The Oberlin Review

Don’t Be A Voluntourist

Kameron Dunbar, Columnist

November 30, 2018

Filed under Columns, OPINIONS

The first time I realized I was voluntouring, my group had just left a monastery and orphanage in Yangon, Myanmar, after spending about an hour surveying the grounds. Just before we left, we bestowed “ceremonial gifts” of pencils and school supplies through a dramatized exchange that was perfectly staged for the iPhone videos fellow Americans took. We left feeling good about ourselves, but the kids there barely benefited at all. This type of travel experience is not uncommon, and the issues noted here are not unique. The story of the Christian missionary who recently died after disturbing a remote island community close to India has brought several important concepts and considerations to a national stage: “mission...

Josh Voorhees, Political Journalist

Josh Voorhees, Political Journalist

November 16, 2018

Josh Voorhees, an American political journalist and senior writer for Slate, delivered a lecture on Monday titled “Blue Waves and Red Walls: Making Sense of the 2018 Midterm Election.” Voorhees has taught in London, has covered national politics in Iowa City, and is now based in Northeast Ohio. He specialized in covering national and international political campaigns and has been published in Politico, Greenwire, The Scientific American, E&E News and the New York Times. This interview ...

Johnnetta Cole, OC ’57

Johnnetta Cole, OC ’57

October 5, 2018

Oberlin alumna Johnnetta Cole, ’57, delivered the opening remarks at the Inauguration Ceremony of President Carmen Twillie Ambar earlier today. Cole was the first female African-American president at Spelman College and also served as the President of Bennett College. She has been the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art and was awarded the Legend in Leadership Award for Higher Education from the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute earlier this...

Understanding Kavanaugh’s Flawed Jesuit Education

Kameron Dunbar and Mattie Gittings

September 28, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

Editor’s Note: This article contains discussion of sexual misconduct and sexual assault. The motto “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” — which translates to “to the greater glory of God” — is a beloved trademark of the Jesuit schooling experience. Fordham Preparatory School and the University of Detroit Jesuit High School & Academy, our respective alma maters, instilled in us this vision of living a life for others. Another graduate of an all-boys Jesuit school, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, is now a nominee for the Supreme Court. Watching the weeks of coverage culminating in yesterday’s hearing — where Dr. Christine Blasey Ford detailed how Kavanaugh, in the midst of his Jesuit education, assaulted her, has be...

Student Input Vital to AAPR’s Success

Kameron Dunbar, Sadie Keller, and Janet Wu

September 24, 2018

Filed under Letters to the Editors, OPINIONS

Last spring, President Carmen Ambar called on the Oberlin community — students, staff, faculty, and alumni — to think critically and creatively about the institution’s present and long-term stability. Speaking candidly, she outlined some of the challenges facing Oberlin and similar institutions. To respond, President Ambar announced Oberlin’s Academic and Administrative Program Review, an 18-month initiative that seeks to address both immediate financial needs and the long-term direction of the College and Conservatory. Of the 31 members of the AAPR Steering Committee, 16 are faculty and three are students. As the student representatives, we are committed to transparent communication and community input. But...

Institutional Change Difficult, Requires Student Input, Resilience

Kameron Dunbar, Contributing Writer

September 7, 2018

Filed under 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. At this point, it should be no surprise that things are changing at Oberlin. Faculty and staff have taken benefit cuts, several staffers have been eliminated, and students are seeing all sorts of differences in dining and living spaces. Hell, even the albino squirrels have returned to reclaim their piece of the Oberlin pie. Students shouldn’t be alarmed at these changes. President Ambar started her tenure last year laying bare the financial landscape of the College, implying that our current fiscal...

Senate, OST Delay Appointing SFC Chairs

Melissa Harris, Editor-in-Chief

May 11, 2018

Filed under Campus News, NEWS, Recent Stories

Student Senate and the Office of the Student Treasurer will delay the Student Finance Committee member appointments until this fall rather than completing them before the end of the semester — an action that’s part of Senate and the OST’s recent plan to restructure the student finance system to become more transparent, flexible, and efficient in allocating funds. Senate and the OST’s pivot to restructure campus student financing came about after they evaluated how student activity funding is allocated. Out of a pool of about $1.2 million in the allocated funds to student organizations, $600,000 remained unspent as of April 24, said Senate Chair and College junior Kameron Dunbar. With the ad hoc pool emptying t...

College Must Prioritize Student Happiness

Editorial Board

May 11, 2018

Filed under Editorials, OPINIONS

As the academic year comes to a close and further consequences of, and navigation through, Oberlin’s financial austerity ensue, the administration and student government must prioritize student happiness to ensure that both mental health and morale are addressed as fully as possible in the immediate and coming years. With Student Senate and the Office of the Student Treasurer’s anticipated changes to the structure and efficiency of the Student Finance Committee, the College may be in a comfortable position to do just that. Most Oberlin students would laugh if you asked them whether the student body was generally happy. It’s a symptom of pressure-cooker academics paired with with the more student-centric fabric...

Student Finance System Limits Efficacy of Committee

Kameron Dunbar and Elijah Aladin

May 4, 2018

Filed under Commentary, OPINIONS

Students here each pay $428 in tuition costs toward a communal pot of money valued at near $1.3 million. This fund, the Student Activities Fund, is allocated by the Student Finance Committee and distributed by the Office of the Student Treasurer. As two students who have been members of both Student Senate and the OST, we’ve observed some serious issues with Oberlin’s system of student financing. Fortunately, these are problems we can fix. As it currently stands, SFC allocates around 85–90 percent of the Student Activity Fund. The vast majority of this goes to individual student organizations, while a much smaller portion is used to support student life through other areas like Winter Term grants. In theory, ...

Student Senate Expects Further Momentum in 2018–2019

Tess Joosse, Staff Writer

May 4, 2018

Filed under Campus News, NEWS, Recent Stories

After a year of milestones and challenges, Oberlin Student Senate is looking forward to continued progress on a number of initiatives in the next academic year. “Senate has made many major strides forward as an organization this year,” said Eddy Tumbokon, College first-year and Student Senate Communications Director. “We’re experiencing new degrees of cooperation with the Board [of Trustees], and I think that’s something to be proud of. Senate has also revamped our working group models to a much more structured and intentional framework. Working groups now regularly meet and bring in non-senators, administrators, staff, and community members.” Among those working groups, the Student Community Working Gro...

GFC, President Announce Final AAPR Steering Committee Members

Roman Broszkowski, News Editor

April 27, 2018

Filed under Campus News, NEWS, Recent Stories

The General Faculty Council and Office of the President announced the final 32 members of the Academic and Administrative Program Review Steering Committee — which will handle the external review process with the consulting firm Stevens Strategy — by email Wednesday. The committee includes Student Senate Chair and College junior Kameron Dunbar, who was appointed in spite of an informal agreement among student senators to not nominate any sitting senators. The selection process also faced opposition from some faculty members who wanted half of faculty representatives to be elected rather than appointed by the administration. The GFC, the group responsible for selecting the AAPR Steering Committee appointments, receive...

Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings Named VP Finance, Administration

Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings Named VP Finance, Administration

April 20, 2018

Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings, the current vice president of Business Affairs at Otterbein University, was named Oberlin’s new vice president of Finance and Administration last week, pending the approval of the Board of Trustees during their June meeting. If the board approves, she will officially take over July 1. Interim Vice President of Finance and Administration Alan Norton came out of retirement last May after Vice President of Finance Mike Frandsen’s departure last year. A 10-person search c...

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