The Oberlin Review

Anonymous Official’s Opinion Piece Raises Questions, Concerns

Luce Nguyen, Contributing Opinions Editor

September 14, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

The New York Times recently published a now-infamous opinion piece titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” Sept. 5. In the essay, an anonymous senior official of the Trump administration alleges that they, along with other senior officials within the Trump administration, “are working diligently to frustrate parts of Trump’s agenda and his worst inclinations.” While claiming that “the root of the problem is the president’s amorality” and that “President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic,” the writer claims that members of the Executive Office and agencies have moved to operate independently of the president. Another anonymous article, “The Flight 93 El...

Oberlin Dining Forum Highlights Issues With Sensationalist Activism

Patrick Powers, Contributing Writer

September 14, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

Oberlin students identify as activists. That activism must reach beyond a Google Doc. In the wake of the implementation of the 300 meal-per-semester plan for first-years and sophomores, Dascomb Dining Hall’s closure, and this year’s changes to DeCafé, Campus Dining Services has become one of the first major flashpoints for the anxieties and fears of the student body as our school changes. In the past few weeks, outraged Facebook posts and Google Doc activists have brought dining changes to the forefront of campus chatter. With that in mind, I find myself coming away from the recent forum on the state of campus dining with a lot of mixed feelings about student activism as I’ve seen it on this campus. The anger a...

Reaction to Tibbetts’ Death Reveals Toxic Culture of Politicization

Katie Friedemann, Contributing Writer

September 7, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

Editor’s Note: This article discusses physical violence. Politics permeate everything we do and say, from deciding which candidates or issues we support to our everyday interactions with other people. Our political alignments even seem to guide how we cope with both everyday and abnormal circumstances and events, such as major tragedies. This constant and inescapable politicalization is especially clear when observing reactions to the recent death of Mollie Tibbetts. Tibbetts, an Iowa college student, was going for a run in her hometown when a man named Cristhian Bahena Rivera began to pursue her. According to what Rivera later told law enforcement, Tibbetts threatened to call the police, and Rivera panicked. What h...

Dining Changes Represent Concerning Future

Daniel Markus, Contributing Writer

September 7, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

If you had been a miner in the United States, Canada, or Britain for most of the 20th century, it’s a good bet that you might bring a small caged bird, often a canary, down into the shaft along with you. If you didn’t, a buddy probably did. Mining could release trapped pockets of carbon monoxide gas, which has no scent or color and can suffocate a person before they even realize it’s happening. The canaries were a simple, albeit cruel, warning system. Their biology makes them more sensitive to poison gases like carbon monoxide than humans — if your canary died, it was time to go. Immediately. If your canary died, one thing you definitely wouldn’t do was wonder why it was dead, and you wouldn’t stay in the m...

Alumni Network Offers Students Great Benefits

Carol Levine

May 13, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

We are so close to the end of the semester. Some are closing in on graduation. This is a time for institutional change, yet it is also a time for immense personal growth, exploration, and trying to make sense of one’s place in the world. How will we make our mark, our difference? Will it be on an individual or local level, or widespread and global? Will we help a friend or community? Will we make an imprint on our environment, for better or for worse? At a more personal level, how will we make friends once we are out of the Oberlin cocoon? How will we introduce ourselves in this fluid yet rigid world? How will we continue to support ourselves? How will we remain a part of Oberlin, and Oberlin remain a part of us?...

Oberlin Must Always Hold Sexual Assaulters Accountable

Mara Delta

May 11, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

Editor’s Note: This piece contains mention of sexual assault. Do you remember the moment you received your Oberlin College acceptance letter? I was on the train back home when I saw the notification appear in my inbox. I had been anxiously refreshing my email every day for the entire week hoping to get this very alert, and it was finally here. I was so giddy that I began jumping up and down in the middle of the crowded Metro car. I knew Oberlin was the perfect choice for me, and I felt ready to begin a new, exciting chapter of my life. That excitement transferred over to the late days of August when move-in day was finally upon me. I could not wait to start classes, meet new people, and explore my newfound indepe...

