Thursday, January 19, 2006

City Response

I received this today. He followed with a phone call at 8:30 this morning because he just couldn't believe it and was very passionate and emotional about the decision. He wants to make it clear that they will keep the door open for Shimer to return to Waukegan. There is a Shimer Two idea waiting to happen.
The email follows:

Hi Katie. Sorry I did not respond earlier to your email. I appreciate your kind comments.
I have received other messages (I have never blogged before!) and thought it interesting that so many of you share the feelings about Waukegan.......if only the new Board and new President had bothered to survey the students and alumni when they took control this would never have happened. Sad that the leaders of an instituion like Shimer - who espouses open communication and discussion - went "back door" in doing this deal. Shame on them.
You have followed the story. Unfortunately, we received the official word yesterday that they were taking the college to the south side of Chicago. The offer we put together of moving the facilites to the historic Karcher Hotel was a fantastic one and would have kept the "community" of Shimer intact. It is our feeling that some donor probably dangled a bunch of money for Kim and Rice to endorse this move. Again, if that is the case, it flies in the face of what Shimer is about....Waukegan did appreciate your presence and I personally feel that the kids who come to Shimer will be poorer for the experience in not being able to freely (and safely) walk and live in Waukegan. The IIT location is in a pretty shabby part of Chicago (as you well know). We will miss the kids presence and contributions made to Waukegan.
I would be interested to know - if anyone from the Board will actually admit it - if a single donor had the power to make Shimer pull up stakes. Hope that you and your fellow alumni can find out. We will never hear from Rice or Kim directly, that I know. Take care!


Auntie Lolo said...

Wait, wait, wait! Whoa, there!

Now, although I hope that I may someday be called a supporter of the college, I myself have found it terribly difficult to support the move to Chicago. And although I have personally enjoyed chatting with Mr. Kim, Mr. Rice has struck me as if he would have preferred to use salad tongs to shake my hand. But I would stake my life, my degree, and my relationship with all those I hold most dear in, all my troth sacred and secret on this:

I have at least met many of the members of the board. I tell you three times:

There is not a donation on earth big enough to make ONE of them act against Shimer's best interests.

Not Bill Rice. Not Young Kim. Not Owen Brockway. And most CERTAINLY not Noah, not Jim, not John. My God. Who can believe that Jim would sit still for this?

I cannot believe that anyone who has interacted with a member of Shimer's board for any significant time can believe that they might value monetary gain over Shimer's security.

I certainly hope that I have misinterpreted the above. I am so angry my teeth are chattering.

Please tell me this is a joke.

Laura H.

Katie Harrell said...

nope. no joke. i stared at it for quite some time myself. although i can't say much for the reasoning, i sincerely understand the feeling of being left out and left behind in the negotiations, no matter how active i was in speaking with others. we weren't in that room when the options were dissected for five hours. we don't know if we lost by a hair or never had a chance. i've certainly had my suspicions of the secretiveness of the whole thing (mostly back in november/december)and so does he. the city found out too late and scrambled to come up with an offer. they offered what they could with so little time and he feels like shimer listened politely but had the details of a pre-made decision locked in a closet somewhere. he's hurt. a lot of us are. people say stupid things when they're tired of being polite and just plain tired. yesterday in an exhale of sweet smelling smoke i heard "fuck shimer". and i sat there, not wanting to dialogue at all.

D. R. Koukal said...

I doubt that the phrase "some donor probably dangled a bunch of money for Kim and Rice to endorse this move," denotes some kind of unseemly pay-off for personal gain. I assumed the poster simply meant that someone was making a significant donation contingent on the move to Chicago. Dave Shiner said as much in his “Choosing Our Future.”

I have to say that I'm incredibly sad for Waukegan. I have very little doubt that the school will eventually sell all its Waukegan properties and move everything, lock, stock and barrel to the South Side. I can’t imagine how the College could possibly afford to maintain facilities in both cities.

As I’ve said before, I’m deeply anxious about the future of the College. In all that I've read in the press releases and "official" announcements, I've seen nothing that will account for this expected infusion of funds and students. Right now I'm hanging on to the desperate hope that the Board made its decision based on more evidence than was made available to the general community.

Also, with Auntie Lolo, I’m assuming that there are enough people on the Board with the best interests of the College at heart, and that they must think this is somehow workable or they wouldn’t have approved it (though of course we have no idea what the final vote was).

At any rate, I’ll continue to support Shimer until the College either closes or is not longer recognizable to me.