A Troubling Undercurrent in George Will's Deathbed Obit for Antioch College
The Pulitzer Prize winner's latest syndicated column is an offbeat gem about the "suspension of operations" that appears to presage the death of Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio:
There is, however, a minuscule market for what Antioch sells for a tuition, room and board of $35,221 -- repressive liberalism unleavened by learning.
Founded in 1852 -- its first president was Horace Mann -- Antioch was, for a while, admirable. One of the first colleges to enroll women and blacks, it was a destination for escaped slaves. Its alumni include Stephen Jay Gould, Coretta Scott King and Rod Serling, whose "Twilight Zone" never imagined anything weirder than what Antioch became when its liberalism curdled.
In 1972-73, Antioch had 2,470 students. In 1973, a protracted and embittering student and employee strike left the campus physically decrepit and intellectually toxic. By 1985, enrollment was down 80 percent. This fall there may be 300 students served by a faculty of 40.
There is a troubling undercurrent of seemingly routine violence and harassment that appears to have been the order of the day at the school:
Former public radio correspondent Michael Goldfarb matriculated at what he calls the "sociological petri dish" in 1968. In his first week, he twice had guns drawn on him, once "in fun" and once by a couple of drunken ex-cons "whom one of my classmates, in the interest of breaking down class barriers, had invited to live with her." (Goldfarb's full column, which originally appeared in the New York Times and is behind the TimeSelect firewall, can also be found here. -- Ed.)
..... Steven Lawry -- Antioch's fifth president in 13 years -- came to the college 18 months ago. He told Scott Carlson of The Chronicle of Higher Education about a student who left after being assaulted because he wore Nike shoes, symbols of globalization.
..... Lawry stopped the student newspaper's practice of printing "announcements containing anonymous, menacing threats against other students for their political views."
Yellow Springs is a community about 20 miles east of downtown Dayton, and about 70 miles north-northeast of downtown Cincinnati. Yet I recall no reports about the violence described in either the Dayton Daily News or the Cincinnati Enquirer over many years.
It's possible that Antioch's environment is (soon to be was) an off-the-chart extreme; after all, it IS the institution that earned international ridicule for its "ask at every stage of intimacy" sexual conduct code in the early 1990s. But the examples of assault and harassment cited do make one wonder if the concern over on-campus crime that at most schools has focused on perpetrators from the surrounding community has been at least partially misplaced -- with the help of Old Media outlets reluctant to expose Far Left-inspired violence.
Out in the off-campus world, one has to ask how many supposedly peace-loving, wouldn't-harm-a-fly graduates of colleges or departments with "curricula" similar to those found at Antioch are ready to react in violence at the least little perceived provocation.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.