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Go to the previous page in Perspectives Go to the next page in Perspectives L E T T E R S  T O  T H E  E D I T O R :

What Whites Need to Know
Bush Threat Too Real
Luring Voters Out
Court Issue Crucial
Student Questions Bush Detractors' Information
Voting Strategically for Gore
Poverty Figures Challenged
Stillman Critique Lacking
AASC Supports Comparative American Studies
Librarian Diversity
Letter Seeks SECURE Facts
Pooping on Comics
Condemnation of Israel Urged by Jewish Student
Resident Suggests ŒNo' Vote on Ambulances
An Alum's Activism
OPIRG Needs New Support
Exams On Your Time

What Whites Need to Know

To the Editor:

Whites need to know that the Clinton-Gore ticket garnered almost 90 percent of the black vote in the 1996 election. They need to know that over the past half century all but ten to fifteen percent of blacks have run to the polls to support the Democratic Party.

Whites need to know that in the past, there were countless cogent reasons why the Dr. Martin Luther Kings, the Rev. Jesse Jacksons, etc. were staunch supporters of the Democrats over the Republicans. And there are solid reasons today that compel the Bill Cosbys, virtually all black elected officials in America, and the Michael Jordans to support the Democrats.

From before the 60's to the present, almost all white Democrats fought relentlessly for civil rights, voters' rights, the right of blacks to buy homes in white areas, to stay overnight at hotels and motels, to eat at any restaurant, to study at colleges like Oberlin, to sit next to whites on buses, trains, etc. to relax on previously all-white beaches, etc. with just minimal help from white Republicans.

It was the white Democrats who always struggled for higher minimum wages, improved welfare programs, Headstart, better social security benefits, humane police treatment, freedom for blacks and whites to date and marry whomever they liked, laws to protect blacks against the KKK and other hate groups, etc.

Surely, whites have the right to support the Republican Party or Ralph Nader's Green Party, and blacks should not brand them racists; that would be untrue and unfair at the very least. But they do need to know that the Republican Party's policies, in general, make it almost impossible for blacks today to overcome the lingering effects of racism.

And those who support Nader, whose service to humanity has been so remarkable until this year, must know that their indirect support of the Republican Party leaves blacks terribly pained, disappointed, and frightened about the consequences of a Bush presidency: vicious assault upon Affirmative Action, no hate-crime legislation, no true campaign reform, only vouchers to improve black education, more Clarence Thomases on the Supreme Court, etc.

Again, whites can support whomever they like without thinking of themselves as anti-black, racists, etc., but they do need to know a few facts why all today's great black congresspersons like Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters, John Conyers, along with the Mayor of Cleveland, Michael White, stand so proudly for the Democrats, as do virtually all the millions of other blacks who may be poor, uneducated or undistinguished, except for their just being good American citizens who want whites to help them rid America of racism.

The viewpoint of blacks, given that almost 90 percent of us are likely to vote again for the Democrats, is that a vote for Bush or Nader retards progress toward cleansing America of racism and putting the effects of slavery behind us. Whites, do something to unite blacks, whites, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, etc. Don't be a part of Nader's nadir. Vote for Gore.

---Booker C. Peek, African-American Studies Professor

Bush Threat Too Real

To the Editor:

Those working for Ralph Nader in his campaign are taking a calculated risk in this election. I believe that these people can afford to take this stance because they will not bear the burden of their decision. Writer Gloria Steinem has pointed out that the majority of Naderites are white, middle-class, and male. This seems to be true both on a national level and at Oberlin College.

I'm sorry if this is getting personal, but here it is. If George W. Bush is elected, the bulk of Mr. Nader's supporters will not be affected by the lack of progression in hate crime legislation and other civil rights issues. They will not be directly affected when a conservative Supreme Court strips women of their reproductive rights. The majority of Naderites will not be hurt by the Republican's assault on the poor, and they will not be harmed by the continuation of the environmental discrimination that has become a characteristic of low-income neighborhoods in this country. The lack of personal interest riding on this election allows Nader supporters to stand behind their ideological stance, and to call those of us who are supporting Mr. Gore "sell-outs."

