The Oberlin Review
<< Front page Commentary March 3, 2006

Republicans Bring Dialogue, other letters

To the Editors:
Jonathan Bruno’s letter to the editor was misprinted in this week’s paper edition; the Review apologizes to our readers and to Mr. Bruno for our mistake. Printed here is the correct version.

On Wednesday, February 15, the Oberlin College Republicans (with the generous support of alumnus Steven Shapiro and others) brought conservative columnist and writer Michelle Malkin (OC '92) to campus. Ms. Malkin spoke about the “unhinged” and hypocritical elements of the political left, and did the service of bringing attention to one aspect of the existing political landscape that has otherwise been conveniently ignored at Oberlin.

After the event, in his sardonic letter of February 17, “Campus Dialogue is Tiring,” Lee Rubenstein made a variety of brash assertions about the objectives and actions of our organization, including that the College Republicans (CRs) are “creating a conservative/liberal binary that portrays liberals as idiot freedom haters.” His body of evidence: an event flyer.

While I am pleased that Mr. Rubenstein put such thought into examining our advertisements, I'm afraid he missed the point.

Mr. Rubenstein writes that the CRs are “sick and tired of all the dialogue on this campus.” While perhaps an attractive fantasy to some, I can not think of a notion more overwhelmingly contradicted by the facts. To my knowledge, our organization has done more than any other in recent semesters to bring to campus points of view outside the realm of status quo political discussion at Oberlin. By ensuring that conservative ideas get exposure on campus, the CRs have made a vital contribution to the robustness of debate here, and the record demonstrates this plainly.

Mr. Rubenstein also writes about the choice of the CRs to use University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill on one of its flyers to illustrate (as Ms. Malkin did in her new book) this “unhinged” element of the left. Though the underlying logic is unclear, he thereby deduces that the CRs believe that all liberals “[like] to rationalize the brutal murder of thousands of people,” as Mr. Churchill did, and that respect for terrorism is “typical” of liberals. The fact is, these are the words of Mr. Rubenstein, and neither the CRs nor our guest Michelle Malkin ever stated or implied such a ludicrous thing.

Near the end of his letter, Mr. Rubenstein points his finger at members of the CRs for isolating themselves in “the echo chamber.” The characterization is absurd, and the presence of an outspoken group of conservatives has only gone to counter the echoes that might otherwise deafen Oberlin.

–Jonathan Bruno
College junior
President, Oberlin College Republicans

To the Editors:

This letter is in response to last week’s article covering the 14th Biennial Asian/Pacific American Mid-west Student Conference that took place at Oberlin two weeks ago. First, as organizers of the event we would like to express our appreciation for the extensive article that was published last week. However there are a few issues that were not addressed in the article, which we find to have been so crucial to the mission and success of the conference that we are compelled to write this lengthy letter in response. Please bear with us.

To begin with, a major theme of this year’s conference was to “analyze the troublesome nomenclature of ‘Asian/Pacific American,’ specifically the political ramifications of including Pacific Islanders within the category of ‘Asian American.’” This is because the Asian American community has in recent years accumulated a voice for Pacific Islanders without yielding much or any agency to them. This is a national trend, rather than a phenomenon specific to Oberlin. In addressing the “P” in “A/PA” we sought to draw attention to the specific social, historical and political issues that distinguish Asians from Pacific Islanders. Thus, the repeated obfuscation of Asia and the Pacific Island, of Asians and Pacific Islanders* in last week’s article is particularly frustrating.

Furthermore, in light of a recent editorial, which offered a critical evaluation of student action related to Asian American studies on Oberlin campus, we are more than a little dismayed with the article’s failure to highlight the huge amount of students’ time, effort and collaboration of resources that went into putting on this event. This conference was established 28 years ago with the intention of both highlighting the need for Asian American studies at Oberlin and across the US, as well as to fill a deficiency in the college curriculum. In keeping with that mission, this year’s conference was almost exclusively organized by students.

–Daniel Domaguin
–Marianne Tassone
A/PA Conference co-chairs
College seniors

To the Editors:

I was appalled by the “The Invisible Life of Poet” comic that ran in the Feb. 24 edition of the Review. Christopher Wilson claims in his letter to the readers that, while he was an Oberlin student, he defended those who were “hated” by the left, if only out of his own contrariness. I find it a pity that he apparently never came upon the opportunity of having an actual conversation with one of those students he “defended for his own amusement.” Perhaps if he had, he would not have been deceived into thinking his comic would make us laugh. Instead, we were shocked, disgusted and angered to the point of ripping up his work.

