The Oberlin Review

AAPR Prompts Concern Among Union Supporters

AAPR Prompts Concern Among Union Supporters

April 12, 2019

Oberlin is considering eliminating over 50 staff lines — a decision which could impact up to 40 current employees — as part of the Academic and Administrative Program Review. This is part of just one of the AAPR steering committee’s areas of recommendation meant to address Oberlin’s structural budget deficit. The steering committee referenced Oberlin’s exorbitant employee costs as a reason for the area of recommendation, claiming that 63 percent of Oberlin’s operating budget goes toward em...

AAPR Should Remove Unions From Recs

Chris Howell, James Monroe Professor of Politics

April 5, 2019

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

The Academic and Administrative Program Review Steering Committee has now made a series of public presentations and released a summary of its work to date. There is a lot to digest, but dotted throughout both the presentations and the summary report is information about employee costs — specifically those of the unionized hourly employees — and what appear to be implicit recommendations regarding the number of unionized employees, their wages and benefits, and the way the work they do is provided. It is not necessary to take a position on the information provided — whether our unionized workers are overpaid, or have benefits that are too generous, or should be eliminated, or have their jobs outsourced — in...

OSCA and College Discuss Future Partnership

OSCA and College Discuss Future Partnership

April 5, 2019

Oberlin College and the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association have begun the process of collaboratively discussing the terms of the financial relationship between the College and OSCA, which feeds 590 students and houses 180. These conversations were prompted by data revealed by the Academic and Administration Program Review steering committee, which identified that the College loses $1.9 million in annual revenue through its relationship with OSCA. While AAPR leadership has emphasized the $1.9 million...

Sustainability Crucial to AAPR Success

Johan Cavert and Brian James

April 5, 2019

Filed under OPINIONS, Student Senate

This article is part of the Review’s Student Senate column. In an effort to increase communication and transparency, student senators will provide personal perspectives on recent events on campus and in the community. During the week preceding spring break, the Academic and Administrative Program Review released findings from its yearlong effort to document and propose solutions to Oberlin’s current financial predicament. Integral to that assessment was evaluating the College’s institutional sustainability and recognizing that Oberlin must improve both environmentally and financially in order to make its continued success possible. In their report from March 29, AAPR members wrote that their goal “is to help...

Students Need More Data

Editorial Board

April 5, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

Since the launch of the ongoing Academic and Administrative Program Review, transparency has been an oft-repeated concern of Oberlin community members — and for good reason. The AAPR is the first comprehensive analysis of Oberlin’s finances and was created to address the College’s structural budget deficit. As a recent report from the AAPR steering committee reminded us, their work “is an ambitious effort that touches almost every part of the institution.” This breadth of responsibility, understandably, comes with considerable apprehension. However, as the Review reported following the initial public rollout of the AAPR’s areas of recommendation on March 13, AAPR leadership has taken important steps toward...

Discussions Regarding Dining Changes Must Include Student Input, Voices

David Mathisson, Contributing Writer

April 5, 2019

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

The Office of Residential Education sent an email to all rising juniors March 19 notifying students that previously promised meal plan options would no longer be offered. Instead, the office planned to limit them to more expensive meal plans that provide fewer options to students. Concerned about the impact on low- and middle-income students, a small group of passionate student activists planned a boycott in response. Later that day, because of the accessibility concerns, I joined as an organizer. I created a food donation plan to ensure every participant would get enough to eat during the boycott, regardless of income. I’d like to thank Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo and the Dean of Students...

AAPR Process Must Value, Respect All College Employees

Jae Muth, Contributing Writer

April 5, 2019

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

The areas of recommendation first publicly presented by the Academic and Administrative Program Review steering committee on March 13 and 14 have exposed clear divisions between different parts of the Oberlin community. Students, faculty, staff, and administrators each face a challenging set of potential changes that, to this point, have only been offered to the campus community in blurry terms.  The vague statements — veiled in large part by the language of development, progress, and nominal references to Oberlin’s ethical standards — have incited confusion, misunderstandings, and difficult conversations among the people who attend and work at Oberlin. Yet, student discourse largely seems to ignore the most...

AAPR Announces Areas of Recommendation to Oberlin Community

AAPR Announces Areas of Recommendation to Oberlin Community

March 15, 2019

After months of research, data collection, and deliberation, members of the Academic and Administrative Program Review steering committee presented their proposed areas of recommendation to the Oberlin community in a series of three presentations for faculty, staff, and students this week. The presentations capped a year-long exploratory process during which a 31-person steering committee — composed of faculty, staff, students, trustees, and alumni — analyzed nearly every aspect of Oberlin...

Departmental Consolidation Offers Opportunities for Increased Efficiency

Editorial Board

March 15, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

In a series of campus-wide presentations earlier this week, the Academic and Administrative Program Review steering committee unveiled numerous areas of recommendation for program and financial changes that might secure Oberlin’s long-term financial sustainability. For the last year, senior administrators have made clear that Oberlin is facing a financial reality that simply does not permit stagnation. However, this week’s presentation put that urgency in starker terms than ever before for the larger Oberlin community. According to the AAPR data released this week, if no changes are made to Oberlin’s budget, over the next five years Oberlin would see our deficit balloon to an unprecedented $52 million — a...

Student Senate Must Be Proactive in Regaining Student Trust

Ruby Anderson, Contributing Writer

March 15, 2019

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS, Uncategorized

On Friday, March 8, a group of around 40 students gathered in Tappan Square. Our plan was to disrupt a trustee luncheon and read a statement expressing our concerns about the Academic and Administrative Program Review, the current budget crisis, and a general lack of transparency and meaningful incorporation of student voices in decision making processes at Oberlin. When we arrived at The Hotel at Oberlin, we were immediately surrounded by Campus Safety officers and administrators, who blocked access to the stairs leading up to the luncheon, causing the “accessibility” concerns raised in Student Senate’s March 11 email. I was able to gain access to the luncheon and read our statement in full to the attendees,...

Arabic Transition Offers Opportunity to Model Creative Collaboration

Editorial Board

March 8, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

The recent decision to transition intermediate and advanced Arabic courses to a digital classroom platform known as the Shared Languages Program (covered in-depth in this week’s Review, “Arabic Courses to Be Offered Digitally”) has highlighted two truths about Oberlin’s current campus climate. The first, which has been obvious for quite some time, is that the time to make difficult decisions is here. Oberlin’s finances are at a point where, if action is not taken now, the institution will struggle to keep its doors open down the road. The second is that College administrators and students are getting better at coming together and discussing in good faith what those decisions are, and how they should be add...

Higher Education Shifts Spell Trouble for Small Liberal Arts Colleges

Editorial Board

February 8, 2019

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

Editor's note: The original version of this editorial incorrectly stated that Antioch College would likely close if it could not merge with another institution. In fact, Hampshire College, not Antioch, is seeking a merger. The editorial has been updated and the Review regrets the error. Small liberal arts institutions like Oberlin are in trouble. This much has become clear in recent years, as many — not just Oberlin — have faced significant financial challenges, some even forced to close their doors. Earlham College, for instance, was forced to cut a staggering 12 percent of costs across all divisions in a single year and suspend its football program. Hampshire College recently announced that it's looking...

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