By no means am I supporting Mr. Gore out of fear of Mr. Bush. While not perfect, I truly believe that Al Gore is an excellent candidate who will fight hard to advance a progressive agenda. The assertion that there are not enormous differences between Gore and Bush is ludicrous. My point is, when you cast your ballot this Tuesday, please consider the underrepresented portions of our society.

Two additional points about the Nader Camaign: 1) The Republican Party has recently recognized the chance to exploit Mr. Nader. They have poured large amounts of money into television advertisements in which Mr. Nader criticizes Gore. The Nader campaign has not objected to the Republicans' actions. 2) Nader has frequently criticized Al Gore because the Vice President's mother's trust owns stock in Occidental Petroleum. It has recently come to light that Mr. Nader invests in a mutual fund that owns over four million shares in the same company. (Source: New York Times, Nov. 1)

If George W. Bush is elected this Tuesday, I believe that in four years, we will look back on Ralph Nader's campaign as a well-intentioned catastrophe for the progressive movement. Your vote means too much. Please vote Al Gore for President on Nov. 7.

---Chris Holbein, College Sophomore

Luring Voters Out

To the Editor:

Over fall break, as I filled out my absentee ballot, the elderly women running the office of the registrar of voters reminded me of the faithful volunteering senior citizens who roamed the halls of my elementary school on election day, keeping our nation flowing with the juices of democracy.

Each year the public is bombarded with complaints on the low voter turnout, and there is no doubt that voter indifference has laid the groundwork for our fractured government. This year, why not try a time-tested remedy? Sex. The enthralling power of lust is an unquestionable attraction, and salacious indulgence in raw pleasures might be the answer to our apathy. Student participation is vitally important in every election year, and the injection of a little inter-generational flirting by these noble seniors, some of them four, five and, in warmer climes like Florida even six times our own age could bring new life to the electoral process.

So here's my advice to the plucky senior volunteers this election day: show a little leg. Flex those pecs. Back that ass up for the future of America.

---Doug Diesenhaus, College Junior

Court Issue Crucial

To the Editor:

Of all the candidates for the U.S. Presidency in the year 2000, none would fill the office more capably, I'm convinced, than Ralph Nader. Yet I urge like-convinced voters not to vote for Mr. Nader ‹ in order to vote for Vice-President Gore ‹ for the following single reason at least:

The next President of the United States may choose as many as three nominees for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Republican candidate has expressed his strong approval of current justices William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Enough potential Gore votes cast instead for Nader could readily present George W. Bush with the power to pack the Court with more of such right-wing ideologues.

There are additional reasons for support of Gore's candidacy, but these fade into insignificance in view of the foregoing.

---Robert Weinstock, Emeritus Professor of Physics

Student Questions Bush Detractors' Information

To the Editor:

Like many a student, I eagerly awaited Obies' views of the presidential race in the last issue of the Grape. However, the sheer level of misinformation and derision that was present in the Al Gore article disappointed me, quite frankly because I did not expect to see such unprofessionalism in a paper like the Grape. If possible, I'd like to correct some mistakes presented in the article.

Education: Governor Bush's voucher proposal applies to any low-income student trapped in failing schools, and allows them to transfer to a more stable one ‹ public or private. Overall, students, teachers and parents can take comfort in this: Bush's accountability principles in education will make schools improve, or face the prospect of losing federal funding and/or be shut down. His position contrasts Vice President Gore's, who believes that spending more money can fix schools. However, money cannot fix the moral collapse that is present in today's schools, nor can it fix the violence problem.

Gay rights: Both Governor Bush and Vice President Gore are strongly against gay marriage. Gore supports civil union ‹ as Vermont has defined them ‹ while Bush has said that he would leave legislation defining civil unions to the states.

Abortion: Everybody knows Governor Bush is pro-life. But what about Vice President Gore's past? Sure, Bush is 100 percent pro-life; however, has Gore been 100 percent pro-choice? No. As senator, he voted 78 percent of the time for women's rights. Also, Gore has described himself as "spiritual" (i.e. Christian) on several occasions. Would he have an attack of "spirituality" if he were presented with a bill that (when signed) guaranteed the right of choice for women? With Gore's past, perhaps he might.

