The Oberlin Review

Kutzen Allegations an Opportunity for Greater Oversight

Editorial Board

September 11, 2015

Following news in early July that Trustee Thomas Kutzen, OC ’76, had been charged with fraud by the SEC and had stepped down as chair of the Investment Committee, the Office of Communications released a statement about the incident — that is, if one can call three short paragraphs released nearly two weeks after the story broke a statement. It included all the basics: Kutzen’s hedge fund AlphaBridge Capital Management neither confirming nor denying the SEC’s findings, his record of service to Oberlin and so on. Tucked at the end of a paragraph was a small but important note: “Kutzen has now retired from active service as a voting member of the Board but will continue to support the institution in a variety of...

Mental Health Initiatives Reveal Where Student Opinion Heard Loudest

Editorial Board

September 4, 2015

Laundry prices and ObieID password changes notwithstanding, few things at Oberlin are as widely maligned as the College’s mental health resource infrastructure. While Student Health Services as a whole receives a significant amount of criticism from students year after year and while the College makes regular efforts to respond in due course, the way Oberlin handles mental health issues seems to consistently receive low marks. These resources are understandingly in high demand, since any environment in which academic pressure and personal stresses collide necessitates an effective outlet for seeking help. In line with the issue’s persistence, Dean of Students Eric Estes’ Aug. 25 email to students — which foc...

Tuition Hike Bears Consequences for Oberlin’s Accessibility

Editorial Board

May 8, 2015

At the “Occu-party” on the grounds outside the Cox Administration Building last Friday afternoon, students protested the recently approved tuition hike for next year, asking, “Can you afford to stay silent?” The Board of Trustees recently approved a $2,400 increase in tuition for the 2015–2016 school year, detailed further in last week’s front page story (“Students Meet with Frandsen After Protests,” The Oberlin Review, May 1, 2015). The increase would disadvantage underprivileged communities, furthering the inaccessibility of an Oberlin education. Increasing sticker prices aren’t an Oberlin-specific phenomenon; tuition prices at public universities have quadrupled in the past 35 years, while averag...

Tsarnaev’s Sentencing Provokes Moral Questions Surrounding Death Penalty

Editorial Board

May 1, 2015

Content Warning: This editorial contains discussion of the death penalty and execution. Two years after the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has reached the sentencing phase of his trial, but most of Massachusetts opposes the death penalty for him. Convicted on all 30 counts brought against him, of which 17 carry a possible death sentence, Tsarnaev faces either the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. If the case were up to the state of Massachusetts, Tsarnaev would not receive a death sentence. The death penalty is illegal in the state, and only about a third of its residents approve of the death penalty for egregious crimes. Less than 20 percent of the state popula...

Post-Graduation Plans Draw Unnecessary Judgment

Editorial Board

April 24, 2015

With the announcement that Michelle Obama will speak at this year’s Commencement, graduation is looking more exciting. But for those of us in the class of 2015, any excitement about accepting a diploma is compounded with anxiety about what comes next. And that’s more than just a question we’re asking ourselves. Parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, professors — they all want to know: “What are you doing after graduation?” While this question is usually motivated by well-meaning curiosity or support, the answer is often an opening for commentary, judgment and unsolicited advice. Students typically respond with one of three answers: either no idea, a half-formed plan of where they’ll live or what...

BuzzFeed Controversy Highlights Risk of Advertising in Journalism

Editorial Board

April 18, 2015

BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith came under fire this week after he deleted an article written by staff writer Arabelle Sicardi which critiqued Dove Personal Care’s latest ad. In her April 8 post, published with the subheading, “Once again, soap is acting condescending,” she criticized Dove’s viral video, “Choose Beautiful” (“Dove Has Women Walk Through Doors Labeled ‘Beautiful’ Or “Average’ In Latest Campaign,” BuzzFeed, April 8, 2015). The advertisement, which is the latest video from Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, questions society’s definition of beauty and pushes viewers to see themselves as possessing the “Real Beauty” Dove advocates. Sicardi took issue with the company...

