The Oberlin Review

President of Right to Work Foundation Speaks on Union Legislation

Robin Wasserman, News Editor

October 12, 2012

Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the National Right to Work Committee, spoke in favor of right-to-work laws and on the importance of individual liberty in the workplace Tuesday in West Lecture Hall. Some 25 people attended the lecture, which was sponsored by the Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians as part of the Ronald Reagan Lectureship Series. In the Q and A session following the lecture, audience members expressed views mostly contrary to Mix’s. The Foundation offers free legal aid to “defend employees against the abuses of the call of unionism” while the Committee promotes right to work laws across the country. Right-to-work laws ban the practice...

Republican Lectureship Series Helps Foster Healthy Campus Debate

Nick Miller

September 28, 2012

The Oberlin Republicans and Libertarians, with support from Steve Shapiro, have been broadening the political debate on campus for years. I have been in the club since 2009, and in that time, the club has sponsored: Richard Lindzen: Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT Ethan Nadelmann: Former Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University, Founder of the Drug Policy Alliance Mark Steyn: New York Times bestselling author and political columnist Karl Rove: Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Ilya Shapiro: University of Chicago J.D. and legal analyst John Bolton: Former Ambassador to the UN, former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Lee Doren: Chicago-Kent...

Lectureship Series Well-Meaning Yet Fundamentally Divisive

The Editorial Board

September 28, 2012

The always-divisive Ronald Reagan Political Lectureship Series began anew on Thursday, kicking off its 2012–2013 calendar with a talk by political commentator Bill Whittle advertised as “What We Believe: Why the Right is Right” — although Whittle was quick to de-emphasize the second part of that title in favor of the first. He told us he didn’t expect to convince us (“us,” apparently, meaning the all-consuming liberal monolith otherwise known as the Oberlin student body); as long as we realized that conservatives were not “motivated by meanness, anger, or a desire to see people get hurt,” that was enough for him. But as Whittle’s talk went on it zigzagged between conciliatory and defensive in a...

Steve Shapiro On To Something, But Reagan Lectureship Has Misfired

Marc Blecher

September 28, 2012

Thanks to Steve Shapiro, ’83, for his letter in last week’s Review opening discussion of the Ronald Reagan Lectureship, his one-man project designed to cure Oberlin’s political ills. As Marx said of Proudhon, he “certainly hears the bells ringing, but never knows where.” That is, Mr. Shapiro is on to something important and worthy. But his diagnosis of the problem is misplaced and wrong, which helps explain why, as he clearly senses, his project has misfired so badly. Mr. Shapiro traffics in the old trope that Oberlin is a nest of political lefties unwilling to examine their views and content to maintain a self-satisfied echo chamber that dominates all discussion on campus. There are several serious prob...

Shapiro’s Speaker Series Funds Gold(en Mean) Diggers

Will Rubenstein, Staff Writer

September 28, 2012

Last week’s Letter to the Editors from hedge fund manager and College Trustee Steven Shapiro, OC ’83, was illuminating for several reasons. From a dialectical standpoint, it’s valuable for public discussion of the Ronald Reagan Political Lectureship Series to include the perspective of its benefactor, letting Obies see the series as more than just a mysteriously out-of-place “wingnut welfare” program. But his stated reasons for funding speakers like Karl Rove, John Bolton and most recently Bill Whittle — Oberlin’s “staggeringly homogenous political environment,” our “overwhelmingly liberal intellectual bias” and so forth — hint at some deep problems with political discourse in both Oberlin and...

Reagan Lectureship Series Promotes Free Speech, Challenges Assumptions and Bias

Steven Shapiro

September 21, 2012

Last year, I repeatedly found myself presented on these pages as Oberlin’s equivalent of the Koch brothers. The cause was my support for the Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians’ efforts to bring conservative speakers to campus. While members of the club have ably defended the Ronald Reagan Political Lectureship Series, I thought I might introduce myself and explain my motivations. I am “hedge fund manager Steven Shapiro OC ’83” (“Disrespect, Disruption Important to Demonstrate Dissent, The Oberlin Review, April 27, 2012). As a graduate, I appreciate the opportunity to give back to Oberlin. That is why I serve on the Board of Trustees, and it is why I support a number of campus initiatives, including...

