The Oberlin Review

“The Book of Jessica” Showcases Refreshing Look at College Years

Kate Fishman, Staff Writer

April 27, 2018

Early this semester, College senior Jessica Toltzis and sophomore Casey Labbate reached out to the Athletics department with a perfectly normal request: a working treadmill, for a one-woman show. “I don’t know of any other show in America where there’s a person running on a treadmill,” Toltzis said. Toltzis’ senior capstone show — The Book of Jessica — is not your typical Americana. The play was heavily influenced by her desire to fuse American theater with some of the more avant-garde drama she saw during a semester abroad in Russia. “[In] one show [I] saw, they had hundreds of matchboxes falling from the ceiling,” Toltzis said. “I was like, ‘Wow, we don’t do that.’ We do kitchen-sink dra...

To Enable Social Mobility, Start Before College

Ben Silverman, Columnist

February 10, 2017

A study by The Equality of Opportunity Project recently featured in The New York Times painted a dramatic picture of the socioeconomic statuses of students in elite colleges and universities: Students from the top economic 1 percent outnumber those from the bottom 60 percent at 38 top U.S. colleges, and most others are barely more equitable. The study is a reminder of the work left to do to expand access to higher education after centuries of restriction to the highest classes. Since the 1960s, there have been a string of measures to encourage socioeconomic diversity in higher education, including affirmative action and the Pell grant for low-income students. But the intentions of the ’60s seem to have been washed...

OSCA, College Negotiate Future of Old Barrows

Eliza Guinn

March 4, 2016

OSCA employees returned from strike amid negotiations between the College and the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association that will likely decide the future of the Old Barrows Co-op. “OSCA employees were on strike until we had a chance to meet with the Board of Directors. We met with the Board of Directors on February 21 to express our concerns and ended our strike,” OSCA Business Coordinator Kevin G. Gilfether said. OSCA rents all of its buildings from the College, and moving or shutting down the Old Barrows Co-op has been a topic of discussion since 2011. The building is currently fit for living but will most likely be condemned within the next 20 years. Representatives from the College have been holding...

Con Opens Doors to College Musicians with New Jazz Ensemble

Sam Rueckert

February 19, 2016

As an aspiring musician who has recently committed to taking every possible musical opportunity, I now realize that I have very little experience with auditioning. Yesterday I went to my second real audition since I’ve gotten to Oberlin. My friend Justin invited me to audition to drum in a jazz combo for which he is the pianist. The combo is a new experiment for the Conservatory: It’s the first Conservatory-sponsored jazz ensemble consisting of only College students. I knew I would be competing against my friend Cole for the place in the combo. Having seen Cole drum before, I was pretty certain that I wouldn’t have much of a chance at winning the spot. I’ve practiced a lot this year and have gotten confident...

Students Push for Agreement on College Taxes

Oliver Bok, News Editor

December 12, 2015

The College owns roughly $200 million of property and pays no tax on the majority of it. Some student activists want that fact to change. Since nonprofits like the College are exempt from property taxes, the College pays no tax on buildings related to education, such as classroom buildings and dorms. According to Council member Bryan Burgess, the lack of tax revenue coming from the College breeds resentment and adds to the divide between the College and residents. “Some people in Oberlin have a lot of animosity,” Burgess said. “The college students get all the same services, but they don’t pay.” According to Council member Kristin Peterson, the College would pay roughly $4.4 million more in property taxes i...

Why Time Hasn’t Killed Dylan

CJ Blair, Columnist

October 2, 2015

For 50 years, Bob Dylan has been asking his audience “How does it feel?” and in all that time, he’s always had someone to ask. While his original fanbase might be withering away, his name is rescued from obscurity by an endless turnover of new listeners. Unlike any other music icon, Bob Dylan is neither universally praised nor dismissed as a past sensation. He’s like first love or a bad case of acne: extremely relevant to his primary listeners but meaningless to everyone else. Oberlin’s campus, like many others across the country, is filled with the very people cementing Bob Dylan’s place in the American music canon. For all the attention he gets, it can be easy to forget that Bob Dylan has always been polar...

