The Oberlin Review

College Deficit $5 Million Less Than Expected, Trustees Roll Back One-Time Salary Cuts

Kate Fishman and Katherine MacPhail

October 23, 2020

While COVID-19 complications and the three semester plan have created a budgetary shortfall for the College, the current deficit is almost $5 million less than originally projected and is expected to improve further. This positive forecast has prompted the Board of Trustees to roll back the faculty wage freeze and senior staff pay cuts that were instituted at the beginning of the school year.  The 2020–2021 academic year was initially projected to produce a total budget deficit of $44.7 million due to COVID-19 safety measures and an anticipated decrease in enrollment. While the College initially projected that enrollment would drop by 20 percent, the actual enrollment drop this semester has only been 11 perce...

65 Foundational Works in the Field of Africana Studies

Department of Africana Studies

June 14, 2020

Editor’s Note: This list of resources was originally attached to ABUSUA’s Letter to the Administration and Board of Trustees.  This following selection of works (written, visual and aural texts) have been combined by the faculty and affiliate faculty of Oberlin College’s Department of Africana Studies, to provide for its major, minor and interested students a list of what members of the department see as foundational works in the field of Africana Studies. The interdisciplinary nature of the field and the multi-disciplinary range of the contributors to this collection provides a broad, deep, and complex interpretation of works fundamental to the description, study, and creative expression of Africana peoples (continental...

ABUSUA Demands Institutional Reform from Administrators, Board of Trustees

ABUSUA

June 14, 2020

To Oberlin College and Conservatory administration and Board of Trustees ABUSUA, Oberlin’s Black Student Union, would like to express our anger and dissatisfaction with Oberlin's administration. The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others have made the world take a hard look at all of the continually ignored racist practices and institutions embedded in our society. Their painful deaths serve as a reminder of the systematic oppression and racism that continue to affect Black people in America. Oberlin has a legacy of activism and supporting the advancement of Black people. We would like to see these values reflected in Oberlin's response to the current Bla...

Students, staff, and community members rally at Wilder last week in support of union jobs at Oberlin.

Students Discuss UAW Concerns with Trustees

March 13, 2020

Student activists met with members of the Board of Trustees last week to denounce the College’s announcement that they are considering outsourcing up to 108 United Auto Worker jobs. In the meeting, students expressed their concerns and presented petitions that had been signed by students, alumni, and the broader Oberlin community. Elsa Schlensker, College fourth-year and chair of the Student Labor Action Coalition, was one of the students who presented. “The overall message that students h...

Students, faculty, alumni, and United Automobile Workers members gathered to protest the College’s Feb. 18 announcement that it is “formally considering” outsourcing union labor.

Pressure Mounts Against Outsourcing Proposal; Senator Sherrod Brown Voices Support of UAW

March 6, 2020

Campus controversy continues to swirl around President Carmen Twillie Ambar’s Feb. 18 announcement that the College is “formally considering” outsourcing dining and custodial services, a proposal that could impact jobs currently held by 108 members of the United Automobile Workers union. While students and alumni have made their dissatisfaction with the proposal known, regional politicians and media have also begun to take notice — most notably Senator Sherrod Brown (D–OH), who circulated ...

Oberlin Must Be Sure to Take Care of Neighbors, Workers

Booker C. Peek, Professor Emeritus of Africana Studies

March 6, 2020

 Most of us agree that Oberlin College must pay all its workers a living wage. But perhaps not all support this view. There is no universally agreed-upon definition for what amount of dollars represents a “living wage” — a sum for one person or a family of four, for those living in the most expensive area of the country or the least expensive?  Let’s allow that the term lacks precision, but is a concept that must cover what we all think of as basic needs — food, housing, clothing, health insurance, etc. — with some notion of a barrier still, but hardly impossible to overcome. It is urgent for us to impress upon the College a sense of oneness as humans, caring and supporting each other in life’s jo...

Oberlin’s Future Hinges on Razor-Thin Decisions

Booker C. Peek, Associate Professor Emeritus of Africana Studies

February 28, 2020

 College financially following the administration’s announcement of proposed outsourcing. But we should continue to support Oberlin financially — perhaps even more generously than in previous years — and encourage all our friends to join us, however razor-thin the decision to remain loyal may be in light of the impending mass firings of those most vulnerable. It’s the right thing to do. The Board of Trustees’ decision to be one of the first colleges to admit blacks in the 1800s was a razor-thin one, but it was the right decision. A decision made by President Carmen Twillie Ambar to reconsider the College’s decision to make these layoffs may be a razor-thin one, especially because the original recommenda...

College Maintains “Minimal Exposure” to Fossil Fuel Investments

Katie Lucey, News Editor

December 6, 2019

Five years after the Board of Trustees published an official Resolution for Divestment and established the Impact Investment Platform, Oberlin’s endowment remains partially invested in companies that benefit from the production and consumption of fossil fuels. “Oberlin still has minimal exposure to fossil fuel investments,” wrote Vice President for Finance and Administration Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings and Chief Investment Officer Jun Yang in a joint email statement to the Review. “However, they are legacy investments and the College has not made any new investment for several years.” In 2014, The Board allocated $5 million to fund the IIP and adopted an official Resolution for Divestment. Each year for the...

Gibson’s Verdict Appeal Filed

Anisa Curry Vietze, News Editor

October 11, 2019

On Tuesday, Oberlin College announced it would appeal the June jury verdict that sided with Gibson’s Bakery and against the College and Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo. The appeal comes after the College was denied a retrial at the county level last month. The College currently faces a $25 million judgment after a Lorain County jury found the College and Raimondo responsible for libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress following a student-led protest against the bakery in November 2016. To represent them at the appellate level, the College has hired a legal team that includes Washington, D.C. First Amendment attorneys Lee Levine and Seth Berlin, as well as Cleveland appellate a...

Report Showcases Economic Impact of College on Local Community

Katie Lucey, News Editor

October 11, 2019

According to an economic impact report released by Oberlin College on Sept. 25, the College “has a significant economic influence” on the greater Oberlin and Lorain County community and will contribute an estimated $143 million in direct and indirect spending in the region throughout 2019. The release of the report, titled “Our Community: 2019 Oberlin College Community Impact Report,” preceded last week’s Board of Trustees meeting and Tuesday’s announcement of the board’s decision to appeal the $25 million judgment against the College in the lawsuit filed by Gibson’s Bakery Oberlin contracted IMPLAN, an economic impact analysis firm, to produce the report. IMPLAN used 2018 inflation-adjusted institutional...

College plumber and United Auto Workers member Tom Wright works in Facilities Operations on campus

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...

Board of Trustees Approves External Financial Review

Lila Michaels, Staff Writer

March 30, 2018

The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to proceed with the Academic and Administrative Program Review during the March 9 board meeting, instructing President Carmen Ambar to put together a 30-person Steering Committee that will oversee the review, which will be led by educational consulting firm Stevens Strategy. This Steering Committee will be made up of 15 faculty members and 15 board members, students, administrative and professional staff, and union members, and it will be chaired by Ambar. “[The Board of Trustees indicated] that I should convene a cross-functional team that includes representation from important faculty committees and faculty leaders as well as other stakeholders,” Ambar wrote in an email...

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