The Oberlin Review

Student Life Leaves Student Priorities, Voices Behind

David Mathisson, Columnist

September 13, 2019

 Last Friday, when the police were patrolling campus and handing students jaywalking tickets in excess of $100, student voices called for a better solution. At the time, Campus Safety largely dismissed those voices. It took over a hundred people speaking up to gain administrative support for a solution that focused on the students. The fact that we need numbers like that to enact win-win policies is demonstrative of a problem bigger than just the crosswalk: the administration’s chronic refusal to involve students in policymaking is leading to bad policies in many areas of student life. On Monday, after a protest planned in response to the tickets received over 120 responses on Facebook in less than 48 hours, I began...

Academic and Administrative Review Process Not the Enemy

Lior Krancer, Production Editor

April 26, 2019

 As of yesterday, a year has passed since President Carmen Twillie Ambar shared the list of Academic and Administrative Program Review Steering Committee members with the Oberlin community. The AAPR is daunting because it indicates that hard decisions will need to be made to secure Oberlin’s long-term financial future. However, the fact that we have a dedicated program to address our serious deficit shows that Oberlin’s administration understands the gravity of our current financial struggle.  During this process, I have come to see a pattern of Oberlin students leveling sweeping criticisms of the AAPR rather than meaningfully confronting the potential danger we face. While there are plenty of reasonable concer...

Students Need More Data

Editorial Board

April 5, 2019

Since the launch of the ongoing Academic and Administrative Program Review, transparency has been an oft-repeated concern of Oberlin community members — and for good reason. The AAPR is the first comprehensive analysis of Oberlin’s finances and was created to address the College’s structural budget deficit. As a recent report from the AAPR steering committee reminded us, their work “is an ambitious effort that touches almost every part of the institution.” This breadth of responsibility, understandably, comes with considerable apprehension. However, as the Review reported following the initial public rollout of the AAPR’s areas of recommendation on March 13, AAPR leadership has taken important steps toward...

Discussions Regarding Dining Changes Must Include Student Input, Voices

David Mathisson, Contributing Writer

April 5, 2019

The Office of Residential Education sent an email to all rising juniors March 19 notifying students that previously promised meal plan options would no longer be offered. Instead, the office planned to limit them to more expensive meal plans that provide fewer options to students. Concerned about the impact on low- and middle-income students, a small group of passionate student activists planned a boycott in response. Later that day, because of the accessibility concerns, I joined as an organizer. I created a food donation plan to ensure every participant would get enough to eat during the boycott, regardless of income. I’d like to thank Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo and the Dean of Students...

Policy of Silence Threatens Students

Editorial Board

October 27, 2017

In the wake of anti-Semitic flyers being discovered by Safety and Security on Warner Center and Peters Hall early in the morning Oct. 13, President Ambar announced in an email to the students, faculty, and staff that the College would stop notifying the community of discriminatory postings “unless there is clear evidence of an ongoing pattern or a serious threat to campus safety.” As a group that includes multiple marginalized identities, including Judaism, the Editorial Board is surprised, confused, and frightened about the implications of such a sudden sweeping decision. First and foremost, we believe that marginalized students have a right to be informed about any all possible statements of hate and threats ...

Exclusive Governance Fails Students

Editorial Board

September 8, 2017

In an email from this past summer announcing to faculty and staff that Oberlin’s revenues would fall well short of targets and create a deficit of $5 million, incoming Chair of the Board of Trustees Chris Canavan, OC ’84, began with the salutation “To the Oberlin community.” It was a stroke of profound irony. For all that it contained — including discussion of decreased enrollment, sub-par student retention, a projected five percent budget shortfall over the next decade, and a salary freeze for the second consecutive year — the letter was most significant in what, or rather who, it omitted. Despite the grave financial implications for current and future students, we were never informed, and Ca...

Ambar Provides Opportunity for Needed Change

Editorial Board

September 1, 2017

Each new academic year offers an opportunity to turn a new leaf. With the end of former President Marvin Krislov’s decade-long tenure this summer, that opportunity has perhaps never been greater at Oberlin. Simultaneously, however, the institution has never seemed to be in a more precarious position in recent memory than it does now. Just within the last year, Oberlin has seen cuts to administrative assistant and custodial positions, threats to eliminate programs like faculty research status, yet another tuition increase accompanied by an overhaul in room and board requirements, and the resumption of business with Gibson’s Bakery after controversy that sparked massive student protests. Together, these choi...

New Administration Gives Students Hope

Miyah Byers, Contributing Writer

September 1, 2017

Life led me to Oberlin through an old and beat-up language composition book. I remember the very day I was wandering through the dog-eared pages of “The Bird and the Machine,” an essay written by a former Obie professor, Loren Eiseley, when I came across the name of the college for the first time. I was in the 11th grade then, and growing restless from the monotony and institutional red tape sometimes present in high school settings that can hinder students from pursuing social justice in their own hallways. As one of the few Black girls in my school, I was in serious need of a supportive community that was not tone-deaf to the struggles that people of color face on a daily basis; of an institution that w...

Faculty Seeks to Build on Partnership Program Model

Faculty Seeks to Build on Partnership Program Model

April 7, 2017

The Student-Faculty Partnership Program is looking to expand next semester. The program seeks to engage students and faculty members in a semester-long collaboration to improve teaching quality. As different groups at the College have re­cently grappled with questions of transparency and structures of hierarchical governance, several of the program’s participants believe the partnership pro­gram models how dialogue and trust among groups on campus can spark collaborative and productive developments. Former...

Kutzen Allegations an Opportunity for Greater Oversight

Editorial Board

September 11, 2015

Following news in early July that Trustee Thomas Kutzen, OC ’76, had been charged with fraud by the SEC and had stepped down as chair of the Investment Committee, the Office of Communications released a statement about the incident — that is, if one can call three short paragraphs released nearly two weeks after the story broke a statement. It included all the basics: Kutzen’s hedge fund AlphaBridge Capital Management neither confirming nor denying the SEC’s findings, his record of service to Oberlin and so on. Tucked at the end of a paragraph was a small but important note: “Kutzen has now retired from active service as a voting member of the Board but will continue to support the institution in a variety of...

Student Senators Call for Financial Aid Transparency, Engagement

Jordan Ecker and Ty Wagner

November 21, 2014

Oberlin College Student Senate is committed to investigating Oberlin’s finances by gathering as much information as possible, synthesizing this information so that students can engage with it, creating discussions about Oberlin’s financial direction particularly involving financial aid and making the Steering Committee more accessible to the Senate and to students themselves. Here’s why. Over and over again, when asking questions about the school’s financial situation, we as Student Senators have been told: “Oberlin College needs more revenue to remain a prestigious institution.” “Changes must be made.” “We are spending too much money on financial aid.” Yet students across campus feel nickel-and-dimed...

RIO Pushes Trustees for Transparency

Responsible Investing Organization

October 31, 2014

To the Editors: On Oct. 2 of this year, the Board of Trustees announced that it is accepting proposals for divestment of the endowment and outlined general criteria for evaluation. This news comes in addition to the announcement last year of the Impact Investing Platform, which will invest $5 million of the College’s endowment over the next five years in companies with a high social impact. Both actions show that the College is beginning to recognize the moral implications of its investments. This is especially impressive in a financial culture that so often directs its sole focus towards profit, and we commend the Board for its progress. That being said, we would like to push the Board of Trustees to go a bit...

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