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Antioch edges toward a deal

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As the task force charged with negotiating the separation of Antioch University from the college passed the midway mark last week on its way toward finalizing an agreement, college alumni representatives were working furiously to raise the money to insure a successful independent college. On the fundraising trail in California this week, task force member Lee Morgan said that the task force is making significant progress toward an agreement and that alumni across the country are beginning to rally toward the goal to raise $15 million by the end of April.

“From my perspective, the university is prepared to make a deal, and it’s just making sure we have enough money to make the college successful once we get it,” Morgan said.

University leaders communicated similarly positive feedback on Tuesday, indicating that the letter of intent that both university and alumni leaders signed in January outlining the general terms of separation are being upheld as the two sides work out the details.

“The completion of the definitive agreement is being looked at with excitement by the university and the presidents of the other campuses,” Antioch University Chancellor Toni Murdock said. “This will allow us to focus on the national scene, with all the best intention for the college to succeed, and move in a strategic direction for the university.”

A press release issued last week by the Greater Lakes Colleges Association, whose President Richard Detweiler is helping to broker the negotiation, stated that the task force had reached agreement on 35 of the 45 items to settle. The remainder of the issues will be settled by attorneys, who are working to reach final agreement by the end of April, which is within the 90-day period of negotiation stated in the letter of intent that was signed on Jan. 25.

Both the university and the college are working individually to ensure each entity progresses successfully post separation. The university is now implementing a new governance plan for its five campuses that was started over two years ago and was approved by the university board of trustees last month, according to Board President Art Zucker. Among other features, the new system provides for a local board of trustees for each separate campus.

And the college, through its board pro tempore and the Antioch College Continuation Corporation, is focused on networking with as many of the 17,000 Antioch College alumni around the country to raise funds to rebuild the college. The board seeks $15 million in cash and pledges over a five-year period, that will be used to leverage low-interest loans from banks, to be repaid when pledges come due, Morgan said.

Morgan and seven other development staff spent last weekend with alumni in Washington, D.C. The weekend before that they were in Boston, New York and New Jersey, and now they’re with alumni on the West Coast.

“Alumni are starting to rally around now, and when Antiochians are arguing with you and challenging you with tough questions, you know they’re engaged,” he said. “I believe if we get the money, it’s a done deal.”

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