Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Argumentation versus Discussion, or the Essay versus Shared Inquiry

I have been trying to figure out the problem of how the board and the administration are handling this proposal to move to IIT. While there are many problems, including the issue of transparency, which one of the Shimer College bloggers pointed out, one way to interpret the problem of this proposal to move to IIT is that we are looking for a discussion, and the administration is treating this as an argument. In an argument, you essentially assume the position, and then you persuade the reader to agree with your position, anticipating and responding to your reader's doubts mainly in order to further your argument. This is essentially what Shimer College was trying to teach us to do in our papers from semester one to the final semester. But it seems as if what we are looking for is a discussion, a process of shared inquiry into the issue and problems, in order to arrive at a shared consensus. This is what we were doing in the classroom, and this is why, I would assume, most people came to Shimer College and stayed at Shimer College, including myself, and that is what will most likely remain true about Shimer College, since it's Shimer College's unique selling point, if it moves to IIT. The problem, then, for most students and alums, is that this proposal isn't a discussion. This proposal is an argument.

The question then, if my reading is correct, is should the administration change its approach from argumentation to shared inquiry? Should the administration have started with a discussion approach instead of an argument? Since it's too late for the administration to change how it began, which was how we were expected to begin an essay at Shimer College, with a position, should the administration shift from the essay to the discussion group, by joining this discussion for example? If you follow the metaphor of the essay to its logical conclusion, then can't we treat everything that led up to announcing the proposal to move to IIT as rough drafts, prep work, and research that you would not turn in to the professor for a grade or submit to the academic community for consideration of being published? If the administration sustains its approach of arguing its main point of moving to IIT being the best solution to the Problem of Shimer College, if Shimer College is indeed an emergency, should we assume the role of the skeptical, reasonable educated citizen who is poking holes in the argument in order to make certain this argument is indeed good for the college and the students? If we are to treat this as an argument for moving to IIT by the board and the administration, should we prepare an "un-official" list of counter-arguments against moving to IIT and a list of arguments for staying in Waukegan, since there is no evidence that we have to accept that staying in Waukegan isn't an option, in addition to bombarding the administration with questions and doubts, which is absolutely appropriate if this is in fact an argument? Why is this argument so strangely problematic, puzzling, and irritating?


Letter to President Bill Rice:
A Critique of the Move to IIT on Aesthetic Grounds

I am having trouble reconciling the campaign to "Beautify Shimer" with the facilities that IIT has offered to Shimer College and that were presented to us at the recent alum meeting. I strongly believe that the cozy aesthetics of the Shimer College campus in Waukegan are a far more beautiful learning environment than the ugly factory, warehouse, institutional, corporate setting and space that we are being offered to lease for the next 30 years.

Since I sincerely believe that you have a highly developed aesthetic sensibility, which is demonstrated in your diction and in your lecture on Oscar Wilde, and since we are now being sold what I believe to be a very ugly building on the unattractive IIT campus, I can't help thinking that this proposal must be a hoax.
Although some people may believe that the poetics of place and aesthetic values are superficial compared to the more serious considerations regarding this move, I have to personally oppose this move to IIT on aesthetic grounds. The poetics of space and the beauty of the place are fundamental values in a liberal arts experience. I can't tolerate considering this proposed facility as a future home for Shimer College. This proposal insults the sense of aesthetics that I developed at Shimer College through study and appreciation of beautiful works of arts and the great books. Schiller and Kant, I suspect, would agree with my position.
In the name of Oscar Wilde, consider looking for a more aesthetically pleasing space for Shimer College. If a school of adult education, such as The Feltre School, can create such a beautiful home for itself, even though it is mainly selling grammar courses, I don't understand why Shimer College should relocate to a space that one can't simply say that it is a beautiful place to read and discuss the great books.
Tell IIT that we refuse this lease because Shimer College deserves a beautiful home.


What does it mean that "[Waukegan] wants Shimer College to stay"?

