Calling ALL Students (Not Just the Communists)

by Denny Russell

We all know that Antioch University has suffered growing pains in recent years. The university has taken some hits from the media, and as a result, is in constant campaign mode to reverse the damage done. (Our coveted Reaffirmation Campaign is proof enough of that.) At such a crucial time, the feedback from our students is vital for growth. Students are the barometers that reveal our success as an institution, more so than any positive ad campaign.

To that end, I’m pleased to report that a group of Antioch students has gathered diligently each Saturday to discuss campus issues. But I’m also concerned about HOW this group calls for student participation. Meeting signs on campus are adorned with the communist hammer and sickle design, a symbol charged with conflicted meaning and interpretations.

Yes, I understand we have some diehard communists on campus. This piece is not intended to argue political ideologies, nor is it to address the complaints we’ve had regarding the icon. (We’ve had a few.) I’m more concerned that displaying a communist symbol as part of our call for student participation is actually alienating some students from this crucial meeting platform.

All I ask is that we find a way to include ALL students in this conversation. Good intentions aside, a symbol like the hammer and sickle can act as a crude Rorschach test. Viewers will impose their own meaning on such a symbol, and to some, that meaning is negative.

I cannot stress enough how important student participation is to Antioch University. So I’m asking… is there a better way to draw students in to the conversation? Do the members of our Saturday meetings want greater involvement?



  1. Не волнуйтесь, следующую листовку будут представлены фотографии единороги и бабочки, надеюсь никто не будет обижаться на них.

    Join The Student Union.


    1. Denny, this article is disingenuous. You know full well that the Student Union is not a Communist organization, and you know full well that the flyers are tongue in cheek. We have real issues to address, perhaps we could address one of the many issues of more weight than a piece of paper.

      This is not a real issue, this is a charade.


      1. I never claim that your student meetings are Communist. Not once. Nor do I place a value judgment on Communism. My point is that individuals IMPOSE their own values on symbols and objects. You can’t avoid that. In fact, you’ve done that to me here by pigeonholing my post into a Communist witch hunt. You saw what you wanted to, regardless of what’s actually written down.

        Know this; I would have posted the EXACT SAME challenge if you used a red elephant symbol, for example, or a crucifix, or any other symbol that is exclusive. My knowledge that the symbol was a joke DOES NOT carry over to other students on campus. They will impose their own meaning and make their decisions accordingly.

        And regarding the “real issues,” until you learn how to draw larger numbers of students to your meetings, it’ll be the same few people addressing them. Do you really think you’ll influence administration with those small numbers on your side? Good luck.

  2. I really don’t see a few flyers being at the core issue of attendance at student meetings. For one, students have an hour lunch on Saturdays, that’s when we meet. So people have to choose between eating and showing up. Also a number of our students are not on campus on Saturdays.
    For two, we have little communication on campus. There are few venues on which to communicate any event on campus let alone the weekly meetings of the Student Union.

    If you really think it’s the flyers that stop a critical mass event with students from happening, you are failing to understand the structural difficulties students face in organizing. The fact that our president looks to us when trying to communicate with students or look for volunteers is indicative of a systemic failure on the part of the school as a whole to build community.

    The level of isolation that Midwest students face is staggering.


    1. There, you see? Your reaction is not about anything I wrote. It’s about me questioning your strategy. YOU don’t see it as an issue. YOU get the joke of the symbol. And I’m saying… it’s not about YOU. Make it a lowest common denominator ad, not something that resonates with YOU.

      The irony here is that you FINALLY provided some good ideas for another flier. “Students welcome to eat lunch during the meeting.” Or maybe, “Faculty encouraged to attend.” Too bad we had to wade knee deep in personal reaction to criticism before we got here.

      Your critical thinking skills blew up here. And you said some mean things about me to compensate. Hope it was worth it.


      1. Ad hominems. A series of ad hominems. I’m really not seeing anything to address in your last reply.

        Look, your article is built on false pretenses, you infer that the organization is Communist. Worse, you call people die hard communists, failing to distinguish between Marxists and Communists.

        As for your Rorschach test claim, if that were the case I would think your opposition to this flier would apply to similar flyers for The Voice that you approved of. The voice is meant for the whole community, wouldn’t flyers for The Voice function similarly and therefore deserve the same scrutiny from you?

  3. YOU infer that the organization is Communist by using the hammer & sickle. YOU do. I state that Communists are a part of Antioch University campus. I state it directly.

    So it’s okay when Matt uses a Communist image, but when Denny writes about the same thing, it sends a negative message. Daft.


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