KHC Continues To Operate After OSCA Separation

Rachel Sacks

Although there was considerable dissent from KHC members when they discovered last semester that KHC would no longer be an OSCA member, some are now able to find a silver lining to the departure.

“I think it was ultimately good because the co-op wanted out last year,” said Samia Mansour OC ’10, the Senior Jewish Life Intern. “In the past there have been continuous issues with the way that kashrut interacts with OSCA policies, and that was a big part of the issue last year. The OSCA health inspector wanted to be able to have access to the co-op anytime they wanted to get in the space, with or without someone from Kosher-Halal being there, which compromises the integrity of kashrut.”

KHC is no longer supervised by OSCA health inspection, and instead is inspected by the Lorain County Health Department through Campus Dining Services.

“It’s just a better system for us,” Mansour said.

Contrary to popular belief, this change in management did not result in CDS funding the co-op. According to Michele Gross, Director of Dining Services and OSCA liaison for Housing KHC will continue to “run financially basically the same way OSCA [is],” said and Dining.

“They’ll collect the fees from the students and then they’ll pay their bills. In the sense that Oberlin owns the co-op buildings and all the equipment, Oberlin owns KHC and all the equipment. Oberlin has a financial connection to any kitchen. If Fairchild gets a new stove, Oberlin buys it, not the co-op. But what you run as your co-op, buying your food, buying your cleaning solution for the floors, all of that you pay for from the money that you’ve paid OSCA.”

Conservatory junior Sivan Silver-Swartz, the current Dining Loose Ends Coordinator of KHC, admits that the split from OSCA has been isolating.

“It’s kind of frustrating,” he explained. “It was nice to be part of the co-op dining system in Oberlin, and it kind of doesn’t make sense that we’re not in that organization, since we’re a dining co-op and we do things pretty much exactly like OSCA does.”

Although preparing to separate itself from the cooperative system, KHC still continues to operate much like other co-ops in the association.

“In terms of everyday functions [KHC] is pretty much the same,” Mansour said. “It’s still set up like an OSCA co-op. They still have all the same sort[s] of positions and jobs and it runs the same way. We have DLECs and Cleanliness Coordinators … all the same jobs that we had last year.”

Still, some things have changed. The co-op has eliminated the positions of Board Representatives and has added a Membership Secretary.

“We sort of have to do our own advertisement and recruitment because we’re not part of OSCA,” Mansour noted.

Because of their newly independent status, students who apply through OSCA to dine in a co-op can no longer be placed into KHC through the waitlist. Additionally, while KHC was part of OSCA, students who preferred to be in other co-ops might be placed into KHC and end up remaining there for many semesters.

“That’s what happened to quite a lot of past members,” said Silver-Swartz.

“Right now, we’re under capacity which is a problem,” Silver-Swartz said. Although members currently put five hours a week into working at the co-op, KHC still struggles to fill its work chart, and fewer members are trained to be a head cook. Despite these difficulties, the co-op continues to function with very few canceled meals.

In terms of its members, the small group remains fairly diverse. “There’s no place in the United States — and I think the world — where you have Kosher-Halal, a place where Muslims and Jews can come together and eat,” said Halal Rabbi Shimon Brand. “This is really important for Oberlin — it’s a space where you could be religious, but its not about religion. It means that people can come together as people. What it does is allow for the kind of interaction of a group of people that normally may not find their way together.” While the co-op prioritizes dietary restrictions, the limited number of members allows it to admit anyone who wishes to be part of the co-op, which, even after complete separation from OSCA, will continue to function much as before.