The Oberlin Review April 13, 2018
Volume 146, Number 20
Stevens Strategy Presents to General Faculty Amid Controversy Sydney Allen News Editor Editor’s Note: A revised version of the letter mentioned in this article is in this issue’s Letters to the Editors.
DeCafé employee Allison Trimble hands back a student’s ID after swiping at the cash register. Five CDS UAW employees will be let go at the end of the semester due to Dascomb Dining Hall’s closure and other changes in CDS. Photo by Bryan Rubin, Photo Editor
Unionized Staff Cuts Follow Dascomb Closure Melissa Harris Editor-in-Chief
Campus dining staff first learned of Dascomb Dining Hall’s impending closure at President Carmen Ambar’s respective financial presentation. Currently, 19 members of the United Auto Workers — the union that represents Campus Dining Services, custodial, and facilities staff — work in Dascomb, in addition to between 50 and 75 non-union, non-student workers. Although workers had expressed anxiety over what Dascomb’s closure would mean for their job security, it wasn’t until this past week that UAW representatives learned that the administration would eliminate 13 union positions. Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo met with UAW Chair Milton Wyman; Grill, Cashier, and Cook Denise Capers; Dascomb Chef Jake Reed; and Bon Appétit managers to address CDS workers’ concerns about their future at the College Wednesday. During the meeting, UAW representatives discovered that 13 of the 19 union positions would be cut, prompting Capers to voice her disappointment that the UAW was not consulted before the administration decided to close the dining hall. “It’s very grimy that the union was never contacted by President Ambar or anyone else saying, ‘This is what we’re thinking, we want to include you, we want to involve you,’” Capers said. “... There are 19 UAW members that are going to be affected. There are going to be students [who] will be affected [who]
work there; there are temporary workers.” Wyman said that of the 13 positions, five are already vacant, so the UAW will not fill them before the year ends. He added that this leaves eight currentlyoccupied positions at stake. Although Wyman said that the UAW — which has 175 campus-wide and 75 CDS members — can move three of the unionized Dascomb staff into custodial positions, five unionized workers will still lose their jobs. The positions in jeopardy do not count student or temporary workers; Wyman said that he and the administration are not certain how many of those respective positions will be cut. Raimondo added that as the administration finalizes fall CDS work schedules, remaining positions will be prioritized for UAW members with seniority. She added that position cuts are an inevitable piece of keeping the cost of dining plans down with coming CDS changes. “I continue to hear Oberlin students critique the cost of College dining plans,” Raimondo wrote in an email to the Review. “The two major costs in dining are food and labor. Oberlin CDS workers, many of whom have had long careers devoted to student welfare, receive good wages and benefits — one of the important accomplishments of labor unions on behalf of workers. Colleges where most or all of the dining employees are part-time, minimum-wage workers who receive no benefits can offer considerably less expensive meal plans.” Wyman said that in a meeting with Raimondo, he learned that there are
also plans to have the Azariah’s Café and science cart entirely operate by student employees next year. The cart is typically ran by one UAW worker, two temporary workers, and a few students. Wyman added that as he continues negotiations with Raimondo, he will try to maintain at lease one the UAW position at Azariah’s and cart each. GCC Matt Kubach said that when he started working for the College six years ago, Stevenson served up to 1,100 students during any one mealtime, and that that number has dropped significantly in recent years — sometimes dipping to 400 students. He added that this is because DeCafé started accepting board meals, to which DeCafé worker Allison Trimble attributed to a 40 percent increase in DeCafé attendance compared to last year. Kubach noted that despite attendance changes at Stevenson Dining Hall, the staffing has largely remained the same — adding that as dining becomes more hectic at Stevenson because of Dascomb’s closure, work conditions at Stevenson will likely become more demanding. “What I fear is that they’re not really going to feel a need to bring more people over specifically for the meals,” Kubach said in regards to the prospect of a potential increased workload. “But if there are certain changes, like adding sandwiches or grab-and-gos or stuff like that, maybe they can put a body or two there.” Dining offerings and services will also change next year. DeCafé and Ste-
Stevens Strategy, the academic consulting firm President Carmen Ambar tapped to lead the upcoming Administrative and Academic Professional Review, presented its intended strategy to the General Faculty Council Monday. Amid pre-existing skepticism from faculty members, many who attended the meeting felt the firm came across as unprepared, further heightening concerns. The firm describes itself as “a full-service consulting firm specializing in managing the process of strategic change in colleges, universities, and schools.” Stevens Strategy will evaluate all aspects of campus in a datacentered review. But the night before the meeting, Chair of the Politics department and James Monroe Professor of Politics and East Asian Studies Marc Blecher and Chair of the French and Italian department and Ruberta T. McCandless Professor of French Matthew Senior sent an email to all faculty members expressing concern about the group. They cited alleged incidents of error at previous universities where the group had conducted similar reviews. The email described the process as “asking people to dig their own graves and look into the hole before being pushed in.” “[Marc Blecher] and I became concerned that Stevens Strategy was not a good fit for Oberlin,” Senior said, explaining what prompted him to write the letter. “They are very involved in online and mediadelivered learning; their statistical models and reference groups are derived from work with career-oriented schools. We also are concerned that the review process will create a state of exception in which the normal laws guaranteeing faculty governance and protecting tenure will be suspended.” On top of faculty wariness of the firm’s practices, faculty and professional staff claim that the group was unprepared for Monday’s meeting, the first introduction the group has had with Oberlin faculty members. According to Stevens Strategy’s presentation, faculty appointees were supposed to be chosen for the AAPR Steering Committee — the 30-person group of faculty, staff, and students that will assist with the review — in March. This has yet to happen, which many faculty members have used to highlight the group’s lack of preparation. “I think the presentation amounted to a failed audition, a total disconnect with Oberlin faculty,” Senior said. “It is my impression that Stevens Strategy views a
see UAW, page 4
see Faculty, page 2
ARTS & CULTURE
02 Students Launch First Third World Liberation Conference
05 Editorial: Ambar Must Address AAPR Faculty Concerns
08-09 Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2018
10 Tony-Winning AIDS Epidemic Epic Remains Relevant
14 Yeomen, Women Take Senior Day
03 Law Scholars Program Suspended for 2018–2019
06 Sachs Touts Distorted Realities, Childish Arguments
13 Student Dance Showcase Provides Space for Diversity
15 Men’s Lacrosse Drops Close Games to Denison, Kenyon
The Oberlin Review | April 13, 2018
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Students Launch First Third World Liberation Conference
Third World House’s “Solidarity, Peace, and Progress” mural was painted in 1982 by Maria del Pilar O’Cadiz, OC ’86, with her father, prominent Chicanx muralist Sergio O’Cadiz Moctezuma, for her first-year Winter Term project. Pilar O’Cadiz will return to Oberlin as the keynote speaker for Oberlin’s Third World Liberation Conference tomorrow. Photo by Hugh Newcomb, Photo Editor
Gabby Greene Staff Writer In honor of the 25th anniversary of the People of Color Conference hosted by Third World House in 1993, TWH will host a Third World Liberation Conference tomorrow. The conference will include sessions based in three core subjects: disability justice, immigrants’ rights, and religious diversity, with the long-term goal of “Liberation through Learning.” There were multiple inspirations for this conference. For TWH Resident Assistant and College senior Rita Perez-Padilla, Case Western Reserve University’s Social Justice Teach-In provided a strong framework for the Liberation Conference. “Recently we [the Third World Liberation Conference Committee] found a conference that Case Western does that’s like an annual social justice teach-in that we went to,” Pérez-Padilla said. “We kind of wanted to build off of that, using the resources that are in the area rather than trying to build up from the ground.” Another TWH RA, College junior Adam Lazere, found inspiration in the history of TWH. “[TWH has] been doing some work, like looking into the mission statement and the history of this dorm, and trying to represent and really bring that to life on campus,” Lazere said. “As part of that,
we’ve been doing a series of workshops and stuff like that, like looking into the mural [in TWH] and the history of that, and I think this [conference] is sort of just a natural continuation.” The conference’s keynote speaker, Dr. Maria del Pilar O’Cadiz, OC ’86, is an alumna and former resident of TWH. As a student, she and her father, prominent Chicanx muralist Sergio O’Cadiz Moctezuma, painted the mural currently featured in the TWH lounge. The Third World Liberation Conference Committee is headed by Senior Area Coordinator for Multicultural and Identity-Based Communities Atiya McGhee. McGhee was partly influenced to organize the conference based on conversations on campus concerning power dynamics. “I was thinking in my head, ‘What are these central conversations that needed to happen that students are already kind of talking about but not talking about necessarily the power privilege ways it’s built up,’” McGhee said. Other committee members include the Multicultural Resource Center Student Life Program Coordinators Libni Lopez and Devon Dobbs — Dobbs is also the Graduate Resident Coordinator for Multicultural and Identity-Based Communities — and Elliott Director, the MRC’s LGBTQ Community Coordinator. Although many subjects can be
addressed under the concept of “Liberation through Learning,” the committee chose to focus on disability justice, immigrants’ rights, and religious diversity based on the current political climate and campus events. “We struggled a little bit to narrow [the theme] down because there are so many important facets of diversity to talk about, and they’re all important in their own ways,” Dobbs said. “I think part of it comes from the current political climate, everything that is happening with DACA and undocumented folks in general, and specifically on this campus too.” McGhee said that the theme of Liberation through Le arning remains relevant to TWH’s original 1993 People of Color Conference. “Liberation through learning in some ways is the ‘a-ha moment’ and validation of marginalized communities’ existence, but through our own language and because of white supremacy we will never have access to language unless we seek it out,” McGhee said. The conference, for McGhee, is also a way to preserve the history of TWH. “I don’t want this to get forgotten because the only reason I found out that Third World had a conference is we were cleaning out the archives,” McGhee said. Lazere wants to continue preserving TWH’s history and plans to establish
the conference as a chartered student organization, also hoping to appoint a historian role within TWH to archive its legacy. Pérez-Padilla, who wrote the charter for the conference, believes the annual nature of the conference will help maintain its efforts despite student turnover. “I mean there’s turnover because that’s the point, right? You’re a student; you come and you leave, so I think sort of establishing something that says, ‘Look, we’ve been here for awhile,’ it’s really important to build that community,” Pérez-Padilla said. The conference is sponsored by 11 campus organizations, and registration is open until today. For students unable to attend the workshops, Pérez-Padilla compiled a document of resources attached to the conference’s Facebook event. As the first Third World Liberation Conference, organizers like Lazere hope Oberlin students take from the event the value of self-education. “I think people can take away a willingness to accept there are things you don’t know about and then you shouldn’t always be going to events that are something you’re comfortable with,” Lazere said. “When I think of liberation through learning, I like to say that I’m a lifelong learner and I encourage and hope other people would consider themselves to also be lifelong learners,” Dobbs added.
