The Oberlin Review

Comprehensive Evaluation Essential For Academic Success

Daphne John, Bill Quillen, and Ross Peacock

March 30, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: Every 10 years, Oberlin College is formally reviewed by our accreditor, The Higher Learning Commission. A successful review is necessary to award accredited degrees, thereby demonstrating quality and maintaining good standing with the U.S. Department of Education and Oberlin’s eligibility for federal financial aid funds. The HLC reviews Oberlin as a single institution and assesses formal educational activities, governance and administration, financial integrity, student services and resources, academic achievement, organizational effectiveness, and relationships with outside constituencies. A team of faculty and administrators has been preparing for the actual site visit on Oct. 15, 2018 conducted by a...

Publication of Numerous Articles Attempts to Censor Conversation

Jonathan Karpatkin

March 30, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: By publishing no fewer than three responses to Jacob Britton’s letter on AR-15s, The Oberlin Review showed that its interest is not in dialogue but in punishment for holding dissenting opinions. The commentary by the two editors of the Review in particular is built on straw horses and unfinished arguments. When Roman Broszkowski and Julia Peterson write about grenades, they twist Britton’s argument. They jump from arguing about the individual right to bear arms as established by District of Columbia v. Heller to attacking the stance that all weapons should be legal, a stance which Britton does not take. Grenades aren’t firearms, nor AR-15s, nor have they been used prolifically in mass violence. Bri...

Britton’s Argument Collapses Under Scrutiny

Jade Schiff

March 9, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

Editorial To the Editors: Jacob Britton’s argument about the Founding Fathers and AR-15s is bold and contrarian, and I admire him for having the courage of his convictions. However, his argument does not stand up logically or empirically. At a time when American politics is infected from the top down by disdain for truth and reason, such deficiencies cannot go unanswered. Britton writes: “The Supreme Court interprets original Constitutional amendments in the historical context of the Founders.” This statement conflates the two dominant modes of judicial interpretation: originalism and contextualism. According to the first, what matters is the intent the Founders. According to the second, interpretation is determi...

Founding Fathers Would Approve of AR-15 Sales

Jacob Britton

March 2, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: This letter is a response to the op-ed by Booker C. Peek regarding AR-15s and Constitutional law (“Constitution Does Not Automatically Permit AR-15s,” The Oberlin Review, Feb. 23, 2018). Toward the beginning of their case, Peek briefly reflects on the tragic mass shooting in Florida. As someone who was born and raised in Florida, I certainly share my condolences with the families of the victims, and I understand why many people are pushing for gun legislation and Constitutional amendments on assault weapons. As a person who shares Peek’s sympathy for the victims of mass shootings, I think it is important to also use those feelings to properly assess solutions while preserving Constitutional law. K...

Constitution Does Not Automatically Permit AR-15s

Booker C. Peek

February 23, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: The AR-15 must be banned. Like the M-16 used in Vietnam by our military, the AR-15 was designed to kill as many enemy soldiers as possible with the greatest ease and efficiency. Some argued fiercely in the ’60s that the AR-15 should have been our weapon of choice on the battlefield, not the M-16. Today, the M-16 is not available to the public, but the AR-15 is. It has been the ideal weapon for mass killings and was used in Florida a week ago to slaughter 17 of the brightest lights for our future: those high-school students and young teachers just moments before their school day was to end. Instead, their lives ended. In 2008, the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the most revered co...

Interaction Outside Classroom Not Always Abusive

Louise Edwards

February 16, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: On Feb. 9, 2018, The Oberlin Review published Emily Clarke’s Letter to the Editors (“Matambo’s Mentorship Lacked Boundaries”), which describes interactions that Clarke had with former professor of Creative Writing Bernard Farai Matambo. Matambo recently resigned from Oberlin College due to sexual misconduct allegations. From Clarke’s perspective, the interactions described in the letter made their student-teacher relationship “insidious.” I understand that all of Matambo’s students had different experiences with him; however, to me, the actions described in the third paragraph of Clarke’s letter do not seem like boundaries crossed, with the exception of showing up to Clarke’s house at 1...

