December 19, 2002
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With a tight budget, Antioch cuts four faculty searches

Antioch College faces further tension from tight budgets, and this time is being forced to eliminate searches for new faculty, according to college officials.

President Joan Straumanis was notified by the Antioch University Board of Trustees that the college had a $90,000 deficit and that in order to compensate, four faculty searches out of eleven planned must be postponed indefinitely.

Two searches to be cut are positions for the library and the education department. The other two cuts will be decided upon by AdCil, a student and faculty group that acts as an advisory board to Straumanis. The search areas to be considered for cancellation are political science, communications, Eastern philosophy and cooperative education.

At an AdCil meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 10, students and faculty showed up in record numbers to protest the decision to end the searches. Many people in the crowd considered the search cancellations as detrimental for future enrollment and long-term financial gains for the college.

“If decreasing enrollment, sacrificing academic integrity and losing tons of our current students is our goal, we’re doing a top-notch job,” said one student who wished to remain anonymous.

As one student, Kelly Connolly, who also sits on AdCil, said in a proposal that was later passed, “AdCil calls upon the college administration to continue all four faculty searches originally set to be conducted this academic year.”

Despite the vote, Straumanis said she could not present the Board of Trustees with proposals that its members may consider “financially unsound.” Both Antioch College administration and students are concerned that continuing the searches against the trustees’ recommendations could result in the trustees making the budget-cutting decision themselves.

Although Straumanis has halved the deficit since her arrival on campus last February, she says that presenting the trustees with a proposal based on AdCil demands would be dangerous for college autonomy. “It’s an invitation for them to meddle in our affairs,” said Straumanis.

The meeting ended in the issue being tabled and was taken up again in a special meeting of AdCil on Thursday, Dec. 12. After another hour of deliberation and an increasing student and faculty audience (at one point, students were standing in the hallway), AdCil moved to close the meeting to the public.

AdCil remained in session until noon. Finally the group decided to go ahead with the communications and cooperative education searches as planned and to review the budget for possible compromises regarding the other two searches. AdCil’s next meeting will take place next term.

—Michael Hogan Jr.

•Ralph Wells, co-editor of the Antioch Record, contributed to this article.