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08 November 2006 @ 10:38 pm
Steve Lawry's response to record issue  
Dear Antioch College Community:

There has been some comment and controversy over steps taken by the College to ask a College alumnus and the editors of the Antioch Record to cease publication of the Record on a website (anitochrecord.org) not associated with the College or the College's website. Posting of the paper on this website was done without the permission of the College or without the benefit of consultation with College administrators. Moreover, College's legal counsel advised me that the posting was in violation of the College's trademark and intellectual property rights to the Record. While one can appreciate the initiative shown by those involved in putting the Record on the web, I have a responsibility as College president to protect the College's rights to the name of the College and to publications produced by the College, and ultimately to how they are distributed publicly, including on the web. I appreciate the positive response of Matthew Baya and the Record's editors to my request to cease publication of the Record on a website not belonging to or associated with the College.

I am keen that the Record be available on the web. That said, there are a number of concerns that senior College staff are discussing with the Record Advisory Board that, in my view, need resolution before the Record is posted on the web. These relate to the need for an editorial policy that, among other things, insures that the Record fully serves its educational purposes and that it properly reflects the goals and values of an institution dedicated to human betterment. I have raised concerns over the course of this term about publication in the Record of remarks, offered anonymously, that are menacing and threatening in character and that demean members of the Antioch community. While we have an obligation to support free speech, we also have an obligation to subject what we are saying and its impacts on others to thoughtful and rational scrutiny. These purposes, free speech and critical reflection, will be served once the Record has in place an editorial policy. Discussions are continuing with the RAB, and I am very satisfied with the positive spirit and progress of those discussions.

I appreciate the remarks sent by alumni and others on this matter and am always pleased to hear directly from you.


Steven Lawry
Antioch College
795 Livermore Street
Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387
Phone: (937) 769-1260
Fax: (937) 769-1288
Email: slawry@antioch-college.edu
Website: www.antioch-college.edu
Hopita: morning glorieshopita on November 9th, 2006 04:44 am (UTC)
Well, good to know that a deluge of emails from angry alums actually had some effect, even if it was simply to annoy him into responding.

So this confirms the general theory, yes? That he didn't like "Nookie with Niko" and definitely didn't want the stuff that he didn't like getting an even wider audience on the web.

Color me oh so very unsurprised.

So what now? Any sense of who will make up this Record Advisory Board? How these people will be selected? What sort of criteria they'll have for The Record? What sorts of things will (and won't) be deemed to "properly [reflect] the goals and values of an institution dedicated to human betterment"?

Oy yoy yoy ...
aerinsunfireshine on November 9th, 2006 09:39 am (UTC)
i heard there was some controversy about nookie with niko but hope that's not what this is all about? if the RAB is anything like the rest of the campus was when he came, the president will always have veto power and final say on everything. he selected himself.
jockoaccidentejockoaccidente on November 9th, 2006 10:08 am (UTC)
RAB (the Record Advisory Board) is what we already have in place. RAB is approved by ComCil and consists of some students and some faculty. RAB basically gives the editors advice and suggestions and has no real authority, except they get to evaluate the candidates for the next terms record editors.

Early in this term Steve wanted to impose REB (Record Editorial Board). That would have official authority over the editors and its members be appointed by the president and the cm. ComCil didn't accept the proposal though, and has been trying to shape up RAB to appease Steve some whithout completely giving in.

I am sitting on RAB currently and I can tell you that the editorial policy we are drawing up is pretty standard. Editorial Policies by definition dont say much but, "We want to report the news and not break any laws." Whether or not Steve will like it is another story...

- Sunny Franklin, first year
Hopita: morning glorieshopita on November 9th, 2006 01:36 pm (UTC)
OK, thanks. I was definitely getting the Record Advisroy Board and the Record Editorial Board mixed up. I just assumed he was talking about the one that was his idea and that hadn't been created yet.

Personally, I'm a huge fan of the Antioch Honor Code and would love to see an editorial policy somewhere along the same lines -- philosophical, and all about personal responsibility. Not that I expect anything that touchie feelie to appease Steve, mind you.

I've got a giant pile of crap to deal with today but will make every effort to get Steve's response out to alums.
Matthew Bayam00nshadow on November 9th, 2006 01:56 pm (UTC)
Honor code as editorial policy
Actually the honor code works pretty well as the editorial policy itself;

    Antioch College is a community dedicated to the search for truth, the development of individual potential, and the pursuit of social justice. In order to fulfill our objectives, freedom must be matched by responsibility. As a member of the Antioch Community, I affirm that I will be honest and respectful in all my relationships, and I will advance these standards of behavior in others.

If the Record followed this as their editorial policy.. honest and respectful, that's all you can ask in a paper.