Creative Writing Program Unfairly Accused

Milena Williamson

February 9, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

On Dec. 1, The Oberlin Review broke the news of allegations against Professor Bernard Matambo (“Matambo Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations,” Dec. 1, 2017). The Review followed up with an editorial on the importance of preventing sexual misconduct (“Oberlin Faculty, Administration Must Be Active in Preventing Sexual Misconduct,” Dec. 8, 2017). It is this editorial that I am responding to now. I firmly believe that Oberlin faculty and staff should do everything in their power to protect students from sexual misconduct. I also want to address the problematic statements that were presented in this editorial by the Review. The editorial demonstrated unethical journalism through the implication that other profes...

Film Screening Commemorates Indigenous Women

Jean Foggo Simon

February 9, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: The Indigenous Peoples’ Day Committee will sponsor the movie For the Next 7 Generations at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15 at the Oberlin Public Library. It takes viewers on the journey of 13 indigenous grandmothers as they travel around the globe to promote world peace and share their indigenous ways of healing. Coming from all four corners of the world, these 13 wise elders, shamans, and medicine women first came together in 2004 at a historic gathering. Moved by their concern for our planet, they decided to form an alliance: the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers. Facing a world in crisis, they share with us their visions of healing and a call for change now, before it’s too late...

Peek Ignores Indigenous History

Will Grannan-Rubenstein

February 9, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: I was dismayed to read a specific sentence in one of Booker C. Peek’s letters about the developing legal confrontation between the College and Gibson’s Bakery (“Oberlin, Gibson’s Should Settle Out-of-Court,” Nov. 17, 2017). The offending line was tangential to Peek’s main argument, part of a brief overview of the College’s history. The line reads: “The founders of the College settled in a wilderness in the 19th century, a site where there were no humans at all.” While it may seem like a minor quibble, I find it deeply disturbing that a professor emeritus of Africana Studies, a scholar who has studied and taught about issues of American white supremacy, would fail to perceive the rich ...

“Crisis” Language Used to Justify Extraordinary Measures

Jade Schiff

February 9, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: A familiar refrain echoes across the country: institutions of higher education are wracked by “budget crises.” Oberlin, we are told over and over, is no exception. Our troubles are now receiving widespread attention. Inside Higher Ed, a major publication that considers the state of higher education in the U.S., recently published an article about our “budget crunch.” Certainly, many institutions of higher education, including Oberlin, are struggling. But this talk of “budget crises” is neither neutral nor innocent. Administrators and (in the case of public institutions) state officials often talk and act as if they are objective circumstances in which we find ourselves and about which we must scrat...

Accusations of Treason Threaten Democracy

Booker C Peek

February 9, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: Donald Trump is our president, and we should all root for him to succeed in doing what is best for all Americans — even though on the very day of 2009 that former President Obama was sworn in as America’s first black president, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, expressed publicly that he was rooting for Obama to fail. He is our president because he was duly elected, though Hillary Clinton received far more of the popular — not electoral — vote than he. Surely, there can be a good debate over which is the better way to choose our president. Regardless, Trump is our president, and we want him to be successful, especially in making America greater than ever for all Americans. Tru...

Matambo’s Mentorship Lacked Boundaries

Emily Clarke

February 9, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: I’m writing to share my experiences with Bernard Matambo, in the hope that making it public will continue to open up space for the kind of reflection and change that Sarah Cheshire called for. Bernard shaped my time at Oberlin and my values and stances as a writer. He was my advisor and someone I thought of as a mentor, but looking back, the dynamic doesn’t seem like mentorship. I was trying very hard to be a close friend rather than a student, and he did nothing to discourage and much to encourage those efforts. At the time, I felt a powerful kind of approval from feeling “worth” the phone calls, long one-on-one meetings at coffee shops and restaurants (never his office), and late-night con...

Established 1874.