The Oberlin Review

The Voices of Students, Organizers, and Senators Matter More Than Ever

Serena Zets, Contributing Writer

March 15, 2019

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

Disclaimer: In this opinion piece, though I am speaking about my experiences as a student senator, I am discussing these occurrences as a student — not as a senator.  The actions of last week deeply frustrated, appalled, and saddened me. I acknowledge that Student Senate’s March 11 statement has played a part in derailing campus political dialogue. However, I wish to move forward and discuss a different outcome of Senate’s statement, one that has been intensely personal and upsetting. I have accepted a significant amount of the fallout over Senate’s statement, but I am unsure why it has been a burden that I individually have had to bear. While it was my job to deliver the message to the student body, I was ...

The Catholic Church Doesn’t Deserve an Apology

David Mathisson, Contributing Writer

March 15, 2019

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

After Pete Davidson compared the Catholic Church to R. Kelly on last week’s Saturday Night Live, Church leaders — including Pope Francis — demanded a public apology. “Apparently, the only acceptable bias these days is against the Catholic Church,” they said in a statement. It’s ironic that the Church — which has long opposed liberal policies like promoting LGBTQ rights and a woman’s right to choose — is suddenly up in arms over Pete Davidson’s use of free speech. They had no problem with free speech when the Pope claimed the institution of the family was under attack by marriage equality advocates, for which the LGBTQ community never got an apology. In its overblown response, the Church tries ...

Student Senate Must Be Proactive in Regaining Student Trust

Ruby Anderson, Contributing Writer

March 15, 2019

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS, Uncategorized

On Friday, March 8, a group of around 40 students gathered in Tappan Square. Our plan was to disrupt a trustee luncheon and read a statement expressing our concerns about the Academic and Administrative Program Review, the current budget crisis, and a general lack of transparency and meaningful incorporation of student voices in decision making processes at Oberlin. When we arrived at The Hotel at Oberlin, we were immediately surrounded by Campus Safety officers and administrators, who blocked access to the stairs leading up to the luncheon, causing the “accessibility” concerns raised in Student Senate’s March 11 email. I was able to gain access to the luncheon and read our statement in full to the attendees,...

Ariana Grande’s Music Video Perpetuates Queer Stereotypes, Tropes

Aly Fogel, Contributing Writer

March 8, 2019

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

I am tired of watching gross misrepresentations of queer women in entertainment. I find myself mentally reminding the artists involved in these works, “My queerness is not a publicity stunt. My queerness is not for your straight self-promotion. And my queerness is definitely not your personal fetish.” So when I first watched Ariana Grande’s music video, “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored,” which has been criticized for its staged girl-on-girl kiss, I was not surprised to encounter the queer tropes I have become all too familiar with. However, I was surprised to find a strange new form of appropriation of the queer experience by a straight artist: using female queerness as straight girl empowerment...

Oberlin Community Should Push for Drug Harm Reduction Policies

Rachel Clark, Contributing Writer

March 8, 2019

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

As a progressive institution, Oberlin is uniquely poised to stand at the forefront of a new generation of harm reduction policies for drug usage. Overdose rates are up, current policy is failing, and it’s time for us to provide members of our community with ways to reduce harm while using substances. It is essential that we recognize that people will engage in certain behaviors regardless of legality or social acceptance — substance use is one of these behaviors. Therefore, it makes more sense to provide resources for people to make educated decisions about safe drug usage rather than to enforce policy that punishes individuals for making decisions about their own bodies. This is what harm reduction is all about:...

Embracing Rejection Fundamental to Healing Campus Culture

Katie Lucey, Contributing Writer

March 8, 2019

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

I recently listened to a podcast about a man who, upon determining that his personal and professional ambitions had stagnated, decided to seek out rejection for 100 consecutive days. During the experiment, Mr. Jia Jiang sought out rejection with foolproof ideas: he asked for a “burger refill” at a restaurant, offered to plant a flower in someone else’s yard, and requested $100 from a stranger. As is perhaps to be expected, Jiang received a lot of “no”s to his requests. However — amazingly — Jiang was met with a “yes” 51 out of the 100 days. Embracing rejection led Jiang to take more measured risks and finally achieve his goals of becoming an author and entrepreneur. The culture Obies inhabit is obsessed...