us. The Stevens representative called our interdisciplinary ideal a ‘mess.’” In response to faculty concerns, Ambar asked that the group be given room to learn about the institution, attributing the slow start to growing pains in an interview with the Review’s Managing Editor and double-degree senior Daniel Markus and College sophomore Student Senator Johan Cavert during Monday night’s WOBC news
radio show The Weekly. “You have to give the organization an opportunity to learn,” Ambar said. “What they’ve tried to do is to learn what they can looking around at the website and doing some basic research, but even if you get the right faculty in the room about whether this particular program is a minor or not, or a major or not, there are oftentimes people who have been steeped in the institution that
don’t have all of those details. So we can’t expect someone to know chapter and verse — I don’t think of those things as, ‘Oh, that’s so basic that if they don’t know that, they can never understand Oberlin.’ I just sort of reject that really, honestly.” Brendan Leonard, the Stevens Strategy senior advisor and consultant who presented to the faculty, did not respond to request for comment.
Faculty Members Express Wariness of Stevens Strategy continued from page 1 college campus as a shopping mall where academic departments are competing vendors, and majors and minors are loyalty card programs. … This view of education is completely antithetical to the interdisciplinary and egalitarian ideals of education that Oberlin was founded on years ago and that we are still practicing today. Stevens Strategy does not understand
The Oberlin R eview April 13, 2018 Volume 146, Number 20 (ISSN 297–256) Published by the students of Oberlin College every Friday during the fall and spring semesters, except holidays and examination periods. Advertising rates: $18 per column inch. Second-class postage paid at Oberlin, Ohio. Entered as secondclass matter at the Oberlin, Ohio post office April 2, 1911. POSTMASTER SEND CHANGES TO: Wilder Box 90, Oberlin, Ohio 44074-1081. Office of Publication: Burton Basement, Oberlin, Ohio 44074. Phone: (440) 775-8123
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Entrepeneurship Club Celebrates Health, Mind
Security Notebook Thursday, April 5, 2018 1:30 p.m. A student reported the theft of their bicycle from the west end of Bibbins Hall. The bicycle is a dark blue Trek mountain bike and was secured to itself at the time of theft.
Friday, April 6, 2018 2:47 p.m. Staff reported vandalism in the Robertson Hall section of the Conservatory. Unknown person(s) poked holes in the ceiling with what appeared to be a broomstick. A smiley face image was also burned into another area of the ceiling. The damage is under investigation.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Pre-med advisor Lynne Bianchi introduces panelists at the first of three “Innovation Talks” sponsored by the Entrepreneurship Club in the Science Center Atrium Thursday. The talk was about “Healing the Mind and Body” and discussed innovation in the health and well-being sectors. The talk was the first of a three-part series where leaders in entrepreneurship within a particular field discuss new and exciting developments in their field. The panelists discussed innovations biotechnology, neurology, biology, psychology, pharmacology, prosthetics, and hospital technology. The next two talks are “The Fertile Earth,” which will encompass the fields of agriculture, recycling, and water innovations; and “Powering the Future,” which will discuss different forms of energy, including solar, wind, hydrogen, biofuels, solar-electric, and fuel cells. Text by Sydney Allen, News Editor Photo by Bryan Rubin, Photo Editor
Law Scholars Program Suspended for 2018–2019
Tess Joosse Staff Writer
The Oberlin Law Scholars Program — a year-long program intended to prepare students interested in law with relevant academic and work experience — will not be offered for the 2018–2019 school year, due to the expenditure of the alumni gift that previously funded it. “The Law Scholars Program was funded by a generous alumni gift, which has now been expended,” Oberlin Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo said in an email to the Review. The program was offered to sophomores and juniors and admittance was selective based on an application. At the program’s center was a one-module Legal Advocacy course, which was taught by a magistrate and included a mock trial and training in legal writing. For some students who were hoping to become law scholars, the loss of the program feels frustrating and sudden, especially since there was no well-communicated notice. “The most frustrating part is that this was not communicated to us at all,” said College sophmore Jackie Brant, who hoped to become a Law Scholar. “Not only was the only law-specific program that included mock trial cut, but there were no announcements or discussions about it — not even to the Law interest group.” College senior Erica Levin, a Politics and Law and Society major who participated in the Law Scholars Program and took the class fall semester of her junior year, said that the program gave her useful legal experience. The Oberlin Review | April 13, 2018
“We spent a lot of time [in the class] on very technical legal writing and research, which was nice, … and I was able to put on my resume that I had a little legal writing and research experience,” Levin said. Levin added that since the class was focused on trial work and some of the minutiae that comes with it, the course and program were helpful for students who were considering a career in law but wanted to get more simulated experience. “If you’re not sure if you’re interested in law or not, something like that might be able to help you, since we did the Mock Trial … and Oberlin doesn’t have a Mock Trial team,” she said. “I think if someone wants to get some trial experience, you’re getting that opportunity that you wouldn’t have elsewhere.” The program also offered alumni networking assistance and options for internships and shadowing experiences to participants. The Career Development Center states that the overarching goals of the Law Scholars Program were to “attract students interested in law to Oberlin … to strengthen preparation and support for students interested in law … and to develop a peer community of students interested in the study of law.” Levin said that the community and peer support network that grew out of the program were the most valuable part of her participation in Law Scholars. “Its strength is bridging a community in Oberlin of people who are also interested in law. I made a lot of friends in the class who I still talk to now, who are still in my classes, and we talk about internships, ... so I think the ability to network within your peers is a
really strong part [of the program],” she said. Raimondo agreed that fostering communities around common academic and career interests is an important component of the Oberlin experience. “Law and Politics is clearly an important career community at Oberlin, given the interests of current students and the accomplished alumni who are willing to support their success,” Raimondo wrote in an email to the Review. Although the Law and Society and Politics majors are not identical to the Law Scholars Program, Raimondo added she believes they can offer many of the same experiences and advantages. “While the Law and Politics career community may not look exactly like the Law Scholars Program, I am confident it will actually increase opportunities for students to gain the knowledge and experiences they need to be successful in pursuing their dreams after graduating,” she wrote. Other resources are still available for students seeking experience, counseling, or guidance in lawrelated careers. The Career Development Center encourages students to talk with Gayle Boyer, the center’s pre-law advisor, to join the Law Interest Group to stay informed about law-related opportunities, and to explore prelaw resources online on Handshake. “The Career Development Center is in the process of creating new career communities, which will offer students more accessible and structured mentoring and opportunities in a range of career areas,” Raimondo wrote.
3:21 a.m. Safety and Security officers assisted a student, ill from alcohol consumption, on the first floor of Burton Hall. The student was able to answer questions and walk on their own. The student was escorted to their room for the night. 3:58 p.m. Officers and members of the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm on the third floor of Langston Hall. Smoke from cooking activated the alarm, which was reset after the area was cleared. 7:17 p.m. Officers and members of the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm in the Dascomb Hall third-floor kitchen. Smoke from cooking activated the a alarm, which was reset after the area was cleared. 8:56 p.m. Officers and members of the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm on the first floor of Bailey Hall. Smoke from cooking activated the alarm. The area was cleared and the alarm was reset. 9:00 p.m. Officers responded to a report of an older man acting inappropriately at an event in Hales Gymasium. The man became belligerent after officers asked him to leave. Members of the Oberlin Police Department also responded, and the individual was escorted from the event.
Sunday, April 8, 2018 9:30 a.m. A student reported a strong odor of gas on the front porch of a Village Housing Unit on West Lorain Street. An officer responded and confirmed the odor. Members of the Oberlin Fire Department, Columbia Gas Company, and Oberlin College HVAC staff responded to repair the furnace igniter that caused the odor. 3:51 p.m. Facilities maintenance staff reported that unknown person(s) went into an elevator shaft, cut the lock, and went on top of the elevator. The lock was replaced to prevent access.