1) Will the upcoming discussion with the mayor of Waukegan be a serious attempt to discuss with the City of Waukegan the possibility of how the City of Waukegan can potentially financially support the college--if the board and administration have already decided that the move to IIT is the best solution to the problem of increasing its revenue? (In a discussion, you arrive at a decision at the end of the discussion by shared consensus; in an argument, you begin with a decision.)

2) How can we find out what the City of Waukegan is willing to offer to Shimer College, if there is no informed transparency by the board and administration?

3) When is the President of Shimer College meeting with the City of Waukegan?

4) Will Shimer College and the City of Waukegan benefit from (and laugh at) the hoax?

Michael Dubensky '03

12 comments :

mikeyd723 said...

Michael, this is a beautiful image and paradigm through which to think through the process of the decision about the move. For what it is worth, the central idea of the resolution Erik will be moving at the Assembly meeting is one of constituting an "ad hoc steering committee" as a fully-vested decision-making body charged by both the Assembly at (it would be recommended) the Board to treat the process as one of deliberation and discussion rather than "planning and policy" in a more traditional sense. Our sense in putting it together (if I may speak for Erik and myself to at least this extent) was very much, I think, to make it possible for the decisions to be made both reflectively and deliberatively on the hand and responsibly and effectively on the other.

David Shiner said...

Bill Rice met with the Mayor and a Waukegan city councilman this morning. He just returned and told me that the meeting went quite well. The mayor is looking into possibilities that would help make it easier for Shimer to stay in Waukegan. I don't have more details (and I don't think there are any at this point), but I can say for certain that Bill was happy about this result, and if that if he was dedicated to moving the College he wouldn't have been.

Owen Brugh said...

Michael,
Your rant seems to come from several incorrect assumptions.

1. The Board has not decided anything!!! Don’t tell me I’ve made up my mind when I haven’t. It’s insulting, and I’m sick of hearing it. I came to Shimer in large part because I got sick of being told what to think. So stop telling me what I think! I haven’t been counting votes, but I know of maybe two out of 19 people on the board who have more or less made up their minds, and even they could be convinced to go the other way.

2. We did not pick anything in this situation, not the actual space and not the timeframe. The space was offered to us. We now have to decide if we want to take the offer. A student asked me last week if IIT was acting more as the Turkish market trader or the behemoth department store. I told them it is somewhere in between. We can negotiate a lot of details about it, but the essential question remains “Do we want to move to this particular space?”

3. Not everybody likes where we’re at now. I know a lot of students who come to Shimer in spite of its location and facilities, not because of them. And, despite my own personal appreciation of the type of space the college uses, I find it very hard not to agree with those who say the place is falling apart. The faculty is very good at leading discussions. They’re not so good at taking care of buildings.

4. Is Shimer about the buildings or what happens in them? If it is about the buildings, then this place should have closed in 1979 when Mt. Carroll shut down. Personally, I’m glad it didn’t.

5. There is no denying in any of this that A) It could have been handled better, and B) The college has been dealt a shitty hand. Enrollment is declining. Alumni giving is declining. Deferred maintenance on the campus is catching up with us.

6. This isn’t a hoax. This is a proposal that Bill Rice and Young Kim felt was solid enough that it should be bought to the rest of the community for discussion. Anywhere else, we wouldn’t have the discussion at all. It would come down as an edict from on high. That is not to say this has been handled well. Frankly, Young might be a great lawyer for all I know, but he’s not a good messenger. In either case, I get a little frustrated with people attacking the messenger instead of discussing the proposal, especially when I’m trying to learn all the pros and cons.

7. What is it exactly that you want to know that is being withheld from you? Most of the questions I have seen here and in other places that have gone unanswered have gone unanswered because WE DON’T HAVE ANSWERES. I’ve been asking many of the same questions and haven’t gotten answers. I’m on the goddamn board. If I can’t get the answers A) What makes you think answers will instantly come forward for you (I mean this in terms of proximity to someone that might have an answer, NOT that there are things I should know that others shouldn’t, just so we’re clear), and B) It’s not a lack of transparency. It’s a lack of information.