Affirmative action, capital punishment, drugs, and civil Rights: Even with the volatile nature of these issues, the writer apparently could not refrain from making one personal attack after another on Governor Bush. Nevertheless, where Bush chooses to speak and what he chooses to say are his own decisions, and not the subject of judgment. However, I question a vice president who cannot "recall" fundraisers he's attended, and speaks at multiple fundraisers, but later denounces the attendees as promoting a "culture of violence".,7243,55044,00.html

Gun Control: As much as some individuals might think that George W. Bush's a pawn of the NRA, his own official website explicitly states his support of background checks, child safety locks, and the banning of the importation high-round ammunition clips.

Health care: As governor of Texas, George W. Bush vetoed the patient's bill of rights on the ground that it was too expensive to maintain and would also have allowed patients to directly sue HMOs without having third parties investigating what the lawsuits were for (the veto was nevertheless overridden). Also, Bush opposed CHIP because the dispersal of funds would not be administered by the state, but by the federal government ‹ an expansion of government, something Bush opposes. Governor Bush opposes a singular national healthcare plan because he doesn't want the government "making decisions for consumers or for

Taxes: Bush has proposed that all people who pay taxes get some sort of tax break. This is in sharp contrast to Gore, whose "targeted" tax cuts mostly affect the middle class. Numbers aside, we should bear in mind that the rich usually pay the highest taxes, and any sort of fair tax cut would probably affect them the most. In addition, Bush's largest percentage tax cut would affect the lowest income earners. Al Gore (or anybody else for that matter) could pitch "targeted" tax cuts, but in all likelihood they would be unfair, because they would include some income earners while excluding others.

--Miguel Villafana, College Junior

Voting Strategically for Gore

To the Editor:

I think I may have found yet another angle in the debate raging around Ralph Nader, Champion of the Oppressed, and Al Gore, The Left Hand of Satan, so please bear with me.

A lot of people here at Oberlin love to upbraid their wayward peers for saying and doing things from a position of privilege ‹ white privilege, rich privilege, straight male privilege, etc. A lot of the same people are also planning to vote for Ralph Nader, and to them I say this: I urge you to take a hard look at the privilege that allows you to use up a valuable vote just to "make a statement." Are Gore and Bush basically the same? Okay, yes, if you have enough money and resources, they are. Most people who go to this school (myself included) will probably never know what it's like to sleep on the street, or to choose between food and medicine, or to attend a crummy, violent high school where mere survival takes precedence over learning. Many Americans do know, and this election will make all the difference in the world to them. With respect for Oberlin's "oppressed" groups ‹ people of color, queers and women ‹ plenty of them are privileged and know damn well that they have it better than most people on earth. They can buy themselves safe neighborhoods, good medicine, and a decent education.

Why, then, should you listen to a rich white straight male like me? You should because I have a good enough imagination to realize what's really going to help people less fortunate than myself, and what will merely fire the romantic fancy of people as fortunate as myself. I have better ways of salving my middle-class guilt than steeping myself in masturbatory political theory at the expense of millions of American's futures. Do you want to participate in a real movement? Volunteer with food drives. Tutor struggling students. I've done those things, and I need to do more, as we all do. Volunteerism can be radical and effective.

But when you hit the voting booth, remember that politics is a science, not a religion (though Bush might disagree more with me there). If you want to put your faith in something that common sense tells you that you shouldn't, a house of worship is the perfect place for that. The voting booth is not. Even the most hardcore revolutionary knows not to strike until the iron is hot, if he's smart. I say that the iron is hot when the Lesser Evil ‹ the more malleable evil ‹ is safely in office. So don't cast a vote of privilege and kid yourselves that it's a blow for the common citizen. Vote Al Gore. The people you claim to be fighting for need you badly, and you should bear this responsibility like the adults you are.

I'm not telling you to squander your youth. This is college, after all. Do crazy things. Drink too much. Party too late. Stock up on sex and romance. It's a part of growing up, and I doubt you'll regret it all when you're fifty. However, if you sell out your country on Nov. 7 (and I call it nothing less), you just might be too ashamed and heartbroken in the not-too-distant future to find the tears to cry. So ‹ think globally, act locally and, for the love of God, vote strategically.