Monday, April 9, 2018 11:16 a.m. Members of Pyle Co-op reported an uninvited individual eating at the coop. Officers advised the co-op members to contact Safety and Security the next time the individual comes into the co-op. 6:17 p.m. Officers assisted an unresponsive student in Stevenson Dining Hall. Upon arrival, the officers learned the student had consumed alcohol with a medication. The student was transported by ambulance to Mercy Allen Hospital for treatment.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 9:45 a.m. Officers on patrol in South Hall detected an odor of marijuana outside a room on the first floor. The officers made contact with occupant of the room, who admitted to using marijuana. A clear plastic bag containing a green leafy substance consistent with marijuana was in plain view. The marijuana was confiscated and turned over to the Oberlin Police Department.
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UAW Dascomb Staff Face Position Eliminations continued from page 1 venson will offer breakfast, and Wyman and Kubach said that the build-your-own deli bar in DeCafé will close to expedite wait times. According to Raimondo, CDS is instead expanding the graband-go options in Stevenson and other lunch options for South campus, facilitating these changes by using the bakery space in South Hall basement for grab-and-go preparation. Wyman said this move will maintain four GCC positions. After a company called Campus Dining evaluated CDS and conducted the dining student survey last semester, Wyman said the results indicated students like grab-and-go options. Kubach, however, is wary that emphasizing to-go options will compromise food quality. “I don’t necessarily agree with some of the offerings because I think they’re not of the highest quality,” Kubach said. “That stuff bothers me, because that’s my face on that, and it’s not my idea. And the kids are looking at you, like, ‘Well this roasted vegetable wrap is soggy,’ and you’re like, ‘Well, that’s what we’re told to do — make a roasted vegetable wrap and make 500 of them and throw them in a hot box and keep them warm.’ Of course they’re going to get soggy; it’s awful.” Wyman echoed Kubach’s concerns, adding that they further highlight many critiques that CDS workers have of Bon Appétit, the campus dining company which the College uses. “If you’re taking frozen veggie patties and just putting them in an oven and [baking] them; if you’re taking chicken tenders that are already frozen and [putting] them in a chicken-parmesan sandwich; if you’re taking ham and cheese and making ham and cheese sandwiches — what’s the need to have Bon Appétit here?” Wyman said. “This is the same thing you get in elementary school.” Many CDS workers have said that they would like for the College to stop hiring Bon Appétit, arguing that the dining company overbuys food, manages poorly, and does not allow for CDS workers’ input to improve food. GCC Adam Karloc said that Bon Appétit gets its recipes from Allrecipes. com and that the turnover rate of Bon Appétit managers at the College is high — adding that last year, Stevenson cycled through seven different managers. According to Raimondo, Campus Dining suggested the College maintain its relationship with Bon Appétit after it reviewed CDS last semester. “[Bon Appétit] are experts in providing educational dining services and have supported a range of College values, including attention to sustainability and local foods,” Raimondo wrote in an email to the Review. “They work closely with College administrators in Student Life and Finance and Administration. … Oberlin and other colleges that contract for dining management and services choose this option because such arrangements yield higher quality and more economical results than self-operated dining.” Wyman said that he, UAW representatives, and Raimondo will continue to meet in the coming weeks to further determine and negotiate agreements to best protect UAW members as the College crystallizes its dining plans.
OFF THE CUFF
Asef Bayat, Sociology, Middle Eastern Studies Professor Asef Bayat, originally from Iran, is Professor of Sociology, Middle Eastern Studies and is the Catherine and Bruce Baistain Professor of Global and Transnational Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Bayat completed his B.A. in Politics from the University of Tehran in 1977, and Ph.D. in Sociology and Politics from the University of Kent, from 1978 to 1984. Bayat’s work focuses on social movements and social change, religion and public life, and the urban space and politics. Bayat came to Oberlin to deliver the talk on “Rebel Cities: A View from the Middle East” on April 5. Bayat was the keynote speaker in Oberlin’s spring 2018 Global Issues Symposium, a series of lectures, film screenings, and discussions of cities in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and South Asia. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Interview by Simon Idelson, Staff Writer How did you get nto the field of sociology? Originally I’m from Iran — I was born there, I studied politics there — and then switched into more political economy [and] political sociology for my Ph.D. when I went to Britain. After that, I went to the U.S.; I was a post-doc at UC Berkeley, but because I always wanted to go back to the region, especially Iran, my mission was to teach there. But there was war there, and my parents advised me to delay my return. Then I decided to go to Egypt, where I began to teach at the American University [at] Cairo. [I spent] 16 or 17 years over there — I loved it. And after that, in 2003, we left Egypt and went to the Netherlands where I worked for the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World, which was a consortium of four Dutch universities that created this very interesting interdisciplinary institute to investigate and produce knowledge about the contemporary social, political, cultural, and intellectual trends and movements in contemporary Muslim societies. I was there for seven years, and after that I came to the U.S. What is your personal research focused on? It has shifted over the years, because I have been working in the field for a long time. I actually began with a focus on the working class, especially working-class factory workers in the 1979 revolution in Iran. Later on, I shifted a bit from organized and formal factory workers into more informal workers and poor
people. Then I published the book, Street Politics. And then I became interested in issues of middle class politics, and the politics of religion, Islam, and Islamism. ... I wanted to know the kind of transformations that were taking place, specifically in Iran and Egypt. I published a book called Making Islam Democratic. So I still continued my interest into the politics of ordinary people — first workers, then marginalized women and their struggle, and then youth. I wrote many essays, and a collection of them was originally published in Life of Politics. I present a framework to analyze the politics of the subaltern, the non-elite. I extended the notion of “quiet encroachments” into the case of non-movements, and how individual practices change their lives and change the environment of societies. These were published before the Arab revolutions. What are your thoughts on the protests that happened in January 2018 across Iran? I did write a piece about this, which came out in The Atlantic. Those protests often were analyzed in two kinds of ways. One, that these are now a new revolutionary trend, something similar to the Arab revolutions. The other approach is that these were everyday doings. My view was a bit different. The protests were not necessarily the harbinger of the revolution ... but nor were they a routine thing. It was pretty extraordinary in the way in which the protests spread to five cities in the course of 10 days. But it was a peculiar protest, in the heart of what I say is an emerging actor called
Oberlin Community News Bulletin College Announces New Vice President of Finance and Administration Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings, the current Vice President of Business Affairs at Otterbein University, will take over as the Vice President of Finance and Administration July 1, following the departure of former VP of Finance Mike Frandsen last year. Vazquez-Skillings graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in International Studies and Latin American Political History and she went on to obtain her M.P.A. from the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University.
OSCA Holds Power and Oppression Training OSCA will host a workshop tomorrow entitled “Navigating Thin Privilege, Body Positivity, and Eating Disorders,” which will discuss difficult topics including mental illness, eating disorders, body positivity, fatphobia, and thin privilege. The workshop will be held in Wilder 112 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The workshop will count toward Oberlin’s famous Drag Ball, which requires students to attend at least one affiliated workshop to purchase tickets.
Asef Bayat Photo courtesy of University of Illinois
“middle class poor.” These are the educated classes, where they have a lot of middle class dreams and knowledge of the world, but are forced by economic deprivation to live the life of the poor. How did you get involved with the symposium? Zeinab Abul-Magd and Sarah El-Kazaz reached out a long time ago, and said there would be a series of lectures related to the Global City. I think the combination of all the lectures from different regions is excellent. I find the students very receptive, and they ask very good questions. We as speakers also get a lot of pleasure talking with and engaging with students. How do you think students can get further engaged with the politics of the contemporary Middle East? The Middle East is a region that never stops surprising us in both good and bad ways. So it is so significant to get engaged by following what is happening. But the Middle East is also very much central to the politics of the U.S. However, the way in which the Middle East has been analyzed and understood has by-and-large been very problematic. That is why students who study the Middle East in a different context can make a difference, correct it, and present a realistic and balanced view of the region. This would be both good for America, and the people in the region. Right now, the U.S.’s action in the region really only engages its own national interests. There should be a new intellectual elite in the U.S. to inform the foreign policy.
Oberlin College Alum Indicted on Murder Charges Orion Krause, OC ’17, was indicted March 29 by a Middlesex Superior Court grand jury, based out of Massachusetts. Krause is charged with fatally beating his mother, grandparents, and their caretaker to death in their home in Groton, MA, in September, 2017. When Officers found Krause on the night of the murders, he was naked and battered, covered in blood and reportedly told officers he “freed” his victims. After undergoing a mandatory psychiatric evaluation, a judge found Krause mentally and emotionally competent.
