The Oberlin Review

Bon Voyage, Bon Appétit

Editorial Board

May 5, 2017

Chronic understaffing, overworked staff members, disgruntled employees and complaints about mismanagement. These are some of the issues that Campus Dining Service workers decried more than two years ago, as covered in the Review at the time (“CDS Workers: We’re Overworked, Disrespected,” The Oberlin Review, Oct. 2, 2015). And yet seemingly nothing was fixed in the last two years, as the same set of issues were the central focus of a campus protest Monday. In collaboration with CDS employees, Student Labor Action Coalition coordinated a boycott of dining halls. Members of the organization took to social media and other platforms to encourage students to eat in co-ops or join a picnic in Wilder Hall for...

Student Input Necessary to Avoid Finger Pointing

Editorial Board

April 28, 2017

Following last week’s tuition hikes, the sentiment bears repeating: The administration needs to include students in conversations about major institutional decisions, financial or otherwise. The scenario played out much like similar situations often have in the past. Behind closed doors, administrators privately pivoted in favor of a 2.8-percent tuition hike and higher flat-rate housing and dining costs under the guise of “improving equity.” Students protested, organized events and held meetings about where to go from here as constituents in an institution without adequate representation. Administrators sent emails. And more emails. The justifications for these hikes have largely fallen flat on a student...

Stop Raising Tuition

Editorial Board

April 21, 2017

The administration’s announcement to raise tuition to a whopping $69,372 by overhauling the College’s housing and dining systems is a perfect example of everything wrong with how this school is run. Administrators confidentially concocted major policy changes with no student involvement or consent, ultimately continuing its grotesque experiment of pushing tuition to the absolute limit with a 2.8-percent increase. Yes, the increase is lower than the already absurd 4-percent increases of previous years and matches the increase from last year. But “freezing” the rate of growth at 2.8 percent is not actually freezing anything, since the increase in absolute terms will continue growing annually. The principle of comp...

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...

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