The Oberlin Review

OPIRG Looks Inward After Charter Amendment

Rosemary Boeglin, News Editor

April 26, 2013

Last semester, the Student Finance Committee began evaluating Article XI of the Student Financial Charter, which provides for a “special funding mechanism” by which student organizations can tithe an essentially automatic donation from student term bills every semester, provided that they distribute opt-out slips to students via OCMR mailboxes. According to student senators, Ohio Public Interest Research Group is the only student organization that has successfully received funding through this mechanism. In fact, according College senior and student senator Charlotte Landes, the special funding mechanism was likely created specifically for OPIRG. “My understanding is that in the ’70s ... this funding structure...

OPIRG Ready to Start in New Direction

OPIRG Board of Directors

April 19, 2013

To the Editors: From April 8 to 10, Oberlin students couldn’t move through Wilder Bowl without hearing, “Hey, have you signed the Ohio PIRG petition?” Then ... there was nothing. What happened to the OPIRG petition and why? What does this mean for the group and the school? Permit us, OPIRG’s Board of Directors, to tell our story. The issue revolves around Oberlin’s Alternative Funding Mechanism, which allows students to fund organizations collectively, as they have done with OPIRG for nearly four decades. The AFM’s transparency has attracted controversy since the 1990s. We joined the debate this semester, after the former OPIRG Board resigned. By then, the Student Finance Committee had voted to replace...

Senate Amends Financial Charter

Rosemary Boeglin, News Editor

April 19, 2013

This week the process of removing Article XI, the special funding mechanism, from the Student Financial Charter has moved into its final stages. If approved at next month’s General Faculty meeting, the existing Article XI will be replaced by a capital investment fund accessible to student organizations seeking funds for large investment purchases. The existing budgetary loophole allows for student organizations approved under Article XI to gain direct access to student funds without the oversight of the Student Financial Committee. The special funding mechanism allocates a consistent dollar amount to the organization from term bills each semester and in order to receive these funds organizations under this structure...

OPIRG Benefits from Keeping Students in the Dark

The Editorial Board

April 12, 2013

This week, Mudd, Wilder Bowl and the Science Center atrium came to feel more like midtown Manhattan than a small liberal arts campus, as Ohio Public Interest Research Group canvassers have become a ubiquitous presence. The canvassers have asked students to sign a petition supporting the continuation of an $8 fee, included in each tuition bill, that goes toward funding OPIRG. Students may opt out of the fee (officially the Alternative Student Funding Mechanism), but that obviously requires that they be aware of it first — Article XI of the Student Finance Charter leaves advertising the opt-out clause to OPIRG itself, and in a recent poll only 13 percent of students said they knew the clause existed. It may seem axiomatic...

Students Against OPIRG Reauthorization

Philip Reisen

April 12, 2013

We strongly oppose the alternative funding structure behind Ohio PIRG. Currently, students are forced to financially support an obscure political interest group unless they actively opt out. A 2012 Student Finance Committee survey makes it clear that by a margin of 74 percent to 26 percent, students are not aware of this funding structure. Further, only 13 percent of students know that they can receive a reimbursement for the mandatory $8 donation. With such widespread ignorance, this is not voluntary political support — it is theft cloaked in progressive values. Oberlin College students are the sole source of financial support for Ohio PIRG. What kind of grassroots group has only 26 percent of its backers aware...

Student Senate Should Allow Fee-Based Funding Of OPIRG And Others

Sarah Konowitz

April 5, 2013

As a student concerned with on-campus and community activism, I was upset to hear about a recent Student Senate decision that limits Oberlin students’ right to collective action. During my four years here, I’ve appreciated how Oberlin students focus on grassroots activism and empowerment. I chose this school not only for its rigorous academic curriculum and vibrant arts culture, but also for the forward-thinking social and political values of the student body. Right now, Oberlin students have an alternative funding mechanism that allows us, through a petition signed by a majority of the student body, to collectively decide to fund a program or organization with a student fee. This is how Oberlin students fund...

OPIRG Organizes Hunger Cleanup in Oberlin

Elizabeth Kuhr, Staff Writer

April 5, 2013

As a part of a larger U.S. Public Interest Research Group movement, the OhioPIRG Homelessness and Hunger Campaign at Oberlin College has mobilized a local Hunger Clean-up. The six students are currently working to provide healthier and larger quantities of food at local pantries. One of the co-organizers, College first-year Alex Berger joined the campaign after noticing the overwhelming homeless population in Denver, Colorado, during this past winter term. “I was walking around downtown and noticed all the homeless people,” said Berger, “I realized I needed to do something about it.” She turned to the Oberlin Hunger and Homelessness Campaign, whose self-proclaimed mission is “to help reduce hunger...

Senate Votes to Reform Article XI

Matthew Benenson, Staff Writer

December 14, 2012

Student Senate unanimously voted to pass a resolution last Sunday urging the Student Financial Committee to “amend or remove Article XI of the Student Financial Charter in a manner that will increase its transparency and the judiciousness with which it is used to allocate student monies.” Article XI deals with the Alternate Student Funding mechanism, which allows chartered student groups to raise money through a student fee if they submit a petition signed by at least 51 percent of the student body on campus every two years. Two chartered groups on Oberlin’s campus utilize this mechanism: the Green EDGE Fund draws a $20 fee from each student and Ohio Public Interest Research Group draws $8. According to College...

Established 1874.