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...

Junior Practicum Aims to Provide Career Readiness Skills in Lieu of Summer Internships

Ella Moxley, Senior Associate Editor

July 19, 2020

While third-year College students won’t enroll in the fall due to the College’s three-semester plan, they will have the opportunity to continue their education off-campus with the Junior Practicum program. The practicum is designed to help build career readiness skills. Although the practicum offers an opportunity for experiential learning, some students remain concerned that it will not make up for lost internships during the summer semester. “I think that everyone in the community is making an adjustment that they would rather not make [due to COVID-19],” said Chair of the Board of Trustees Chris Canavan, OC ’84. “[But] if we think about other ways in which Oberlin could provide an experience for juni...

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 ...

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...

All In Fundraising Efforts Are Essential for Scholarship Fund

Meg Parker, Photo Editor

April 26, 2019

In his most recent Netflix comedy special Kid Gorgeous, John Mulaney recounts the tale of how frequently his alma mater mails him requests for money. He jokes about how abrasive it was to receive a letter demanding money from his college. If you’ve seen the special, you’re familiar with his bit, if not, it goes something like this: “I just got a letter from my college, which was fun, ’cause mail, you know?” he says. “So I open up the letter and they said, ‘Hey, John, it’s college. You remember?’ I say, ‘Yes, of course.’ And they said… How did they phrase it? They said, ‘Give us some money! As a gift! We want a gift! But only if it’s money.’” The frustration and discomfort Mulaney jokes a...

College Goes All In For Oberlin

College Goes All In For Oberlin

April 27, 2018

President Carmen Ambar and Associate Vice President for Athletics Advancement and Delta Lodge Director of Athletics and Physical Education Natalie Winkelfoos pose on a golf cart for yesterday’s All In For Oberlin fundraiser. Ambar and Winkelfoos cruised around campus yesterday asking students and community members to go “All In” for Oberlin and donate toward the fundraising challenge. Organizers sought 1,500 donors, and every dollar donated up to that point was matched with a $100 contribu...

Ambar Must Address AAPR Faculty Concerns

Editorial Board

April 13, 2018

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...

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...

Salary Freeze Incites Faculty Concern

Christian Bolles, Editor-in-Chief

December 8, 2017

Editor’s Note: The letter referenced in this article has been published in full under “Letters to the Editors” in this issue’s Opinions section. As the Board of Trustees convenes this weekend, freezes to non-union salaries remain a key concern among faculty and staff. The freezes were instituted last year and maintained as a result of a $5 million immediate budget deficit and long-term structural deficit disclosed to faculty and staff June 14. After the announcement of the freezes, James Monroe Professor of Politics Chris Howell and Nathan A. Greenberg Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand wrote a letter July 17 — obtained by the Review this week — in response to Chair of the Board of Trustees Chris Canavan...

Faculty Salaries at Oberlin College

Chris Howell and Kirk Ormand

December 8, 2017

Editor’s Note: Below is an email sent July 17, 2017 to Chair of the Board of Trustees Chris Canavan by College Professors Chris Howell and Kirk Ormand. The Review is publishing it in full, with minor changes to style. Dear Mr. Canavan: Thank you for your communication this spring, in which you explained Oberlin’s current financial crisis and the board’s decision to freeze salaries next year. While we recognize the seriousness of our current situation, we find it inadequate and depressing that neither the board nor the administration has the leadership or imagination to address this crisis in any way other than by eliminating raises for faculty and staff. Allow us to review a bit of recent history. At its June...

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