Suicide Continues to Present Real Danger to Trans People

El Wilson, Opinions Editor

May 11, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

Editor’s Note: This article discusses transphobia and suicide. According to a national survey conducted by American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute, 40 percent of transgender people have attempted suicide compared to 4.6 percent of the general population. As someone who identifies as non-binary, these numbers make me sick. Forty percent is merely an average. The survey also asked respondents about their experiences with discrimination, rejection, and violence. Suicide attempt rates varied depending on how many of these a trans person experienced. For example, the rate was far higher for those who endured family rejection (57 percent), homelessness (69 percent), or sexual assault while atten...

Oberlin Students Fail to Actually Engage Communities, Show Solidarity

Melissa Harris, Editor-In-Chief

May 11, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

As my final weeks at Oberlin approach, I’ve felt blessed to be surrounded by many incredibly dedicated, inspiring individuals who genuinely work toward change and actively support the efforts of others. But I also feel jaded by the many faults of this institution, with which I’ve become familiar throughout my time here. Among them, I’ve realized that performative allyship is one of the most off-putting yet definitive flaws of this school’s culture — and it needs to stop. In a nutshell, performative allyship is when one acts minimally to earn approval, creating a façade of detachment from a status quo that systemically keeps marginalized folks oppressed. We see this frequently; people are quick to retweet or ...

CDS Self-Management Would Improve Accountability, Sustainability

Michael Kennedy

May 11, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

From a student perspective, it appears that Oberlin College’s Campus Dining Services model has been failing. The closure of the Rathskeller as a meal option in spring of 2017, the limitation of meal options for the class of 2021, the upcoming closure of Dascomb Dining Hall, and the planned closure of DeCafé’s popular sandwich deli line all support this conclusion. I believe that students have legitimate reasons to be upset by dining changes, but they are not the ones most impacted by these decisions. As a result of the planned changes, employees will be losing their jobs, and many others are considering quitting rather than working at Stevenson Dining Hall. Both Bon Appétit Management Company and the College h...

Student Finance System Limits Efficacy of Committee

Kameron Dunbar and Elijah Aladin

May 4, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

Students here each pay $428 in tuition costs toward a communal pot of money valued at near $1.3 million. This fund, the Student Activities Fund, is allocated by the Student Finance Committee and distributed by the Office of the Student Treasurer. As two students who have been members of both Student Senate and the OST, we’ve observed some serious issues with Oberlin’s system of student financing. Fortunately, these are problems we can fix. As it currently stands, SFC allocates around 85–90 percent of the Student Activity Fund. The vast majority of this goes to individual student organizations, while a much smaller portion is used to support student life through other areas like Winter Term grants. In theory, ...

GOP Cannot Rely on Celebrity Buzz to Gain Gen Z Vote

Duncan Reid

May 4, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

After Kanye West started tweeting last week that he and the president share “dragon energy,” and that “the thought police want to suppress freedom of thought,” some conservative pundits were quick to welcome West to the right. Ben Shapiro and Alex Jones, for example, tweeted back their praises, with Jones going so far as to extend Yeezy an invitation onto his infamous radio show. Other conservatives remarked that West was making conservatism hip again, and that his endorsement of “Make America Great Again” politics would somehow attract young voters familiar with the artist to the GOP. But is the Chicagoland rapper even on the right, or does he merely agree with the President that some on the left sometimes...

Oberlin Must Improve Arabic Program

Sophie Drukman-Feldstein

May 4, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

I have wanted to study Arabic since middle school. When I came to Oberlin, I was thrilled to finally get the opportunity. Two years in, it feels like the work my classmates and I put in is finally paying off. In this past semester, we have expanded our vocabularies to move beyond our initial discussions of menus, taxicabs, and passports and are finally making our first, clumsy steps into meaningful conversation. I was therefore deeply disappointed when I found out that no Arabic classes would be offered beyond the 200-level. Oberlin only employs one Arabic instructor — Basem Al-Raba’a, a visiting assistant professor — and a 300-level class would exceed his course load. Last semester, he suggested that we might cont...

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