--David Meadow, College Junior

Poverty Figures Challenged

To the Editor:

At Monday night's "Community Candidate's Forum," a supporter of Mr. Nader stated to State Representative Daniel Matelsky that Lorain County was among the poorest counties in the state, or something to that effect. Letters to the Review periodically make this statement, suggesting that it is a commonly held belief at Oberlin.

This statement is not true. Economically, Lorain County is roughly on par with the rest of the state. The county's per-capita income ($22,795, 1997 data) exceeds that of 61 of Ohio's 88 counties, and the poverty rate (10.4 percent, 1995 data) is lower than that of 47 counties. Lorain County's unemployment rate (five percent, 1998 data) is slightly above the statewide average (4.3 percent) but lower than that of 37 counties.

Lorain County's mix of manufacturing, service and agricultural jobs and its mix of urban, suburban and rural environments mirror the makeup of the State of Ohio. Like the rest of the state, the county has seen moderate but steady growth during the last eight years, with per-capita income up about 28 percent from 1992 to 1997.

I do not mean to imply that poverty is not a problem in the county; the current rates are much too high. But when discussing these issues, we should note that Lorain County's economic status reflects that of the state at large, rather than falsely claiming it is among the poorest. To continue to do so does injustice to the economically troubled counties in the southeast corner of the state.

[The writer wishes to note that his data was obtained from Ohio County Profiles, Ohio Department of Development, December 1999. This book is available at the Oberlin Public Library.]

--Robert B. Calhoun, Oberlin Resident

Lewis Center Not So Efficient

To the Editor:

After its first year of operation, what has the "teaching tool" ‹ the Adam Joseph Lewis Environmental Studies Center ‹ taught us?

The first lesson is from the AJLC's use of 228,000,000 watt-hours of electrical energy in its first year. That amount is more than 3.5 TIMES the projections which appeared on the building's web site. The lesson: don't put your faith in the publicity issued by the promoters of the building.

The photovoltaic array ‹ when it becomes functional ‹ is expected to generate over a year's time about one-third of the amount of energy used in the first year. The daily value of that amount of electrical energy (at local rates) would buy lunch at the Oberlin Inn.

The second lesson is from considering the source of that 228,000,000 watt-hours of energy ‹ the largely coal-fired utilities that supply the "grid." The lesson: less pollution would have been generated in the service of the AJLC if the building had been connected to the college steam lines that are already installed to the site. This would have avoided the efficiency losses associated with conversion of heat energy to electrical energy at the generating plant and the energy lost in transmission between the generating facility and the AJLC.

A third lesson is obvious from consideration of how all this came to be. The College lost its only architect before the AJLC was constructed. The function of the College architect was "contracted out." The College lacks the engineering capabilities needed in the design of buildings and energy systems. The lesson: don't take on vast projects with half-vast capabilities.

There will be other lessons. I expect that one will be that it will be very difficult to do maintenance on the photovoltaic array because it lacks walkway access between the modules.

This is not "Monday-morning quarterbacking." My doubts about the AJLC ever being a "net energy exporter" (based on my own analysis) were the subject sent by me to the Board of Trustees of the College, President Dye, David Orr and others well before the College was committed to the project.

--David C. Greene, OC '49 (Physics)

AASC Supports Comparative American Studies

To the Editor:

With the lack of race, class, sexuality and gender studies in the Oberlin cirruculum, the "progressive" education Oberlin claims to provide is not only incomplete, it is incorrect. A Comparative American Studies program seeks to resolve this.

The letter of intent to propose a Comparative American Studies program has recently stimulated a great deal of discussion. It brings to the forefront critical issues about curriculum, the allocation of 10 full time employees, and the construction of programs such as Asian American studies, Latina/o studies, Native American studies and Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender studies that have traditionally been marginalized and excluded. The complexity of analysis in a Comparative American Studies program addresses the importance of the intersections between race, class, sexuality and gender.

In 1971, the Asian American Alliance was formed by students due to the lack of an Asian American studies department. Since then, student activism has kept this struggle alive. Through excos, letters, speakers and protests, students voiced their concerns. In 1978, students initiated the APA conference to provide a space for the education lacking in the classroom. Through the years, temporary positions, two-week seminars and guest professors emphasized the lack of academic programs focused on Asian American studies. Just last year, after thirty years of struggle, two full time faculty positions were finally established for Asian American studies.

