The Oberlin Review

Discussions Regarding Dining Changes Must Include Student Input, Voices

David Mathisson, Contributing Writer

April 5, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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...

Oberlin Will Survive Financial Challenges

Donn Ginoza, Alumni Membership Council Member

November 30, 2018

The recent protest in response to Tom Reid’s termination from his former position of associate director of the Student Union seems to be only the beginning of more conflicts as the administration addresses what it sees as difficult financial decisions ahead. What made Oberlin special for me as a student was the courage students showed in speaking up on issues of importance. This tradition continues. When Oberlin describes itself as a place where students who want to change the world go, it speaks to a culture that is unafraid to identify problems but also committed to solving them. As the Review article describing the protest pointed out, Oberlin’s challenges exist at a high level. Oberlin has an existential problem,...

A Thank You to College Faculty

Meg Parker, Contributing Writer

November 9, 2018

Sitting in Craig Lecture Hall on Wednesday, my fellow student representatives to the College Faculty Committee and I attended the first meeting we were ever invited to. Although students had been official members for over 40 years, due to a lapse in institutional memory, we had not been included in the meetings for as long as many faculty members could remember. During this meeting, faculty members were deliberating on whether to allow students to continue participating in the committee as voting members. After a lengthy discussion, the College Faculty voted to continue student representation. As an active member of Oberlin governance for the past three years, I have learned extensively about the institution, our...

Faculty Body Should Follow Junior Faculty Lead Through AAPR

Editorial Board

September 28, 2018

“We chose to begin our careers at Oberlin College for a variety of reasons. Chief among those are Oberlin’s commitment to fostering a research-engaged faculty of the highest caliber, emphasizing an outstanding and socially-minded liberal arts education, and supporting deep faculty engagement in the governing of the College. We write with concern that these commitments are currently being compromised, and we hope to work with other members of our community to ensure that the College’s mission remains intact.” So collectively wrote Oberlin College’s Assistant and Visiting Assistant Professors in a May letter sent to the entire faculty body, as well as the College’s senior staff, members of the Academic and Adm...

Student Input Vital to AAPR’s Success

Kameron Dunbar, Sadie Keller, and Janet Wu

September 24, 2018

Last spring, President Carmen Ambar called on the Oberlin community — students, staff, faculty, and alumni — to think critically and creatively about the institution’s present and long-term stability. Speaking candidly, she outlined some of the challenges facing Oberlin and similar institutions. To respond, President Ambar announced Oberlin’s Academic and Administrative Program Review, an 18-month initiative that seeks to address both immediate financial needs and the long-term direction of the College and Conservatory. Of the 31 members of the AAPR Steering Committee, 16 are faculty and three are students. As the student representatives, we are committed to transparent communication and community input. But...

Faculty Join National Advocacy Group Amid Personnel Changes

Gabby Greene, News Editor

September 7, 2018

Amid concern over the ongoing Academic and Administrative Program Review and staffing changes this summer, over 58 Oberlin College and Conservatory faculty members have joined the American Academy of University Professors. At 64 members, the AAUP of Oberlin does not have the numbers to become its own chapter. It does, however, have the power to become a faculty advocacy program. The AAUP is a national organization with local chapters in each state, which serve as either bargaining or advocacy chapters. A private college like Oberlin can only become an advocacy chapter, which would not allow the collective bargaining found in public university chapters like the AAUP branch at The Ohio State University. “Ideally w...

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