I’ve tried to caution people against making this personal towards anyone, and people have scolded me for trying to snuff out the fire in people’s hearts for this place. That’s bullshit, frankly. You can feel passionately about something without personally attacking people you perceive to be on the other side.

It’s also self-defeating. When you make it personal, expect people leaning the other way to disregard whatever it is you’re trying to say.

As a side note, I disagree with you on the overall attractiveness of the IIT campus (I find a lot of beauty in the simplicity of Mies and the proportions he uses in place of ornamentation), although I think you’re right that the building they are offering might be the ugliest there.

Owen Brugh
BOT Member – weekend college
Class of ‘06

Edward McEneely said...

Dear Owen,

I appreciate your frustration. At the Alumni meeting, you seemed to be a pretty decent guy.

I also see where Mike is coming from. I sort of agree with him, even if I wouldn't have phrased it the way he has. I note you earlier mentioned that "Yes, Chicago is much cooler than Waukegan. That's why I live in Chicago. But that isn't the beginning or the end of it." Quite right. Waukegan is, however, my home, and my home by choice. I moved there from Lake Forest after I graduated from Shimer because I liked the environs a lot. Does that make me uncool? Does that make my home uncool? I wasn't aware that "cool" was ever the issue at Shimer. Personally, I find Chicago soulless. I work there, and I see a lot of it, from Bucktown to the Loop to the South Side, five days a week. It feels dead to me. It may be "cool", but it's an empty kind of cool.

When I was fourteen, I came to Shimer as a concurrent student; I had already skipped two grades of school and was pretty much completely alienated from my theretical peer group. Maybe I wasn't ready for Shimer; David Shiner didn't think so at the time, certainly. He told me, and I remember this vividly, that the people who came to Shimer came there because they wouldn't want to go anywhere else, because they couldn't see themselves anywhere else.

I like to think I proved Dave wrong about me, but maybe I was just too stubborn to admit I was wrong. At any rate, I did manage to graduate.

I was never an exceptional student; I don't think people were liable to take notice of me at all at first; I did not contribute over much to the conversation. But at fourteen, or fifteen, or sixteen, or whatever, those decaying buildings on that desperately unhip campus were a second home to me, in an environment where, even if I didn't stand out, people knew who I was and went out of their way to make me feel welcome.

Certainly, I had my bad times at the college; after I graduated in '03, I was pretty bitter because I felt unequipped to handle a world whose values were so utterly different from the ones that I had learned while at Shimer. But that was never a failing of the school, that was a problem with me.

When I first heard the rumors about the move, I was ambivalent; then I sat down and thought about it for a little while.

This was not brought before the community for discussion, Owen. I remember Noah Kippley-Ogman just a month or so ago, telling Tim Johnston not to discuss the proposed move, and that he had no business knowing about it. We were told, all of us, by Noah that any discussion or mention at all of the proposed move was, and I qoute:

"...highly inappropriate.

"No descisions have been made, none will be made until it is appropriate to make them and they will be made by appropriate persons (ie, the assembly).

"By choosing to circumvent this process, you're not only demonstrating a complete lack of respect for Shimer's democratic process but also jepordizing the possibility that Shimer may survive at all anywhere.

"Please delete this reply and edit your mood and call me before you do anything rash."

So basically, what Noah chose to tell us, presumably in his capacity as member of the board, was that we ought to shut the hell up until the school told us we could talk.

Well, that's democracy for you, these days.

Now, like most powerless people, and as a disloyal son of Shimer with limited "giving power"--- as Bill Rice so prosaically put it, shortly after he insulted me and every other alum who goes out and works for their (often highly marginal) living by indicating he had already spoken to...what was the word? Our "substantial" alums?---I'm prone to what is perhaps powerless rage, what Bismarck once called "the rage of dreaming sheep".

