Be Understanding

The Women’s Resource Center was going to be closed until it could find somewhere else to go, and now it isn’t. There has been not one but a string of errors on the part of the College. First, it informed the employees of the Center and its director that it was closed until further notice, but refused to show them the letter prompting the move. Then, due to some diligent reporting on the part of the Review’s news section, the administration decided that the WRC doesn’t need to be moved. Whatever happened, the College has misjudged everything about the process and has mishandled the WRC from its inception five years ago. Most students don’t know that the WRC is, like the MRC, an office of the College and not a student organization. Many don’t even know where it is or what it does. According to the administration, the City of Oberlin informed the WRC that its office is in an area zoned for residences, and hence must move. The City claims it did no such thing, but even so, the College could possibly have informed the office of any zoning rules before it gave the WRC the space or at any time in the last five years. It could also have provided funds for a director for the center other than MRC director Rachel Beverly, who is wearing both hats. If the WRC is a legitimate office then it should have its own staff and be able to hold more than a few ill-publicized office hours, but that never seemed a concern of the College’s.
What a women’s resource center should be is an open, welcoming place that every student knows about and feels comfortable in. It should have a well-stocked library, which the WRC does, and a knowledgeable staff, which the WRC maintains through its ExCo, but should also have professional staff on hand. It should fund programs, which again the WRC has tried to do over the years, from hosting speakers to getting tickets to the Ani DiFranco concert. It should be active in education on women’s issues and outreach for community service. In short, the WRC should be a vital part of Oberlin, especially since Oberlin is such a gynocentric environment and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The WRC deserves the full respect of the College, and it certainly doesn’t seem to be getting it.

Construction Ahead

If everything continues according to schedule, the new science center should be finished by May. The devastation wrought on North Eighth (half of North Quad) will finally be over and we will have a few more crucial ranking points in U.S. News and World Report. Then we will be on to new ways to spend alumni dollars on projects to improve campus spaces.
Number one on that list should be full handicapped access for every building on campus to bring us up to Americans with Disability Act standards. While academic buildings as a whole are pretty good, students in wheelchairs currently have access to two dorms. Warner is not only a nightmare of inaccessiblity, it’s a nightmare, period. The second job at hand is new performance and practice space, and lots of it. The only space with real curtains and backdrops is Hall, which is used mostly for Sex at 7:30, two operas and the occasional very ambitious student production once every ten years or so.
A real student theater, or at least a black box, is needed for theater and dance performances. Plans should be underway to convert Crane Pool into such a space. New art studio space would also be nice. Finally, there is the issue of current academic buildings that are not as ritzy as the recently overhauled science buildings, namely King. The desks are ancient, tiny and uncomfortable. The ventilation system, as is pointed out on the signs outside, draws smoke directly into the building. Fixing just these two problems would make life a lot more bearable for the students who spend hundreds of hours a year there.

October 5
October 12

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