The Oberlin Review

Oberlin College and Spring Arbor University participants of the “Bridging the Gap” Winter Term project in front of the state Capitol in Lansing, MI before they met with elected officials to discuss prison reform.

“Bridging the Gap” Encouraged Dialogue Across Campuses

February 28, 2020

Oberlin College is no stranger to critiques of our political leftism. In an effort to reach across the aisle and encourage dialogue across difference, the Winter Term project “Bridging the Gap: Dialogue Across Campus in a Time of Political Polarization” brought together a group of 10 Oberlin students and five students from Spring Arbor University, a conservative Christian school in Michigan. Progressive philanthropist Simon Greer led the group, teaching the students dialogue techniques like active...

MRC Deserves Better

Editorial Board

November 9, 2018

Advocating for social justice is perhaps the Oberlin community’s most strongly-held value. We care deeply about equity, even though we’re far from perfect in achieving it. One of the most important resources on campus in our ongoing work to be better advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion is the Multicultural Resource Center. The MRC plays an invaluable role on campus through the support and programming it provides for marginalized communities at Oberlin. Further, the MRC does good work in educating and training other campus groups to be more sensitive to social power dynamics and their own biases. Because of the contributions that the MRC makes to our community, we have been alarmed to see the deterioration...

“Grape”’s Editorial Reflects Dogmatism, Outrage Politics of Oberlin Students

Jackson Zinn-Rowthorn, Contributing Writer

September 21, 2018

Oberlin students, I’m glad to say, have retreated a few steps in recent years from the sort of divisive, outrage-fueled politics that would routinely erupt into conflagrations of bad discourse and unsolvable conflict on campus. This paradigm of activism flourished under Obama, but it doesn’t play as well in the current political era. The 2016 election offered something of a reality check. Suddenly our righteousness didn’t look so noble; our dogmatism didn’t look so pure. We are a little more open-minded now, and a little less reactionary. The campus feels calmer and more welcoming. It’s been a gratifying transformation to watch. So, I was disheartened when last week The Grape chose to publish a flippant and br...

Let’s Make Campus Politics More Constructive

Marc Blecher, Professor of Politics and East Asian Studies

February 5, 2016

I was lucky to come of age during a time of social and political radicalism. The 1960s movements for democracy, justice and peace taught me the profound value and significance of political engagement. They are the reason I chose a career in the academy. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be able to ply my trade among a community of such bright, serious, socially responsible and politically engaged students as Obies. In that context, here are my hopes for campus politics for 2016 and beyond. Today, race dominates politics on our campus and our country — from police violence to incarceration to extreme segregation of neighborhoods, employment and education to the ugliness that has sullied even the presidential c...

Peer Support, Solidarity Only Provided During Campus Crises

Robert Bonfiglio, Contributing Writer

February 5, 2016

Two winters ago, in a student study room at a Dartmouth College medical building, I got bored with my Winter Term project and took a break to watch a documentary on the Belle and Sebastian album If You’re Feeling Sinister. I had been trying to find the album on YouTube, but ended up happening upon this documentary that details the simplicity and beauty of the lyrics. The lead singer, Stuart Murdoch, suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome early on in his life, explained how his simple lyrics came to be so meaningful. “I wanted to write about normal people doing normal things because I was not normal,” he said. “I was not part of the game.” Everyone feels this: being left out of the game. Murdoch’s lyrics expre...

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