The Oberlin Review

Obies Shouldn’t be Fairweather Fans of Sex and Body Positivity

The Editorial Board

November 1, 2013

Since its inaugural year in 1990, the rules of Safer Sex Night have taken various forms (save a few constants: sweat, glitter, butt cheeks — but no nipples). The College banned the once infamous “Tent of Consent” in 2005, along with booze sales at the actual event in 2001. The educational aspect of the event has been taken more and less seriously over the years. Safer Sex Week itself — which includes a variety of educational workshops, including this year’s classes on topics such as STI Stigma and a panel discussing alternatives to monogamy — was started in 2009. But this general shift toward incorporating more information about sexual health and consent along with the festivities has not come without...

Review Moves Boldly into 21st Century with Relaunch of Website

Editorial Board

October 11, 2013

After years of struggling with a finicky, and at times downright defunct, website, the Review received word this week that the Student Finance Committee has allocated funds for the rebirth of oberlinreview.org. Although we indeed ad hoc’d for these funds, it was hardly out of a burning desire to focus on innovative media; and though we’re pleased to have received them, the task of reconstructing our online presence is more of a slow, painful push into the 21st century than an excited leap. Our website’s current state of disrepair has given all of us on senior staff the chance to have a necessary — and long overdue — conversation about the role that technology should play in the production of the paper. ...

Shutdown Rooted in Partisanship, Moralizing of Opposition

The Editorial Board

October 4, 2013

Disappointment with Congressional performance might seem hard to quantify this week, as an uncompromising House of Representatives rendered the government defunct and the American public dismayed on Tuesday by failing to reach an agreement that would sustain governmental operations. Though frustration mounts with each passing day, legislators have likely already developed a tough skin. As indicated by Gallup polls, today’s Congress hardly enjoys a great degree of popularity. Approval ratings have bounced between the low to high teens over the last year, and next month’s numbers might even dip into the single digits. Congressional members have brought the political process to a virtual standstill, succeeding in...

Education More Than Return on Investment

The Editorial Board

September 27, 2013

The Obama administration recently announced plans to formulate a ranking system for institutions of higher education, taking into consideration a new set of key factors, including graduate’s earning potential, percentage of lower-income students, tuition cost and graduation rates. Ideally, the president hopes that the new ranking system — to be announced before the start of the 2015 academic year — will serve as the basis for federal aid to colleges and universities. Ohio is one of the few states in the country to have already adopted programs that award funding based on graduation rates and “educational outcomes.” Congressional support for this plan is currently unclear, but if the legislation passes, federal...

Playboy Hoax Creates Opportunity to Discuss Sexual Violence

The Editorial Board

September 20, 2013

This past Tuesday, social networkers were in awe of Playboy’s enlightened take on its infamous list of Top Party Schools. The guide spread like wildfire across the internet by college students and other supporters of the emergence of an anti-rape culture, one in which consent is verbalized “early, often and always,” collectively adopting the precept “don’t rape” rather than “don’t get raped.” But when something seems too good to be true, it probably is. In fact, a website masquerading as the official Playboy site was behind this promotion of safe and consensual sex. The organization FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture — also behind last year’s faux Victoria’s Secret campaign of panties promoting...

College Faces Financial, Ethical Dilemma

The Editorial Board

September 13, 2013

In light of the College’s recently assigned “negative outlook” by preeminent credit rating agency Moody’s, it is unclear if it will be able to respond in full — or at all — to renewed student concerns regarding its ethically questionable capital investments and the termination of a need-blind admission policy. According to Inside Higher Ed, Oberlin is in the company of other elite liberal arts colleges that have failed to fully rebound from the 2008 economic downturn. Generally, the revenue for these colleges is generated through tuition, donations and endowment growth. The article also notes that Oberlin has seen a considerable decline in its endowment and has increasingly leveraged its balance sheet...

