The Oberlin Review

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...

Student Senate Needs to Clarify SBCP Relationship

Editorial Board

March 3, 2017

In one of the most competitive races for Student Senate in recent history, a group called Students Building Community Power emerged through individuals running on a collective activist platform this spring. Of the SBCP candidates, College sophomores Kai Joy and Dani Pacheco won two of eight available seats, joining an increasingly influential Student Senate. Concurrent with Joy and Pacheco’s campaigns, SBCP released a list of demands, including calls for six student representatives to the Board of Trustees, student liaisons to administrators, the creation of a student council to meet weekly with the College president and for Senate to act as a centralizing platform for student activism. Since elections, Senate has se...

Student Senate Strives to Centralize Activism

Meg Parker, Contributing Writer

February 17, 2017

This op-ed is part of the Review’s Student Senate column. In an effort to increase communication and transparency, Student Senators provide personal perspectives on recent events on campus and in the community. Student Senate is an inherently political body. Former Student Senator and College sophomore Kameron Dunbar wrote an op-ed for the Review last December about Senate’s role as a political actor, including its freedom to take preemptive action and stances on contentious issues on and off campus (“Senate Activism Vital to Political Resistance,” Dec. 2, 2016). Now, almost three months later, it has become obvious that Student Senate has embraced that role and will continue moving forward as a political b...

Student Senate Pivots in Favor of Activism

Student Senate Pivots in Favor of Activism

February 17, 2017

As a group of newly elected representatives settle in, Student Senate is increasingly embracing its institutional influence and activist sentiments — a shift from just a few years ago when student interest and participation in Senate was at a low. Last week’s Senate election brought 25 students to the spotlight as they jockeyed and campaigned for one of the eight open seats on the 15-person Senate. Engaging in student activism was a common theme across the board. At Sunday evening's plenary...

College Must Engage Community on Cuts

Editorial Board

February 10, 2017

Administrators constantly state that the College’s current financial model is unsustainable. Expenses exceed revenue, mostly generated from an increasing tuition, and the situation will likely continue to worsen without concrete steps on both sides of the balance sheet. In part, structural reasons beyond the College’s control have worsened the financial situation. Health care costs continue to rise, and the endowment — smaller than many of our peer schools — took a big hit during the 2008 recession, a setback from which it only recently recovered. But this financial crunch is not just the result of bad luck. The College has spent and borrowed millions on projects such as The Hotel at Oberlin, a project seemingly...

Students Demand Administrative Transparency

Andrés González, Kai Joy, Contributing Writers

February 10, 2017

Oberlin’s administration has a transparency problem. The administrative body and the Board of Trustees have continuously left students out of both mundane and critical decision-making, and students are often first made aware of these decisions when physically confronted with them. The tuition hikes, the official repudiation of demands created by ABUSUA, the dismissal of Professor Joy Karega, renewal of business relations with Gibson’s Bakery, refusal to divest from the private prison industry and the continuation of a no trespass list of community members are all examples of administrative decisions that misrepresent student interests. The Board of Trustees has had a direct influence on these decisions. After Stude...

Senate Activism Vital to Political Resistance

Kameron Dunbar, Contributing Writer

December 2, 2016

This op-ed 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. Student Senate passed a resolution on March 18, 2007 in support of U.S. Senate Bill 2695: a federal bill allowing taxpayer access to federally funded research introduced by then-Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator John Cornyn. I came across this resolution a few months ago while doing some independent research on the history of Oberlin’s Student Senate. Last year, I didn’t think of Senate as a political actor. Recently, many have been fed the idea that Senate is supposed to be an apolitical body...

Student Input Valuable in Presidential Search

Kameron Dunbar, Contributing Writer

November 4, 2016

This op-ed 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 campus and community events. Senate Liaison Thobeka Mnisi and I submitted a letter to Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of the College Sandhya Subramanian on Monday. In it, we announced our three student nominees to the Presidential Search Committee. The selected candidate will have the privilege of representing student interests broadly throughout the process of selecting Oberlin’s next president. Senate looked for several qualities in selecting the top three candidates. For starters, we wanted someone who had experience with and kno...

Student Representatives Mutually Beneficial for Board, Students

Editorial Board

October 7, 2016

During the Board of Trustees’ quarterly campus visit this week, Student Senate and former student members of the Steering Committee pushed for trustees to approve the addition of student representatives to the body. The Editorial Board endorses this effort and believes that including student voices will create a more meaningful and effective learning environment that will aid the administration in achieving its mission statement and better satisfy students’ needs. Student representation on college boards is not unprecedented. The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges reports that as of 2010, “50.3 percent of the public colleges and universities that responded and 8.5 percent of respondin...

Opportunities for Input Ignored by Students

Meg Parker, Contributing Writer

October 7, 2016

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 a campus characterized by political activism, we seem to be lacking in action. There are a multitude of things students wish would be changed, from transportation needs to racial equity to increased funding for Title IX and the Sexual Information Center. All that wishing culminates in just that: a wish. Obies, if we’re going to talk the talk, we need to walk the walk. There are so many ways students can get involved at varying levels of commitment. Oberlin’s governance requires students, faculty an...

Oberlin ACF Actions Polarize Campus

Josh Koller, Contributing Writer

September 30, 2016

This is the first installment in the Review’s new 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. Oberlin College’s student body is never at rest, nor should it be, given the current state of global, national and campus-wide affairs. The event generating the most noise at the beginning of this week was the panel centered on anti-Semitism held by Oberlin Alums for Campus Fairness on Sept. 22. Along with my fellow Student Senators, I took part in sending an open letter to the student body condemning the actions of ACF. Some people may wonder why Senate chose to take this stance, and...

Symposium Features Constructive Dialogue

Melissa Landa, President, Oberlin Alums for Campus Fairness

September 30, 2016

To the Editors: On behalf of the Oberlin Chapter of Alums for Campus Fairness, I want to thank all who attended our symposium, “Building a Hate-Free Campus Through Civil Discourse.” More than 60 people participated in the event, including students, faculty, administrators, clergy and town residents. Despite some pre-event concerns voiced by students, the symposium was productive. For 45 minutes before the symposium began and during the 45-minute question-and-answer session, interactions occurred among students, alumni and the speakers — Kenneth L. Marcus, Chloe Simone Valdary and Stacey Aviva Flint. In spite of difficult questions, student criticism of ACF and complex and sensitive topics, the tone remained ...

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