The Oberlin Review

Messages of Prejudice, Intimidation Unwelcome on College Campuses

Editorial Board

September 19, 2014

When morning classes broke for lunch Wednesday, students funneled out of academic buildings onto North Professor Street to the sight of demonstrators holding large signs emblazoned with the words “Fear God” and “Ask Me Why You Deserve Hell.” In front of Peters Hall, a graying woman preached about the dangers of premarital sex to an incredulous crowd of passersby, brandishing a long pole adorned with what appeared to be bloodied menstrual products. Throughout the afternoon, the demonstrators — members of the Campus Ministry USA, led by George “Jed” Smock — occupied the sidewalk, eliciting a wide range of responses, from laughter and heckling to civil conversations to angry verbal altercations and several...

College Rankings Devalue Breadth of Knowledge, Ignore Human Element

Editorial Board

September 12, 2014

The days are getting shorter and crisper, and right on schedule, a host of disillusioned columnists are beginning to attack this year’s quantification of the unquantifiable. On Tuesday, US News & World Report released the 2015 edition of its widely acclaimed annual rankings of the nation’s best colleges; after a three-place uptick from last year, Oberlin College now rests at number 23 of all “National Liberal Arts Colleges.” Like its competitors, the list takes a number of factors into account, many of them quantitative rather than qualitative, and year after year, these reports generate inevitable controversy. The Review published an editorial last September, “Education More Than Return on Investment”...

With Unpaid Internships, Gainful Employment Favors the Prepared Mind

Editorial Board

May 9, 2014

Finally, the sun is out, and it looks as though it might stay for a while. But for many of us, the sunny season doesn’t correspond to a lull in work — quite the opposite, actually, as students disperse to pursue summer jobs and internships in a variety of fields. Since the 1990s, the internship has become a rite of passage embedded in the undergraduate experience, one that sees aspiring biologists, senators and filmmakers worming their way into the offices of their dream employers, often for no pay, with the hope of testing out a possible career path, gaining on-the-job skills or networking with valuable contacts. Landing one of these opportunities can seem like a dream come true. But as new research shows, writing...

White House Task Force on Sexual Assault Better Late than Never

Editorial Board

May 2, 2014

Yale, Dartmouth, Florida State, Brown. It seems that almost every week, there is a new story about a college mismanaging reports of sexual assault on its campus. Amid anger and frustration with the lack of support and justice for survivors, the Obama administration announced guidelines on Monday that are intended to push college administrators to adopt changes to their process for dealing with issues of sexual assault. The guidelines, which were part of the first report issued by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, founded in January of this year, include ensuring that reports of sexual assault remain confidential, implementing a variety of anti-sexual assault policies, such as bystander...

Complex Financial Aid Situation Re- quires Honesty, Constructive Intent

Editorial Board

April 25, 2014

On Sunday, April 13, students drafted a resolution, later endorsed by Student Senate, arguing that the College’s proposed financial aid policy amendment should be formally revoked and, furthermore, that any future changes to College policy be under the purview of attending students. The resolution argues, “under the new policy, there is an increased financial burden on students with reduced meal plans with CDS, OSCA or Kosher Halal Co-op, as financial aid is reduced dollar-for-dollar based on the amount students save by choosing a reduced meal plan with CDS or by choosing Kosher Halal Co-op or OSCA.” The reaction from students in the weeks since the change’s discovery has demonstrated the extent to which these...

Lack of Transparency Surrounding Changes to Aid Policy Unacceptable

Editorial Board

April 20, 2014

Since students learned of the controversial financial aid policy change, tensions have been high. Within hours of their discovery, students were organizing demonstrations and circulating information. Obies are angry, and they have a right to be. Whether or not the policy change affects them, they likely know someone whom it does affect. The equally great injustice, however, lies nowhere in the text itself — rather, it’s in the College’s flippant lack of communication with both current and prospective students and their parents regarding the revision’s details. The result, of course, is that there are a lot of questions and very few answers surrounding the recent change, which in turn leads to misinformation...