Historically, Oberlin College has cultivated a reputation for social progress and community concern by becoming one of the first institutions of higher education to admit African Americans and women in the 19th century. The College was also one of the few schools to invite Japanese Americans to attend college during the internments of World War II. Where is the "progressive" spirit Oberlin professes to embody today?

Although the approach of a CAS program is innovative, the issues at the core of the proposal have a long history. This struggle continues today as communities on campus still fight for the inclusion of curriculum that addresses inequality and social justice. But they are not the only ones to benefit ‹ everyone is affected. Who doesn't share in the benefits of social justice?

The committee for CAS has sent the letter of intent out in order to get student input. We encourage you all to get involved in this process. If you would like a copy of this letter, please contact the Asian American Alliance at

---Grace Han, College Junior

-Asian American Studies Committee

Librarian Diversity

To the Editor:

While Oberlin students tend to be active library users, and many of them spend a great deal of time in the Oberlin College Library, most of them have little awareness of librarianship as a profession. Yet librarianship is a dynamic field, and the changes in the profession in the midst of the "information revolution" can be dazzling. With the shift of demographics in this country, the library profession has been challenged more than ever by diversity. Libraries need to recruit people from diverse cultural backgrounds into the library profession in order to serve the increasingly diverse population of the American society.

The Oberlin College Library has received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to establish a program to attract undergraduate students from diverse cultural backgrounds to the field of librarianship. The focus of this program is to attract students from underrepresented groups, including African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans. The funding is a part of the IMLS National Leadership Grant Series that sponsors programs that have national impact and provide leadership and models for similar organizations. The Oberlin College Library Diversity Intern Program will provide undergraduate internships for six Oberlin juniors who are interested in exploring librarianship as a career. Interns will be paid $7.50 an hour.

The program starts in Spring, 2001 and ends with Winter Term, 2002. It will include the following:

Spring Semester:

Lectures/discussions on various aspects of librarianship and information science.

Investigating different facets of the Oberlin College Library system and other types of area libraries.


Working full time on library-related projects of interest to you.

Exposure to other library agencies and related organizations.

Fall Semester:

Continuing to develop comprehensive projects, sharing experience with prospective interns and considering library career options.

Winter Term:

Working with Oberlin alumni librarians in some of the best libraries in the nation.

Earning Winter Term credits.

Come to the Open House at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 in the staff lounge of the Main Library to find out more about the program.

Deadline for applications is Nov 16, 2000.

Interested students should pick up applications from the Main, Art, Music, or Science Libraries and return them to: Haipeng Li, Program Co-Director, Room 104, Main Library or contact him via email at

---Haipeng Li, Reference Librarian

Program Co-Director

Letter Seeks SECURE Facts

To the Editor:

Dean Goldsmith: I have enclosed the following letter to the Review since I feel the issue it addresses might be of concern to the entire community.

An interesting administrative tactic has emerged both in the latest dialogue over co-ed rooms and last year's debate regarding the SECURE charter.

Your office cites sensitivities to different racial and ethnic groups as reasons for why the administration will not cooperate with popular student opinion, as documented by student referenda.

With the SECURE group, the argument made was the negative impact on Minority Admissions.

In regards to optional co-ed rooms in dormitories, you stated concern in the last issue of the Grape over the effects such an optional policy would have on international students. I wonder how then, Wesleyan and Haverford get away with having optional co-ed dormitories, but perhaps their concern for international students is not as robust as your own.

While your commitment to minority and ethnic groups on this campus may impress some, I remain skeptical. My concern is that in both of the above cases, I have yet to see Oberlin College produce data which indicates that minority students would not attend Oberlin if the SECURE charter were passed, or Oberlin College produced research which suggests if optional co-ed rooms became policy, international students would suffer.

I have difficulty imagining that the Dean of Students here at Oberlin College would be so irresponsible as to make statements about specific groups behavior without having collected that data. So, if you would be so kind as to pass this data upon which you base your assertions to the Review, and include when this data was gathered and by whom, I'd be much obliged.