“Hoax” Declaration Mischaracterizes Bias Incidents, Stifles Productive Dialogue

The Editorial Board

September 6, 2013

The College aired its dirty laundry to the nation last semester when media outlets swarmed campus to report on the rash of bigoted graffiti cropping up in academic and residential buildings. The coverage of the events focused primarily on an alleged sighting of a person in Klan robes, though evidence of hateful actions perpetrated against people of color, the Jewish and LGBTQ communities, and women, was much broader — both in scope and in form. As the summer came to a close, Oberlin was thrust back into the spotlight. A few conservative bloggers got their hands on the recently released police reports, in which the names of the two students removed from campus last semester in relation to the hate speech are revealed...

Student Senators Should Be Subject to Pay Limits

The Editorial Board

May 10, 2013

Following the controversy surrounding Student Senate Liaison Eliza Diop’s billing issues and subsequent resignation, Senate is initiating a reform of the rules regarding the payment of its members. Diop claims that the time card discrepancy was a simple misunderstanding of the work senators can legitimately bill for, spurring the conversation on ambiguities in the Senate bylaws. But the reform could also address a much larger problem that has gone unchecked in Senate and SFC for years — until very recently, members of both groups could bill for unlimited hours each pay period, a privilege no other student workers enjoy. At a Compensation Task Force held by Senate on Sunday, senators voted to cap billable hours...

On Reproductive Rights, Obama Abandons His Base Once Again

The Editorial Board

May 3, 2013

Back in November, Barack Obama rode a massive victory in the battle for the female vote 55 percent to 44 percent for Mitt Romney nationally, and that gap was even larger in swing states like Ohio — to a second term in office. Admittedly, Mitt Romney (and, really, every level of the GOP) made things a bit easier by systematically alienating himself from women across the country, but the Obama campaign successfully positioned its candidate as the Enlightened One—binder-free and ready to lead American society into the 21st century. He consistently pledged support to Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights, and has recently come to the defense of scientific integrity unmarred by political maneuvering on topics...

Failure of Gun Control Bill a National Embarrassment

The Editorial Board

April 19, 2013

Even in an age when Congress has a lower approval rating than most reality television stars, this has to move the needle even ever so slightly, doesn’t it? The gun control legislation inspired by the Newtown massacre — yes, the gun control legislation that had already been shamelessly watered down and carved up by gun lobbyists (more on that later) — died an ignominious death on Wednesday, failing to muster up the necessary votes in the Senate. Again, to reiterate: This goes beyond a failure to pass bans on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, proposals which, regrettably, never seemed capable of scraping together enough support. The Senate failed even to pass legislation expanding background checks for...

OPIRG Benefits from Keeping Students in the Dark

The Editorial Board

April 12, 2013

This week, Mudd, Wilder Bowl and the Science Center atrium came to feel more like midtown Manhattan than a small liberal arts campus, as Ohio Public Interest Research Group canvassers have become a ubiquitous presence. The canvassers have asked students to sign a petition supporting the continuation of an $8 fee, included in each tuition bill, that goes toward funding OPIRG. Students may opt out of the fee (officially the Alternative Student Funding Mechanism), but that obviously requires that they be aware of it first — Article XI of the Student Finance Charter leaves advertising the opt-out clause to OPIRG itself, and in a recent poll only 13 percent of students said they knew the clause existed. It may seem axiomatic...

Health Services Fee Has Potential for Positive Change

The Editorial Board

April 5, 2013

According to the Office of Financial Aid’s website, the cumulative cost of one year for a full-time student at Oberlin is set to rise $831 next year, as the price jumps to a jaw-dropping $59,474. It’s hard to justify a price tag that huge, and certainly many items contributing to the rapidly rising costs at Oberlin (and at similar schools across the country) can be attributed to extravagant and unnecessary administrative spending. But at least one chunk of that increase is necessary — it’s a long overdue acknowledgement of an area of Oberlin’s student services that desperately needs reform. Dean Estes has announced that the College will add a $200 fee to each student’s bill to fund a planned revamping...

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