Students Should Have High Hopes for New Senate

Abby Kopp, Contributing Writer

March 8, 2019

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

Coming back from studying abroad last semester, I felt invigorated — I was ready to help improve campus and the Oberlin student experience. This feeling has been heightened by the recent election of new student senators, who seem similarly energized. All the new senators bring unique perspectives and valuable skills to Student Senate. That being said, there’s some work that I’m particularly excited about. Firstly, I’m very excited about the overarching goal adopted by these new senators: transparency. Transparency is absolutely necessary to gain a better understanding of the work the senators do and the ways in which they can support students. I’ve attended several listening sessions run by senators in the...

Overcommitting Results in Chronic Undercommitting

Josh Ashkinaze, Contributing Writer

March 8, 2019

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

The downside of a full Google Calendar is a partial commitment to everything on it. Paradoxically, overcommitting usually entails undercommitting to each thing you do. An overcommitted person simply does not have enough time or energy for each of their individual commitments. We can define “overcommitment” as having more obligations to fulfill than time or ability to fulfill them. But it’s important to distinguish between discretionary overcommitment, such as choosing to participate in 10 clubs, and necessary overcommitment, like needing to work three jobs. I’m writing about the first. Thinking about physical structures can help us understand how we handle overcommitment. Every structure around us exerts...

Administration Must Justify Reductions to Language TAs

Shogo Ishikawa, Contributing Writer

March 1, 2019

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

As reported in the Review last week, the French and Arabic departments are undergoing budget cuts, resulting in decisions that will potentially affect the overall quality of language education and the education community at Oberlin (“French and Arabic Teaching Assistant Programs Reduced,” Feb. 22, 2019). As a non-French Oberlin student who appreciates the French language and culture and the broader language community, I believe the administration’s decision to reduce the number of French TAs is unacceptable and has been left completely unexplained. For my Winter Term project, I wrote an essay arguing for the need to establish an absolute educational standard to which all programs must adhere: any class or progr...

Chronic Campus Theft Problem Has Yet To Be Addressed

Jack Derwin, Contributing Writer

March 1, 2019

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

During my three years at Oberlin, there has been a steady stream of theft on campus. The crimes often occur at the same times and in the same locations year after year. Despite the obvious patterns, however, the College has done little to address the situation, and students’ belongings remain vulnerable. As a student, I have heard about all sorts of items being stolen — cellphones, gaming systems, laptops, money, shoes, clothing, posters, and more. The thefts I’ve heard about are nearly always nonviolent, occur when students are away from their on-campus homes, and are concentrated in school-owned Village Housing Units.These incidents are usually reported but never solved, and students often get little sympathy...

We Can — And Must — Implement Green New Deal

We Can — And Must — Implement Green New Deal

March 1, 2019

Days after Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives in last year’s midterm elections, 150 young activists from the environmental activist group Sunrise Movement staged a massive sit-in at Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. Their demand? That the new Democratic majority produce a bold, comprehensive plan to address climate change. The United Nations’ climate report from a month earlier issued a stark warning: drastically reduce carbon emissions by 2030 or face an irreversible climate...

Design for America Offers Opportunity for Meaningful Change, Social Impact

Lily Jones, Layout Editor

February 22, 2019

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

Before heading to Northwestern University in August 2018 to participate in the Design for America Leadership Summit, I was not sure what to expect. I’d been encouraged to attend by a family friend that had worked with the organization in the past, so everything I knew going in was pulled from her anecdotes. Design for America is a nationwide organization that teaches students human-centered design, a creative problem-solving methodology, to help them tackle challenges in their local communities. The Leadership Summit was intended to give student representatives from DFA studios across the country the chance to meet each other, hone their design practice, and prepare for the upcoming semester. When I checked in that...

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