Obama to Kick Off Campaign in Ohio

Joelle Lingat, Staff Writer

May 4, 2012

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are visiting Ohio State University on May 5 to officially launch his campaign for reelection this November. “Since we received the news that the President was coming here, our team has been working around the clock. We have been flyering, chalking, making posters, tweeting, posting, literally everything that we can do to get students to the rally,” wrote a spring fellow, Sara, on the Obama for America website. A recent poll released by Quinnipiac University showed that out of the 1,130 Ohio voters surveyed, Obama has garnered 44 percent favor while Romney has generated a close 42 percent. A historic swing state, Ohio is a popular destination for presidential...

Panel Discusses Free Speech, Dissent in Oberlin’s Political Climate

Elizabeth Dobbins, Staff Writer

April 27, 2012

A panel will meet to discuss the implications of free speech in Oberlin’s political climate on Friday, April 27, at 4:30 p.m. in King 106. The panel, titled “I may not like what you have to say, but I would die for your right to say it’: Critical Reflections on Free Speech, Dissent and Political Divide at Oberlin,” will feature Associate Dean Joyce Babyak, Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy Tim Hall and Professor of Politics Chris Howell, College senior Andres Feliciano, College first-year Ariana Gil and College junior Nick Miller. The idea for this event came about when Feliciano contacted the Oberlin College Dialogue Center after feeling disappointed with the way discussion was handled during John...

Disrespect, Disruption Important Acts of Dissent

Will Rubenstein, Opinions Editor

April 27, 2012

By now the sequence of events seems to run like clockwork. Every now and then, one of those beige posters goes up bearing the face of Ronald Reagan and announcing a coming lecture by a political figure — such as Karl Rove, John Bolton or, most recently, fracking advocate Daniel Simmons — whose opinions fall far to the right of the Oberlin mainstream. Much ado is raised, and when the speaker comes, he (or occasionally she) is met with disrespectful interruptions and other forms of peaceful protest, causing a semi-regular flap over both the effectiveness of campus activism and the controversial speakers’ right to lecture uninterrupted. Perhaps fed up with this dynamic, the Oberlin College Dialogue Center is facilitating...

The Conservative Contingent: Rise of the Oberlin Conservative

Andrew Lipian, Columnist

March 9, 2012

A silent but sizable demographic has grown in recent years: the Oberlin Conservative. Many on campus resent and perhaps refuse to acknowledge it, but the snarling reverberations from this formidable beast’s call for liberty on campus grow louder with time, and drive its message deeper into the kennels of dogmatic, neutered liberalism on campus. Yes, I say neutered, because the moniker of “fearless” cannot be ascribed to the handful of students at the John Bolton lecture who lobbed rhetorical grenades at the speaker like a Taliban suicide bomber. Like launching a human missile at an opponent you wouldn’t dare face head-on, barking at others with whom you disagree takes zero fortitude and courage. Akin to shutting...

Bolton Lecture Sparks Controversy, Call for Dialogue

Rosemary Boeglin, News Editor

March 2, 2012

John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and frequent political pundit for the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, spoke to a crowd — the majority of which were Ohio residents — on Wednesday night about his understanding of the immediate threats to the United States’s national security. Chief among his concerns were the threat of international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. For many students in attendance, though, the message communicated by Bolton was one of provocative political rhetoric designed to impart neoconservative viewpoints with shaky epistemic foundations. Associate professor and chair of philosophy Tim Hall, faculty advisor for the Oberlin College Repu...

State Issue 2 defeated 61-39

Robin Wasserman, Staff Writer

November 11, 2011

This Tuesday, public workers and their supporters across Ohio declared a major victory with the 61–39 defeat of the controversial State Issue 2, which would have restricted public sector workers’ collective bargaining rights. The defeat of Issue 2 is a major victory for the Democratic Party and the labor movement, both of which have fought two statewide campaigns against Senate Bill 5. After Republican Governor John Kasich signed SB-5 into law last March, organizers collected over 900,000 signatures to place SB-5 on the 2010 ballot as Issue 2 before campaigning against the measure. “It’s amazing how fast we did it,” Professor of Politics Marc Blecher, who helped coordinate various efforts against SB-5,...

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