September 19, 2020:

We're told the University of Redlands will close our college because the University's accreditation is threatened. The rationale is: the University's average SAT scores are below the borderline, so that rather than continuing the brain drain in which its best students transfer to Johnston, the simple fix is to merge the Johnston population into the University as a whole, raising the University's average SAT numbers in one fell swoop.

I have no idea if this is true. It certainly could be. I do understand the University's problems with accreditation went away soon after. I find it suspicious, though, because it so neatly fits Johnston's endemic narratives of elitism and hostility. Of course they'll kill our school. This is what happens when you're better than them.

Missing from the story is the international context, which is transparent. Johnston was one of a wave of alternative colleges with roughly similar "student-centered" philosophies thrown up at pretty much the same time in France, Germany, the U.S. and elsewhere. Like the co-ops and collectives at UCSD these schools were one form in which the gains of the '60s movements were institutionalized. Unlike UCSD they were weak. All were closed at roughly the same moment, the triumph of Neoliberalism personified by Reagan, Thatcher, Giscard et. al. at the end of the 1970s. They all lasted roughly ten years and were all killed, ultimately, for similar reasons: the re-imposition of control from "above" over forms of self-determination which had threatened to become dangerous.

Also missing is the Johnston faculty's first move, led, in my perception, by the two ironic poseurs. Now freed from a central constraint of Johnston's philosophy they applied for tenure at the University, and received it. Yay! Careers secured. Big fish in an almost infinitesimally small pond.