College Diversity Not Reflected in Tenure

Students on campus may remember last year when the College decided to deny Professor Chafauros McDaniel tenure — a curious administrative move for a college that prides itself on maintaining a multicultural faculty.
Many students question how the College can stand behind a front of multiculturalism if their actions sing a different tune, and, in this case, causing a nationwide boycott of 500 members of The Association for Asian Americans. The College lacks the multiculturalism it sells itself on while continuously letting go of professors of color for the past 15 years. This can not be presumed as a coincidence.
The College maintains its position for the reason of dismissal of Chafauros was her incomplete dissertation, and a two year extension. However, there was little consideration for what she and other professors of color have done for the College’s student body. Chafauros was a professor in high demand for advising and private readings by mainly students of color; she was also the co-chair for the East of California Annual Conference. Irrespective of Chafauros’ activities the College did not allow the student body agency in the decision of her dismissal aside from the student evaluations sent out for all professors up for tenure. The College has neglected to consider how her departure effects the Asian and Pacific Islander community.
If the Dean of the College can refute the assertion that “the college has not worked hard to obtain professors of color”, (see article page 1) why is it so difficult to retain them? Is there something intrinsically wrong with the system that effects the lives of professors of color at Oberlin to the point that they are unable to remain here?
Marginalized groups of people must work hard to sustain a sense of community and professional intellectualism. Too often this reasoning gets clouded in a language of victimization that invalidates the purpose behind such work. Though, when this problem has occurred for 15 years and a nationwide protest is declared against the College, it is time to rethink past actions and reassess time constraints placed on cultural studies professors who are completing dissertations.
The study of and being a part of a marginalized culture effects one’s productivity in a different manner than when the study is of the culture of the majority. There is an intrinsic difference in the manner of studying that should be acknowledged. Many members of the Oberlin community are appalled at the oversight of such differences. Such incongruency must be acknowledged and resolved if diversifying the faculty is truly a goal of the Administration. Student and faculty members are here because they choose to educate themselves but education should never be restricted to the classroom. There should be a means to qualify a faculty member’s involvement with the student body as a form of field study that can only aid one’s dissertation.

Students: Successful Prodding of Trustees

Oberlin by definition is an outspoken community, but recently it’s become all too clear that it’s not enough to voice opinions about campus politics while lounging in Wilder Bowl or shuffling between classes. With the recent campus-wide uproar over budget cuts, hiring freezes and seemingly unexplained bonuses, Oberlin students have their work cut out for them. To be “involved” in the behind-the-scenes workings of the College now requires more time and energy, because things seem to be shifting on so many levels — finances, academic offerings, dining and living accommodations, to mention a few. But, leave it to Oberlin students to take on an extra challenge: Thursday night’s Trustee-Student Forum was hugely successful. Its open dialogue was the sort of discussion between trustees and students that has not been seen on this campus for years.

It’s a breath of fresh air that this bridge has been crossed, but it is crucial that this dialogue continue well into the future. The trustees’ willingness to answer pointed and heated questions on topics ranging from Dye’s bonus to issues about Oberlin’s facade of diversity surprised many students. It is important to be able to put faces to names of the trustees, to know who is dealing the cards that determine Oberlin’s future. Students should demand to meet with Administration at all levels, to write letters, hold forums, discuss campus concerns. Every student has a wish list for Oberlin, not generally involving huge budgets. It’s time that students fight for the things they “bought” when they came to Oberlin: diversity, progressive thought and community action.

October 4
October 11

site designed and maintained by jon macdonald and ben alschuler :::