The Oberlin Review

Constructive Institutionalism Includes Diverse Perspectives

Editorial Board

May 25, 2018

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

Oberlin has reached many milestones this year — some deserving of celebration. Among those was the beginning of Carmen Ambar’s presidency. Ambar has worked to be more transparent and communicative than former President Marvin Krislov, whose time at Oberlin was marked by campus tension and administrative opacity. Ambar’s presidency has begun at a time of great financial uncertainty for Oberlin. To her credit, Ambar has made an effort to be candid about those challenges, carrying out a series of campus presentations regarding the College’s financial outlook this winter. She has also called upon all of us — students, staff, faculty, and alums — to be Oberlin’s stewards, institutionalists concerned not only with Oberlin...

Student Activism Must Work Toward Solutions

Editorial Board

April 20, 2018

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

After entering this academic year with significant under-enrollment contributing to a $5 million deficit, the Admissions Office has emphasized the importance of ensuring that Oberlin hits its enrollment goals. A large part of that effort, as President Ambar highlighted in a campus-wide email in February, has been in emphasizing the persuasive power of All Roads Lead to Oberlin — a program in which admitted students visit campus. This weekend is the third and final All Roads event, and compared to last year’s All Roads, which was littered with student protests against the 2017–2018 tuition hike and room and board changes, this year was significantly more successful. However, we must remain cognizant of our action...

Stevens Strategy Poses Potential Threat to Job Security, Program Funding

Matthew Senior and Marc Blecher

April 13, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

Editor’s Note: The following is a version of a letter posted to the faculty listserv and sent to President Ambar and faculty by Professor of Politics and East Asian Studies Marc Blecher in collaboration with Professor of French Matthew Senior. This revised version was provided to the Review by Blecher at the Review’s request. Because of the content’s potential impact on Oberlin students and faculty, we felt it appropriate to publish the text in full. Dear Colleagues: When Stevens Strategy was named to consult in our Academic and Administrative Program Review, many of us had immediate concerns and reservations. One look at the Stevens website raises suspicions that they hew to a corporate model of career-oriente...

Closing Dascomb Dining Presents As Many Problems As It Solves

Editorial Board

March 9, 2018

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

While the administration’s potential decision to shut down Dascomb Dining Hall may reduce costs during a time of financial stringency, the decision has far-reaching implications that jeopardize the already-delicate balance of Campus Dining Services. Despite President Carmen Ambar’s transparency in announcing the possible change at her recent budget presentation, there are numerous logistical concerns that the administration has yet to adequately answer. First, Ambar did not sufficiently address how the school plans to disperse Dascomb diners to other dining facilities. To compensate for the closure of Dascomb, the administration plans to expand DeCafé and Lord-Saunders Dining Hall hours, as if Lord-Saunders and ...

Students Must Protect Entirety of Oberlin, Not Just Specific Parts

Kameron Dunbar, Columnist

March 2, 2018

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

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. President Carmen Ambar delivered her 10th comprehensive presentation on Oberlin’s financial futures on Wednesday, particularly the challenges and opportunities therein. King 306 was packed with students, with audible laughs and sighs throughout the event’s duration. Personally, I was extremely excited to see such an awesome turnout. Years of frustration, coupled with an inclination to interrogate institutions, have left the student body suspicious of practically anything that involves administra...

Ambar Details Finances, Solutions to Students

Ambar Details Finances, Solutions to Students

March 2, 2018

President Carmen Ambar presented to students about Oberlin’s current budgetary state and answered subsequent questions Wednesday evening in King Building. Ambar mentioned how she intends to answer the financial deficit in student-specific ways, including the eventual closing of Dascomb Hall’s cafeteria and older Village Housing Units. The presentation is the 10th in a series of 11 that Ambar has been giving to different groups on campus. The president said that financial decisions made over t...

Financial Solutions Require Active Participation from Students

Meg Parker, Contributing Writer

February 23, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

Oberlin’s financial strife is not news. Enrollment in private liberal arts colleges is down across the nation, the financial crash of the late 2000s hit Oberlin hard, and we have been living beyond our means a for too long. The budget deficit was reduced to $3 million this year but is expected to increase to $9 million next year if the market behaves as predicted. Fretting, discussing, and occasionally ranting about the institution’s financial outlook and fiscal management has become nearly routine practice for students, faculty, and staff during my six semesters at Oberlin. We are quick to ask why some departments are more expensive than others and where funding for departments comes from and to question the validity ...

College Projects Enrollment Rebound

Devyn Malouf

February 9, 2018

Filed under Campus News, NEWS

After a significant enrollment shortfall that led to a $5-million deficit, the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid projects that Oberlin College and Conservatory will meet its target admission rate for the class of 2022, reducing the deficit by approximately $2 million. The office examined and has been responding to trends in high school graduate demographics, prospective student feedback, and issues concerning lower retention to help recover enrollment numbers. Interim Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Manuel Carballo said 169 Early Decision-I applicants have been accepted, while Early Decision-II is expected to bring in roughly 65 new commits, and 23 students who deferred their admission la...

Students Must Engage Administration, Ambar

Meg Parker, Contributing Writer

September 15, 2017

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. On the morning of Monday, Sept. 11, I left my room early, meandered through South Bowl, crossed the dewy grass, and entered President Carmen Ambar’s home at 8 a.m. sharp. The President’s residence is, as many would guess, fancier than The Local Coffee & Tea, my typical breakfast location. On the dining room table was an array of fruit, bagels, and teacups that looked too fragile for me to want to hold. However, suffering from the early stages of the Obie Plague, like many of ...

Exclusive Governance Fails Students

Editorial Board

September 8, 2017

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

In an email from this past summer announcing to faculty and staff that Oberlin’s revenues would fall well short of targets and create a deficit of $5 million, incoming Chair of the Board of Trustees Chris Canavan, OC ’84, began with the salutation “To the Oberlin community.” It was a stroke of profound irony. For all that it contained — including discussion of decreased enrollment, sub-par student retention, a projected five percent budget shortfall over the next decade, and a salary freeze for the second consecutive year — the letter was most significant in what, or rather who, it omitted. Despite the grave financial implications for current and future students, we were never informed, and Ca...

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