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Published: Saturday, 2/23/2008

Antioch College to close in June

Antioch Hall is the administration building at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Antioch Hall is the administration building at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio - Antioch College, known for inspiring quirky academic programs that produce students with a passion for free thinking and social activism, has no choice but to close for the 2008-2009 academic year, trustees of the parent Antioch University said yesterday.

Operations will be suspended June 30.

Antioch and Yellow Springs, tie-dyed and liberal-leaning, fed off each other. Students were encouraged to create their own programs for learning.

Famous alums included Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling, Coretta Scott King, and evolutionary scientist Stephen Jay Gould.

After two days of meetings in Los Angeles, trustees reaffirmed their June, 2007, decision to close the college for a year. They said they ran out of time to reach a deal on transferring the financially struggling school to a group of alumni, donors, and others with its own board of trustees.

Trustees had reversed their earlier decision in November, contingent on whether alumni and the school could meet fund-raising deadlines. But the college could not overcome declining enrollment, dependence on tuition, and a small endowment.

Trustees said they would continue discussions on a possible transfer of the college, but said it was important to clarify for students, faculty, and staff that they would need to make plans for the next phase in their educations and careers.

The town and school have been fertile ground for social activism and civil disobedience, ranging from anti-Vietnam war protests in the 1960s and '70s through demonstrations against the Iraq war in recent years.

Yesterday's decision does not affect Antioch University's nonresidential campuses in Yellow Springs; Keene, N.H.; Los Angeles; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Seattle, or its doctorate program.

"It has been a difficult year since Antioch University's board of trustees - many of whom are [Antioch] college alumni - faced the reality that the undergraduate college had enormous financial problems and an unsustainable business plan," said Art Zucker, the trustees' chairman.

The closing will affect about 200 students, 41 tenured faculty, and 85 staff members, Mr. Zucker said.

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