The Oberlin Review

GFC, President Announce Final AAPR Steering Committee Members

Roman Broszkowski, News Editor

April 27, 2018

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...

Stevens Strategy Poses Potential Threat to Job Security, Program Funding

Matthew Senior and Marc Blecher

April 13, 2018

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...

Stevens Strategy Presents to General Faculty Amid Controversy

Sydney Allen, News Editor

April 13, 2018

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: 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...

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...

Campus Dangerously Divided Over Discussion of Anti-Semitism

Jade Schiff, Assistant Professor of Politics

April 29, 2016

I am outraged and devastated by what my colleague, Associate Professor of Africana Studies Meredith Gadsby, wrote in her April 23 letter to the Review “Black Professors Pressured into Solidarity.” These are difficult times on campus. We feel ourselves painfully divided, and it is not clear how we can come back together. Professor Gadsby’s letter only tears us further apart. But perhaps we cannot heal until we get the pain and the anger and the fear out in the open. I hope I can achieve that in some small measure here. Before I address Professor Gadsby’s letter directly, I want to point out that there was no necessary reason for this issue to become racially divisive at all. The material Assistant Professor...

Knee-Jerk Reactions Imperil Good Politics

Marc Blecher, Professor of Politics and East Asian Studies

April 29, 2016

To the Editors: Identity politics are crucial, but they are not one size that fits all. Our current crisis shows us the dangers of kneejerk identity politics. The criticism of Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy Karega’s Facebook posts has nothing to do with her race, gender or age. It has only to do with their anti-Semitic content. But by linking them to her identities, her supporters have plunged Oberlin further into the abyss. Several years ago, Professor of Political Science Norman Finkelstein — a white man, a Jew and the son of Holocaust victims — stridently attacked what he called the “Holocaust industry,” which he accused of cynically using the Holocaust to advance its politi...

Faculty Letter Leads to Substantive Administrative Response

Marc Blecher, Professor of Politics

April 15, 2016

To the Editor: Thanks to my colleagues [Professors Kozol, Lee, Pérez and Romano] for writing [the above letter to the editor, “Professors Urge Campus to Engage in Inclusive Discussion”]. I’m sure I join those who did sign the statement in saying that we too fully respect the decision of [those] colleagues who preferred not to do so. Moreover, I too would have preferred a substantive response to anti-Semitism over a faculty letter denouncing it. In fact, after talking with President Krislov, I began in early March to urge the Dean’s Office to develop a “dialogue [to] foster a more open and inclusive campus.” When an excruciating month went by with no response, the faculty clearly wanted to turn to someth...

Let’s Make Campus Politics More Constructive

Marc Blecher, Professor of Politics and East Asian Studies

February 5, 2016

I was lucky to come of age during a time of social and political radicalism. The 1960s movements for democracy, justice and peace taught me the profound value and significance of political engagement. They are the reason I chose a career in the academy. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be able to ply my trade among a community of such bright, serious, socially responsible and politically engaged students as Obies. In that context, here are my hopes for campus politics for 2016 and beyond. Today, race dominates politics on our campus and our country — from police violence to incarceration to extreme segregation of neighborhoods, employment and education to the ugliness that has sullied even the presidential c...

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