Of course, even the powerless can influence events, as Tim and I and probably even Bill Rice all know. So Tim and I got together and we wrote an angry letter. I freely admit it was an angry letter, a furious letter, even. I felt then, and I feel now, that it was also justified. Tim and I, though fairly average as Shimer students go, have loved the school, will love the school, love the school now. As far as we could tell, its very existence was being threatened, and those in power had failed to be forthcoming.

Owen, I will stop here for a moment. You seem, as I said, to be a nice, inoffensive guy. But it must be regarded as a monumental failure on the part of each and every one of you on the board to neglect to properly communicate with ANYONE. It was, as Talleyrand said, worse than a crime, it was a blunder. And it was a blunder that has prejudiced many against the very idea of move from the start.

Tim and I sent the letter out to everyone we could think of, from the local papers to the Mayor to anyone else who was anything in Waukegan.

Lo and behold, the city, who we were warned hated us and would try to screw us, was interested in keeping us around. Bill Rice was invited to a meeting with the Mayor, and from what I hear on this very blog, it seems to have gone at least tolerably well.

I don't think you, or Bill Rice, or anyone else on the board is a Bad Guy. But you are all guys who, for all of your brains, for all of the enormous trust reposed in you to do right by the school, have acted very, very stupidly. If the school fails, if it has to move to IIT, if it is assimilated---and it's ridiculous at best to claim that seventy or a hundred people can hope to "corrupt" three thousand or more---if in thirty years there is nothing left but a Frances Shimer Department of Philosophy at IIT, rightly or wrongly, Bill Rice, and you, the members of the board will be blamed: for alienating the students and alumni; for failing to be open and honest; for failing to come to the city of Waukegan first; for failing to do all of these things.

I'm sorry for losing my temper. Ordinarily, I'm too much of a moral coward to express myself. But at times like these, when everything counts so much, when the critical issue is at stake, we must allow ourselves to be overcome by what Clemenceau called "a tempest of action". In the end, we all care about the school. We all hope for a better future for it. My ramblings aside, I think we can at least all agree on that.

Noah Kippley-Ogman said...

Dear Ed,

I’m not one for mincing words, so I’ll be brief.

I said what I said in response to a public announcement of the college’s imminent move to Chicago. The public nature of the announcement, I feel, was premature. I’m still leery of the publicity that the college has gotten in the past weeks. The fact that the announcement was a bald-faced lie was what made me mad.

I wrote things in the heat of temper that I now regret. I apologize for my words contributing to the feeling that this whole thing is garbed in secrecy. I hope that my current actions are making up in some small way for the poor communication that I have used.

Also, I appreciate your condescension to Owen. He is indeed a fairly nice and inoffensive guy. With manners and tact, two things that Owen has that I’m working on, I could have said better things in a better way. With manners and tact, people could be addressed directly rather than through anonymous letters sent through indirect means. With manners and tact, the President and Chair of the Board could have presented this proposal to the community in a better way.

Hell, if we all had manners and tact, we’d be discussing this civilly.

Frankly, I aspire to be like Owen and I hope that the rest of us do too.

Yours truly,

Noah Kippley-Ogman

Owen Brugh said...

First of all, I'm glad to know the letter is actually from. I apologize to Michael for thinking it was from him. I was informed by some other people that such a letter could not possibly have come from him.

