Sunday, December 04, 2005

Request for Focus

I don't want to offend anyone but this is a blog whose purpose is listed in the Title banner. It really is not meant for you to post general Shimer information. This blog is about the move specifically.

Also, sarcasm does not carry well in this context.

Basically, this is the kind of thing that weighs dialogue down. It really does not help the dialogue to be interupted by people saying hello or unclear posts about "Hoaxes".

Can we please attempt to focus on the discussion for those of us who do not have time to drive up to Waukegan and visit the campus on a regular basis.

This is important to me. I am divorced, I have two children, 3 Jobs and two bands that I am hustling to combine into a healthy paycheck. My time is important to me.

I really and truly care if this is a scam to get Shimers Property in Waukegan or to shut down the school by trying to make it live up to standards that it cannnot-- namely high enrollment requirements and leasing costs at IIT. These are problems we do not currently have.

Consider this: This is not a dialogue where we consider various solutions for the problem of low enrollment because the move is on the table and a decision must be made soon. Therefore what is on the table are all arguments supporting assigning faculty to that campus, the signing of a contract with IIT, and the selling of property. The backdrop of course is the question of the boards willingnes to use the power it obviously has in spite of oposition to a decision that some board members do not remember hearing about much less voting on.

I am troubled by the rhetoric from all those who think that the students, faculty and alum do not deserve an explanation as to why Bill Rice did not present this in a more formal fashion. Did he in fact post on here as someone else to test our integrity?? What would have been the point of that?

The facts are that the political climate today is full of merger and take overs. This is so prevelant in our society that it is seen by many as a secure business move. Cheat your employees and dumb down the working class so that you can pay them less. The connection to Shimer is that we have leaders acting and it is not clear that it is the best interest of the school.

This is what is known as a social fact. Just read your newspapers or talk to someone who has been layed off like me. The lies people are told across corporations is so similar that management sounds like a bunch of parrots. And believe me -- the voice of reason is always there. It keeps saying trust your betters and it criticizes anyone who asks a question.

Don't bother knocking my post. Just produce some real statistics. Don't worry about what anyone thinks just give us your argument for the move and defend your stance. I don't care what others think I will make my own decision based on the facts.

Right now all I see is a smokescreen of whining and supposition. Pretty shameful for Shimerians.

And before you write it down. I am not accusing or insiting anything. I am asking that we focus on answering the questions honestly with verifiable data.

P.S. Mr. Dubinsky please consider a call for a clear and concise explanation of your post.

1.) Are you saying that Bill Rice misrepresented himself on this blog and if so, given the fact that this sort of thing is common place on the internet, what of it? Make your point, please.


Snorey said...

A. Just to mention, anyone wanting to post general Shimer-community information, or even disinformation, is welcome to do so on

B. I haven't seen many strong pro-move arguments, but a lot of people considering that the move might be a good idea. The most readily quantifiable justification is the cost of upgrading the physical plant in Waukegan -- it seems that the present campus, however much we love it, may be more of a liability than an asset. Aside from that, there is a lot of sincere but not-directly-supported hope that a change of location would result in better enrolment and retention. And various reasons why the Chicago location would not be massively worse than Waukegan. Do these add up to a good argument for the move? I'm still not sure. Being in Korea, I'm even further out of the loop than you.

Noah Kippley-Ogman said...

As someone in Waukegan and supposedly "in the loop" as much as anyone can hope to be, I have a couple of quick things to say.

First, this is no hoax - there is an actual opportunity to move most of Shimer's operations to the IIT campus. The manner of doing that seems to be all at once, and next fall, but there is some talk of doing a pilot program first.

As far as I know, neither the President nor the Chair of the board has posted here. I can count four-ish members of the board who have posted here, including myself. None of us speak for either the President or the Chair.

I appologize for my sarcasm - it is, as you say, unacceptable.

And, one final thing, even in my being on campus at least three days a week and living half a block away and being on a committee or two and not having any other time-consuming activities in particular (unless you count class-work and a thesis), I feel out of the loop most of the time as well. I imagine that even those on the planning group feel as though they don't know nearly enough.

I hope that when the Executive Committee of the Board (including a faculty member - there's no overlord who we don't know and talk to on a daily basis) meets on, I think, the 6th to discuss, I think, money things (don't quote me on that) and when David disseminates the information and concerns that he and the Self-Study group are collecting and when I get out the responses to the survey I'm conducting, we'll all feel more in whatever loop there is.

All this should be disseminated on the 9th of December, a Friday. But, again, I won't be doing that disseminating so I can't say how and to whom.


Inspector Michael D . . . said...