Without this evidence made available, your arguments come across as a not-so-clever form of race baiting. Such tactics seek to have the unfortunate effect of creating artificial division among the student body along racial and ethnic lines, while taking responsibility off of the administration. It is important to avoid the appearance of administrative accountability-dodging masquerading as cultural sensitivity.

Surely students in Oberlin classrooms would be expected to provide their professor with research and data before making very specific statements about a racial or ethnic group. The same should be expected of our administrators.

If this data does not exist, and instead your staff has been working on gathering a wide, accurate sample of students through personal interviews and/or focus groups, can you please ask that staff member to write in describing their findings in detail and when the research on these matters was conducted.

Please spare me the theatrics of talking about how much you care, how progressive you are, or how hurt you are. What I am concerned with is the data. Be accountable! Thanks.

---Joshua Rosen, College Senior

Pooping on Comics

To the Editors:

We here at our co-op really appreciate the Review because, as often is the case in co-ops, we frequently run out of toilet paper. For this reason we support your decision to continue printing that stupid comic " the Undergraduate Vampire."

P.S. This is not a joke... we really poop on your comic.

---Mark Barden, Conservatory Sophomore
---Christopher Eaton, College Freshman

Condemnation of Israel Urged by Jewish Student

To the Editor:

Noam Chomsky, Amnesty International, the UN, the EU, Ralph Nader, liberals and human rights organizations the world over. What do these people and organizations have in common? All condemn the violence of the Israeli army against the Palestinians and recognize that the Israeli government, with U.S. military backing, has been and is now engaged in the "widespread, systematic and gross violation of human rights" (UN Human Rights Commission) and massacre of its own citizens. Why do U.S. and the Oberlin community give tacit and active support to this violence?

According to our media, part of the reason is the inferiority of Arab peoples. Arab Americans have little voice in mainstream media, and I would contend, are subject to stereotyping as consistent and as negative, or worse, than any other group. Any fictional mainstream media depiction of an Arab will unfailingly show them as either a taxi-driver or a terrorist. In this tradition, the current coverage serves to reinforce latent and pernicious stereotypes about the value of Palestinian lives.

As an exercise, go through any mainstream press tomorrow. Look only at the verbs. You'll find different ones used depending on who dies. Palestinian deaths seem to just occur (all quotes taken from the CNN and MSNBC websites): "Four Palestinians died in clashes," "Two Palestinians were killed," "violence left five Palestinians dead." Infrequently is agency (let alone blame) attributed in these deaths, which usually go anonymous. On the other hand, Israeli soldiers, identified by name, were "beaten to death by a frenzied mob" and these "murders," also described as "slayings" and "brutal killings," were portrayed in breathlessly emotional articles. Why is it that Jews are murdered and Arabs are killed?

Furthermore, the government's retaliation is cloaked in the language of legal authority. A clear example is of the "arrest" of a "suspect" in the "murder" of two Israeli soldiers. This event was reported from the side of those doing the "investigation." Why are the actions of one side safely couched in the language of criminal justice? This racist editorializing contains powerful implications worth our attention as educated and privileged consumers of the media.

I see this issue as the acid test of anyone calling themselves a liberal. True concern for human rights and freedoms sides unfalteringly with the Palestinians. Parallels are readily drawn between Israel's oppression and such atrocities as Apartheid. While violence by both sides is deplorable, stone-throwing does not compare with machine-gunning worshippers at a mosque. The simple fact is that when people take to the streets in protest of their oppression and are then attacked with automatic weapons, tanks, and helicopter gunships by a U.S. backed military, it is a massive injustice.

On a personal note: as a Jew, it has taken me a long time and a lot of education to come to recognize that one can condemn the actions of the state of Israel without being anti-Semitic or a bad Jew. Unfortunately, this is not widely understood, and there is a great deal of religious guilt attached to those of us who disagree with conservative Zionists. For instance, I know that my grandparents and my synagogue would be horrified to know that I hold a view other than "any means necessary" for the advancement of Zionism. It pains me, specifically as a Jew, that people of my faith and culture are failing to accept the inherent worth and dignity of another culture and religion.

A country founded in the aftermath of the Holocaust as a homeland to an oppressed people, Israel should be particularly sensitive to the rights of religious minorities. When the state and military are engaged in the systematic repression and murder of a religious minority, what has happened to the lessons of the Holocaust? Israel makes a mockery of the tragedy by its own actions.