Secondly Ed, I didn't mean to offend you if you love Waukegan. I like Waukegan a lot more than some people. But I love my city as much as I love this college, almost as much as I love my wife. Chicago was my first love. I grew up in Chicago. I'm going to raise my children in Chicago. And God willing (or whomever), I will die in Chicago. In all my travels (some, but not as many as I'd like), I have found no other place that has so much variety, beauty and ugliness, compassion and carelessness. It is everything great and horrible about being human. (If you'd like, I can write you a lengthy paper on the historical reasons for this, but I figure you don't really want that.) It isn't soulless. We can agree and disagree on all the points you want, but on this, you frankly don't know what the hell you're talking about. I'm sorry that I take such great offense to this, but when you call my city "soulless," you might as well be saying that about me, because it is that deeply ingrained in my heart. What you have said is the meanest, nastiest, most spiteful thing anyone has ever said about anything I love.

That said, just because I love where I live doesn't mean I dislike where you live. That's faulty logic.

Third, I never told anyone anywhere not to talk about the proposal. A week after I was told, I started talking to the weekend student - my constituents - about it. (By the way, I’ll let them decide how I’m doing. Under the Assmebly Constitution, I believe they have the right to recall me.) If you have an issue with Noah, take it up with him, although I suspect you're taking what he said out of context. In either case, it is a mistake to lump everyone into the same bag.

Fourth, it is hardly insane to think that 70 people can "corrupt" (I prefer "enlighten") thousands. It's actually the only way it happens. All great movements start with a single person having a single idea, then spreading that idea. If what you were saying were true, nothing about the world would ever change, and we would all be the same. That is obviously not the case. If a small group is not able to infect a large group with a truthful idea, then there really is no hope in the world and we might as well all drink the Kool-Aid right now. But when the big ladle comes around, I think I'll pass. I have more faith in the power of an idea.

Fifth, I have never said that this was handled well at the start. It wasn't. There is simply no denying this. We can either let this drive a wedge between us with name-calling and blame, or we can move past it and work together to A) Decide if we even like this idea, and B) Figure out how to improve the school if we stay or avoid potential pitfalls if we don't. Letting this drive the community apart will kill this school quicker than any move ever could. I would like to avoid that. However, I cannot possibly stand by silent as you personally assail people with baseless accusations. The assumptions your letter is built on are just flat wrong.

Sixth, Waukegan was finding out about this before your letter got sent. Sorry. They were going to meet with Bill Rice anyway.

Seventh, you're taking my quote completely out of context. It's intellectually dishonest and shameful. The quote was in response to a comment that this proposal seems to be motivated by a belief that Chicago alone would solve our problems. I responded that, although I like Chicago, the amenities of a big city are not the full motivation for this proposal.


Eighth, you think this wasn't brought before the community for discussion? What the hell do you think we're doing now? Do you have any idea what it is like to be in an environment where all the decisions are made without your input? You don't get to talk about it until it's all over (and I can assure you that this is far from over). Somebody just tells you what to do and how to think about it. Nobody is telling you what to think about it. If they are, take it up with them personally. All I'm asking of you is that you correct your assumptions and re-examine the situation. Personal attacks are unwarranted and counterproductive. Any mistakes that were made were not made out of malice. They were mistakes. I'm terribly sorry that the intrinsic fallibility of humanity is unacceptable to you. There ain't crap I can do about it though. I don't know how to stop being human.

Ninth, your quote of Bill Rice comes, I believe, from his answer to a question I asked him about current donors and their feelings about a potential move. I asked because, without them, our tuition would jump immediately. In a lot of ways, they're paying the bills. Your quote of him is, again, out of context and intellectually dishonest.

And finally, I wish you could stop seeing evil intentions everywhere. It's kind of sad really. I don't know who hurt you, but I'm truly sorry they did. Call me stupid all you want. I don't think you're stupid. I think you’re angry, and you want desperately to have some type of control over the situation. I’ve been there.

Try to get past the anger, the fear and the frustration that you weren't the first to know. (I had similar feeling when I first heard about it, believe me.) Those feelings will only eat you up inside and turn you into a bitter human being.

We all love this school. We all want to see it survive and thrive. Let's work together to make that happen. Stop throwing bombs from the sidelines and join the dialog that is happening right now.

