Faculty members sue Antioch College over planned closure

YELLOW SPRINGS Ohio

Antioch College professors have sued the private liberal arts school to keep it from closing next summer, saying trustees violated the college’s contract with faculty members.

 

The lawsuit, filed in Greene County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday, asks the court to stop the college from firing faculty and from disposing of college assets, a faculty statement said.

 

Antioch, known for its offbeat approach to education and a history of social activism, announced June 9 it would close its doors in July 2008 because of a lack of money. School officials said they wanted to restructure the school, upgrade facilities and reopen in 2012.

 

“We felt things were happening so quickly, without any discussion of alternatives that we needed to act quickly to prevent further harm,” film professor Anne Bohlen said of the lawsuit on Tuesday.

 

The board violated contractual obligations in making the decision to close by shutting professors out of institutional decision making, according to the lawsuit.

 

The board also improperly made a declaration of imminent financial crisis, which allows colleges to cancel faculty employment contracts, the lawsuit states.

 

A small, $30 million endowment and heavy dependence on tuition revenue amid declining enrollment hurt operations in recent years. Chancellor Toni Murdock has estimated it will take about $50 million to make the necessary improvements and then operate the school.

 

Antioch College spokeswoman Lynda Sirk said Tuesday she hadn’t seen the lawsuit and couldn’t comment.

 

Board Chairman Arthur Zucker has said the board will not reconsider its decision.

 

Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com

– Associated Press



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