The Oberlin Review

Student Representation Essential, Not Radical

Thobeka Mnisi, Contributing Writer

October 6, 2017

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. If you Google “How Oberlin Works,” the unfortunately dated but still highly informative site that explains Oberlin’s governmental structure, you’ll learn that the Board of Trustees is the primary and only legally authorized governing body of Oberlin College. Quite simply, the board is responsible for the College’s longevity and wellness. For practicality and in the spirit of shared governance, the board then delegates responsibility to the administration via the President, and to the facul...

Communication, Coalition-Building Among Student Senate’s Priorities

Hanne Williams-Baron, Contributing Writer

September 29, 2017

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 weekend, while many Obies frolicked at the Arb, listened to sweet croonings at the J-House Garden show, and ventured out to Lake Erie, your loyal senators logged more than 18 hours working tirelessly for the benefit of the student body. Besides drinking frenetically from small juice boxes to fuel our brainstorming, what did we do? Well, the answer is as thrilling as it is tedious: We developed exciting plans, including drastically overhauling Senate’s systems of communication and coal...

Student Representation Imperative for Long-Term Change

Kameron Dunbar, Contributing Writer

September 22, 2017

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. “What does Student Senate even do?” is a question I am asked quite frequently. In short, we do a lot, but much of our work is behind the scenes. We appoint students to institutional committees and act as an official liaison between students and the general administration, among other responsibilities. We even feed students over fall break — a task the administration never took up as its responsibility. While most of our work is done outside of the spotlight, we’ve been engaged in a very public figh...

Trustees Postpone Student Rep. Vote

Trustees Postpone Student Rep. Vote

September 15, 2017

Student senators are facing an uncertain start to the fall semester as they persist in their battle to get a student representative on the Board of Trustees. The board tabled the vote over potential student trustees during their June quarterly board meeting, postponing the vote to their Oct. 5–7 meeting period. Last March, Senate submitted a proposal asking the board to create a task force to look into the possibility of adding a student to the Board of Trustees. This was the second proposal Se...

Students Must Engage Administration, Ambar

Meg Parker, Contributing Writer

September 15, 2017

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. On the morning of Monday, Sept. 11, I left my room early, meandered through South Bowl, crossed the dewy grass, and entered President Carmen Ambar’s home at 8 a.m. sharp. The President’s residence is, as many would guess, fancier than The Local Coffee & Tea, my typical breakfast location. On the dining room table was an array of fruit, bagels, and teacups that looked too fragile for me to want to hold. However, suffering from the early stages of the Obie Plague, like many of ...

Students, Senate Must Work Together

Meg Parker, Contributing Writer

September 1, 2017

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 week at my hall meeting, my RA asked what mattered to us. My response was, “Change, and the ability of people to make change together.” I’m currently a member of Oberlin’s interim Student Senate. As I shared during my hall meeting, I thought about how collaboration is an integral part of Senate’s work. As Vice Chair, I spent the past two semesters learning about Oberlin through my work, and I want to share reflections with you from my first term on Senate. Collective chang...

Tobacco Ban Underscores College’s Flawed Governance

Jordan Ecker, Contributing Writer

May 5, 2017

Oberlin students received an email Monday from Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo urging “members of the Oberlin community” to please respect the campus’ “tobacco-free” policy. The message wasn’t that there was a ban on cigarettes and that we would be punished for smoking. The message was that we ought to act as respectful members of a democratic community and practice civic virtue by respecting the norms we had all agreed upon. It’s a darkly ironic message. The tobacco ban — and make no mistake, if you are prohibiting members of a community from doing something, it is a ban — is representative of how distinctly undemocratic Oberlin’s campus governance is. As a me...

Student Senate Proposes Central Budgeting Committee

Student Senate Proposes Central Budgeting Committee

April 28, 2017

Student senators are drafting a proposal to establish a Central Budgeting Commit­tee, a standing group that would include and engage students, faculty and staff in the College’s budgeting decisions. Senate’s Financial Prioritization task force hopes to release the proposal this week to leverage student and faculty support before pre­senting it to senior administrators. Senate’s proposal calls for CBC mem­bers’ inclusion on all budgetary documents and information in accordance with a...

Trustees to Investigate Adding Student Rep

Trustees to Investigate Adding Student Rep

March 10, 2017

After months of pushing from student senators and activists, the Board of Trustees agreed to cre­ate a task force that will investigate adding student representatives to the board. The breakthrough results from a proposal sena­tors sent the board last Wednesday asking for the creation of a task force. The board then held its ex­ecutive session Friday afternoon, after which sena­tors received email confirmation that their propos­al had been accepted — a drastic change from the seven-month...

Students Neglect Existing Communication Channels

Editorial Board

March 10, 2017

The trustees’ decision to create a task force to investigate adding student representation to the board is a credit to everyone involved. Student Senate deserves praise for creating the initial proposal and building a relationship with the board, as do student activists for adding pressure at a key moment and the board for showing flexibility and vision. This is an example of what college governance should look like: an active student body and a responsive administration. Still students must continue pushing for a student representative. Creating a task force is an important victory, but by no means is it the same as actually adding a representative. Students must also be made aware of the fact that student repres...

Senate Calls for Student-Rep Task Force

Senate Calls for Student-Rep Task Force

March 3, 2017

Upon entering the Wright Laboratory of Physics hallway, trustees appeared stunned at the sight of over 150 students silently protesting the Board of Trustees’ initial rejection of Student Senate’s request for student representation on the board. Most trustees declined to comment upon entering the meeting with Student Senate last night, but many other administrators and staff in attendance said they were impressed with the protest organized by Students Building Community Power — a recently...

Class Trustees Must Consider Student Needs

Cory Ventresca, College senior

March 3, 2017

To the Editors: Executive Assistant to the General Counsel and Secretary Pam Pierron’s email sent Saturday, Feb. 25 stating the “regularly scheduled forum time will be used for a trustee–Student Senate mini-retreat” was incredibly disappointing to me as a former student senator. While it is important for Student Senate and the Board of Trustees to develop a strong working relationship so that Senate may better leverage its power, the development of that relationship should not preclude meeting with the student body. The idea that Student Senate can take on the Sisyphean task of representing all students to the board is absurd. In order for students to be fully represented, we need truly open fora. The clas...

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