Statement Regarding Sheep on Antioch Farm (updated)

UPDATE: September 6, 2019

Last week, we issued the statement below in response to a prolonged campaign Dr. David Nibert concerning sheep on our campus farm, which has resulted in harassment of our students and staff. Unfortunately the situation has escalated.

The Office of the President received a very concerning death threat over the phone.

Staff in the President’s office forwarded the message to Public Safety, who notified Yellow Springs Police. Public Safety and local police, at the College’s request, have increased patrols around campus.

The safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our chief concern. Dr. Nibert’s unrelenting aggression against the College has resulted in a threat that we must take very seriously.

Recently, there has been national attention given to the sheep that are part of our working farm and sustainability education model at Antioch College.

This campaign to damage Antioch College, interfere with the educational process, disrupt our student recruitment efforts, and discredit our excellent reputation for sustainability and ethically sourced nutritional options is led by Dr. David Nibert, a Yellow Springs resident and faculty member at a different area institution.

The campaign led by Nibert—including flooding the campus with email, social media comments, and phone calls—is meant to overwhelm Antioch College until we relent to his demands. There is significant irony in the fact that Nibert, a higher education instructor, is campaigning in such a way that is exactly the opposite of self-direction and thoughtful open-mindedness that institutions of higher education aspire to foster. It is, in fact, anti-education, demonstrating a lack of respect for others, their pursuit of knowledge, and their ability to make informed personal decisions.

His message is “we want you to do what we say you should do” disallowing our ability to think for ourselves and for students to make their own ethical decisions. In fact, the type of tactics employed by Nibert and his supporters are also antithetical to the very core of democracy.

Environmental sustainability is one of our core Areas of Practice at Antioch College. As an AASHE Stars Silver-rated campus, we’re known nationally for our top-performing food and dining and grounds maintenance practices. Our dining hall serves mostly organic food grown on local farms, including our own working farm on campus. Vegan and vegetarian options are an important part of every meal served, along with ethically sourced meat from our farm and other local farms because the majority of our students are omnivores.

Every meal prepared and served at Antioch College is an education, and our Farm is a living laboratory for seeking out ways to sustain our community in harmony with the land. If more colleges, universities, and schools, food service organizations and the hospitality industry in Ohio and across the world adopted similar approaches, the environmental health consequences could only be beneficial.

One of Antioch College’s fundamental values is shared governance which also includes teaching students to make ethical decisions for themselves. This value is central to Antioch College’s mission. Any change to our campus practices can only come from within our community—through our shared governance processes—not from outside pressure led by academics or other organizations with no ties to our College.

We will not be making changes to these programs at this time and we will not concede to the unreasonable, uninformed, and outright hostile acts of Nibert and some of his cohort.