The Oberlin Review

Union Victory Provides Dignity to All Workers

Chris Howell

April 13, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

To the Editors: One of the dispiriting things about Oberlin College is the disjunction between the analytical tools and burning social justice values that we teach and discuss in class, and the application of those same tools and values when it comes to the largely invisible labor performed by workers at the College. This is an institution that would collapse without its custodians, administrative assistants, dining hall workers, librarians, and the myriad other workers who allow the school to function. We are attuned to manifestations of power in its most fine, capillary forms, to privilege and microaggression in language and glance, as we should be. But when it comes to these workers, we are all suddenly neoliberals...

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...

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...

Budget Resolution Must Come with Conditions

Chris Howell, Contributing Writer

February 9, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

Oberlin College is once again in full budget crisis mode. For anyone who has been here a while, there is something wearily and depressingly familiar about these cycles of boom and bust. The crises always come out of nowhere, the result of some generalized affliction affecting higher education for which no one here is responsible. The process of budget cutting always has to take place at breakneck speed so that the normal governance structures can be by- passed and broader thinking about how to resolve the mess is impossible. And the overwhelming burden of the cutting always — but always — falls on the College’s employees, its unionized workers, staff, and faculty, though rarely the senior administration. This time around, th...

Salary Freeze Incites Faculty Concern

Christian Bolles, Editor-in-Chief

December 8, 2017

Filed under Campus News, NEWS, Recent Stories

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

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

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...

Administration Suspends Research Status

Administration Suspends Research Status

March 31, 2017

A budgetary move intended to save Oberlin money has indefinitely eliminated funding for the faculty Research Status program. Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Tim Elgren and Dean of the Conservatory Andrea Kalyn announced the suspension in an email to faculty March 15, a decision they say could save the school approximately $600,000 annually. Research Status typically compensates five to ten College faculty and one to two Conservatory faculty for a full year of paid sabbatical leave with...

Implementation Committees Inch Toward Final Plans

Sydney Allen, Production Editor

March 3, 2017

Filed under Campus News, NEWS

A year has passed since the College formed implementation committees for the Strategic Plan, and in that time progress has widely varied by group. Committees like Resource Management have made strides, while others wait idly for their turn with movement contingent on other groups’ plans. “Compared to previous plans, the implementation is actually off to a faster start,” President Marvin Krislov said. “It’s a five-year plan and not all recommendations will be moving forward at the same pace. ... Some of these recommendations also relate to the groups, so Resource Management is going to help define how much we can do in certain areas and how quickly. We think the progress is actually moving quite well, and...

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