The Oberlin Review

Oberlin: We Are Still Your Concern

 Nico Vickers, This Week Editor

March 13, 2020

I am perfectly aware that this is an impossible situation. Oberlin College and the City of Oberlin do not have the infrastructure, facilities, staff, or resources to deal with an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and it is true that it is best to act quickly in unpredictable situations such as the spread of disease.  However, it’s impossible not to take into account how devastating these changes are for many students at this school given their personal circumstances. For some students, going home and completing remote education is an inconvenience. Their lives aren’t drastically changed. They will go home and do their coursework from bed in their pajamas. Maybe they’ll be relieved from some of t...

Oberlin Has Transparency Problems

Les Leopold, OC ’69

March 13, 2020

Oberlin College’s administration claims that contracting out 108 union dining and maintenance jobs will save over $2 million a year. But where is the evidence for this claim? Good governance requires full transparency so that all the stakeholders impacted have the information needed to evaluate such dire actions as well as the overall financial health of the College. That is far from the case here. Here’s what we have NOT seen to date:  1) The proposed non-union sub-contracts: How much do they cost, and with whom? How long do they last? How are quality control and student safety issues handled along the way? What are the quality, performance, and labor relations history of the contractors? 2) Administra...

College’s OSCA Stance Inconsistent With One Oberlin Recommendations

Editorial Board

February 14, 2020

 When the Steering Committee of the Academic and Administrative Program Review released its final One Oberlin report in May 2019, a number of its recommendations concerned changes to the College’s relationship with the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association. This Editorial Board was reassured then, by what appeared to be a commitment from administrators, to engage in a process to learn more about the value OSCA brings to the institution. Now, nearly a year later, we’re not so sure that administrators are committed to such a process — and recent developments have troubling implications for the future of a transparent and good-faith One Oberlin implementation. The One Oberlin report recommended engaging “in ...

One Oberlin Fails to Address Race, Diversity Issues

Pablo Mitchell, Professor of History and Comparative American Studies

February 7, 2020

 Beyond the hype and anti-union fist-banging of the Academic and Administrative Program Review and One Oberlin report was a distressing silence around diversity. Do a word search of “diversity” in the glitzy 42-page One Oberlin final report. It appears three times. The administration has made admirable progress on diversifying its senior staff. However, where is a comparable commitment to diversifying the tenure-line faculty at Oberlin? Faculty diversity efforts seem to have languished, and tenure-line faculty of color appear to be fleeing the College. There are still large departments and offices in the College and Conservatory that are virtually all white, yet racial diversity barely merits a mention in One O...

Senate Progress On Transparency Sets Example For Administration

David Mathisson, Columnist

October 11, 2019

 This semester, Senate has made transparency a priority in order to bring together our community and foster cooperation between students and the administration. Senate is working to release more information to students this year than at any time in the recent past, improving the student body’s access to policies that work for us all. I’m optimistic about Senate’s work this semester, and believe that Senate’s work will set an example on transparency for the administration to follow. With that in mind, the severity of Oberlin’s transparency crisis means it must remain in the public dialogue until transparency and access become cultural norms of our community. In my recent campaign for Senate, I engaged h...

Academic and Administrative Review Process Not the Enemy

Lior Krancer, Production Editor

April 26, 2019

 As of yesterday, a year has passed since President Carmen Twillie Ambar shared the list of Academic and Administrative Program Review Steering Committee members with the Oberlin community. The AAPR is daunting because it indicates that hard decisions will need to be made to secure Oberlin’s long-term financial future. However, the fact that we have a dedicated program to address our serious deficit shows that Oberlin’s administration understands the gravity of our current financial struggle.  During this process, I have come to see a pattern of Oberlin students leveling sweeping criticisms of the AAPR rather than meaningfully confronting the potential danger we face. While there are plenty of reasonable concer...

Oberlin Brings in New Administrators, Departments

Sydney Allen, News Editor

September 1, 2017

Changes in many of the top administrative positions and advising and academic servicing centers hint at the transitory nature of this school year, as community members old and new begin to get their bearings in a new Oberlin. The school’s administrative transitions began with former President Marvin Krislov’s announcement to depart Oberlin last fall. The presidency has since passed to Carmen Twillie Ambar, Oberlin’s first African American and second female president. However, some of the lesser-known departures could have an equally important effect on students’ daily lives and Oberlin’s future. Four other top administrators departed last semester as Krislov left to helm Pace University; Vice President...

Ambar Provides Opportunity for Needed Change

Editorial Board

September 1, 2017

Each new academic year offers an opportunity to turn a new leaf. With the end of former President Marvin Krislov’s decade-long tenure this summer, that opportunity has perhaps never been greater at Oberlin. Simultaneously, however, the institution has never seemed to be in a more precarious position in recent memory than it does now. Just within the last year, Oberlin has seen cuts to administrative assistant and custodial positions, threats to eliminate programs like faculty research status, yet another tuition increase accompanied by an overhaul in room and board requirements, and the resumption of business with Gibson’s Bakery after controversy that sparked massive student protests. Together, these choi...

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...

Student Senate Proposes Central Budgeting Committee

Student Senate Proposes Central Budgeting Committee

April 28, 2017

Student senators are drafting a proposal to establish a Central Budgeting Commit­tee, a standing group that would include and engage students, faculty and staff in the College’s budgeting decisions. Senate’s Financial Prioritization task force hopes to release the proposal this week to leverage student and faculty support before pre­senting it to senior administrators. Senate’s proposal calls for CBC mem­bers’ inclusion on all budgetary documents and information in accordance with a...

Alan Norton Named Interim Vice President of Finance

Johan Cavert

April 7, 2017

With the departure of current Vice President of Finance and Administration Mike Frandsen set for July 1, the College announced last week that Dr. Alan Norton will fill the position as interim vice president until administrators select a permanent replacement. Norton has considerable experience working as a financial administrator and executive in higher education. From 1996 to 2014, Norton served as vice president and treasurer at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He has also held several interim positions, including interim president and CEO at Emeriti Retirement Health Solutions and, most recently, interim vice president for finance administration and treasurer at Ohio Wesleyan University. “I'm very pleased Alan has agreed to...

Administrators Rush to Finalize Clusters

Administrators Rush to Finalize Clusters

February 24, 2017

The College will soon finalize proposals for the new course cluster program, kicking off this fall at the Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center’s “StudiOC.” As the March 10 proposal deadline approaches for interested faculty members, students remain unaware which departments or course combina­tions will be available in the next course catalog released March 27. The course cluster program is intended to cover themes that extend beyond any one depart­ment or course. In the clusters, faculty members...

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