OPINIONS April 13, 2018
Letters to the Editors Stevens Strategy Poses Potential Threat to Job Security, Program Funding Editor’s Note: The following is a version of a letter posted to the faculty listserv and sent to President Ambar and faculty by Professor of Politics and East Asian Studies Marc Blecher in collaboration with Professor of French Matthew Senior. This revised version was provided to the Review by Blecher at the Review’s request. Because of the content’s potential impact on Oberlin students and faculty, we felt it appropriate to publish the text in full. Dear Colleagues: When Stevens Strategy was named to consult in our Academic and Administrative Program Review, many of us had immediate concerns and reservations. One look at the Stevens website raises suspicions that they hew to a corporate model of career-oriented education heavily invested in “technologybased instructional” learning and are thus ill-suited to evaluate the liberal arts mission of Oberlin College. Stevens’ client list consists principally of small colleges with curricula focusing on pre-professional training in business, allied health, technology, and secondary education. Few of our peers have used Stevens. Of the 51 schools on their Client Testimonials web page, only two of those commenting are professors, and both are anonymous from Johnson C. Smith University. The founder and CEO of Stevens, John A. Stevens, has trademarked a company called Chronos University, which, according to the Stevens Strategy website, “will be the first residential institution to provide an individualized and completely technology-based instructional program to traditional undergraduate students.” This university of the future will “reinvent the role of faculty,” replacing us with “learning coaches,” resulting in a savings of “65 percent of the average private college full-time book price.” Deeply skeptical that such a firm was the right fit for Oberlin, we thought it prudent to contact colleagues at institutions recently reviewed by Stevens. What we have found by exchanging email and talking with colleagues at Cedar Crest College and Mount Union College is very disturbing. Programs were eliminated; at least one tenured and other untenured professors were fired, we were told; programs and professors were pitted against each other in divisive zero-sum games; faculty were misled; decisions were made that circumvented faculty governance; and morale plummeted. Although our sample is very small, what we have heard so far is that the effect of a Stevens audit on faculty morale is uniformly negative. A colleague at Mount Union wrote: “Yes, my institution went through a similar process with this firm. It hit us like a ton of bricks, and since that time, morale is low. The idea is to rank majors and programs in four groups acSee Letters, page 7
The Oberlin Review appreciates and welcomes letters to the editors and op-ed submissions. All submissions are printed at the discretion of the Editorial Board. All submissions must be received by Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at opinions@oberlinreview. org or Wilder Box 90 for inclusion in that week’s issue. Letters may not exceed 600 words and op-eds may not exceed 800 words, except with consent of the Editorial Board. All submissions must include contact information, with full names and any relevant titles, for all signers. All writers must individually confirm authorship on electronic submissions. The Review reserves the right to edit all submissions for clarity, length, grammar, accuracy, strength of argument and in consultation with Review style. Editors will work with contributors to edit pieces and will clear major edits with the authors prior to publication. Editors will contact authors of letters to the editors in the event of edits for anything other than style and grammar. Headlines are printed at the discretion of the Editorial Board. Opinions expressed in editorials, letters, op-eds, columns, cartoons or other Opinions pieces do not necessarily reflect those of the staff of the Review. The Review will not print advertisements on its Opinions pages. The Review defines an advertisement as any submission that has the main intent of bringing direct monetary gain to a contributor. The Oberlin Review | April 13, 2018
Volume 146, Number 19
Editorial Board Editors-in-Chief
Managing Editor Daniel Markus
Ambar Must Address AAPR Faculty Concerns For the third time this academic year, the Review is publishing in full a letter originally sent to faculty and staff with grave concerns about Oberlin’s financial situation and how to respond to it — something that, as far as the Editorial Board is aware, has never occured in the history of this publication. It is a significant decision, one that we do not take lightly. In September, we printed a message from Chair of the Board of Trustees Chris Canavan, OC ’84, that outlined Oberlin’s long-term and short-term budget deficits to faculty and staff. These were never acknowledged in any official communication to students. In December, we published a letter to Canavan from two faculty members, James Monroe Professor of Politics Chris Howell and Nathan A. Greenberg Professor of Classics Kirk Ormand, expressing concerns over freezes to faculty salaries that could cause them to lag behind those of our peer group. Together, these two issues are enough to cause significant concern among faculty and staff, and should inspire the same for students. Faculty salaries directly impact our ability to experience the Oberlin we know so well — where students interact directly with some of the best and brightest professors in their respective fields without the intermediate presence of graduate students. Oberlin’s long-term and short-term deficits are even more devastating. Our budget model is extremely tuition-dependent, which means that a difference in enrollment of a handful of students can have massive fiscal implications, which in turn affect faculty and staff hiring as well as salaries, student life, and financial aid. With that outlook at the forefront of our minds, we were pleased at the announcement of the Academic and Administrative Program Review, which will conduct a large-scale financial examination of all aspects of the College and Conservatory in the hopes of evaluating effectiveness and shoring up Oberlin’s financial projections. We are also excited about the students nominated by Student Senate to participate, having called time and again for student representation in the governance process. We hope to see all of them confirmed to the AAPR Steering Committee — they are thoroughly qualified, and if Oberlin is to remain the institution that students want and need it to be, the more students that are involved, the better. They inspire hope in us during what will undoubtedly be a tumultuous period in Oberlin’s future. What does not inspire our confidence, however, is the letter sent by Professors Marc Blecher and Matthew Senior to their colleagues and President Carmen Ambar on the eve of Monday’s meeting of the General Faculty Council. Published in full in this issue’s Opinions section, the letter raises grave concerns about Stevens Strategy, a consulting firm that President Carmen Ambar has hired to assist the AAPR. Chief among these concerns is the fact that faculty members of Cedar Crest College, where Ambar was president prior to Oberlin, spoke in despondent terms about their school’s experience with Stevens Strategy. First, Cedar Crest faculty charge that their review steering committee was sworn to secrecy, with no minutes taken of their meetings whatsoever. This is an astounding premise, which, if implemented with the AAPR, threatens the integrity of the entire process. Students, faculty, and staff must be able to access detailed records of steering committee proceedings to ensure that, among other things, Stevens Strategy does not commit fraud by passing off their own recommendations as coming from the steering committee — something Cedar Crest faculty also allege. On the WOBC news show The Weekly, Ambar stated, “If you’re using consultants in the right way, … they don’t make the process or drive the process; what they do is to give you guidance. … The reason why this process has a steering committee is because the steering committee drives the process, and the consultants help aid you in your thinking.” The above accusations about Stevens Strategy don’t illustrate a firm with any desire to aid anyone’s thinking; they instead seem to find it appropriate to conceal information and usurp the very steering committee they are meant to aid. Along with the other allegations, which include gross mathematical errors in calculations, the ludicrous idea to charge academic departments for their classroom space, and arbitrarily ranking departments by their fiscal value to the institution, it seems clear that Stevens Strategy should not be trusted unless placed under attentive scrutiny. We are not against a review of campus programs, offices, and departments by any stretch. Such scrutiny is critical in light of Oberlin’s financial troubles, and we have no doubt that, as with any bureaucratic system, there are areas of financial waste, misuse, and inefficiency. For example, the College’s widespread physical footprint comes at a huge cost, and integrating more offices into existing building spaces can, in general, help reduce costs in a positive way. However, we are against the involvement of consulting groups that seem tremendously negligent, operate outside of existing governance structures, use secretive and deceptive tactics, and are largely ill-suited to a liberal arts institution such as Oberlin. Evidence from peer institutions and widespread accounts detailed to the Review by faculty and student sources seem to bear out all of these characterizations. It also seems unlikely that Ambar would not have known about these practices. If she didn’t, she should have, and if she did, she condoned or encouraged them. Neither of those possibilities indicate that things will be any different this time around. What’s more, Stevens’ tactics and approach as carried out at Cedar Crest shed disturbing new light on comments made by President Ambar. “The first order of business is to get your own operations in order so you can get ... operational surpluses,” she said. To do so in a short time frame will require significant budgetary changes, which we doubt will pass muster without the seemingly treacherous approach that Stevens takes to consulting. With these thoughts on our minds, we fully support faculty members in their resistance to engagement with Stevens Strategy. A firm with no bona fide testimonials from named professors that does not use the holistic approach quintessential to liberal arts institutions has no place telling faculty and staff members with decades of experience at this institution how to run the show. A firm with a client base that mostly consists of colleges focused on pre-professional fields has no place assessing the value of majors like English, History, Music, and Dance — the latter two of which, notably, Cedar Crest faculty had to fight to keep. A firm that has a reputation for lowering morale and utilizes an opaque “ranking” system has no place at Oberlin. We call upon President Ambar to immediately address the concerns raised by faculty and provide, in writing for the public record, assurance that the guarantees they have asked for will be met. In addition, Oberlin students must be vigilant. We have a duty to current and future Obies to prevent undue cuts and austerity. For our part, the Review will continue to stand for disclosure and transparency throughout the coming turbulence. Over the past academic year, Ambar has verbally prepared us for inevitable sacrifices. Now, the responsibility falls on the College to maintain that momentum — a healthy vision of Oberlin’s future demands nothing less. Editorials are the responsibility of the Review Editorial Board — the Editors-in-Chief, Managing Editor, and Opinions Editors — and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the Review.