College Scorecard Can Disrupt Higher Ed’s Prestige Economy

Editorial Board

September 18, 2015

One of the Obama administration’s goals was to rank every college and university — all 7,000-odd private and public institutions of higher education in the nation — by their comparative student debt and earning potential. College administrators nationwide opposed the initiative, fearing such a ranking system would favor institutions with robust STEM or vocational programs. The answer to the controversy was a compromise: On Saturday, the U.S. Department of Education revealed a website called College Scorecard, which consolidates average annual cost, graduation rate and salary post-graduation for each institution. No rankings are assigned; the scorecard is just an easy-to-navigate treasure trove of financial fac...

Committee Weighs Possible Budget Reduction

Oliver Bok, News Editor

September 11, 2015

The College’s financial position isn’t healthy, and the community will have to make tough decisions about where to put resources in the near future. At any rate, that’s the conclusion that many members of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee — the group of students, faculty, staff, trustees and administrators who are tasked with planning the College’s fiscal and educational future — seem to be coming to. “To put it simply, we have made a lot of promises that cost money,” said double-degree junior and committee member Hayden Arp. “We promised to raise faculty salaries to the median of our peer group. We promised to be carbon neutral by 2025. And then there’s the things we want to do: We want ...

College Must Accommodate Health Emergencies

Goo Mattison, College sophomore

February 13, 2015

Editors’ Note: College sophomore Goo Mattison posted the following letter on Facebook on Jan. 25 and has given permission for it to be printed in its entirety. The recent dissatisfaction with Oberlin College’s health services has been a major issue on campus this year, with the Oberlin Mental Health Alliance communicating with the administration and the Counseling Center to improve access to resources for those with disabilities. To the Editors: I was debating whether or not I should publish this, as it's fairly personal, but the importance of communicating the extent to which Oberlin does not care about the health of its students won out. Before the week of finals began, I was doubting whether I could ...

Valentine’s Day Too Often Compromises, Cheapens Intimacy

CJ Blair, Columnist

February 13, 2015

If there’s a holiday that’s further out of touch with the reality of what it celebrates than Valentine’s Day, I haven’t found it yet. While the marriage of the commercial and the emotional is a trend far from alien to American holidays, this connection is more contrived and unwarranted with V-Day than any other. Though it would be an exaggeration to claim that Valentine’s Day is a year-long source of worry, its adverse consequences are often ignored in favor of narratives that fit the bill of a romantic February 14. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, which is not bad in and of itself. Yet the ubiquity of hearts and roses and the rhetoric of the importance of public displays of love have transformed...

Bryn Mawr Debacle Highlights Weight-Centric Approach to “Health”

Editorial Board

February 6, 2015

Trigger Warning: This editorial contains discussion of eating disorders and body image.  A troubling Health Center email sent to students with “elevated” BMIs, encouraging them to “Give a HOOT” about their body size, generated protests and unfavorable press at Bryn Mawr College in late January. “We want YOU to be in the Fitness OWLS (Onward to Weight Loss Success) Program,” read the message, noting that the program was a partnership between the Bryn Mawr health center and the school’s athletic department and dining services. Health Center Director Kay C. Kerr issued a written apology for the message last Saturday, but not before the incident drew renewed attention to discussions of health and wellne...

Personal Definition of Home Provides Contentment, Stability

CJ Blair, Columnist

December 12, 2014

The brief period between Thanksgiving and winter break is an interesting one for students. With the quick turnaround between break, finals and another break, many Obies find themselves shuffling between one familiar place and another faster than they might have ever done before. This constant change of setting prompts students to ask themselves: What is home, exactly? This may seem like another philosophical question every college student is bound to ask themselves. In reality, though, forming an answer to this particular question is substantially more significant than it is for other ones like it. This is because a home grounds a person in the world, both physically and emotionally. Having a good one provides some...

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