The Oberlin Review

AAPR Must Address Living Wage

Editorial Board

May 10, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

 At their core, the recommendations that the Academic and Administrative Program Review’s steering committee will submit to President Carmen Twillie Ambar in just a few weeks are a vision of Oberlin’s future that is informed by its past and present values. Sure, it’s a vision developed by a 31-person steering committee, but that committee is broadly representative of many different parts of the Oberlin community, and the draft of the final recommendations they shared publicly last week highlight many values shared by all Obies.  It’s worth noting that nearly all of these value-driven proposals have received broad-based support from campus constituencies, including the offices and faculty governance comm...

International Programming Needs Greater Support

Editorial Board

May 3, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

 The last decade has seen the population of international students attending Oberlin nearly double, stabilizing at an average of 11 percent per year. The profile of the class of 2022 includes 13 percent international students from 35 different countries. However, despite this population growth, resources for international students on this campus seem to remain relatively stagnant.  While the current resources available to international students, primarily through the International Student Resource Center and student groups, deserve credit for the phenomenal support they provide, they are spread thin relative to the size of the community they serve. The ISRC has a single full-time staff member, and while Assista...

Reorganization Offers Opportunity to Build Residential Community

Editorial Board

April 26, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

There are few Oberlin departments that require as much love, attention, and resources as the Office of Residential Education. Oberlin’s residential facilities are perceived by students as generally subpar compared to our peer institutions. Many students don’t feel their residential spaces are meaningful sources of support or community, and the office seems to be perpetually understaffed — as evidenced by the pending search for a new director. Furthermore, the office itself is not widely held in high regard by students, who often talk publicly about negative experiences they’ve had with ResEd, both on social media and in the Review. Few students have personal relationships with ResEd staff, and even Resident...

Our Case For Oberlin

Editorial Board

April 19, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

 Today marks the end of a three-week-long campaign of All Roads Lead to Oberlin events, meant to encourage admitted high school students to enroll in Oberlin’s class of 2023. So far this month, over 660 high school students have visited campus to see if Oberlin is the right fit for them, according to the Office of Admissions. Prospective students have stayed overnight with current students in dorms, visited classes, and asked their most pressing questions at the All Roads Academic Department Fair. Although this Editorial Board has often been critical of decisions made by the administration and other campus leaders, we want to step back in this final week of admissions frenzy and make the case for attending Obe...

CDS Swipe Drive Represents Effective Community Activism

Editorial Board

April 12, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

 After many weeks of heated back-and-forth debate over the future of Campus Dining Services meal plans, student organizers have found an effective way to both make their voices heard and support existing community efforts. The “Spare Swipes: An Oberlin CDS Food Drive” initiative urged first-years and sophomores on the 300 meals-per-semester plan to use their spare swipes to purchase non-perishable items from Wilder DeCafé and donate them to Oberlin Community Services — a community organization dedicated to providing basic needs assistance to Lorain County residents. The drive, launched in response to the new meal plan options introduced April 1 by Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo, ran th...

Students Need More Data

Editorial Board

April 5, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

Since the launch of the ongoing Academic and Administrative Program Review, transparency has been an oft-repeated concern of Oberlin community members — and for good reason. The AAPR is the first comprehensive analysis of Oberlin’s finances and was created to address the College’s structural budget deficit. As a recent report from the AAPR steering committee reminded us, their work “is an ambitious effort that touches almost every part of the institution.” This breadth of responsibility, understandably, comes with considerable apprehension. However, as the Review reported following the initial public rollout of the AAPR’s areas of recommendation on March 13, AAPR leadership has taken important steps toward...

Departmental Consolidation Offers Opportunities for Increased Efficiency

Editorial Board

March 15, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

In a series of campus-wide presentations earlier this week, the Academic and Administrative Program Review steering committee unveiled numerous areas of recommendation for program and financial changes that might secure Oberlin’s long-term financial sustainability. For the last year, senior administrators have made clear that Oberlin is facing a financial reality that simply does not permit stagnation. However, this week’s presentation put that urgency in starker terms than ever before for the larger Oberlin community. According to the AAPR data released this week, if no changes are made to Oberlin’s budget, over the next five years Oberlin would see our deficit balloon to an unprecedented $52 million — a...

Arabic Transition Offers Opportunity to Model Creative Collaboration

Editorial Board

March 8, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

The recent decision to transition intermediate and advanced Arabic courses to a digital classroom platform known as the Shared Languages Program (covered in-depth in this week’s Review, “Arabic Courses to Be Offered Digitally”) has highlighted two truths about Oberlin’s current campus climate. The first, which has been obvious for quite some time, is that the time to make difficult decisions is here. Oberlin’s finances are at a point where, if action is not taken now, the institution will struggle to keep its doors open down the road. The second is that College administrators and students are getting better at coming together and discussing in good faith what those decisions are, and how they should be add...

Community Engagement Should Be Academic Priority

Editorial Board

March 1, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

The City of Oberlin and Oberlin College have always been very closely connected, as can be expected of the relationship between a small liberal arts college and the small, rural community it shares a backyard with. Indeed, the two were founded together — the town and then-Oberlin Collegiate Institute were one and the same, reveling in shared triumphs and coming together in difficult times. However, in recent years that relationship has faltered, and interactions between the town and College have become strained. These divisions have doubtless come with heavy cost, and silos that seemed unimaginable early in Oberlin’s history now too often feel deeply entrenched. Clearly, work must be done to rebuild those bridges...

Club Sports Deserve More Recognition, Institutional Support

Editorial Board

February 22, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

One of the most exciting moments in Oberlin athletics last year was when both of the College’s ultimate Frisbee teams, the Flying Horsecows and the Preying Manti, qualified for the national Frisbee tournament. Their success allowed for some rare glimpses of school spirit as the campus came together to support both squads — in a way it rarely does around Oberlin’s varsity teams. This celebration was a reminder of the ways club sports can build community, even though they receive a fraction of the institutional support that varsity teams do. While that discrepancy is at least partially due to the inherent DIY nature of club sports, which many club athletes and supporters value, it can hinder the ability of club...

Students Should Support Neighbors Through Programs Like OCS

Editorial Board

February 15, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

America today is defined by skyrocketing economic inequality, broken social welfare systems, and politicians who seem apathetic about both. The political and social institutions that are supposed to ensure the health and safety of all citizens simply do not work, and the discrepancies in who benefits from them are only growing more extreme. These realities were painfully obvious during the recent federal government shutdown, which stretched from Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018 to Friday, Jan. 25 of this year — the longest in U.S. history. Almost immediately, stories of federal workers struggling to make ends meet while deprived of their normal paychecks began to flood national media. The shutdown had a huge impact, even...

Higher Education Shifts Spell Trouble for Small Liberal Arts Colleges

Editorial Board

February 8, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

Editor's note: The original version of this editorial incorrectly stated that Antioch College would likely close if it could not merge with another institution. In fact, Hampshire College, not Antioch, is seeking a merger. The editorial has been updated and the Review regrets the error. Small liberal arts institutions like Oberlin are in trouble. This much has become clear in recent years, as many — not just Oberlin — have faced significant financial challenges, some even forced to close their doors. Earlham College, for instance, was forced to cut a staggering 12 percent of costs across all divisions in a single year and suspend its football program. Hampshire College recently announced that it's looking...

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