The Oberlin Review

Students Discuss UAW Concerns with Trustees

Students Discuss UAW Concerns with Trustees

March 13, 2020

Student activists met with members of the Board of Trustees last week to denounce the College’s announcement that they are considering outsourcing up to 108 United Auto Worker jobs. In the meeting, students expressed their concerns and presented petitions that had been signed by students, alumni, and the broader Oberlin community. Elsa Schlensker, College fourth-year and chair of the Student Labor Action Coalition, was one of the students who presented. “The overall message that students h...

Pressure Mounts Against Outsourcing Proposal; Senator Sherrod Brown Voices Support of UAW

Pressure Mounts Against Outsourcing Proposal; Senator Sherrod Brown Voices Support of UAW

March 6, 2020

Campus controversy continues to swirl around President Carmen Twillie Ambar’s Feb. 18 announcement that the College is “formally considering” outsourcing dining and custodial services, a proposal that could impact jobs currently held by 108 members of the United Automobile Workers union. While students and alumni have made their dissatisfaction with the proposal known, regional politicians and media have also begun to take notice — most notably Senator Sherrod Brown (D–OH), who circulated ...

Student Senate On Supporting UAW

Henry Hicks and Austin Ward

March 6, 2020

 This article is part of the Review’s Student Senate column. In an effort to increase communication and transparency, Student Senators will provide personal perspectives on recent events on campus and in the community. This statement was originally released in an email to the entirety of the student body in Student Senate’s weekly newsletter. Due to Oberlin College’s financial deficit, President Carmen Twillie Ambar and administrative staff have decided to formally consider contracting with outside vendors instead of continuing their contract with the United Automobile Workers union. This could lead to a total of 108 full-time workers losing their UAW jobs: 52 full-time dining employees and 56 full-time cus...

Pro-UAW Activism Shows Best of Obies

Editorial Board

February 28, 2020

 With only one day’s notice after President Carmen Twillie Ambar announced the College’s plan to formally consider outsourcing 108 United Automobile Workers jobs, over 600 students and other community members assembled outside of the General Faculty meeting on Feb. 19 to voice their support of unionized employees. As Oberlin students, we are proud of the scale of the protest, the speed and skill with which it was organized, and the commitment that pro-union organizers have demonstrated to continue making their work more open to and inclusive of students and other community members of color. As outlined in our previous editorial, we believe that the College should not move forward with its proposal to outsourc...

Rapid Response Team Debuts at UAW-Related Protests

Rapid Response Team Debuts at UAW-Related Protests

February 28, 2020

President Carmen Twillie Ambar’s Feb. 18 announcement that the College is formally considering outsourcing 108 dining and custodial jobs currently held by United Automobile Worker union members incited a campus-wide conversation and student-led protests and demonstrations. As activism in support of UAW continues, the College is in the midst of considering how best to approach its relationship with student activists. One approach taken by the Division of Student Life is to assemble a Rapid Res...

Students Call for Open Dialogue Regarding UAW

Jess Wilber, College third-year, Jemma Johnson Shoucair, College second-year

February 28, 2020

 As students of the Oberlin community, we are writing to call on our fellow students and faculty members in an appeal to President Carmen Twillie Ambar. It is time to launch an open dialogue with the entire Oberlin community to discuss and explore creative ways to retain individuals who have made invaluable contributions to our college lives.  As a result of recent administrative decisions, 108 United Automobile Workers Local 2192 — members of the Oberlin community — stand to lose their jobs. Those who do find jobs with outside contractors will face pay cuts, benefits losses, and degraded working conditions. Unions are critical to upholding living wage jobs and securing rights in the workplace. Replacing union w...

Outsourcing Proposal Creates Unfair Burden; Cuts Must Come From Elsewhere

Editorial Board

February 21, 2020

 After reading Tuesday afternoon’s announcement from President Carmen Twillie Ambar and engaging in conversation with many campus stakeholders, we firmly oppose the College’s proposal to contract with outside vendors to provide campus dining and custodial services. We support the 108 unionized United Automobile Workers employees who could lose their jobs as a result of this proposal and strongly advocate for Oberlin’s administration to identify another area in which to find the approximate $2 million in annual savings that this decision is expected to bring in.  It is important to remember that the financial imperative driving the administration’s proposal to outsource more than 100 jobs is indisputable and i...

Let’s Talk Accessibility

Zoë Luh, Contributing Writer

February 21, 2020

 Accessibility: one of Oberlin’s favorite words. You don’t even need to spend a full day on campus to hear faculty and students, alike, use the word in classrooms, dining halls, co-ops, and at events. While the apparent widespread concern for disabled people is wonderful, it’s also false and misplaced. I want to talk about the way accessibility is discussed and how it actually works against the disabled community, both at Oberlin and beyond. I was recently in a meeting and the topic of inaccessibility was brought up. As a person with disabilities, you might think I would be excited, but my automatic reaction was a feeling of frustration and defeat. The conversation centered on inaccessibility of the meeting...

Outward-Facing Philosophy Deeply Rooted in Oberlin’s History

Nathan Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief

November 22, 2019

 Editor’s note: This column is part of a series that will focus on Oberlin’s history as a town and an institution. The series will be published regularly throughout the fall semester. When then-First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at Oberlin’s commencement ceremonies in 2015, she had the institution’s social justice reputation in mind. “If you truly wish to carry on the Oberlin legacy of service and social justice, then you need to run to, and not away from, the noise,” Obama said. “Today, I want to urge you to actively seek out the most contentious, polarized, gridlocked places you can find. Because so often, throughout our history, those have been the places where progress really happens — the pl...

Reflecting On 50 Years of Africana Studies

Reflecting On 50 Years of Africana Studies

November 15, 2019

Africana Studies Program Created Against Backdrop of National Activism Nathan Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief In the fall of 1969, Oberlin College launched an Afro-American Studies program, following significant student activism inspired in part by students at San Francisco State University; the University of California, Berkeley; and elsewhere. In creating the program, Oberlin joined a wave of more than 500 colleges and universities across the country that instituted similar academic departments or...

Oberlin in Late ’60s, Early ’70s Leaves Lessons for Today

Oberlin in Late ’60s, Early ’70s Leaves Lessons for Today

November 8, 2019

 Editor’s note: This column is part of a series that will focus on Oberlin’s history as a town and an institution. The series will be published regularly throughout the fall semester. Over the course of just a couple weeks in the spring of 1970, Oberlin students heralded the first Earth Day with a series of campus speakers and workshops, held an anti-war protest following a national address by President Richard Nixon, and mourned the traumatic deaths of four Kent State University students at ...

Climate Activism Must Be Universal, Inclusive

Theo Canter, Contributing Writer

September 27, 2019

 Last Friday’s Climate Strike left me and many others who participated in it with a sense of rising optimism and hope. With participants numbering in the millions worldwide, it was one of the largest social protests in recent years.  Soon after students walked out of class Friday morning and gathered around the Tappan Square bandstand, a wide variety of powerful speakers — ranging from high school students, to college students, to adult community members — made their voices heard.  Having been to many political gatherings and protests, especially in the past few years, I felt that this one in particular was different. This was not like Matthew McConaughey’s 2003 Saturday Night Live sketch, “Protest...

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