dean of students
to step down next month
After seven months with Antioch College the dean of students, Patricia
Whitlow handed in her resignation last week.
Joan Straumanis, the college president, announced the news on Thursday,
March 20. In an e-mail to college students, faculty, and staff, Straumanis
expressed deep regret that Whitlow is leaving Antioch.
Whitlows resignation will take effect at the end of the term, in
Whitlow came to Antioch last August, when she replaced former dean of
students Scott Warren. Whitlow said that she is leaving to accept a new
appointment at the University of Kentucky, where she served as the associate
director of residential life before coming to Antioch.
She declined to comment for this article.
On campus students said that Whitlow was not a good fit for Antioch because
she had a difficult time identifying with the student body and understanding
the democratic process at Antioch.
Other deans are much more interested in communicating with students
and seeing things from all perspectives, second-year student Bengal
Seibel said. I think shed be happier somewhere else. She didnt
feel happy with the Antioch community.
She never paid much attention to student opinion, and that eventually
caught up with her, fourth-year student Jacob Glasser said.
Many students said they were not surprised by the deans resignation.
Most students also seemed pleased with the deans decision to move
on. Students stood outside the Student Union last Friday afternoon spreading
the news of the resignation.
Some students criticized Whitlow, saying that she had a negative affect
on student life. Fourth-year Robert Scott said Whitlow made life
hell for students because she tried to make radical cultural
changes without a complete understanding of what Antioch is and what it
should aspire to be.
But not all students were happy to see the dean go. Fifth-year student
Greg Day said he is concerned about the impact Whitlows resignation
will have on Antioch. I think it is unfortunate that [Whitlow] didnt
work out, he said. Its really bad for the university
to have that position turn over in less than a year.
In her e-mail announcing the news, Straumanis called Whitlows resignation
another blow to the administrative stability of our college.
Antioch College is already conducting searches for administrators to take
over the dean of facultys office, the dean of admissions, the director
of multicultural affairs and the advocate for the colleges sexual
offense prevention policy.
The timing of Whitlows resignation does not give the college time
to conduct a national search before the summer term begins in May. The
associate dean of students, Jimmy Williams, will assume the responsibilities
of the office once Whitlow leaves.
Straumanis was unavailable to comment, though through her assistant, Sally
Frye, she said, We have an associate dean with responsibilities
to cover for the absence of the dean. The associate dean is under contract
until the end of June, but no official decisions have been made regarding
the appointment of an acting or interim dean.
In an interview on Monday, Williams said he was surprised when Whitlow
told him about her plans to leave the college. I was stunned. I
really didnt see it coming, he said. She has had a difficult
year, but it seems like it has been a difficult year for everybody [at
Antioch], and the dean of students job is always difficult.
Williams has served in a variety of capacities at Antioch College for
more than 14 years, and he was a candidate for the dean of students job
last year. But, he said, because the college has not decided how it will
fill the deans position, he is unsure about whether he will apply
for the job again.
Williams also said that as part of his job as associate dean, he is expected
to cover the duties of the office when the dean of students is absent.
He said that he would fulfill that duty.
The most important thing to me right now is that I continue to serve
this community, he said. I will serve in whatever capacity
I am called to, but the important thing is continuing to serve.
When asked about who they would like to see as Whitlows successor,
students almost unanimously said that Williams is their choice. To
me, Jimmy is already the dean of students, second-year Courtney
Heaton and Brian Loudon