Columbia’s Review of Rolling Stone Article Promotes Questioning Survivors Beyond Comfort

Editorial Board

April 10, 2015

Content Warning: This editorial contains discussion of sexual assault. Six months after the initial publication of Rolling Stone’s exposé “A Rape on Campus,” the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University released a 25-page review detailing the missteps Rolling Stone made in its account of an alleged sexual assault at the University of Virginia. Writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely, her editors and the alleged victim, known as Jackie, all came under fire when evidence surfaced that Jackie’s account was factually inconsistent. Columbia’s review described the story as a “journalistic failure” after The Washington Post published evidence that called the validity of Jackie’s story into question. Accord...

Safe Spaces Foster Inclusive, Productive Campus Conversation

Editorial Board

April 3, 2015

Content Warning: This editorial discusses potentially triggering issues like rape, sexualized violence, abuse, suicide and offensive language. Dubbed the “Me Me Me Generation” by Time Magazine in its May 2013 issue, millennials receive no shortage of bad press. It’s almost too easy to blame technology and the instant gratification that comes with it for creating a generation of lazy, narcissistic, entitled brats who only look up from their iPhones to complain about their Starbucks orders. Columnist Judith Shulevitz’s latest op-ed equates college students to coddled children afraid to examine frightening concepts like rape, assault, abuse and suicide or engage with racist, misogynistic and anti-queer la...

International Women’s Day Fails to Recognize Global Diversity of Experiences

Editorial Board

March 13, 2015

Content warning: This editorial contains discussion of sexualized violence. In a country with more CEOs named John than CEOs that are women, the need for an International Women’s Day is clear. This year’s event centered around the hashtags #MakeItHappen and #PaintItPurple to shed light on the broad topic of “gender equality ... justice and dignity,” according to the IWD website. While this effort at uniting women across the globe under the umbrella of gender inequality is no doubt well-intentioned, International Women’s Day glosses over the intersecting factors that compound women’s inequality; race, class, religion, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation and trans status all play into how women are tr...

Nemtsov Killing Should Prompt Introspection Alongside Condemnation

Editorial Board

March 6, 2015

When prominent Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot dead on a Moscow street last Friday, days before he was slated to lead a major anti-government protest, global leaders rallied behind familiar cries. Nemtsov, an ardent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had been well known since Boris Yeltsin’s presidency for his liberal politics and calls for democratic reform. Just hours before his assassination, Nemtsov gave an interview calling for honest elections and an end to the Kremlin’s “censorship [and] propaganda.” It was no surprise, then, when world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, called for transparency as Putin announced that he would...

Feminized Gun Marketing Exacerbates Rape Culture

Editorial Board

February 27, 2015

Many women learn early on how to defend themselves in dangerous situations: hold their keys between their knuckles in dark parking garages; keep mini-canisters of pepper spray in their purses. From a young age, just as everyone learns to look both ways before crossing the street, women are taught not to walk home alone if they can help it, not to put their drinks down at parties, not to show too much skin — all for fear of inviting sexual assault. It’s a similar, if violently escalated, vein of logic that Second Amendment activists employ when they tell women on college campuses that the best way to protect themselves against sexual assault is to up the ante: Carry a gun. The argument, which briefly caught the...

Williams Controversy Highlights Perils of Fame in Objective Journalism

Editorial Board

February 20, 2015

Media lenses turned inward last week when NBC announced its Feb. 10 decision to suspend Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. Revelations that the Emmy Award–winning news personality had repeatedly misrepresented his experiences reporting on a 2003 Iraq War mission left the news network reeling, trying to assess damage done to the network’s credibility. Williams delivered an on-air apology on Feb. 4 for what he called a “mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,” but his words were quickly overshadowed by a media cycle determined to scrutinize stories from throughout the anchor’s Nightly News tenure. On the same day as the suspension, revered newsroom comedian Jon Stewart announced that he would be l...

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