Opi n ions
College Must Include Staff Input During Restructing Process Michael Kennedy Contributing Writer As co-chair and former treasurer of Oberlin’s Student Labor Action Coalition, I have met regularly with representatives from Oberlin’s United Auto Workers and Oberlin College Office and Professional Employees unions to learn about issues facing workers and college-union relations. Over the course of this school year, I have engaged in hours of conversations with many employees — from administrative assistants to Campus Dining Services workers to custodians. Every single discussion I have had with a staff member has greatly expanded my understanding of this institution and its faults. Ever since President Carmen Ambar announced to students that Dascomb Dining Hall was to close, I’ve been confronted with the question of what Student Labor Action Coalition can do. I believe students should share their own concerns about dining changes while also advocating for the interests of CDS employees. At the moment, workers in CDS and Dascomb have expressed their acceptance of the fact that the dining hall will close. Although the announcement
came as a shock to students, this measure is part of Oberlin’s long-term strategy of reducing the amount spent on compensation and benefits. The Voluntary Separation Incentive Program — introduced in 2016 — along with hiring freezes in September 2017 were two higher-profile attempts to cut these financial costs. These programs increased employee workloads and responsibilities significantly, which — coupled with position eliminations and loss of institutional knowledge — directly interfered with the delivery of needed services for students, especially in fall 2017. The closing of Dascomb will not only inconvenience students, but will also add to work overload across all sectors of CDS next fall. While everyone in the Oberlin community is impacted by the College’s issues with financial solvency, I firmly believe that the people who work here will continue to be impacted the most by the upcoming structural and financial changes. The unionized folks I’ve had the most experience working with are largely middle to lower-middle class. With the closing of Dascomb, 13 union positions will be cut. People will lose their jobs, some of whom have
families to support. Many former Dascomb employees who aren’t laid off will take positions in custodial or other sectors of CDS that do not align with their skills. Students are correct in recognizing that Dascomb’s closing poses multiple logistical problems, from fire-code safety to issues of accessibility, as well as difficulties in delivering needed services. However, I believe that it is also crucial to center the conversations of financial decision-making around those who are affected most by those decisions: College workers. Leaving workers out of the process is not only detrimental to employees, but also ignores the wealth of experience staff have in running this school. By removing Dascomb Dining Hall, the administration faces numerous logistical challenges of how to deliver dining services with fewer resources. Those who have worked in CDS possess valuable knowledge of Stevenson, DeCafé, and Lord-Saunders Dining Hall. Though these workers have many unanswered questions, they can provide insight into possibilities for change that people unfamiliar with dining services wouldn’t necessarily consider. Workers across campus feel that their ideas and their concerns
are not being included in decision-making — especially surrounding dining changes. I believe that employeeemployer power dynamics, the expansiveness of the Division of Student Life, and the inaccessibility of administrators outside working hours contribute to this lack of communication. Oberlin administrators should not only act in accordance with contract negotiations or grievances, also engage in serious dialogue and cooperation with employees. Perhaps most important is the fact that over the course of my involvement with SLAC, every single employee I have spoken to has stressed the overall importance of Oberlin students in the work they do. Union workers recognize that contract negotiations may not yield many gains; employees recognize that their jobs are insecure, and no one expects their job at Oberlin to be any easier in the future. Yet workers want the administration to be successful in making Oberlin financially solvent. They are willing to make sacrifices for Oberlin students, but those who work at Oberlin are essential members of the Oberlin community and recognize themselves as such. This institution cannot run without the labor and
knowledge of so many hardworking people. Students, faculty, administrators, community members, and other employees are all dependent on one another. Student voices are also integral to this institution, and I hope I can use my position as a student and soon-tobe alumnus to advocate for the consideration of employee knowledge in this critical period of financial change. I ask those that will be on the Academic Administrative Program Review Steering Committee to actively seek the input of employees not represented on the Committee. I urge administrators and those on the Board of Trustees to consult with Oberlin staff on how to improve working conditions and services in campus dining. Fellow students, I challenge you to reflect on who comprises the Oberlin community and to talk to dining staff, your dorm’s custodians, and other folks who you may see but not interact with day-today. I believe and hope that by tackling the institution’s financial solvency with a community-centered approach, we can make Oberlin a better place to live, learn, and work.
Sachs Touts Distorted Realities, Childish Arguments Lucille Eleanor Nguyen Contributing Writer Howard Sachs’ article, “American College System Destroys Real Liberalism,” (The Oberlin Review, April 6, 2018) challenges the widely held opinions on this campus and the general state of higher education, attacking what they deem as the “child-like value system” of leftism. This is a controversial opinion, and I applaud Sachs for attempting to make their case. However, the author’s argument is unendingly naive, childish, and condescending to a point where it both undermines their case and completely distorts constitutional conservatism. I have grown to respect the scholarship of constitutional conservatives after much reading and deliberation. Scholars like Kori Schake, the deputy director general of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and a well-reasoned scholar of foreign policy; or Randy Barnett, professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center specializing in both the libertarian theory of law and constitutional law; or Harry V. Jaffa, who was professor emeritus at Claremont McKenna College in political philosophy and one of the formative thinkers of American conservatism — all are masterful scholars and argue their positions beautifully. There have been wellargued pieces in the National Review, in the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, and in the Independent Institute’s Independent Review. Sachs
does not even try to reach the quality or good faith of these scholars and publications. At best, Sachs is a dirty, soggy napkin stuck to conservative intellectualism’s door. Sachs begins their argument with: “First, like [it] or not, believe it or not, leftism is a child-like value system. It appeals to people because all of us have a deep and strong drive to be taken care of … They want to be taken care of by a mom-and-dad government. Now, they don’t even want to hear opinions they disagree with, so they shriek and shout down speakers or run to safe spaces built by childish administrators.” Not only is this argument amazingly reductionist, but it reeks of projection and hypocrisy. I find it amusing that a person writing that their belief system isn’t respected in the current status quo turns around and attempts to negate the other side’s positions with condescending language. There are criticisms to be made of what Sachs deems as “leftism,” just as there are criticisms to be made of constitutional conservatism. It does a great injustice to our national political debate to present your side as the only “adult” side on a complicated discussion. When an argument is essentially simplified to “my side is the only responsible opinion in the room” and “evil is always with us here on earth,” it eliminates a great amount of nuance that is at the heart of our discussion. We understand that no side has all of the answers or can solve all of our problems — pretending that there is nothing to be gained from the other
side is a fundamental flaw in Sachs’ argument. At the base of Sachs’ argument is the idea of the “anti-child — the values of freedom, self-reliance, strength, bravery, traditions, dignity, and manhood. These are the values that teach us the realities of life. One of the great teachings is that nothing is free.” This is a fundamentally immature argument, embodying the primitive notion that might makes right, with no added recognition of the complexities of the human condition. No mention is made of the values of social welfare through universal access to medical care, or the gains from a more educated populace, or stronger families from subsidized maternal leave, or added productivity to our economic system through subsidized daycare. For Sachs, this is simply “free this and free that,” with no concern that our nation has the worst rate of maternal mortality in the developed world, or that the ability for social mobility in the United States is actually much less than that of social-democratic countries, or that the economic gains for certain subsidized activities can greatly outpace their costs. Not only are these opinions unendingly naive, they’re also dangerous to both the health of the American people and democracy. Make no mistake; Sachs is right that there is a great concern of an overbearing totalitarian state, and that there are valid criticisms to be made of the political ideologies of the students and faculty of this campus. However, Sachs’ arguments lack nuance,
cannot stand up to criticism, and only attempts to approach the opposition by claiming their arguments are immature. It’s easy to stay in your own political echo chamber — both Sachs and students at this campus are guilty of that — but the real challenge is coming up with reasonable solutions. Sachs’ article has added nothing worthwhile to the quality of our political discourse. This overt attack on “leftism” leaves us with no solutions, no insights, and no policy proposals. At best, Sachs gives us opinions that are frankly childish — just as he claims “leftism” is — by giving a near-Freudian view of human nature (I say near-Freudian because it would be insulting to Sigmund Freud to ascribe Sachs’ ideologies to him), defends gun ownership, and goes back to denigrating “leftism.” What have we gained after reading Sachs’ piece? A way to waste ten minutes of our day. It’s important to read and understand the perspectives of our political opposition. However, such attempts must be made on a platform of mutual respect, or we’ll all end up further entrenched in our political echo chambers. There are significant criticisms to be made of the political culture, opinions, and perspectives of Oberlin students and faculty. Sachs does not make them. The only thing Sachs makes is a mockery of political discussion, debate, and conservative intellectualism. Let’s actually debate with substance and stop this partisanbaiting style of condescending argumentation.