Staff Seeks Balance Between Free Speech and Community Standards in Online Comment Moderation

The Editorial Board

April 13, 2014

Last week, an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times argued that Oberlin is turning into “[a symbol] of the widespread scourge of campus political correctness and the glorification of victimhood,” due to the administration’s recent discussion regarding the use of trigger warnings in the classroom. Beside the fact that the article mischaracterizes the actual trigger warning conversation occurring on campus — for instance, professors are not removing Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart from relevant curricula because of its controversial themes — the idea that trigger warnings are inherently “distressing ... potential incursions on academic freedom and inquiry” is flawed. Trigger warnings exist in order to warn...

‘Review’ Applauds SIC’s Adherence to Core Values

Review Editorial Board

April 5, 2014

Part of Oberlin’s appeal is its salacious, open-minded, body- and sex-positive outlook on sexual expression. Throughout its history this college has proven to be at the forefront of issues related to gender and sexuality, such as its (well-timed) 1969 decision to adopt co-ed dorms. The Sexual Information Center — the mas- terminds behind the longstanding Safer Sex Dance — itself arose out of a desire to combat stigma surrounding the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the late ’70s. But the event that prompted many of us to reconfigure our Facebook privacy settings to prevent family members from seeing tagged photos will no longer serve as a rite of passage for lustful first-years finally free of parental control. Delightfully...

College, Senate Must Clarify Underpinnings of Proposed Tobacco Ban

The Editorial Board

March 11, 2014

Oberlin students aren’t known to sit idly by when issues of personal liberty are at stake — which is why Student Senate’s upcoming vote on a campus-wide ban on tobacco products has raised a flurry of opinions from supporters and detractors, smokers and non-smokers alike. Should the College adopt the policy, in summer 2016, Oberlin would join more than 1,200 colleges and universities across the country who have prohibited smoking on college-owned property. But no matter your opinion on the ban, an ignored yet urgent philosophical question resides at the center of this debate. This question is perhaps best illustrated in what seems to be a little-known facet of the proposed ban: its possible inclusion of e-cigarettes,...

End of Semester Too Late to Effectively Address Stress

The Editorial Board

November 22, 2013

As college students, we are subject to intensely formulaic cycles of stress, generally culminating in a few hellishly busy weeks at the end of the semester during which we eschew social conventions, like changing our sweatpants regularly, in favor of consuming unnatural amounts of caffeine. For most of us, this severe period of stress will not prepare us for our post-academic lives, since most assessments in the “real world” don’t follow such an artificially regimented sequence. But stress isn’t just a problem during the relatively short midterms and finals periods. And though the majority of us deal with high levels of stress throughout the semester, it’s only at the tail end of the academic year that the...

Turnover Muddles Collective Memory

The Editorial Board

November 15, 2013

Prospective students have descended upon campus in the past few weeks to determine if Oberlin is the school at which they can imagine spending four formative years. The perception these impressionable high schoolers will walk away from their visit to Oberlin with will be informed not only by tours and overnights, but also by the College’s promotional admissions material. In addition to a curiously heavy reliance on imagery of albino squirrels and womb chairs, the College frequently plugs Oberlin’s historical claim to fame as one of the first institutions of higher learning to award bachelor degrees to both women and students of color. But beyond these widely publicized stats — as admirable and tout-worthy as...

Humanities Majors Must Gain Foothold in Workforce

The Editorial Board

November 8, 2013

Last week The New York Times published an article citing declining in- terest in the humanities at colleges across the nation. Quoting faculty from Stanford and Harvard, as well as our fellow small liberal arts school Bard College, the Times article adds to the plethora of recent reports about the (in)significance of the humanities, which are framed as losing funding because “we have failed to make the case that those skills are essential.” In response, College President Marvin Krislov submitted a Letter to the Editor arguing that the humanities, while declining in funding, are still “alive and well” and certainly “not on life support.” But we believe that the conversation extends beyond this dead-or-aliv...

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