Students Must Stay Vigilant For Ideals

Oberlin is a progressive liberal institution that has a history of including traditionally disenfranchised groups with special emphasis on multiculturalism and women’s issues.
At one point in Oberlin’s past, this might have been true, and the College certainly continues to market itself as if it is, but how many students actually believe it? Perhaps none.
Few would argue that there is a great disparity between the Oberlin legacy and the policies that come from our College these days, but where does the fault lie and who should be making the effort to change it?

Students are furious that they pay more for dining while receiving fewer services and less food. Students are irate that there are students living in spaces originally designed as lounges. Students are enraged that the College cannot retain faculty and staff of color. Students are incensed that many College employees are underpaid, while President Nancy Dye enjoys a salary of $323,000 a year and a dubious $1million bonus.
Many groups of students are indignant about these issues, and there are certainly more issues than the Review can think ofw. Unfortunately, these angered student groups tend to be separate and insular and sometimes even resent each other. As long as the student body is divided among itself in its efforts to protest the Administration, it will remain ineffectual.

The Oberlin legacy is not the only thing that has dissipated over the years, also gone are the glory days of student protests. Continuing to complain without acting makes the Oberlin student body what it is today — a disparate group of whiny students. It may sound cliché, but it has to be the students versus the Administration — us against them.
It is time for the student body to wake up, demand to know what is actually going on in the budget and take action. Student action must begin with demands for information about the College budget itself.
The Administration has stated budget cuts as the reason behind every student complaint. It is absolutely unsatisfactory for the Administration to give such vague excuses. It is far worse, however, for the student body to accept these administrative reasons on faith, especially in the face of the consequences of the numerous cuts made. Even if the student body is not given information out of common courtesy, then it should demand that information as consumers — after all, $34,880 seems like more than enough to justify some information.
“This process, which is an uncomfortable process, works best when the community understands that it is being done in a responsible manner... that we are looking at all possibilities,” Vice President of Finance Andy Evans said (see article, page 1).

It is true that the community needs to understand, but before they can understand they have to be aware. Last year the community was not aware when 21 intern positions — including four positions on the staff of the Multicultural Resource Center — were cut by the College, and very few were aware when President Dye was granted a bonus of a million dollars by the Board of Trustees.
On Sept. 6, two members of the Board sent a letter addressed “To the Members of the Oberlin College Community” that defended the Board’s decision to award President Dye her bonus. However, the student body did not receive this letter.

Many students remain unaware of the crucial role that the Board plays for Oberlin, and even more unaware that voicing their concerns to the Board can actually result in changes. The Board holds several open meetings a year that are scarcely, if at al,l attended by students. There will be an open forum with Class Trustees at 9 p.m. next Thursday in Wilder.


September 27
October 4

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