Position Statement: Shimer College can be Shimer College somewhere else, but Shimer College can't be Shimer College at IIT.
1. Take a position on whether you are for or against relocating to IIT. This is the fundamental task in argumentation, and this is an argument, not a discussion.
2. You have to be prepared to doubt the claims of even people that you are fond of or used to respecting.
3. If this is an argument, the decision to relocate has already been made; the board may, on the other hand, change its mind, if it is persuaded that the risk in relocating is too great or that there are greater benefits in staying. You may choose to disagree with its always already existing decision; you may choose to not buy into the relocation.
4. This isn't a proposal. A proposal is defined in the dictionary as "an act of putting forward or stating something for consideration." This move has already been considered for many months before anouncing the decision. There are two ways of treating a proposal. 1) You propose something which will be decided by shared consensus; 2) you decide whether you accept the already existing proposal. In this case, if this is a proposal, which I don't think that it is, we are dealing with a proposal in the latter meaning of the term.
5. If the board and the administration are not prepared to honor the decision of the assembly, the assembly is a hoax. This does not mean that it won't occur or that it may not matter. That all depends on the motives of the board and information that we are not fully aware of. But if the board and administration are not prepared to honor the decision of the assembly, then the assembly is being used as the means of creating the illusion of Democracy and Dialogue (which used to be the Core Values of Shimer College) and the appearance that the Final Decision has not already been made. This would explain why there was such strong resistance to even having an assembly meet upon this issue.
6. Resist the insidious problematization of the Beauty of Shimer College (for example, the production of the perception of an ugly campus through the rhetoric of the "Beautify Shimer" campaign) that we all fell in love with for its Simple and Honest Virtues and with what will most likely be very strong argumentation and rhetoric to sell you on moving to IIT and staying with the "remains" of the Shimer College that we once loved.
7. It is not un-Shimerian to disagree with the move to IIT. It may be more Shimerian to decide to remain in Waukegan, if you believe in the fragile beauty (like the glass unicorn in Eileen's theatrical production of The Glass Menagerie) of the cozy campus, if you believe in an authentic "good-faith" assembly and proposal, if you believe in dialogue as the means of conducting the business of the College, if you believe that Shimer College deserves a more beautiful home than the lease at IIT, if you believe that Shimer College is selling out its Ethos and Values in these shenanigans, if you believe that the dynamics of the discussion groups that we work so hard to cultivate will be compromised by students from IIT who are not fully invested into the purpose of achieving an excellent great books discussion group.
8. A decision is defined in the dictionary as "a determination arrived at after consideration." In a discussion, a decison about a proposal is arrived at by shared consensus. In an argument, you begin the proposal with a decision. The proposal to move to IIT is technically a decision to do something that was not brought to the attention of the students before determination of the proposal had been made. But, in order to qualify my argumentation, this does not mean that the board may not still make a decision to withdraw its initial decision or arrive at a different decision. On the other hand, the decision to persuade students to accept the proposal means that the board and administration are still arguing for a specific decision, the determination by the board and administration, and not necessarily the students and alums, that relocating the current students to IIT is the Final Solution to the Final Problem (why is it the only "real" problem?) of moving Shimer College to IIT.
9. If you know for a fact, deep in your bones, in the full truth of your being, that you will not relocate to Shimer College if it moves to IIT, gather signatures and present it to the assembly or the board for their re-consideration of a possibly fatal blow to the Real Shimer College (which is the Platonic Form that is our community's vision of Shimer College) with the True Shimerians (not the students who will most likely be paying for great books classes in order to merely fulfill their liberal arts requirements).
10. Will the board honor the decision of the assembly not to relocate to IIT, if the board and administration do not successfully persuade the assembly of its position?
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2 months ago