In order to protect the legacy of the victims of the Holocaust and countless other state-perpetrated injustices, government actions must be held to certain standards. To this end, I call on the Oberlin Jewish community to join me in condemning the state of Israel, standing in solidarity with progressive and principled people the world over, as we have in the past.

---Ben Ezinga, College Senior

Resident Suggests ŒNo' Vote on Ambulances

To the Editor:

To all student voters ‹ please vote NO on Issue 39. Why? Issue 39 proposes to collect a three mil property tax from all residents to fund a third-party ambulance service. This service proposes one ambulance on duty 24 hours a day and a second ambulance for 16 hours a day to serve a population of over 15,000 people in a 100 square mile area!

The communities of Oberlin, Pittsfield, New Russia, Kipton, Camden and Henrietta, under the auspices of the Central Lorain County Joint Ambulance District, are attempting to provide an emergency medical services to its residents in light of the past operating losses suffered by Allen Memorial Hospital. After months of study, without obtaining any professional consultation on the organization/management of an ambulance operation, they have failed miserably.

Proposals for the local operation were solicited from existing ambulance services throughout Ohio. After many of those services studied the contents of the district's operating requirements, all but one withdrew from consideration. In the district board's frustration with the lack of response, they contacted other local ambulance operators to request alternative proposals. These ambulance operators did provide numerous alternatives for the provision of ambulance service to the community including: 1) an alternative that provided two 24-hour ambulances, strategically located in the district under a multi-district concept, that would have provided faster response time at a annual cost of only $275,000; 2) an alternative for one 24 hour ambulance, a tiered (integrated fire and EMS) response system, with multiple backup response units that would assure rapid response throughout the community at an annual cost of $220,000; or 3) an alternative for the proposed 24 hour/16 hour service with current billing that would only require $450,000 per year ‹ the actual financial loss to the hospital's operation.

Some board members suggested that the district establish their own operation from scratch ‹ an operation that would have been established without organizational expertise and could cost area taxpayers over $800,000 per year. This idea still lingers in the minds of several board members for the future. After deliberation, the board contracted with the Oberlin Medical Center at an annual cost of $540,000.

With these alternatives, then why does the district insist on collecting $650,000 per year for their operation? Why are we being asked to support 3 mils and a $50 user fee to fund the entire ambulance operation when current billing practices could reduce this assessment? Why has the board entered into a contract agreement with the Oberlin Medical Center when the future of the center is questionable? Why do other Ohio communities enjoy EMS services with a response time less than five minutes, while these officials ponder the idea of an ambulance district patterned on the hospital-based service with a response time that could exceed 15 minutes for some residents? How can you service 15,000 residents with only one ambulance available from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.? Will an ambulance be readily available when you need it?

Vote NO on Issue 39. Tell the ambulance district to go back to the drawing board, seek professional consultation, and develop an operating plan that is both financially and feasibly sound. Alternative arrangements for ambulance services do exist, and local council and trustees should have no problem contracting to assure continued cost-effective ambulance coverage without the district funding.

---Sandra Kirin, Wellington Resident

An Alum's Activism

To the Editor:

As an alum I want to offer a short report on what Oberlin has gotten me into since college. Actually I haven't had to go too far. I managed to stay in academe, part of the 30% of Oberlin classics majors who get PhDs and stay in the field: I teach at Colorado College, which is a sort of Oberlin in the shadow of Pikes Peak (without the Con and with Focus on the Family right in town).

But a lot of life isn't professional life. Oberlin also kept me interested in politics. In 1960 I nailed up signs all over northern Ohio in a tight Presidential race and worked on getting out the vote in Lorain; in 2000 I've been delivering yard signs in a close state legislature campaign and I'll be getting out the vote once again.

At Oberlin I played in bands, but since I let the clarinet atrophy I've taken up singing in choirs and now am in rehearsals with colleagues, townspeople and students for a performance of Fanshawe's "African Sanctus."