I understand his feeling the need to redeem himself to the “hippies” he once scoffed at and now admires. But, there are other issues he could have chosen to tackle in his strip “written especially for Oberlin” which I could have agreed with and laughed at.

I want responsible stewardship of our environment. I want energy solutions. I want justice. I want peace. Instead, Wilson has attacked something he obviously doesn’t understand anymore than the adolescent boys in his comic strip.

Unfortunately, Wilson has figured out only one side of the puzzle. Yes, his classmates were right. The corporate powers-that-be are tyrannical and corrupt. The world is unjust. We are in trouble.

But, despite what those very powers may try to convince us of, that is not what Jesus is about. Jesus is all about justice, peace and true life. And as an Obie, as someone who did not vote for Bush in the last presidential election, as someone who does not go around calling others “whore,” as someone who has just as much right to the First Amendment as Wilson himself and as someone who attempts to follow Jesus in her daily life, I am writing to say that I will not be dismissed.

I do not thank you, “Poet,” and I am trying to forgive your pigheadedness in thinking that I would find humor in your ignorance.

–Stephanie L. Bolmer
College sophomore

To the Editors:

We, the Oberlin College Friends of the ACLU, are writing to inform you about South Dakota’s recent legislation banning most abortions, including cases of rape or incest, except when the life of the mother is in danger. The legislation passed 50-18 in the South Dakota Senate and Governor Mike Rounds stated his inclination to sign the bill into law. Since this legislation presents a direct attack on Roe v. Wade (1973), Planned Parenthood will challenge the measure in court. Prevailing sentiments suggest that if this case makes it to the Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade is more likely to be overturned in light of the recent appointments of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

So far, the underwhelming media coverage represents a dangerous apathy; the story only made it to page A14 of the New York Times last week. It is crucial now more than ever to recognize the challenges facing reproductive freedom in America. We at the OCACLU advocate a woman’s right to choose and are raising awareness about the potential consequences of this legislation. We encourage all who have ideas or who wish to become involved to come to our weekly meetings, Monday nights at 10:00pm in Wilder 110.

Oberlin College
Friends of the ACLU

To the Editor:

Despite having been out of graduate school for 24 years, my life still moves to the rhythm of the academic calendar. Some of that is because I have a daughter who is still in school and family plans revolve around school breaks, but part of it is also the natural rhythm of on-campus recruiting.

Yes, recruiting. That was a dirty word for many of my contemporaries during the Viet Nam war when the military tried to recruit college students. Sometimes I think it is still a dirty word around Oberlin — aren’t you supposed to go to graduate school when you leave Oberlin? Obviously, graduate school is only one of the options available to Oberlin graduates, but how do you find out about the other options when you spend all your time in classrooms being taught by people who went to graduate school when they finished their bachelor’s degrees?

It wasn’t until I stumbled into business school four years after I graduated from Oberlin that I began to discover the many aspects of business where I could apply my liberal arts training, continue to grow and make a contribution. Today’s Oberlin students have many more tools for making those discoveries while still safely settled on campus. Perhaps the most visible of these is the Oberlin Business Scholars winter term program. I have been privileged to meet students from all three of the Business Scholar classes and I never cease to be amazed at how they have taken that four-week experience and parlayed it into top tier summer internships and full-time jobs, proving to themselves and to their new companies just how valuable a liberal arts education at Oberlin can be.

Certainly, not everyone is interested in a career in business, nor can everyone participate in the Business Scholars program. The good news is that there are many other tools to use to find alternatives to graduate school, or to identify post-graduate school options. The first stop to access these tools is the Career Services office. You will find a wealth of information within their four walls, but you can also gain access to a network of well over 1,000 alumni who have agreed to be career mentors and to share their work experiences with you.

Take a look around this weekend — some of us are on campus. We’d like to think that we still look like your average Oberlin student, but that may not be true. We do share your Oberlin values, though, and we can help you navigate through the many options that are available to you.

–Leanne C. Wagner OC’76
Oberlin Alumni Association


Powered by