The Oberlin Review

Oberlin Engages In Wider Conversations About Sexual Misconduct

Julia Peterson, Arts and Culture Editor

March 9, 2018

Filed under Campus News, NEWS, Recent Stories

Editor's note: This article contains discussion of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The #MeToo movement — started in 2006 by Tarana Burke to support women and girls of color who have survived sexualized violence — became a household phrase in the waning months of 2017 when a number of prominent men across multiple industries were accused of sexual harassment or assault, and the hashtag went viral on Twitter. During this time, people spoke up about sexual misconduct perpetrated by the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Larry Nassar, and Roy Moore, among many others. The #MeToo movement has also prompted difficult conversations about gendered power dynamics, the limits of acceptable sexual behavior, and w...

Interaction Outside Classroom Not Always Abusive

Louise Edwards

February 16, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: On Feb. 9, 2018, The Oberlin Review published Emily Clarke’s Letter to the Editors (“Matambo’s Mentorship Lacked Boundaries”), which describes interactions that Clarke had with former professor of Creative Writing Bernard Farai Matambo. Matambo recently resigned from Oberlin College due to sexual misconduct allegations. From Clarke’s perspective, the interactions described in the letter made their student-teacher relationship “insidious.” I understand that all of Matambo’s students had different experiences with him; however, to me, the actions described in the third paragraph of Clarke’s letter do not seem like boundaries crossed, with the exception of showing up to Clarke’s house at 1...

Creative Writing Program Unfairly Accused

Milena Williamson

February 9, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

On Dec. 1, The Oberlin Review broke the news of allegations against Professor Bernard Matambo (“Matambo Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations,” Dec. 1, 2017). The Review followed up with an editorial on the importance of preventing sexual misconduct (“Oberlin Faculty, Administration Must Be Active in Preventing Sexual Misconduct,” Dec. 8, 2017). It is this editorial that I am responding to now. I firmly believe that Oberlin faculty and staff should do everything in their power to protect students from sexual misconduct. I also want to address the problematic statements that were presented in this editorial by the Review. The editorial demonstrated unethical journalism through the implication that other profes...

Matambo’s Mentorship Lacked Boundaries

Emily Clarke

February 9, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: I’m writing to share my experiences with Bernard Matambo, in the hope that making it public will continue to open up space for the kind of reflection and change that Sarah Cheshire called for. Bernard shaped my time at Oberlin and my values and stances as a writer. He was my advisor and someone I thought of as a mentor, but looking back, the dynamic doesn’t seem like mentorship. I was trying very hard to be a close friend rather than a student, and he did nothing to discourage and much to encourage those efforts. At the time, I felt a powerful kind of approval from feeling “worth” the phone calls, long one-on-one meetings at coffee shops and restaurants (never his office), and late-night con...

Oberlin Faculty, Administration Must Be Active in Preventing Sexual Misconduct

Editorial Board

December 8, 2017

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

Editor’s Note: Language in this editorial has been updated to clarify the sources used in its writing and more explicitly express the views of the Editorial Board. Some of the most important relationships at Oberlin are those between students and members of the faculty and staff. Faculty, advisors, and deans all take meaningful roles in the lives of students that they work with — which is how it should be. After all, students come to small liberal arts schools like Oberlin for the accessibility of mentorship and guidance, as well as research opportunities predicated on working closely with faculty members that are not readily available to undergraduates at large universities. With these relationships comes...

Word Choice Vital in Discussions of Misconduct

Lilah Drafts-Johnson, College Senior

December 8, 2017

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: As an avid reader of the Review, I was concerned by last week’s headline for the Dec. 1 story covering former Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Bernard Matambo’s resignation. It was not the first page headline, “Matambo Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations,” but the second page headline, which read, “Creative Writing Department Loses Tenure Track Professor” that troubled me. While this headline is factual, I feel it deliberately capitalizes on a fear that is deeply felt by many students and faculty about the futures of various majors and departments: that we are losing tenure-track professors at an alarming rate, and that under the current financial climate, these positions wil...

Matambo Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Matambo Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

December 1, 2017

Editor’s Note: This article contains mentions of sexual assault. Associate Professor of Creative Writing Bernard Matambo resigned Nov. 16 amid multiple accusations of sexual misconduct toward students. One such former student has recently filed a Title IX report against him. Another former student, Sarah Cheshire, OC ’14, wrote Unravelings, a memoir that details a series of inappropriate encounters with Matambo, referring to him as “B.M.” and “Professor X” throughout. Several individ...

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