If you doubt that the President of Shimer College has written in the name of "Noah" or "Owen," I would just ask you to do a careful, close reading of "a few thoughts" and "Vision" as if you were reading a difficult text for a Shimer College discussion and ask yourself would a student write in that manner; pause at certain peculiar statements and consider if it would be an appropriate statement for a college student to make.

If you decide that "a few thoughts" and "Vision" are still written by college students after you have completed your close reading, then I respect your judgement, but I ask that you respect my position that "a few thoughts" and "Vision" are written by the President of Shimer College.

Michael Dubensky

Snorey said...

Really, Michael... I had assumed your claim to be an angry joke, but if you were serious, I recommend that you take a stress pill and think things over.

I have certainly known students who would write like that. In fact, in a few of my better moments I have written like that. I'm sure either post could have been written by Bill R., or by any of the other 6 billion people who are neither Noah nor Owen. However, lacking any actual evidence, I see no reason to assume bad faith.


Sam Henderson

Inspector Michael D . . . said...


What allows you to make a statement like "I recommend that you take a stress pill?" Is it because I am an alum, an ordinary person? Have I made any "rude" statements about anyone?

Why can't I treat this proposal as an argument and not a discussion and raise questions, doubt the claims (not the people), take positions, make interpretations, perform a close reading, create formal arguments, and ask for textual support or evidence, while still having respect for all the major players, who I still like and admire?

Why can't the administration simply post the lease agreement for the space or some documents from IIT and clarify the basic question "is there in fact an opportunity to relocate to IIT," which I asked for the sake of evidence, and also because I am treating this and interpreting this as if it were an argument, in exactly the same manner that one of my essays would have been treated and interpreted by a faculty member?

Michael Dubensky

Saradevil said...

Since there is a particular line of questioning out there right now that is starting to really stir my ire I’m going to address it with the limited time I have.

Essentially it has been asked several times by various people here to “post some evidence about the opportunity to move to IIT”. This is not an invalid question, and I believe it has been addressed, in the same way that evidence or support against the move has been posted and addressed. If however, those arguing for evidence simply must see the lease then there is little I can do, as at this time that information is not available. However evidence supporting the fact that the move exists, and that the move might even be a viable option for the school have certainly been released.

Before I go further into my argument I will restate my position on it for clarity. I’m not falling all over myself about this move. I do feel Shimer needs help, I’ll admit that Shimer needs options, but I don’t know that moving at this time will help the school more then staying in Waukegan. There are pros and cons to both sides of this argument, many of which have been expounded upon here. However, at this time I simply wish to address the issue being raised that there is no “evidence” to support that the move is actually happening, or at least evidence that shows the discussion of the move is in fact true enough.

First, while I do not always believe everything I read in the paper, I feel that the following article is certainly evidence that the move is under consideration and could be taken as evidence that the move is a valid and true fact that is being considered: "IIT invited Shimer to its campus at 3300 S. Federal St., and college officials say they will decide by January whether to accept the offer" (Bell, 2005, para. 1). Also,

"Shimer College has been in discussions with IIT concerning the possibility of relocating our undergraduate programs, with the possibility of maintaining some operations in Waukegan," said Rice, adding that talks have been under way "since mid-October."
(Moran, 2005, para. 1-2)

In effect, it has been reported by at least two different news agencies that Shimer is in fact considering the move. In the second source above the issue is addressed directly by Bill Rice, president of the college. While there are certainly times when one might choose not to trust everything one reads in the paper, I feel reticent to assume bad faith on the part of journalists when it comes to reporting on a small oft unheard of College in Northern Illinois.

Secondly, the issue has been addressed directly by the school via electronic media. I have not received any printed media, but I do live in Korea which could explain that. However, further evidence to show that the proposed move does in fact exist and has been presented via the electronic form. In a press release from Shimer available at the college website (2005) it states very clearly:

Shimer College confirmed today that it is in discussions with the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) to lease space and transfer most operations to the main IIT campus in Chicago. President William Craig Rice said the College has been in conversation over the past several months with the IIT leadership over the viability of a downtown presence for Shimer College. According to Rice, the proposal now under discussion would not be a complete relocation. "We would expect to continue to offer certain programs in Waukegan," he said.
("Shimer College", 2005, para. 1)

More evidence to support that the existence of a move proposal is taking place has been presented via the electronic medium directly from the school, such as the following in a letter from Janet Scarbilis to alumni within her reach,

As some of you already know, Shimer College has been invited by the Illinois Institute of Technology - -- to relocate operations (most, if not all) to its campus in Chicago. The College is currently considering this invitation. (Scarbalis, 2005, para. 1)

From these rather concrete sources one can determine that the proposed move is both legitimate in thought and being presented to students as alumni as a way to generate thoughts, opinions and further information on the subject. And while this evidence that the proposed move is happening certainly exists there is further anecdotal evidence to support that the move is happening.

