The Oberlin Review

Oberlin Should Focus on Sustainability in Future Legacy

Johan Cavert

April 20, 2018

Filed under Columns, 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. The General Faculty Council has decided who will serve on the Academic Administrative Program Review Steering Committee, which will soon be announced to the rest of the campus. At such a critical moment, it is important to make time for nuanced reflection about the trajectory, values, and vision of our institution — something Student Senate has focused on this semester. During the student-trustee forums last month, one trustee convincingly asserted that Oberlin was not facing anything as dramatic as ba...

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...

Unionized Staff Cuts Follow Dascomb Closure

Unionized Staff Cuts Follow Dascomb Closure

April 13, 2018

Campus dining staff first learned of Dascomb Dining Hall’s impending closure at President Carmen Ambar’s respective financial presentation. Currently, 19 members of the United Auto Workers — the union that represents Campus Dining Services, custodial, and facilities staff — work in Dascomb, in addition to between 50 and 75 non-union, non-student workers. Although workers had expressed anxiety over what Dascomb’s closure would mean for their job security, it wasn’t until a week ago th...

Stevens Strategy Presents to General Faculty Amid Controversy

Sydney Allen, News Editor

April 13, 2018

Filed under Campus News, Features, NEWS, Recent Stories

Editor’s Note: A revised version of the letter mentioned in this article is filed under Letters to the Editors. It can be found online at the following link: https://wp.me/p4BnSC-4ak Stevens Strategy, the academic consulting firm President Carmen Ambar tapped to lead the upcoming Administrative and Academic Professional Review, presented its intended strategy to the General Faculty Council Monday. Amid pre-existing skepticism from faculty members, many who attended the meeting felt the firm came across as unprepared, further heightening concerns. The firm describes itself as “a full-service consulting firm specializing in managing the process of strategic change in colleges, universities, and schools.” Stevens Strat...

College Must Include Staff Input During Restructuring Process

Michael Kennedy

April 13, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

As co-chair and former treasurer of Oberlin’s Student Labor Action Coalition, I have met regularly with representatives from Oberlin’s United Auto Workers and Oberlin College Office and Professional Employees unions to learn about issues facing workers and college-union relations. Over the course of this school year, I have engaged in hours of conversations with many employees — from administrative assistants to Campus Dining Services workers to custodians. Every single discussion I have had with a staff member has greatly expanded my understanding of this institution and its faults. Ever since President Carmen Ambar announced to students that Dascomb Dining Hall was to close, I’ve been confronted with the questi...

Ambar Must Address AAPR Faculty Concerns

Editorial Board

April 13, 2018

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

For the third time this academic year, the Review is publishing in full a letter originally sent to faculty and staff with grave concerns about Oberlin’s financial situation and how to respond to it — something that, as far as the Editorial Board is aware, has never occured in the history of this publication. It is a significant decision, one that we do not take lightly. In September, we printed a message from Chair of the Board of Trustees Chris Canavan, OC ’84, that outlined Oberlin’s long-term and short-term budget deficits to faculty and staff. These were never acknowledged in any official communication to students. In December, we published a letter to Canavan from two faculty members, James Monroe Prof...

Students Nominated For AAPR Steering Committee

Duncan Reid, Staff Writer

April 6, 2018

Filed under Campus News, NEWS, Recent Stories

Student Senate announced the students nominated to serve on the Academic Administrative Program Review Steering Committee in an email Tuesday. College juniors Sadie Keller and Faith Shaeffer, sophomores Nae Mclain and Janet Wu, and first-year Ilana Foggle were nominated to the General Faculty Council, which will choose three of the five to serve on the committee. Senate Vice-Chair and College junior Cecilia Wallace said that Senate received a qualified pool of applicants for the AAPR Steering Committee, which will engage closely with the coming external financial review. “Senate was not picking and choosing between opinions, but rather seeking clear dedication to current and future peers’ wellbeing,” Wallace...

Dascomb Staff Deserve Respect, Increased Transparency

Caitlin Kelley

April 6, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

I attended President Ambar’s talk on Feb. 28, 2018 in which she updated students on Oberlin’s financial situation and announced the closing of Dascomb Dining Hall. President Ambar addressed student concerns about food availability and quality of service on campus when Dascomb closes, but as a student, those are not my only concerns about the state of Campus Dining Services. As part of my work-study, I have washed dishes at Dascomb since the fall of my first year. I’m not a dishwasher because I couldn’t find a “better” job on campus; I wash dishes at Dascomb because I like to. Working with the Dascomb dining staff has honestly been one of the best experiences I’ve had at Oberlin. The staff at Dascomb a...

Dascomb to Close, New CDS Options Introduced

Dascomb to Close, New CDS Options Introduced

March 30, 2018

Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo announced that Dascomb Dining Hall will close next semester in a March 12 campus-wide email. To offset the meals specific to Dascomb, both DeCafé and Lord-Saunders Dining Hall will offer breakfast, and DeCafé will host fourth meal. The administration is also looking to increase dining accessibility by extending Lord-Saunders hours and adding grab-and-go options, currently available in DeCafé, to Stevenson Dining Hall as well, which will ot...

Board of Trustees Approves External Financial Review

Lila Michaels, Staff Writer

March 30, 2018

Filed under Campus News, Features, NEWS, Recent Stories

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...

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 Shouldn’t Bear All Cost of Incoming Financial Decisions

Duncan Reid, Contributing Writer

March 9, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

After listening to President Ambar’s presentation and going over the notes, one thing kept repeating itself in my head: That just doesn’t add up. President Ambar mentioned that our tuition is similar to our peer institutions, and thus a 3 percent increase is reasonable. While our tuition is roughly similar, what students pay, including fees, is not. The average net price that Obies pay, including financial and merit aid, is around $45,000 per year, according to College Factual. The average net price per student at Oberlin’s peer institutions is far less — anywhere from $21,841 at Amherst to $32,763 at Kenyon. That doesn’t add up. A year ago, incoming first-years were told that they had to buy into a more expens...

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