L E T T E R S  T O  T H E  E D I T O R :

Deal with any office persistently
Students as a whole want more info

Deal with any office persistently

To the Editor:
I have had the pleasure of being at Oberlin for five years. Unfortunately, very little has changed during my time here. I was going to write a letter bitching about all the horrible things at Oberlin, but in all honesty, Oberlin has a lot of problems, but the grass is not greener on the other side. Other schools are not much better, in fact they are a lot worse.

So instead of writing a nasty letter, I thought I'd share a few things I have learned during my time here. Maybe you could benefit from my misfortunes and mistakes.

Here are a few words to the wise:

If you need to deal with ANY office in Oberlin, be persistent. Call, email, visit, and talk to everyone in the office. Annoy them as much as you can and go to whoever's in charge (ask the secretary or look in Fussers), but do not, under any circumstance, give up!

Ask questions! Did you know that the Health Clinic gives out free cough drops and syrup? Or how about Career Services has a fax service to help you in your job hunt? If you happen to be off campus and you're expecting important correspondence from the school you can ask them to send it two day priority mail. There are several more free services offered, just ask. They should not be abused, but they should be utilized.

In addition to the free services on campus, use the offices. You can get a tutor if you need help in a class, or if you just want a little reassurance. Security provides escort services. There is a printing office and a transportation office that rents cars (official business with advisor's consent).

A little low on money? The financial aid/bursars office gives emergency loans up to $200. They act as any regular loan (interest rate and all) that has to be paid before the end of the semester. If you have an off campus job that makes you miss a meal, you can petition Residential Life and Services to reduce your meal plan to accommodate for the lost meal.

Speak your mind! Speak up! Say what you think! People may agree and they may not, but who the hell cares? Are you here to please them? This is your college career. Don't fear that you will be shunned because others are not mature enough to respect your opinion.

Never forget that you pay $30,000+ to go here! That does not entitle you to put up with anyones' BS. I realize that Oberlin is "preparing" us for the "real world," but for this much money, you do not deserve to be pushed around, bullied, or dismissed by anyone.

And last but not least: GET INVOLVED! I have heard the same complaints since my freshman year - diversity amongst faculty, staff, and students, horrible food at campus dining, lack of financial aid, availability of classes, and the list keeps going. Little has changed and the complaints keep coming. Nothing will change until WE make it change. We have the power! Not through Senate (been there, done that), not through small demonstrations (done that too!), but who do you think makes this college run? We do! We pay, at least in some sense of the word, $30,000+ a year. We attend classes, we eat the food. Think if we don't go to classes, don't eat in the co-ops or dining halls, and don't sign our loan checks, no one will listen? THINK AGAIN!!

-Austina Bennett College junior

Students as a whole want more info

To the Editor:
This letter is a compilation of Financial Aid concerns I have drawn from discussions with concerned students of various organizations and coalitions. It should not substitute for formal solicitation of student concerns as it was drawn from a limited pool and cannot represent the student body as a whole. However, these concerns have been echoed by many students and communities as having tremendous importance. With these things in mind I present the following:

Information that should be made publicly available and explicit:

  1. Policy for Financial Aid Awards over successive years at Oberlin College in order to address the prevalent student perception that Financial Aid decreases each year.
  2. How need affects admissions, especially due to high levels of student concern since recent changes in policy. This information should be followed up with a comprehensive study in terms of applicant pools, acceptance, enrollment, retention and matriculation as related to financial need/aid, and our changes in policy.
  3. Support and options available in terms of appeals. Could some general format be provided to allow students personal assessment of whether the process is likely to be worth the results?
  4. What alternative resources are available, for example emergency loans, scholarships, or established grants for unusual situations?

In conclusion, students as a whole want more information. Forums, surveys or specific groups could be utilized to get broader student input. Reports sent to the Review, even just summaries of what is going on, would work towards establishing a better informed and more connected student body.

-Yvonne C. Doble College junior


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Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 126, Number 11, December 5, 1997

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