First, there is the wonderful retelling by Sarah Kimmel, who addressed the issue directly in a face to face meeting with Bill Rice. As she notes:

Last March, Bill was invited to lunch at a club in downtown Chicago by an alum named Ed Jurosec (Bear with my mis-spellings, all this info was verbal). At this meeting were some other alums, whose names I didn’t catch, and the provost of IIT, Alan Myer-son. Myerson explained that IIT is poised to compete with institutions like MIT, CalTech and Carnegie-Melon. However, they lose some of the better students because they lack robust offerings in the humanities and liberal arts that comparable colleges offer. IIT wants to cohabitate with us because we have a strong humanities and liberal arts focus with a high academic pedigree.

IIT is interested in having Shimer lease space from them and open operations on their campus. This is not a merger. Shimer would maintain its academic and financial gov-ernance, while occupying space with IIT. There is another precedent for cohabitation rather than marriage at IIT. IIT currently houses a music college, Vandercook, that has a similar arrangement with them. After this lunch in the loop, the president of IIT, Luke Hollins (maybe Collins), got together with the chairman of the board of Shimer trustees, Young Kim, and they started talking about some specifics. These specifics concerned what we might be willing to put up with, and what would be deal-breakers for us. These talks went on, and nobody was alerted, because they were waiting for some information about how the finances would all work out. After a bit, they got some financial numbers together that they said made it look sufficiently doable that it looked like they could pro-ceed.
(Skimmel, 2005, para. 6-7)

This information came directly in a face to face meeting between Sarah and Bill Rice. I know that Sarah is difficult to lie to and is a fairly good source of information, so while anecdotal, I would certainly say this is further evidence that the move is a serious proposal that exists and is being seriously considered.

Following this there is further anecdotal reports of this proposed move from students and board members who have been kind enough to take time to post to this blog. One example as follows states:

First, this is no hoax - there is an actual opportunity to move most of Shimer's operations to the IIT campus. The manner of doing that seems to be all at once, and next fall, but there is some talk of doing a pilot program first. (Kippley-Ogman, 2005, para. 2)

So, considering the evidence above I would say that the move is very much a real proposal, that it could very well happen, and that the reason for meeting here and discussing this topic is to consider merits on both sides of the issue. It does not help us at this time to doubt the possibility of the proposed move. It also does not help us at this time to say that the proposed move is a done deal, for there is little evidence to support that statement.

In fact one of the biggest supporters of the move has stated very clearly that discussion is still underway Kim said a planning committee is in the process of evaluating the proposal.

“We have a lot of work to do between now and then, including the development of a comprehensive business model," he said. "We are evaluating the space, and we are in discussions with various departments at IIT. This is not a done deal." ("Shimer College", 2005, para. 3)

Others have also stated that minds are not made up. "I have made no decision on the merits of a proposed move." (Shiner, 2005, para. 1) The discussion is still on the table as it should be. The use of this blog as a forum helps to promote that our voices are heard.

I hope now we can say that the proposed move is real and is a possibility, so onto the side show of figuring out what we can and cannot do that might help, support, and benefit the school in whatever way we can.


Bell, B. (2005, November 23). Struggling college may move: Shimer considers relocating to IIT. Chicago Tribune.
Kippley-Ogman, N. (2005, December 4). Noah Kippley-Ogman said.... [Msg.]. Message posted to
Moran, D. (2005, November 19). Shimer studies Chicago move. The News Sun.
Scarbalis, J. (2005, November 11). Shimer's invitation to relocate to the Illinois Institute of Technology. [Msg.]. Message posted to
Skimmel, S. (2005, November 9). The proposed move of Shimer to chicago south side. [Msg.]. Message posted to
Shimer College weighing move to IIT campus in Chicago. (2005). In Shimer college website, news. Retrieved December 2005, 6, from
Shiner, Dan. (2005, December 12). Dan Shiner said.... [Msg.]. Message posted to

Snorey said...

Michael, I think we're all ordinary people here. I am a non-wealthy alum like yourself.

The stress pill thing was just a playful riff on 2001. Didn't mean to cause any more anger.


Sam Henderson, class of 98

D. R. Koukal said...

Excuse any offense, but I can't believe people are spending so much time and energy responding to the absurd "hoax" claim.

I second Bill's emotion--let's focus on the issue at hand. Nothing less than the future of the College is at stake.