board position was to be temporarily filled for a 6 week period until the permanent Trustee was available. These changes could have been approved by a simple email; instead Zucker demanded a formal meeting and another vote.
Chancellor Toni Murdock used the 10-day window between April 28 and May 8 to produce a series of documents to undermine the original agreement. A new set of attacks on the proposal to reconstitute the Board and save the College was emailed to trustees on May 8. A few hours after receiving these documents the Antioch University Board of Trustees met by phone to vote again on what they had already approved. Some of the College's strongest supporters could not make the call; it was known that at least one supporter was out of the country. Despite its formal decision on April 28 to keep the College open, the Board of Trustees voted again and reversed itself; on May 8 the Board rejected the ACCC plan to save Antioch College.
Related Documents for Download at The Antioch Papers
1) Final Proposal - The ACCC proposal that was accepted and then rejected by Antioch University. 2) Accreditation Conversations - Antioch University Chancellor Toni Murdock's recollection of discussions with the North Central Association and the Ohio Board of Regents. 3) Fiduciary Duties - Antioch University's legal reasoning for rejecting the ACCC's $14.5 million gift.
4) Grant Resolution - A donor's decision to withhold funds from Antioch University based on leadership changes and/or institutional performance. 5) ACCC Biographies - Background information on the ACCC.
The Antioch Papers