Phi Beta Cons

Antioch’s Agony

Henry P. Wickham, who knows the college well, describes the campus as


a time warp.  In the 1960s, it was 1950′s beatnik.  Since then, it was and always will be 1968…Antioch students…dressed their part with their studied shabbiness…


If you were a high school student with a strong left-wing political philosophy, and if you desired to spend four years at a college that will confirm all of your political prejudices and reward certain righteous attitudes, Antioch College was the place to go…


“Boot camp for the revolution” was how one student described Antioch to me…


I was once told by a student that they could get classroom credit for partaking in public political demonstrations…


Wickham cites Antioch’s puerile sexual harassment policy:


“This spirit [behind Antioch’s policy on sex] is about a fully affirmative YES.  Not an ambiguous yes, or a ‘well-not-really-but-OK-I guess, yes,’ certainly not a ‘silent-no,’ ‘yes,’ or an ‘ouch’ or ‘yuck-but-I’m-afraid-to-hurt-your-feelings-yes.’  This is about YES, UM HUM, ABSOLUTELY, YIPPEE YAHOO YES!”  [Emphasis in the original.]


Finally, he applauds education consumers for putting Antioch out of its misery. This institution


so hip, so innovative, so politically active, so relevant.  This is yet another case where the American public has shown more sense than its supposedly intellectual superiors.  Antioch College was selling, and the people…were not buying.  The packaging shouted “Relevance!”, and the people, voting with their feet and pocket books, proclaimed Antioch’s titanic irrelevance.

Candace de Russy is a nationally recognized expert on education and cultural issues.

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