The Oberlin Review

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...

Routine Board Retreat Ends in Employee Strike

Adam Gittin, News editor

February 19, 2016

The Oberlin Student Cooperative Association’s four non-student employees are striking after a heated discussion with students about structural change. Members of Third World Co-op used the OSCA Board Retreat last Sunday at the Oberlin Public Library as an opportunity to voice their frustrations with OSCA and its employees (the non-students who work for OSCA are employees, while the students who work for OSCA are staff). Two employees were singled out by name. The students from TWC then presented a list of demands and staged a walkout back to their co-op. “A summary of the demands is as follows: that OSCA’s employees leave more decision-making room for student staff; that [student name omitted for privacy], a former TWC member, be compensated for ...

Students at Third World Co-op eat lunch on Thursday. The co-op has served as a safe space for marginalized students for more than 20 years.

Third World Co-op: 21 Years of Solidarity

October 9, 2015

The Oberlin Alumni Association of African Ancestry commemorated the 180th anniversary of Oberlin’s decision to adopt a non-discriminatory admissions policy for African American students and other people of color at its reunion last weekend. Perhaps overlooked, however, is one of the most vibrant spaces for students of color on campus: Third World Co-op. Although not the largest cooperative in Oberlin, TWC has developed a powerful presence with its small dining hall and kitchen, tucked away in...

OSCA Lacks Awareness of Oppressive Systems

Cara Welch-Rubin, Contributing Writer

December 12, 2014

The following critique of the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association is not the first time anyone has raised these issues. Many people have experienced or continue to experience various forms of classism, white supremacy, ableism and other manifestations of oppression within OSCA. My critique only serves to join these discourses and bring them to the attention of other white, able-bodied OSCAns. In a recent co-op discussion, one co-oper said, “OSCA is not some shady government.” While I can’t claim to acknowledge all forms of oppression within OSCA, I hope to undermine this misconception by shedding light on some of the forms of oppression that I have seen and experienced firsthand. I stayed behind from...

Open Letter: Co-op Savings Essential

Bob Weiner, Class of 1969

October 31, 2014

Dear President Marvin Krislov: You must be flooded with everything, but as a co-Clinton administration official with you, I do want you to know that I’m an old Oberlin co-oper (I was the system treasurer!), and I agree that the savings for co-op members need to stay to help them with college. They helped me in a critical way. My father, who was covering my tuition, died between my freshman and sophomore year, and my uncle picked up the family wish to get me through school with tuition. But that was it for money. So I joined a co-op my sophomore year. I had to pay for all expenses other than tuition and room, and the savings from being in a dining co-op — and working to earn them, first as the meat buyer and then...

College Fiscal Plan Edges Out Low-Income Co-opers

Taylor Field, Staff Writer

October 3, 2014

At this week’s Board Night in Oberlin’s co-ops, representatives of OSCA’s Board of Directors introduced a caucus based on the covert changes made to Oberlin College’s financial aid policy last semester, reopening discussion on the detrimental impact these changes will have on co-op accessibility. The policy, which originally did not adjust financial aid based on a student’s choice to live or dine in OSCA, changed without warning last semester to read, “If you choose to live or dine in a co-op, your financial aid will be adjusted accordingly.” On April 13, after extensive student protests, College President Marvin Krislov announced in an email to the student body that the policy change would be delayed...

OSCA: The Good, the Bad and the Gluten-Free

Sean Para

September 27, 2013

This is my first semester eating in a co-op. I was quite miserable last year on a CDS meal plan and was overjoyed last spring when I got into my first choice co-op, Old Barrows. Now, twice a day, I saunter all the way across campus to enjoy a meal made by a peer instead of the detestable and questionable food I was forced to endure at that timeless bastion of mediocrity and flavorlessness, Stevenson Hall. OSCA is by and large a better system than Campus Dining Services. Simply put, it provides better food for a large part of the campus at a lower price. The time I invest each week, three hours cooking and an hour cleaning, is well worth it. However, now that I have been eating in Old Barrows for a month, I have noticed...

KHC Continues To Operate After OSCA Separation

Rachel Sacks

September 27, 2013

Although there was considerable dissent from KHC members when they discovered last semester that KHC would no longer be an OSCA member, some are now able to find a silver lining to the departure. “I think it was ultimately good because the co-op wanted out last year,” said Samia Mansour OC ’10, the Senior Jewish Life Intern. “In the past there have been continuous issues with the way that kashrut interacts with OSCA policies, and that was a big part of the issue last year. The OSCA health inspector wanted to be able to have access to the co-op anytime they wanted to get in the space, with or without someone from Kosher-Halal being there, which compromises the integrity of kashrut.” KHC is no longer sup...

After 14 Years, Oberlin Gets Another Book Co-op

Duncan Standish, Staff Writer

May 3, 2013

A new book-focused cooperative, the first of its kind since the Co-op Book Store closed in 1999, is set to launch this week. Its first event — Beerz4Books, where students can trade textbooks for beer — is scheduled for May 10, time and place yet to be announced. Student Work And Power will begin as a textbook exchange for Oberlin students, but its organizers hope it can grow to provide all types of literary resources and events for the wider Oberlin community. The group will sublet a currently unused room in the basement of Harkness from the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association and convert it into a place to enjoy and exchange books. Sarah Johnson, OSCA history coordinator and one of SWAP’s founders, said...


Duncan Standish, Staff Writer

April 5, 2013

After more than 20 years in collaboration, the board of directors of the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association has decided to end Kosher Halal Co-op’s membership in the organization. Beginning next fall, KHC will only affiliate with OSCA through OSCA promotional materials and emails to students on the co-op wait list. The decision comes after nearly two months of intense deliberation, confusion and controversy, including allegations of pervasive anti-Semitism within OSCA. The Board notified OSCA members in an email sent on March 18 that “the board of directors has come to consensus to direct the rent contract negotiation team to remove Kosher Halal Co-op from OSCA.” Three days later, individuals directly...

OSCA’s Decision To Kick Out Kosher-Halal Co-op Upsetting, Disappointing

Hannah Seidel

April 5, 2013

On March 17, the OSCA Board of Directors decided to remove Kosher-Halal Co-op from the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association. As a member of both organizations, I am deeply ashamed of OSCA for this decision. I am disappointed, I am upset, and I am angry. I am ashamed because throughout this process, the OSCA Board and General Management Team have been uncooperative and dishonest to their membership. This important decision should have been made by OSCA as a whole, because democratic member control — one member, one vote — is one of the core principles on which OSCA was founded. However, because the Board met in confidential “Executive Sessions,” behind closed doors (perhaps “under the table” would be...

Kosher Halal Co-op Vital to OSCA, Oberlin Community

Eva Sachs, Contributing Writer

March 1, 2013

Imagine Oberlin without vegan dining options. Or without vegetarian options. What if vegans and vegetarians were required to undergo regular review of their eating habits? Given our student body, the results would be rather disquieting, and no doubt garner more than a little protest. And yet, when the Kosher Halal Co-op, which caters to the dietary needs of Jewish and Muslim students, faces similar obstacles, there is very little noise made about it. The Oberlin Student Cooperative Association, of which KHC is a member, recently informed KHC that they wish to reinstate a long-unenforced policy “that the relationship between OSCA and KHC will be reviewed annually” — an extra ordeal that no other Oberlin co-op...

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