Review Unintentionally Misrepresents History of Student Activism

To the Editors:

In the Oct. 27 edition of The Oberlin Review, it was implied that I began the student representatives initiative recently rejected by the board (“Trustees Reject Proposal for Student Representative,” Oct. 27, 2017). This narrative is understandable, given the time and word-count restraints on student reporters, but is unintentionally misleading. It is incorrect to credit me with initiating the pursuit of student representation at the highest level of Oberlin governance, or for coming up with the idea. Student representation was a demand developed internally by Defending Oberlin Financial Accessibility during their 2014–2015 organizing against proposed financial aid changes. In July 2015, after a trustee’s hedge fund was charged with fraud by the Security and Exchange Commission (“SEC Reaches Settlement with Trustee Charged with Fraud,” Sept. 4, 2015), discussions between DOFA, the Responsible Investment Organization, and student senators reached an understanding to collaboratively pursue student representation. Student members of the Steering Committee became involved that fall, and after that school year I sent the public letter to the board. The push for student representatives has been going on for nearly three years. If students wish to achieve long-term influence at Oberlin, they should understand the extent to which this was a campaign planned for the long haul, not a sudden expression of dissatisfaction with the direction of the school. However frustrating the various iterations of that campaign have been, students have been racking up successes. They shouldn’t stop now.

Jeremy Poe
Double-degree Fifth-year,
Student Senator 2015–2016