The Oberlin Review

Without Breaks, Students Struggle to Sustain Engaged Learning

Editorial Board

October 23, 2020

Current students have never before experienced an Oberlin October without a fall break — and we don’t want to whine, but it’s harder than we expected. While normally midterms would be followed by a week-long chance to relax and regroup, this year we moved right along to another week of classes. If Oberlin Twitter these past few days is any indication, student burnout is a mounting concern.  Students enrolled this fall won’t catch a break until Thanksgiving, at which point many of us will need to pack up our rooms and travel elsewhere — in a pandemic — before getting a few brief days off from courses. While we’re all capable of continuing on without a fall break, the encroaching fatigue of this semester indi...

College Deficit $5 Million Less Than Expected, Trustees Roll Back One-Time Salary Cuts

Kate Fishman and Katherine MacPhail

October 23, 2020

While COVID-19 complications and the three semester plan have created a budgetary shortfall for the College, the current deficit is almost $5 million less than originally projected and is expected to improve further. This positive forecast has prompted the Board of Trustees to roll back the faculty wage freeze and senior staff pay cuts that were instituted at the beginning of the school year.  The 2020–2021 academic year was initially projected to produce a total budget deficit of $44.7 million due to COVID-19 safety measures and an anticipated decrease in enrollment. While the College initially projected that enrollment would drop by 20 percent, the actual enrollment drop this semester has only been 11 perce...

Hiring Mohammad Mahallati Against Oberlin’s Mission and Vision

October 9, 2020

Editor’s Note: This statement was originally sent in an email to President Carmen Twillie Ambar on Oct. 8 and was signed by 56 family members of the victims and former political prisoners, as well as 577 additional signatories. Professor of Religion and Nancy Schrom Dye Chair in Middle East and North African Studies Mohammad Jafar Mahallati has denied these allegations. You can read the Review’s comprehensive news coverage here.  Dear President Ambar,  We the undersigned are a group of former political prisoners in Iran, families of executed political prisoners, human rights activists who work for justice and accountability, and international jurists who have examined the record of Iran’s gross human rig...

College students stand in a socially-distanced line to enter Stevenson Dining Hall. Scheduled visits to a dining hall are the only time students are permitted to leave their dorm room until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result.

Orientation, First Week of Classes Go Remote Due to Test Processing Delays

August 28, 2020

Some students who arrive on campus this week are quarantining for longer than expected while they await their COVID-19 test results. Tempus, the Chicago-based company that processes the College’s tests, originally promised to deliver test results within 24–48 hours but is experiencing delays due to increased demand. In response, the College has decided to conduct the first week of classes, beginning this Monday, online.  “Rather than receiving our test results within 48 hours of the lab receiving t...

College No Longer Employs ResEd Staff Member Following Offensive Facebook Comment

Gigi Ewing, Senior Associate Editor

July 18, 2020

After a contentious Facebook comment posted by a Residential Education staff member surfaced in early June, students, alumni, and others called for the employee’s termination through a petition to College administrators. Though the College cannot comment on the employment status of its staff, by mid-June the employee’s name no longer appeared on the Oberlin campus directory.  The Facebook comment was made by Administrative Assistant Norma Frasher in reference to  the May 25 murder of George Floyd.  “Yeah, & IF some people would SHUT their mouths & follow the RULES that EVERYONE else complies with they WOULDN’T get a Knee to the Neck,” the comment read.  Many of Frasher’s critics felt that ...

Black Lives Matter protesters marched from Tappan Square to the Post Office on June 6.

Black Lives Matter Protesters Gather in Tappan Square

June 30, 2020

Protesters gathered in Tappan Square on June 6 to protest the murders of George Floyd and other Black men and women killed by police. During the demonstration, several speakers addressed the crowd to talk about the history of police violence against communities of color and demanded change on the local and national level.  After protests against police brutality spread in cities in the U.S. and across the world, Oberlin resident Janet Gonzalez formed a Facebook group called Oberlin Peaceful Demonst...

Oberlin’s Response to Fall Opening Fails to Meet Students’ Needs

Annabel Mott

June 22, 2020

As the Oberlin College administration reminds us in every email it sends, these are “unprecedented times.” In such times, there is no perfect solution of how to go through with the 2020–21 academic year. We know that a normal return to campus in the fall is extremely unlikely, and rightfully so.  However, Oberlin’s plan for reopening neglects to meet the needs of many of its students. As of right now, Oberlin’s plan for the coming academic year is to operate over three semesters that will take place in the fall, spring, and summer. First- and fourth-years will attend in the fall and spring, second-years in the fall and summer, and third-years in the spring and summer. While this plan does help to reduce class s...

Student Senate Stands in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Student Senate

June 22, 2020

The individual members of Student Senate who drafted and approved this document are solely responsible for its content and the views expressed herein.  Student government is not authorized to speak on behalf of Oberlin College and Conservatory. Dear Oberlin College and Conservatory Community, We write to you today to stand in solidarity with the nationwide protests and uprisings of the past three weeks, calling attention to and condemning white supremacy and anti-Black racism in the United States. The issues that stem from the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and more — such as structural racism and the controversial history of policing — impact us all, both ...

65 Foundational Works in the Field of Africana Studies

Department of Africana Studies

June 14, 2020

Editor’s Note: This list of resources was originally attached to ABUSUA’s Letter to the Administration and Board of Trustees.  This following selection of works (written, visual and aural texts) have been combined by the faculty and affiliate faculty of Oberlin College’s Department of Africana Studies, to provide for its major, minor and interested students a list of what members of the department see as foundational works in the field of Africana Studies. The interdisciplinary nature of the field and the multi-disciplinary range of the contributors to this collection provides a broad, deep, and complex interpretation of works fundamental to the description, study, and creative expression of Africana peoples (continental...

ABUSUA Demands Institutional Reform from Administrators, Board of Trustees

ABUSUA

June 14, 2020

To Oberlin College and Conservatory administration and Board of Trustees ABUSUA, Oberlin’s Black Student Union, would like to express our anger and dissatisfaction with Oberlin's administration. The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others have made the world take a hard look at all of the continually ignored racist practices and institutions embedded in our society. Their painful deaths serve as a reminder of the systematic oppression and racism that continue to affect Black people in America. Oberlin has a legacy of activism and supporting the advancement of Black people. We would like to see these values reflected in Oberlin's response to the current Bla...

Incoming Students Voice Support for UAW

May 28, 2020

Dear President Ambar,  Oberlin Admissions chose an incoming class that cares about the world, and many of us committed out of a belief that the College felt the same way. Now, we’re not so sure. When we learned of Oberlin’s plans to lay off 108 unionized workers and replace them with an outside contractor, we were forced to question whether or not Oberlin is truly the school that was marketed to us. Oberlin claims the motto, “Learning and Labor,” but does it practice it? We have yet to be on campus, but we know that both learning and labor are equal parts of the ecosystem that makes Oberlin such a special community. We know that one cannot exist without the other.  “Think one person can change the world...

Faculty and staff distributed packing boxes to students in the Root Room in Carnegie Building beginning Friday morning. Students in College housing are required to vacate campus by Monday at noon. Box distribution will continue 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

COVID-19 Outbreak Continues, College Moves to Remote Campus

March 13, 2020

In an email sent to the campus community Thursday afternoon, President Carmen Twillie Ambar announced that today will be the last day of classes prior to spring break and that students should plan to leave campus by noon on Monday, March 16. The decision is meant to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus — known as COVID-19 — following the discovery of five confirmed cases in nearby Cuyahoga, Stark, and Trumbull Counties. Students should not expect to return to campus for the remainder...

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