Current Title IX Regulations Deny Accused Students Fundamental Rights Duncan Reid Contributing Writer April is Consent Month at Oberlin. I think extremely highly of those who work in the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and work to raise awareness about consent and sexual misconduct. However, while we are having these necessary conversations this month, Oberlin must confront the Orwellian underbelly of the national Title IX system: its enforcement. Until a few months ago, Oberlin, like almost all educational institutions, was bound by the 2011 Obama-era “Dear Colleague” letter issued by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights created in response to public backlash over college administrator sexual misconduct on campuses across the country. The letter recommended that to combat sexual misconduct, schools use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard — which states that the accusation is viable if the evidence is anywhere over 50 percent provable. The standard also enables accusers to appeal decisions and encourages schools to allow accusers to forgo cross-examination. In some cases, accusers can even forgo their own attendance at proceedings. If schools refrained from complying, they would have been found in violation of Title IX and the federal government could consequently and coercively withhold funding. The Obama administration likened its new interpretation to a silver bullet that would help end sexual assault and harassment on campuses. Good intentions led to bad outcomes, however. The letter also created a system that a California Appeals Court Justice called a “kangaroo court,” and what a federal district court judge appointed by President Clinton called “a practice of railroading accused students.” Fur-
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cording to parameters that, I realized, can be manipulated because some majors and programs came unscathed when I knew they were not doing well. Depending on your group, you will have to justify your existence and act to be kept alive. This said, no faculty members were let go, but some majors, minors, and programs were cut.” Our gravest concerns arose from conversations with three colleagues at Cedar Crest College. We were told the following: The steering committee was sworn to secrecy. No notes were taken of their proceedings. Mathematics faculty found significant errors in Stevens’s calculations, as well as other irrationalities such as charging departments for the square footage of classroom space they use, or counting majors more than minors in enrollments, so that departments with full courses were being counted as under-enrolled (which explains the bafflement of our colleague at Mount Union). Cedar Crest administration, in consultation with Stevens Strategy, replaced some of the steering committee recommendations with its own, but presented them to the faculty as proceeding from the steering committee itself. The administration recommended that a total of five programs be eliminated: Dance, Theater, Computer Information Systems, General Sciences, and Music. By pushing back, Cedar Crest faculty were able to save Dance and Theater. Colleagues from the three closed programs were told they would not be fired, on the basis of which they acquiesced in the closures; in fact, one tenured professor, and three on long-term continuing lines, were dismissed. The tenured professor sued the College and won a sizable settlement. One of our Cedar Crest colleagues described this double-cross as “asking people to dig their own graves and look into the hole before being pushed in.” Finally, none of our colleagues reported that Stevens looked into their administrative units. As a result of our inquiry, and prior to the scheduled April 9, 2018 presentation by Stevens Strategy, we are asking President Ambar to provide written guarantees on the following points concerning tenure, transparency, methodology, scope, and faculty governance at Oberlin as we The Oberlin Review | April 13, 2018
ther, the interpretation was also made without a public announcement or a comment-and-response period, during which schools could offer feedback. The Obama administration’s sudden and drastic changes even prompted legal scholars of all political affliations to wonder if such a system is actually constitutional in the United States — and they are right to be puzzled. Not only did the interpretation mandate that schools adopt overly broad definitions of harassment, but the Department of Education had seemingly taken White-Out to the Bill of Rights. While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, the current Oberlin Title IX guidelines forbid certain crude language that has been explicitly upheld as constitutional by the courts. And while the Fifth Amendment protects the accused from double jeopardy, the 2011 regulations allow the accuser to appeal a decision. The Sixth Amendment, which protects the right of the accused to confront an accuser and the right to a public trial, was also disregarded by the Obama guidelines, since they mandated mandate strict confidentiality from the accused and allowed those hearing the case to decide whether cross-examination takes place. This neglect of basic civil liberties is further compounded when you apply the preponderance of evidence standard. While the preponderance standard is applicable in civil cases, where all of the above liberties are left intact in real courtrooms, in Title IX cases, the judges are administrators who often have little to no legal training, with a defendant accused of quasi-criminal conduct; thus, the mere preponderance of the evidence standard is dangerously inappropriate. As a result, over 80 schools using these Obama rules
have wrongly suspended or expelled students or settled with students before trial, including a case at James Madison University, in which an Obama appointee to the Federal Court for the Western District of Virginia called the policies a violation of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. What scares me is that Oberlin’s current policies are similar, if not identical, to those at schools with these “kangaroo courts.” Oberlin’s Title IX regulations should be devised with the primary goal of finding the truth, not of finding the accused guilty. For example, raising the burden of proof to a “clear and convincing” standard — such as one halfway between the preponderance and the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt — instead of having the burden be over the mere 50 percent preponderance of evidence would make it harder for biases to sway a case. Allowing the accused to crossexamine any witnesses brought before them would also balance biases. In addition, providing the accuser and the accused with knowledgeable advisors would level the playing field for those who cannot afford outside guidance through the Kafkaesque system. If Oberlin truly thinks that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere and wants to remain a beacon of liberalism, it cannot do so only when it is politically convenient. As students, we must demand that the committee crafting the new Title IX regulations — and the student senators and members of the General Faculty who have to approve them — reject any regulations that forgo essential liberties. Instituting proper due process rights and a clear and convincing standard of proof doesn’t just protect our endowed rights. It ensures justice for all.
Letters To The Editors
embark on the AAPR: 1. No tenured or tenure track faculty member will be dismissed as a result of the AAPR. 2. All proceedings of the Steering Committee will be open and disseminated in detailed minutes released within 48 hours. 3. Stevens Strategy will explain the details of their statistical models to a committee of Oberlin College faculty in advance, who will in turn present their findings to the faculty at large. 4. Since this is an Administrative and Academic Program Review, all of our administrative departments will be subject to the same degree of scrutiny and information-sharing as our instructional departments. With our thanks, – Matthew Senior Chair of French and Italian department Marc Blecher Chair of Politics department
OCOPE Resolutions Indicate Larger Issues in Community To the Editors: Many people have asked what caused Oberlin College Office and Professional Employees to file charges with the National Labor Relations Board and take grievances to arbitration. Simply put, these actions were taken to protect the contractual rights of administrative assistants on campus. Oberlin College refused to adhere to long-standing policies and practices that were agreed upon and included in the OCOPE-Oberlin College contract years ago. Some of the disputed matters include hiring procedures, assigning administrative assistant work to non-bargaining unit positions, and refusing to provide information necessary for OCOPE to properly administer the contract and represent members. Language in the contract that regulated these practices has existed for decades. When OCOPE was unable to resolve the issues through discussion with College administrators, usually in the Department of Human Resources, it became necessary to
file grievances. When the College refused to negotiate resolutions to grievances, OCOPE was forced to take the issues to arbitration. Forcing unions to spend money to arbitrate every dispute is a common tactic employed by entities interested in unionbusting. One arbitration hearing was held in December, and the arbitrator ruled last month that “the Employer shall treat the position of [the AA position in question] as included in the bargaining unit, and shall follow the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement in filling the position. Another arbitration was canceled four days before the scheduled January hearing when the Union and College finally reached agreement in accordance with contract language after nearly a year of discussion. The NLRB charge initially contained several issues, and OCOPE withdrew those that were included in the January arbitration settlement agreement. The NLRB issued a complaint on the remaining charges, and ordered the College to post the notice for 60 days in 25 campus buildings. Oberlin College spent many thousands of dollars on lawyers to defend their actions — money that far exceeded what the union would pay to successfully defend the contract. OCOPE is supported by the Office and Professional Employees International Union, while Oberlin College bears the burden of their decisions alone. – Tracy Tucker OCOPE President
Union Victory Provides Dignity to All Workers To the Editors: One of the dispiriting things about Oberlin College is the disjunction between the analytical tools and burning social justice values that we teach and discuss in class, and the application of those same tools and values when it comes to the largely invisible labor performed by workers at the College. This is an institution that
(cont.) would collapse without its custodians, administrative assistants, dining hall workers, librarians, and the myriad other workers who allow the school to function. We are attuned to manifestations of power in its most fine, capillary forms, to privilege and microaggression in language and glance, as we should be. But when it comes to these workers, we are all suddenly neoliberals — especially at moments like this, when budget deficits legitimize vicious class politics of layoffs, salary freezes, benefit cuts, and speedup, as fewer workers do the work of those “let go” — viewing them as necessary casualties in order to be financially “responsible” and “resilient,” to be good “stewards” of Oberlin, to bend the lines on the slick PowerPoints toward surplus. It is in this context that we should congratulate the members of OCOPE, Oberlin’s white-collar union, for not only being willing to stand up and defend their jobs and working conditions, but also for actually winning. If you have been paying attention to the notice boards around campus, you will have seen statements, which the National Labor Relations Board (which oversees U.S. labor law) requires employers to post when it rules against them, and in favor of a union. The issues may seem arcane and legalistic (take my labor class next semester if you want to learn more!), but they go to the heart of whether labor contracts can limit the power of employers to do as they wish, regardless of the consequences for workers. This comes at a cost — the flexibility of employers, the ability of faculty in a department to choose “their” administrative assistant. But what it provides is dignity, voice, security, and above all, power. The United States — almost unique among advanced capitalist democracies — has “at will” employment for all but those with tenure or a union contract, or members of a protected class. That means an employee can be fired for any reason, or for no reason at all. It makes the defense of union contracts especially precious. We should celebrate OCOPE’s victory. – Chris Howell James Monroe Professor of Politics
A discussion-based workshop to help people develop skills to support those who have experienced harm will be held by PRSM on Thursday, April 19 in Wilder 112 from 7–9 p.m. Topics will include the best — yet not always perfect — practices when supporting someone, how to avoid making mistakes but holding yourself accountable if you do, taking care of yourself and respecting your own boundaries when supporting someone, and how to back someone’s decision to report or not. The workshop will count as a prerequisite for Drag Ball.
The documentary The Mask You Live In emphasizes how narrowly our society interprets masculinity through the stories of boys and young men. After the movie, there will be a discussion with a panel of Oberlin Community Members. It will be shown Sunday, April 15 in Dye Lecture Hall and the movie will start at 4:30 p.m., with pizza provided at 6:15 p.m. and The discussion starting at 6:30 p.m. This screening and the accompanying panel discussion will count as a prerequisite to purchase a Drag Ball ticket.
SEXUAL A AWAR MONTH
LAYOUT AND TEXT BY LUCY M
This year’s sexual assault “Embrace Your Voice: Ending t of Us.” Each year, the Nation Center tailors its national year, their “toolkit” includ norms related to sexuality, perpetuate rape culture. Suc series that features artwor to give away at events, a the Solution,” coloring page topics such as understanding cons
Learn how to foster communication and enhance your relationships at PRSM’s “Healthy Relationships” workshop. It will examine unhealthy norms that are commonly found in all relationships and will help students understand their personal needs and boundaries. This workshop will be in Wilder 112 on Monday, April 23 from 7–9 p.m. and will count as a prerequisite for Drag Ball tickets.
