Cohesion Critical for Oberlin Community

To the Editors:

This has been a difficult week on the Oberlin campus and for the alumni community, specifically because of the election results and the process itself, the student arrests arising from an incident at Gibson’s and now the dismissal of Dr. Joy Karega. As the Executive Committee of the Alumni Association, and given the quick turnaround required to get this to press, we feel individually compelled to respond to the community.

People are divided in their opinions, reactions and feelings, all of which are valid, important and deserve to be heard.

The outcomes of existing laws, structures and governance processes do not necessarily yield results with which everyone can feel happy and supportive. We differ. We agree. We struggle. We are deeply troubled.

As we deal with these issues individually and as a community, we do not condone disrespectful or threatening behavior of any type and trust that the community will show civility and respect for one another as issues are confronted. We are one Oberlin community and now, more than ever, finding a way toward cohesion is the key to our success.

There are and will continue to be multiple viewpoints on the same issue. We believe that authentic dialogue recognizes that being different does not imply being wrong.

We condemn any action designed to suppress open expression of opinion, constrain peaceful dialogue or intimidate our students or the community.

We support the right of Oberlin students to challenge propositions with which they disagree and to search for meaning. This is at the very core of Oberlin values.

Officers of the Oberlin Alumni Association:

– Lorri Olán, OC ’87, President
– Carol Levine, OC ’84, President-Elect
– Bálint Gergely, OC ’00, Secretary