The Oberlin Review

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 ...

Many International Students Remain in U.S. Due to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Gigi Ewing, Senior Associate Editor

May 31, 2020

Travel restrictions and visa limitations have prompted many current international students to remain in the U.S. rather than return home for the summer. The College is offering on-campus room and board to international students who wish to remain in the country until the start of fall-semester classes while other students have opted to stay with family members or friends.  For international students considering returning home for the summer, the decision is complicated by uncertainty that they may not be able to travel back to the U.S. if in-person classes resume in the fall. College first-year and member of the Student Senate International Students Working Group Latifa Tan has been grappling with the question of wheth...

College and Conservatory Announce Optional Pass/No Entry Grading System, COVID-19 Incompletes

Aly Fogel, Associate Editor

May 6, 2020

In an effort to accommodate students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to remote learning, the College and Conservatory have announced new grading protocols effective for the rest of the semester. The changes were announced by faculty governance committees and the Arts and Sciences and Conservatory Deans' Offices via emails sent in mid-April.  The new grading protocols shift the optional Pass/No Pass system to an optional Pass/No Entry grading model, but the default grading system for most courses remains letter grades. If a student elects to take a class Pass/No Entry and earns a grade below a C-, the course will not be listed on their official transcript. This is a change from the previous optio...

Black Student Leadership Endorses Universal Pass

Mowa Badmos, College second-year, co-chair, ASA, Blessing Bwititi, College third-year, co-chair, ASA, Benjamin Collado, College third-year, co-chair and treasurer, SOCA, Timothy Grant, College second-year, co-chair, ABUSUA, Seyquan Mack, double-degree fourth-year, chair, OCBMG, Deverrick McAllister Jr., College second-year, co-chair and student liaison, SOCA, Lauriel Powell, College second-year, co-chair, BSG, and Mike Sandifer, College third-year, co-chair, The Brotherhood

April 4, 2020

Dear Oberlin College and Conservatory Community Members,  These are difficult and scary times that we are living in. Since being evicted from campus amidst a global pandemic, none amongst us have been able to avoid the fallout of COVID-19. However, this crisis will especially impact Black students’ ability to succeed. As many of us will be deprived of the resources necessary for our success, the move to online classes will create greater disparity on an already uneven playing field. In addition, Black students are more likely to have been thrust into unsafe environments where we may face food and financial insecurity, as well as other circumstances that are beyond our control. All of these variables increase the likel...

President Carmen Twillie Ambar shakes a graduate's hand at Oberlin's 2019 commencement ceremony. Photo by Amber Benford and courtesy of the Office of Communications.

Commencement & Reunion Weekend Postponed, Digital Ceremony Announced

April 4, 2020

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Commencement & Reunion Weekend has been postponed until the spring of 2021, when the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 will participate in a combined ceremony. A virtual celebration will replace this year’s in-person graduation ceremony that was originally scheduled for Monday, May 25. The 50-year reunion for the Class of 1970 will also be postponed until 2021. Members of the Oberlin campus and community were alerted to these updates via a Tue...

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...

On Addressing Student Stress, Oberlin Must Put Its Money Where Its Mouth Is

David Mathisson, Columnist

December 17, 2019

Recently, Student Senate presented findings on mental health to the Board of Trustees. I’d like to thank fellow Senators, including College third-year Emma Edney and College second-years Raavi Asdar and Kofi Asare, for leading Senate’s efforts in this area. They identified a distinct connection between the mental health of students and investment in student happiness. Their presentation made it clear that Oberlin must expand resources available in times of crisis; invest in areas that impact Oberlin students’ day-to-day happiness — i.e. housing and dining; invest in adding more events to the community social scene; and eventually upgrade Wilder Hall so it can justifiably be called a student union. Investments...

College Strengthens Mental Health Resources

Anisa Curry Vietze and Drew Dansby

November 22, 2019

Editor’s note: This article contains mentions of substance abuse and suicide. Following unusually long wait-times for student appointments this semester, the Counseling Center has hired two part-time interim staff members. During the second week of the fall semester, a Counseling Center employee left and their position remained vacant while the College searched for a qualified candidate. Broader conversations regarding mental health at Oberlin are framed by the College’s first comprehensive mental health survey which was conducted last semester. “We are certainly backed up more than we would like to be at this point,” said John Harshbarger, director of Student Health and Counseling Services. “One way I ...

Senate Updates on Committee Progress

Patrick Powers, Contributing Writer

November 22, 2019

As part of Student Senate’s mission to inform the Oberlin student body about the work going on throughout Oberlin’s various administrative governance structures, we’d like to offer a snapshot of the work going on in some of the committees in which senators serve. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the work Senate is doing at the moment. Still, we hope it will provide some valuable insight into the conversations going on amongst faculty and administrators that will affect Oberlin’s students in the weeks, months, and years to come.  Arts and Sciences Academic Restructuring Committee update: Cait Kelley ASARC is one of several committees created this year to formulate specific recommendations...

Course Registration Issues Remain Unaddressed

David Mathisson, Columnist

November 8, 2019

 The student community elected me to Student Senate so that I could push a three-point policy plan. You’ve probably heard about the first point: improving the variety, quality, and value of goods at DeCafé. While there’s plenty to be done, we’ve made substantial progress since the beginning of the semester. We’ve also been working hard at the second point, which is improving transparency in the Office of Residential Education. The third point is pushing a multifaceted policy package to fix course selection. With course selection for the spring semester coming up, there’s no better time to share my policy package than now. While I was campaigning, several first-year students asked me why my course registrati...

Senate Welcomes Collaboration with Student Body

Joshua Rhodes, Contributing Writer

November 1, 2019

 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. It has been 45 days since we received the “Congratulations new senators!” email. Since then, my life has gotten busier than I could have ever imagined. As a senator without an internal position, I will be required to be a part of a committee, attend the general faculty members, hold office hours, be a part of a working group, attend Senate’s weekly Plenary Meeting every Sunday night from 7-9:30 p.m., and attend most Senate-sponsored events. When I was elected as Communications Director, that mean...

Senate Progress On Transparency Sets Example For Administration

David Mathisson, Columnist

October 11, 2019

 This semester, Senate has made transparency a priority in order to bring together our community and foster cooperation between students and the administration. Senate is working to release more information to students this year than at any time in the recent past, improving the student body’s access to policies that work for us all. I’m optimistic about Senate’s work this semester, and believe that Senate’s work will set an example on transparency for the administration to follow. With that in mind, the severity of Oberlin’s transparency crisis means it must remain in the public dialogue until transparency and access become cultural norms of our community. In my recent campaign for Senate, I engaged h...

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