What future do you see for the college? How can we realistically make that happen? Start with an idea, and try to convince me.

Owen Brugh

Inspector Michael D . . . said...

Ed,

Could you or Tim contact the Mayor's office to find out how that meeting went with Bill. Will they make a statement? Will they provide any information? Someone needs to keep an eye out on the Mayor's office. We need to simply know what the City of Waukegan is willing to offer to Shimer in order to make certain that it is on the bargaining table. We have to assume that the decision to relocate has already been made, but that it may be possibly to convince the board to stay.

Michael

mikeyd723 said...

Dear Ed, Noah, and Owen,

I just want to briefly note--as I am sure others might very well be feeling--that reading your exchange makes painfully clear how deeply we all feel about the College. I hope that whatever the sources and causes of the dispute you are airing on the personal level, we can all maintain our focus on the future.

Toward that end, the one thing I would like to say about the content--as opposed to the tone--of the conversation in this thread is my old point about transparency. Going forward, all those who are in a privileged position regarding information--Board members if they do know, but especially the President and Chair of the Board and others close to the process--ought to weigh the unique character of the discursive democracy at Shimer more strongly when deciding when a potential decision has become "serious" or "realistic" enough to share with the College community.

The real sin here, if there was one, was surely not Noah or Owen treading carefully with what they knew some few weeks ago, but with Bill and Young (and maybe a few others) knowing that things were getting "pretty serious" as much as 4 months ago or so. That, it seems to me, is the source of the acrimony I so sadly sense here.

Noah Kippley-Ogman said...

Michael -

Why do you say "We have to assume that the decision to relocate has already been made, but that it may be possibly to convince the board to stay"?

I think that the members of the board who have posted here are clearly as conflicted about the possible move as anyone, and I'd venture to say that the other members of the board are similarly conflicted.

The assembly hasn't yet met to discuss the proposed move. Any decision of the assembly, as has been said several times, will weigh heavily on a decision of the board - a board without a college couldn't very well move anywhere.

Nu? I'm confused as to what your intent here is.

Noah

Edward McEneely said...

Dear Owen,

At the risk of prolonging an acrimonious debate, I will quickly (I hope) respond to a few of your statements.

First off, I'm sorry if I hurt you with my comments about Chicago, although I stand by them. I think it's safe to say that I feel about Waukegan the way you feel about Chicago, and leave it at that. If it's any consolation then, we've equally hurt each other, intentionally or not. Like you with Chicago, however, I don't think Waukegan will necessarily always be the answer for Shimer, but right now I think it's a a darn sight better than the alternative.

Secondly, I will cheerfully furnish a link to Noah's original post, as it still exists on livejournal.

http://www.livejournal.com/
users/nexusandroidsix/16299.html

I apologize for the line break, but otherwise it doesn't show properly.

Keep in mind that for many, this was the first nerws of the proposed move we'd heard. As Noah has already apologized for what may or may not have been a poor way of putting things, I don't really see a need to dwell upon it, but it's nice when we all have the same source material, my purported intellectual dishonesty aside.

In response to your fourth point, with respect, I think there's a difference between an idea being promulgated in the way you describe and an ideology being promulgated into a large, ossified institutional culture. IIT isn't Imperial Rome or Moghul India, it's a school whose promtional material would be advertising us to students that interest them.

At least, that's my understanding.

I must concur, if not that my letter was wrong, it was certainly inflammatory. It was intended to be. That is, if we're both speaking of the letter circulated low and high throughout Waukegan, at any rate. I have spoken to a number of other alums who expressed similar feelings and frustrations, so I feel justified in sending it.

If Waukegan did or did not know about the proposed move, we'll have to disagree; at least, I must respectfully decline to accept your statement without further knowledge which presumably you have and I do not.

Owen, I will forgive you for asking me: "have any idea what it is like to be in an environment where all the decisions are made without your input?" We don't know each other personally, and while the story is not particularly germaine to the discussion at hand, I think it's pretty safe to say I have a pretty good idea of what that feels like.