SATURDAY, APRIL 14
SUNDAY, APRIL 15
MONDAY, APRIL 16
JOIN MEMBERS OF THE RESOURCE CONSERVATION SPONSORED BY THE ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES PROGRAM, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MODERN LANGUAGES AT SAINT TEAM IN THE JOHNSON HOUSE GARDEN TO DISCUSS CAREER DEVELOPMENT CENTER, AND THE OFFICE OF MARY COLLEGE TY WEST DISCUSSES HOW CONSERVATIVE SUSTAINABILITY MEASURES ON CAMPUS, SUCH AS ALUMNI RELATIONS, ENVIRONMENTAL CAREERS DAY WRITERS COUNTERED LIBERAL DOGMATISM DURING THE THE FREE STORE AND THE GARDEN ITSELF. STUDENTS FEATURES ALUMNI AND OTHER PROFESSIONALS WHO 1860S AFTER BENITO JUAREZ’S LIBERAL ADMINISTRATION ARE WELCOME TO ASSIST IN THE GARDEN AND ARE ARE CURRENTLY WORKING IN ENVIRONMENTAL FIELDS. WAS DISPLACED. CONSERVATIVE WORKS BY MEXICAN THEY WILL DISCUSS THEIR CAREER TRAJECTORIES AND ENCOURAGED TO WEAR CLOTHES THAT CAN GET DIRTY. AUTHORS FORM THE FOUNDATION FOR THIS TALK AS WEST THIS EVENT IS PART OF ECOLYMPICS BOOTCAMP. IN THE ENGAGES WITH THE VISIBILITY OF POWER AND HOW AIMLESS EXPERIENCES WITH OBERLIN STUDENTS THROUGHOUT THE DAY. THE PROGRAM STARTS AT 10:45 A.M. WITH CASE OF RAIN, THE EVENT WILL BE MOVED TO APRIL 21. PROGRESS AFFECTS A NATION. JOHNSON HOUSE 3 P.M.–5 P.M. COFFEE, TEA, AND PASTRIES IN THE AJLC. HARVEY HOUSE 4:30 P.M.–6 P.M. AJLC 11 A.M.–4 P.M.
ASSAULT RENESS H 2018
MARTIN, THIS WEEK EDITOR
On Monday, April 16 and Tuesday, April 17 there will be an exhibit presented by the Nord Center called “The Clothesline Project” featured in the Science Center bent corridor and the McGregor Skybar. Developed to increase awareness, celebrate survivors’ strength, and share their experience, the exhibit is a visual display of shirts with graphic messages and illustrations designed by those who have experienced gender or sexual-based violence.
t awareness month theme is the Sexual Violence Takes All nal Sexual Violence Resource campaign to this theme. This des resources that challenge boundaries, and gender that ch resources include a poster rk from “The Frizz Kid,” pens discussion guide called “Be es, and fact sheets regarding sexual violence and everyday sent.
“Send nudes? A Frank Conversation About Dating In The Digital Age” is a workshop presented by Caitlin Tully from the Center for Family Safety and Healing that discusses dating in the digital age. Topics include tinder, ghosting, and sexting, and it will be held on Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. in Wilder 101.
PRSM will be hosting the discussion-based workshop “Bystander Intervention,” which examines how the Oberlin community has a responsibility to prevent sexual misconduct. By providing students with tangible strategies, the goal of the workshop is for students to leave feeling more assured in their ability to identify and prevent misconduct, and thus, create a safer environment for everyone. The workshop will count as a prerequisite for Drag Ball and will be held Wednesday, April 18 in King 343 from 7:30–9:30 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18
THE CONSERVATORY LIBRARY IS HOSTING A MUSIC SALE Dr. A.K. Enamul Haque PRESENTS “Climate Smart Cities THAT INCLUDES SURPLUS SCORES, BOOKS, AND RECORDINGS. in Bangladesh” which discusses how heavy rainfall THE SALE WILL ALSO BE OPEN THURSDAY, APRIL 19 FROM and storm surges due to climate change increase 10 A.M.–3 P.M. AND FRIDAY, APRIL 20 FROM 10 A.M.–1 the likelihood of inundation in south Asian cities, P.M. FRIDAY WILL ALSO FEATURE A DOLLAR BAG SALE OF Particularly those WITH poor drainage and waste ITEMS NOT YET SOLD. management systems. Cities in Bangladesh are thus CONSERVATORY LIBRARY, CONSERVATORY CENTRAL UNIT, looking into creative methods of climate resilience. CON LOUNGE 10 A.M.–3 P.M. Hallock Auditorium, AJLC 4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m.
THURSDAY, APRIL 19
COME PICK OUT YOUR PERFECT PLANT FRIEND AT THE BIOLOGY GREENHOUSE PLANT SALE. PLANTS HAPPEN TO REDUCE CARBON DIOXIDE FROM THE ATMOSPHERE AND ARE KNOWN TO LOWER STRESS WHILE INCREASING HAPPINESS AND OVERALL WELL-BEING. THERE ARE LIMITED HOURS AND PLANTS GO FAST, SO IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR ONE IN PARTICULAR BE SURE TO GET THERE EARLY! SCIENCE CENTER, BENT CORRIDOR 11 A.M.–1 P.M.
A r t s & C u lt u r e
ARTS & CULTURE April 13, 2018
Volume 146, Number 20
Tony-Winning AIDS Epidemic Epic Remains Relevant
Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part One: Millennium Approaches opened in Hall Auditorium Thursday night. The play explores human nature and queer identities in a series of interconnected narratives set in 1980s New York. Photo courtesy of John Seyfried
Julia Peterson Arts & Culture Editor Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning twopart play celebrates its 25th anniversary, and the first part of Oberlin’s production opened last night in Hall Auditorium. The play focuses on the interconnected stories of a number of queer characters and their loved ones living in 1980s New York, and its themes are thrown in sharp relief by the current political climate. Angels in America offers a stark, intense, and moving exploration of human nature. The play is divided into two parts, each a full-length show — Millennium Approaches, which opens at the end of October 1985 as Louis Ironson learns that his boyfriend, Prior Walter, has AIDS, and Perestroika, which returns to the story again in December of that year. Angels in America also follows the stories of several other characters: a closeted gay Mormon named Joe; Joe’s wife Harper; McCarthyist lawyer Roy Cohn, who is also closeted; and Belize, a drag queen and a friend of Prior’s who works as a night nurse at a hospital. While the parts are often performed independently, Director and Professor of Theater Matthew Wright was determined to stage both parts concurrently this semester, presenting Angels in America in its full seven-hour length with the two parts performed on alternating days. “To me, the story is not complete unless you see the whole arc of the narrative,” Wright said. “Part one ends, [and] there’s a real question about what’s going to become of these people. And so I was determined that if we were going to do it, we were going to do the whole damn thing.” For these performances, the parts are double-cast, with each character played by one actor in Millennium Approaches and another in Perestroika. This decision not only addresses issues of feasibility, but also creates some beautiful effects. When the characters first appear onstage, they are shadowed by their double, who mirrors their actions
and gives the actor performing one of their distinctive costume pieces before removing themselves from the set. It is a striking bit of choreography. The doubles for each production also participate in the scene changes, so the audience constantly feels their presence. “You really get to see the ways in which the characters change,” Wright said. “They change quite literally physically in this production, and it was cast with that notion in mind. There was intent behind why this particular cast of actors plays Part One and this particular cast of actors plays the second part. So that’s an innovation.” Wright also cast four actors — rather than the traditional one — to play The Angel, who first appears to Prior in his dreams and manipulates and interacts with him and the other characters throughout the story. “The Angel is this infinite aggregate myriad entity, basically comprised of a bunch of different consciousness and ideas,” said College first-year Daniel Fleischer, who plays Louis in Perestroika. “So there are four people playing the angel, and in this production, the angels are instrumental in conducting the characters’ behaviors. They guide the characters during the scene transitions, and there are a lot of peripheral characters that … are played by The Angel. They’re supposed to be representations of The Angel taking physical form and guiding these characters.” The staging of this production is sparse and stunning; the set is almost entirely made up of plain scaffolding. The staging is clearly in line with the playwright’s intentions, as Kushner specifically indicated that Angels in America should be performed in a pared-down style with no blackouts to highlight the show’s theatricality. “[Kushner] talks about … the theatrical seams showing,” Wright said. “And we took that quite, quite seriously in this production, so that there’s nothing slick about it. It takes place on scaffolding — there’s a reason for that, too, that being that we think the play is largely about the notions about construction, deconstruction, reconstruction. The notion of putting the play on scaffolding was, I thought, a really interesting and innovative idea. I don’t know that it’s ever been done that way before. And the theatricality is exposed. We call a piece of scaffolding a desk and it becomes a desk. ... So it gives us a lot of license, and we don’t try to create all these locations with a realistic brushstroke, except for a few certain terribly important artifacts like a hospital bed, Louis and Prior’s bed, and Harper’s sofa.” One particularly striking narrative arc in the play belongs to the character of Roy Cohn, a lightly-fictionalized version of a real person who may be best described by his square on the Names Project’s AIDS memorial quilt, which reads “Roy Cohn: Bully, Coward, Victim.” “Roy Cohn [was] a prominent lawyer in New York City in the 70s and 80s who worked for the mob and for Donald Trump,” said College senior William Osborn, who plays Cohn in Millennium Approaches. “He held a staggering amount of political power during this time. He was also responsible for the executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1953. He was a closeted gay man who hated the homosexual identity because of how people viewed it — effeminate, marginalized, everything that Roy Cohn was not. He is diagnosed with AIDS in the play, as he was in real life.”