Everyone keeps mentioning the 'Nookie with Niko' as the articles he wants to remove but it seems like all the on campus hubbub was about the 'de-classifieds' section with anonymous vague threats in haiku format. Are these 'honest and respectful' ? Possibly not. As I mentioned in another thread here, I personally don't like anonymous communications, if you have an opinion, own it. But that's just me.

It's my understanding the editorial policies they are considering are from other campus papers and thus aren't nuts and there will not be any 'pre-screening' of articles before they go to print. Whether or not these will be acceptable to Steve remains to be seen, my guess is he wants a nice admissions/development friendly publication with chipper articles about how great someone's coop was, spiffy senior projects and the joys of recycling and not a critical lens focused on Antioch's sore spots in Main Bldg.
Matthew Bayam00nshadow on November 9th, 2006 04:50 am (UTC)
Yay, I guess
Well there's a step forward, though he doesn't actually say he's ok with the Record being on the web once an editorial policy is in place. Does this mean only future issues of the Record that are approved under this policy can be published? Or can older issues be published with articles or haiku de-classified's that are found in violation removed? How far back can we go in publishing past issues? Does RAB have to vett each one against this new policy?

Only time will tell. Glad he actually responded, I guess getting flooded with e-mails from alumni finally got to him. I just wish he had responded to my initial note to him asking what steps we could take to resolve this with something along these lines. All these legal threats and hassle could have been avoided with a simple 'Hey, I appreciate what you're doing but this isn't the way' e-mail.

One would assume the decisions about what can be published on the web would be ComCil decisions but I've heard from a number of people on campus that Mr. Lawry doesn't respect ComCil as a decision making body and often ignores official decisions from them, so who knows.

Glad things seem to be moving in the right direction, but I ain't counting any chickens just yet :)

-Matt '92
(Anonymous) on November 9th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay, I guess
It seems to me that having the Record -- even with questionable subject matter -- is more "admissions friendly" than having the president threatening to sue students.
Hopita: morning glorieshopita on November 10th, 2006 04:34 am (UTC)
Re: Yay, I guess
dragon: dragon backdragonwrites on November 9th, 2006 08:59 am (UTC)
the more things change, the more they stay the same, unfortunately.
aerin: shinesunfireshine on November 9th, 2006 09:40 am (UTC)
i'm happy he "I appreciate the remarks sent by alumni and others on this matter and am always pleased to hear directly from you." & i hope he's hearing a lot. i definitely think its worth it to keep bugging him.
caelidhcaelidh on November 9th, 2006 11:52 am (UTC)




Well I figured that was a primary reason for keeping the record off line. It appears that Lawry wants more control of how Antioch's image appears to the outside world. Keeping a lid on the record is, in his mind, essential since censoring the content wouldn't go over that well.

He can mire the argument down indefinately with legal this and legal that and keep the Record off line and out of public scrutiny and keep any negative stuff about him or whatever out of the public eye.

It is sad that Antioch appears to be having such pains. The divisiviness is frustrating... but being Antioch... that isn't surprising I suppose :>P.

I hope that it gets resolved sooner than later......

Hopita: morning glorieshopita on November 10th, 2006 04:09 pm (UTC)
I just sent Steve a response; now I am sharing it
Mr. Lawry,

Yesterday, I received your open letter to the Antioch Community. While I am glad to see that you have finally responded to us, I still have a number of unanswered questions.

First, I have a number of questions regarding The Record Advisory Board. Who will make up this Record Advisory Board? How will these people will be selected? What sort of criteria will they have for The Record? What sorts of things will (and won't) be deemed to "properly [reflect] the goals and values of an institution dedicated to human betterment"? And how long will all of this take?

Additionally, I have concerns about your assertion that www.antiochrecord.org was "...not associated with the College ..." As I understood the chain of events, www.antiochrecord.org was created with the knowledge and assistance of The Record editors, and, when you expressed concern about possible copyright infringement, ownership of www.antiochrecord.org was immediately transferred to CG. If CG owns the site, how can it be considered to be "...not associated with the College ..."?

Finally, I continue to have grave concerns about the way in which all of this transpired. I know Matthew Baya personally. I know the details of his long involvement with Antioch -- as a student, as a Community Manager, as a College employee, as an Alumni Board member, and, of course, as a dedicated alum. On top of everything else, I have always known Matt to be a calm and reasonable man. This is why I found it so troubling that, rather than approach him yourself, you basically had lawyers approach and threaten him. I think another alum summed it up best when they said "... having the Record [online] -- even with questionable subject matter -- is more "admissions friendly" than having the president threatening to sue students."

- hopita '92

Edited at 2011-05-02 07:59 pm (UTC)