The Oberlin Review

Free Speech At Stake

Tim Hall

December 14, 2012

Since the Ronald Reagan Political Lectureship Series began in 2005, it has not surprised me that comments offered by some of the speakers have been controversial. What is surprising is the extent to which a minority of Oberlin students and, I am sorry to say, a minority of the faculty have complained that the College should not allow the Series at all. My colleague, Marc Blecher, continues this tradition, arguing in a series of letters this semester that it is inappropriate that the Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians receive the donations they use to sponsor the Series. The problem, as Marc sees it, is that the OCRL are “partisan”, or alternatively, “explicitly political”. Thus, the College accepting...

OCRL Letters Undercut Call for Dialogue

Marc Blecher

November 9, 2012

Review readers are surely tiring of weekly exchanges between the Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians and me, so I’ll keep this short. College Junior Daniel Starer-Stor claims that I only oppose politically partisan outside funding of the OCRL but not other groups, and that I do so because of my own political views. In other words, I am being inconsistent and therefore dishonest. That’s scurrilous nonsense. I have focused on OCRL because, to my knowledge, they are the only student political organization receiving external funding with explicit partisan strings. If the College Dems were benefiting from the munificence of a donor who would only sponsor left-wing programs, I would oppose that too. Mr. Star...

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...

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...

Ronald Reagan Political Lectureship Series Attracts Local Conservatives, Few Students

John Light, Editor-In-Chief

May 6, 2011

This past week, the Oberlin Republicans and Libertarians took to task the centuries- old adage, “Not to be a socialist at 20 is proof of want of heart; to be one at 30 is proof of want of head.” On Thursday, a crowd gathered in West Lecture Hall to hear an address by Mark Steyn, a free speech advocate known as a regular on Rush Limbaugh’s conservative talk radio show and an often-vocal critic of Islam. Those in attendance were predominantly Tea Partiers and Republicans from across Lorain County. A few odd Oberlin students sat among them, as well as the members of the Oberlin Republicans and Libertarians and their faculty adviser, Associate Professor of Philosophy Timothy Hall. The group invited Steyn as part...

Off the Cuff: Lee Doren, “Crasher-in-Chief”

Ian Seeley and Sam Jewler

December 4, 2009

So, you had no hesitation coming to Oberlin? No, not one bit. I really enjoy speaking to students because I had very similar experiences, obviously. You can tell I’m not that much older than all of you. Do you have any personal experience with [professors using their classrooms to promote their political views]? [In my college experience] you only heard one political perspective in the classroom. If you heard the other side, it was only essentially used to ridicule it. It wasn’t really used to ... explain the alternative point of view. Do you think this is systematic or more unintentional? It is unintentional for a lot of professors. ... If those professors are always seeing themselves, you know, in their o...

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