Open Minds Needed

To the Editor:

Last Wednesday night I witnessed the coming together of the MOST diverse crowd of people I have ever seen at any Oberlin event. The majority of those people were coming to talk about the issues surrounding [Athletic Director Mike] Muska’s article [on Sportsphobia in the Feb. 23 Review] and were coming with every intent of passivity. Could the farmer ask for a more fertile ground? The room was dense with promise. The opportunity of coming together and reaching some sort of understanding was palpable. 

Yet the crowd was dispersed because the people leading the meeting didn’t want to deal with people who had differing opinions. What a loss. What an amazing opportunity wasted. The magnitude of the pure disregard for such an outrageous opportunity leaves me and so many other students sad and wondering how I could possibly have misperceived so drastically what the Oberlin community truly represents. 

Last Wednesday night’s forum presented exactly what Muska was defining in his article. A realm where the football captain gets his microphone turned off for speaking off- topic, but a non-athlete is allowed to speak off-topic until she is finished and then asked to return to the pre-set topic. From any perspective, calling together a public forum for discussion about a public issue and then refusing to listen to anyone who does not share your opinion is preposterous. That is pure prejudice and discrimination in the rawest, most literal sense. (Discrimination: to make distinction on the basis of preference or prejudice; Prejudice: An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand without knowledge of the facts).

It is my sincere hope that the group that attended last Wednesday night’s meeting can reconvene to discuss the issues that were quite readily at hand and in obvious need of discussion with a similar mindset of passivity, and without the limitations of an unwieldy agenda. I look forward to such meetings where all opinions will have the right to be heard, and with discussion and some sense of resolution and awareness, faith in the Oberlin community may be at least partially restored for myself and so many others who have questioned their place in the Oberlin community as a result of this controversy.

–Becky Hempel
College sophomore


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