And, I will go further, Owen, to say that in the opening stages, it did feel like that was the case, and things did seem to be out of control, and I was hearing, from sources working for the school, that the decision had already been made. Now, whether or not these were irresponsible rumors, in the absence of any hard information, it was all I had to go on. And it certainly seemed that things were going that way.

I find it heartening now, after the alumni meeting, to discover that things are much more up in the air than they seemed. I'm glad of it. I'm glad that however awkwardly and haltingly, we are having a dialogue. I'm glad we're committed to Shimer, that we all love Shimer. What else but love could make us treat each other so badly?

As for Bill Rice, unlike many alums and students I have spoken to, I actually like the man. But many people, myself included, were a little offended by the way he referred to donors, compared to (presumably) us little people. Now, I realize that's a hard fact; the school needs money. I know I don't have any. I know that we need those alums who do have money to give it to us. But Bill didn't do himself any favors by putting it that way. I will add he used phrases in that vein several times, and I must disagree than my usage was "intellectually dishonest".

Finally, I don't see evil intentions anywhere at present, although I confess initially, I did. I simply see a monumental failure of communications and I'm very, very frustrated by the accelerated timetable. I don't think you or anyone else involved in the decision is stupid. I realize the weight that's on your shoulders, the pressure that Bill Rice is facing. I agree, we should think of mistakes "only to rectify them," but what cannot be ingnored is how prejudiced many students (and I do not disassociate myself from them) feel towards the move, in many cases almost soley due to the way this has been handled or perceived to be handled.

Now, I can't speak for the weekend students; perhaps they've been well informed all along, and in that case, let me be the first to salute you. But if that's the case, they must be the only ones, and they sure as hell haven't cast too much light on the situation that I can see. But I like to think that's because you were able to put it to them in a way that made them feel able to sit down and think it over, rather than running up the Union Jack and running out the guns.

I'm sorry you feel I've been throwing nothing but bombs from the sidelines. I feel I asked important questions, or at least a few not-entirely-mediocre ones, at the alumni meeting. Despite your accusations, I've tried to base my statements in the realm of fact; I'm sorry you feel I have been unable to do so.

Laura Hewitt said...

Noah and Owen---
Me and my anecdotes again.

Was I wrong in assuming that when you, Noah, e-mailed me and told me it was imperative not to speak of this to anyone (too late, I had asked a friend of mine who spoke to faculty if the rumor that we were closing had any merit--- he said it hadn't, and we were just "looking at alternatives"), I assumed I was being asked not to speak of this to anyone. I e-mailed you back and asked if I might pass on your response to my question to people who had told me the school was closing (or merging with ITT, a very different institution than IIT). You didn't respond. I e-mailed you again. No response. I asked you in response to your lj comment. Technically, I am still forbidden to speak of this.

I, myself, believe the board members who say they are undecided. However, Bill Rice anmd Young Kim have both made statements that sound like "all the alums of substance are behind it," (a statement I believe not 100 % accurate--- I would like to ask Barry Carroll his opinioon directly, as he seemed somewhat undecided at the meeting) and I understand that family members of alumni were contacted (before alumni themselves) saying that the school was moving, and that they needed money for it. I realize that getting people to think of things as if they are destiny manifest (to coin a phrase) is a common business sales tactic--- but the general feeling seems to be that even if the board has not made up its mind, this is something that is happening anyway.

I apologize if I am being rude or inflammatory, but, hell, we're Socratics, here, and that means gadflies...

D. R. Koukal said...

Let's keep our eye on the ball, people.

I wouldn't expect Waukegan to be in any position to "financially support" the College. It has its own problems, one of which is figuring out ways to reinvent its downtown. But I think Shimer is viewed as a part of that plan, so perhaps we could get some kind of tax incentive to stay in Waukegan?