The Oberlin Review

Administrative Bloat Evades Real Issue

Editorial Board

April 14, 2017

The General Faculty Committee considered recommendations for implementation from the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion working group today, including a suggestion to create a new “Chief Diversity Officer” administrative position. Though well intentioned, adding yet another six-figure administrative job seems like a roundabout way of handling the College’s diversity issues that would ultimately prove ineffective. SPIDIE’s logic follows that Oberlin has previously experimented with creating leadership roles that address compositional diversity like a special assistant to the president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and should continue to do so. Seeking to expand...

Ohio Must End Death Penalty, Torture

Editorial Board

April 7, 2017

Editor’s Note: This article discusses the death penalty, rape, and murder. The last time the state of Ohio ended a life with capital punishment, Dennis McGuire choked, gasped for air and writhed in agony for 26 minutes before finally dying. Unable to procure reliable lethal execution drugs — the Danish company that produces them now refuses to sell to the U.S. government — Ohio decided to experiment with an untested drug cocktail that had never been used in an execution. Doctors told state officials that McGuire might suffocate to death; they decided to run the risk and suffocated him anyway. As the old adage goes, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” McGuire’s crime — raping and murdering a pregna...

GOP Places Partisanship Over Protection

Editorial Board

March 31, 2017

Editor’s Note: This article discusses rape and sexual assault. Ohio is one of eight states that still includes marital exceptions to its felony rape laws, and it may very well stay that way. The state’s current policy creates a loophole that allows a lesser penalty to be imposed on a spouse who drugs and assaults their partner. In a repugnant display of partisanship, a Democratic bill that would eliminate this exemption has gained no support from the GOP. This is politics at its worst. Democratic Representatives Greta Johnson and Kristen Boggs introduced House Bill 97 last month in an effort to rephrase the current provision’s language, which requires that a person prove “force or threat of force” in ...

Students Neglect Existing Communication Channels

Editorial Board

March 10, 2017

The trustees’ decision to create a task force to investigate adding student representation to the board is a credit to everyone involved. Student Senate deserves praise for creating the initial proposal and building a relationship with the board, as do student activists for adding pressure at a key moment and the board for showing flexibility and vision. This is an example of what college governance should look like: an active student body and a responsive administration. Still students must continue pushing for a student representative. Creating a task force is an important victory, but by no means is it the same as actually adding a representative. Students must also be made aware of the fact that student repres...

Student Senate Needs to Clarify SBCP Relationship

Editorial Board

March 3, 2017

In one of the most competitive races for Student Senate in recent history, a group called Students Building Community Power emerged through individuals running on a collective activist platform this spring. Of the SBCP candidates, College sophomores Kai Joy and Dani Pacheco won two of eight available seats, joining an increasingly influential Student Senate. Concurrent with Joy and Pacheco’s campaigns, SBCP released a list of demands, including calls for six student representatives to the Board of Trustees, student liaisons to administrators, the creation of a student council to meet weekly with the College president and for Senate to act as a centralizing platform for student activism. Since elections, Senate has se...

Progressives Should Focus on Local Activism

Editorial Board

February 24, 2017

Members of Congress returned to their districts this week for Congressional recess met by hordes of angry constituents. Of Oberlin’s three representatives, only Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown made it through the week relatively unscathed. Protesters accosted 4th District Representative Jim Jordan at a public event in Marion, Ohio, Monday, turning a routine appearance into an impromptu town hall. More Ohioans lined the streets outside a private Republican fundraiser featuring Senator Rob Portman as a keynote speaker Wednesday night in Fremont, Ohio. Yesterday, hundreds of constituents in Cleveland held a mock town hall in Portman’s name, since he failed to schedule one for the week. These actions are one prong of local ...

New President Should Prioritize Communication

Editorial Board

February 17, 2017

Oberlin is undergoing an administrative makeover with President Marvin Krislov and Vice President for Finance and Administration Mike Frandsen both departing this spring. With these two major transitions, the College is approaching a decisive opportunity to address students’ major concerns with administrative shortcomings. The primary concern with the current administration is the opaque ways in which significant decisions are made. The College’s top-down decision-making process leaves students mostly out of the loop until it’s too late to voice dissent or offer valuable insight into how actions might impact day-to-day student life. One of the most viable ways this can improve is by opening up more channels of ...

College Must Engage Community on Cuts

Editorial Board

February 10, 2017

Administrators constantly state that the College’s current financial model is unsustainable. Expenses exceed revenue, mostly generated from an increasing tuition, and the situation will likely continue to worsen without concrete steps on both sides of the balance sheet. In part, structural reasons beyond the College’s control have worsened the financial situation. Health care costs continue to rise, and the endowment — smaller than many of our peer schools — took a big hit during the 2008 recession, a setback from which it only recently recovered. But this financial crunch is not just the result of bad luck. The College has spent and borrowed millions on projects such as The Hotel at Oberlin, a project seemingly...

Journalists Must Remain Adversarial

Editorial Board

February 3, 2017

“You’re not supposed to be sycophants,” Barack Obama told journalists in his final press conference as president. “You’re supposed to be skeptics; you’re supposed to ask me tough questions.” President Obama’s message could not be more timely for those covering President Trump’s administration, as now more than ever, journalists must remain vigilant in reporting on the facts — and no, not the alternative ones. With the day-to-day antics of the Trump administration — from perpetuating myths about the inauguration turnout to Kellyanne Conway’s ludicrous sound bites — it is pivotal that journalists commit themselves not only to producing holistic news stories, but to highlighting the stories that r...

Standing Rock Serves as Model for Future Protests

Editorial Board

December 9, 2016

In a major victory for the Standing Rock Sioux, the Army Corps of Engineers announced Sunday that it would reroute the Dakota Access Pipeline away from native land. Though the Sioux’s success is still tentative — President-elect Donald Trump could pressure the Army to reverse the decision when he takes office — the announcement is a direct reflection of the power of public protest. The Standing Rock Sioux and their collaborators from other native tribes — “water protectors” — led a highly effective protest campaign against the construction of a pipeline that would have risked pollution of their water and destroyed sacred sites. They drew thousands of allies to the camp in frigid temperatures. They remai...

Zuckerberg Must Accept Responsibility for Hoax Stories

Editorial Board

December 2, 2016

Facebook’s responsibility to regulate fake news on its site, particularly the false stories that gained traction during the election cycle, has sparked national debate about what role the platform should play in politics. While the company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has distanced himself from the popular theory that Facebook could have significantly swayed voters, the bottom line is that if his company profits from fake news sources, then it is also responsible for flagging them. A BuzzFeed News analysis shows that the “20 top-performing false election stories from hoax sites and hyper partisan blogs generated 8,711,000 shares, reactions and comments on Facebook.” Conversely, “within the same time period, the...

Administration Should Back Sanctuary Petition

Editorial Board

November 18, 2016

The symbolic solidarity of declaring Oberlin College a sanctuary campus for undocumented students is reason enough for President Marvin Krislov and his administration to take action, but the actual impact that creating such a policy could have is invaluable. Amid a growing national movement for colleges to become sanctuaries in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination last week, it is critical that Oberlin take the necessary steps to protect its undocumented students. There are three crucial questions that naturally follow requests to declare Oberlin’s campus a sanctuary: What does it mean to be a sanctuary for undocumented people? What kinds of policies can be enacted? And what are the effects of bec...

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