Division, Social Isolation To Blame for Lack of Campus Political Activity

To the editors,

Recently, The Oberlin Review published an article titled “Lack of Local Political Opportunity May Disenchant Prospective Students,” which discussed the political atmosphere of Oberlin and the surrounding area. The author also wrote about the difficulties they faced in finding opportunities for political involvement on campus. They cited the recent downfall of the Oberlin College Democrats as a possible contributor to this lack of opportunity. 

I have found that this is not due to a shortage of passion for political involvement from students or staff, or from the absence of infrastructure and resources. Instead, perhaps intense political division, years of unpredictable events, and social isolation have weighed heavily on Oberlin’s population, leading to a decrease in political activity as a result of the burnout and emotional exhaustion.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, Oberlin’s campus has been able to recover and flourish in many ways. I have seen many beautiful examples of activism on this campus and hope that it only increases in level of participation and frequency. In this spirit, I believe the revival of a group that provides similar opportunities to the ones OC Dems once did is essential to increase political engagement and activism on campus. 

In the past, some found the OC Dems’ association with the Democratic party to be a reason that Oberlin students felt disengaged with the group, yet the nonpartisan roles that the group filled are still of great interest to many students. These included voter registration, information campaigns regarding elections and issues on the ballot, and hosting candidate events such as debates and Q&As. These services and events are essential to this campus, especially as students from outside Ohio — who may not be aware of the issues faced by residents of the City of Oberlin, Lorain County, and the state of Ohio — register to vote in hopes of having their voice heard.