At Oberlin I used to go on semi-relevant fact-finding missions among the incredibly rich holdings in the college library. I remember how pleasant it was to come up with Rudolf Hilferding's Finanzkapital as enrichment in a Poli. Sci. course, not to mention the good stuff in the classics seminar room. I noticed during a recent Alumni Association weekend that the holdings are still spectacular, though now I'm less into print media and more often on the Web.

More important: I've never had to give up being basically a student in order to take on a respectable professional personality. I think that side of middle class life is easier now than it was 40 years ago. More and more institutions are taking on college-like properties (workplaces like campuses, research at least notionally vying with production at the heart of most enterprises and in most fields, collegiality sometimes replacing hierarchy in management). For those that aren't, the strategies Jeff Schmidt advocates in Disciplined Minds may come in handy; had he gone to Oberlin instead of the University of California system he might have come up with them sooner and more easily.

I hope whoever reads this is enjoying Oberlin, and contributing as much as possible to Oberlin's unique mix of arts and sciences, research and social/political action, high seriousness and serious fun. My message is that this is a lifelong commitment. I'm on the Alumni Association Executive Board and will be back on campus in November and March; you can find me c/o Oberlin Online.

---Owen Cramer, OC Œ62

Alumni Association Executive Board and Nominations Committee Chair

OPIRG Needs New Support

To the Editor:

If you move around the campus next week on Wednesday, you're most likely going to be asked to sign a petition supporting Ohio PIRG's continued existence on the Oberlin campus. Ohio PIRG runs under the alternative fee structure for student organizations. This means that Ohio PIRG is funded by a $6 waivable fee that is included in the student activity fee on everyone's term bill.

With this special fee comes a special responsibility. Every two years, Ohio PIRG is required to reaffirm student support for both the organization's continued presence on campus and the funding mechanism that supports it. This requires a majority vote, which translates into about 1,470 Oberlin student signatures.

Picking a fee system that requires this may seem a little crazy, but it's really the best way to go for a number of reasons. First of all, Ohio PIRG's fee system is democratic. It's waivable, which means that if someone doesn't want to support the organization, he/she just fills out a little waiver card at registration to remove their $6 from Ohio PIRG funding. Ohio PIRG is the only student organization that gives students this option.

All those little $6 fees allow Ohio PIRG to hire professional staff who help us work on issues at the local, state and even national level. Locally, we work on hunger and homelessness issues here in Lorain County, which is one of the poorest counties in the state. On a statewide level, we are working to clean up Ohio's waterways, which are the fifth worst in the United States. Also, we are campaigning to evacuate students from a toxically-polluted school in Marion, Ohio. Nationally, the state PIRGs are working to protect 60 million acres of roadless areas in our national forests, which are in danger of being destroyed by mining and logging.

Ohio PIRG has been here at Oberlin since 1974, working on issues like these and many other environmental, democracy and consumer rights issues. We've won some important victories lately, winning fifteen lawsuits in the past several years against companies in violation of the Clean Water Act. We've raised thousands of dollars for food banks and donated hundreds of hours of work at local shelters. Just last year, we won a campaign to secure state and federal funds for the relocation of toxically-polluted schools in Marion, Ohio.

None of this would have been possible without the support of Oberlin's students. Ohio PIRG is, first and foremost, a student group. Students support it, fund it, and direct it at all levels. We need your support to be successful. So, if you want Ohio PIRG to continue its activism here at Oberlin and in Ohio, please sign our petition on November 8. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, just call x8137, or stop by Wilder 303 to contact us.

---Matthew S. Fairbanks, College Sophomore

Ohio PIRG Board Treasurer

Exams On Your Time

To the Editors:

Student Senate, along with members of the faculty have begun to consider implementing self scheduled exams. This policy would (hopefully) result in a process where students would be able to take their final exams at any point during the final exam period. This would enable students to tailor their exams to their travel schedule. Self scheduled exams would alleviate the all to common problem of students having to pack up their things, just hours after their final exam, often without time to see their friends before leaving. Students would be able to take exams in whatever order they deemed most appropriate. This system would be optional, such that each professor would be able to choose whether or not to opt into the self-scheduled exams.

We the members of Student Senate see this to be a logical extension of our current honor code. Please email with any comments or concerns.

---Aaron Leavy, College Senior

Student Senate Liasons Officer

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Copyright © 2000, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 129, Number 7, November 3, 2000

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