Although the play is nominally a period piece, it is also fiercely contemporary. At a time when the government is actively trying to roll back protections for queer people on many fronts, Angels in America may be more relevant, in some ways, now than it was 25 years ago. “To me, the story is timeless,” Wright said. “I think that we hear conversations … that could be happening in [Stevenson Dining Hall] today. It’s still relevant. The intersection of race and sexuality, the intersection of religion and sexuality, the intersection of ageism, of right versus left, of progressive politics versus regressive politics — these are all issues that are still resonant for us, and in some way, more resonant than they were when Tony Kushner wrote about them. They’re more in our face now. And to me, what’s interesting is that watching it, being a man of my generation and having been traumatized by that era in my life, I can’t get over how prescient Tony Kushner was about the politics of it all.” Of course, a lot has changed since the 1980s, particularly in terms of the treatments available for HIV and AIDS and research on their prevention. In 2017, The Lancet found that HIV-positive people on antiretroviral therapy have life expectancies that are almost as high as those of HIV-negative people. On National Gay Men’s HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day last September, the CDC released a statement affirming that if the amount of HIV in an HIVpositive person’s blood is undetectable, then it is untransmittable to an HIV-negative partner. And pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, has been developed as a preventative medicine for people at high risk of contracting HIV. “When this was first put on, AIDS was a death sentence,” said College junior Kieran Minor, who plays Louis in Millennium Approaches. “When you were diagnosed with AIDS, people at the time only had the faintest understanding of how it was transmitted. It was still a mystery. It was known as ‘the gay plague,’ and no one really knew what was going on. People thought it was God smiting people for a certain lifestyle. And there was a lot of fear. There was so much fear, and this play presented such a radical sense of hope. And today, obviously, living with AIDS is not a death sentence. It’s chronic, but you can live with it.” Although Angels in America switches between scenes, locations, emotions, and narratives at a breakneck pace, the narratives are grounded by a persistent, unrelenting sense of hope — both for these characters, and for the future of humanity at large. “While it is compelling, and sometimes angering, and sometimes really funny, and sometimes desperately sad, the play, to me, offers a vast message of hope,” Wright said. “It’s delivered very clearly in Prior’s last monologue, but it’s so much a message of, ‘Rise up, be heard, move forward.’ Move in any direction. But don’t spin backwards. The world doesn’t spin backwards. It only spins forward, so be part of the forward momentum. And I think that that is the message of the play. And I think that that message is universal, and I think — while it is ‘a gay fantasia on national themes’ — I think the play is accessible to everyone, regardless of their identity. I think it tells an important American story. So, hope. That’s what it’s about.”
Education, Dialogue Needed to Address Gendered Violence
Colin Roshak Contributing Writer
Editor’s note: This article contains discussion of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Around this time last year, while walking through the Conservatory after class, I came across a note taped to the wall. The note, scribbled messily across a standard 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, accused a Conservatory student of rape. I’m still struck by the rawness of this image. My mind raced and my heart sank into my stomach as I looked at the note hanging from the dull matte walls. This was a stark and nec-
essary reminder that — while we may not want to admit it — sexual violence very much exists in the Conservatory. I had never thought about how issues of sexual violence and misconduct might exist in the Conservatory. This realization may seem trivial but, unlike the College, this isn’t something we really talk about. In the College, professors actively engage with their students at talks and forums and in the classroom about how we can can all work to address issues of gendered violence. In the Conservatory, however, the students and faculty may separately have conversations, but there is very little dialogue between the
two groups. As a result, it often appears to students as though the Conservatory administration is unaware of these problems. This creates a culture in which posting an anonymous accusation may well be the only logical response to sexual violence — and that is terrifying. This is not the fault of a single individual, but rather a collective lack of awareness and visible effort towards addressing these issues. Beyond sexual violence, racism, transphobia, and sexism are also endemic to our insular classical music world, and their impact is amplified when they occur between students and professors. The Conservatory has taken
some important steps toward gender and racial inclusion during my time here, but problems of misgendering and racism still require attention. At the beginning of the school year, we received a form by email in which we were encouraged to submit our pronouns for class roster sheets, we have an Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion liaison, and last year, the Conservatory held a workshop on trans inclusivity. While these are all well and good as preliminary measures, it often feels as though the Conservatory is just going through the motions, and checking the boxes of how to create an “inclusive” space. This is insufficient and superficial. It’s
not enough to have a one-time email survey if professors are still going to use deadnames; it’s not enough to have a liaison if we aren’t going to hold forums or workshops more than once every two years; and talking about trans inclusivity isn’t enough if my classmates are still denied their basic human rights. During my freshman year, I was required to attend a fourhour Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct training about consent and how to recognize and help prevent sexual misconduct. I certainly don’t think that a one-time workshop is enough, but it would be a great See More, page 12
ON THE RECORD
Audrey Horning, Anthropologist
Audrey Horning is an Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the College of William & Mary. Her career has spanned from directorship of an archaeological dig at the colonial site of Jamestown to extensive work studying and chronicling the relationship between culture and conflict in Northern Ireland. A fellow at the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast, Horning came to Oberlin Wednesday for a talk funded by the Archaeological Institute of America. She discussed the wide-ranging implications of the Dungiven Costume, a set of clothing discovered in the 1950s that has recently been subject to reinterpretation. The outfit contains elements of Irish, English, and Scottish style, which has some interesting implications regarding contemporary divisions in Northern Ireland. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Interview by Christian Bolles Editor-in-Chief What were your early days of work like? I sort of had two lives — one on this side of the Atlantic, and one on the other side of the Atlantic — so this sort of overall research interest tied the two places together. I spent five years directing excavations at Jamestown, which was great fun, and eventually turned that into my Ph.D. My Ph.D. was originally going to be something entirely different, so if there’s any lesson in there for students, it’s that if an opportunity comes along, think about taking it rather than being fixed on a particular path. My work at Jamestown was comparative, and I wanted to spend time on the other side of the Atlantic looking at that side of the picture, so I moved to Ireland and have been working there pretty much ever since the late ’90s. How have those two spheres of study converged? They join together in interesting ways, because basically at the same time the English are coming across the Atlantic and creating settlements like Jamestown ... of course, displacing people who are already resident in those locations, they were also moving into and exerting political control over parts of Ireland. Some of the same people are involved in both places. I’m interested in comparing the two, especially in terms of the relationships between people on the ground — i.e. Native people here, the Gaelic Irish, as well as the descendants of Anglo-Normans who had been in Ireland for several hundred years before this new push in the 16th and 17th centuries. It’s a sort of cultural and anthropological angle: What
happens when groups of people come together in somewhat antagonistic circumstances yet are thrown together and have to find ways of moving forward? How does that relationship display itself in the material record, and does that differ between our side of the Atlantic and Ireland? It’s very similar in that in both places, you have a written record that tells you one thing happened and you have an archaeological record that tells you something very different. Written records reflect the opinions of the person doing the writing or the plans, and the archaeological material is still biased because we interpret it, but it’s a little bit more democratic. A good example would be to look at the English colonial effort in the north of Ireland, the Ulster Plantation. On paper, this was supposed to move all Irish people, and only Protestant Scots and English were going to settle there. It all looks great on paper, and they built towns and villages and everything. They were only supposed to build certain kinds of buildings — i.e. English timberframes — and you actually look at maps from the period, and you look at the archaeological record, and, one, they’re not displacing all the Irish, because the Irish remain the majority in terms of the population on the ground. English people are either building, or certainly moving into Irish-style houses; they’re using Irish ceramics, Irish people are adapting English ceramics, so it’s that sort of movement of material culture which is suggesting that people are engaging fairly significantly on a daily basis. And the same thing would be true if you look at a place like Jamestown. In the
first decade of settlement there, 80 percent of ceramics coming out of the James Fort are Native ceramics. That’s 80 percent, so that’s saying something about food-ways, trade, and reliance — and the documents say absolutely nothing about that. Being very reliant on Native people for trade in order to survive? Exactly. But being willing to, as well. And in both places, if you’re an English person, and you start cooking in either a Native-made pot or an Irish pot — and they’re very similar, they’re hand-built, they’re made to nestle down on coals, which is not the way English people normally would cook in that period, so it’s a deeper shift of practices. When you see bleeding between English and Irish cultures, how do you account for organic bleeding as opposed to colonialism? They’re part of the same, I suppose. It is a colonial structure in place, politically, but within colonialism, you always have this impact in both directions. We used to believe that you could only see the imprint of the colonizer, and that was the only thing that mattered, and you measured the degrees to which colonized people change, and they only change in one direction. But colonized peoples impact colonizers as much as the reverse, and sometimes probably more so. We’re beginning to really acknowledge that. Can you talk a bit about your presentation on the Dungiven Costume? My talk tonight really picks up on the things we’ve just been discussing because it’s basically a
Audrey Horning, Professor of Anthropology. Photo courtesy of Audrey Horning
tattered set of clothes that were found in a bog in the 1950s, which doesn’t sound very exciting. But the clothing probably dates to the 16th [or] early 17th century, so it’s the period when the English are coming in. There’s warfare between the Irish and the English, there are Scots involved — sometimes on the side of the Irish, sometimes on the side of the English — so it’s a very complicated period, and a period with a lot of violence and so forth. The clothing was probably worn by somebody that went into the bog. It’s just one set of clothes, so it’s a jacket, it’s a pair of trews — which are sort of close-fitting trousers — it’s a pair of shoes, and it’s a mantle, which is an Irish style sort of cloak. It’s just one outfit somebody was wearing. No human remains were found, or at least they weren’t reported, but I’m fairly certain that when it went into the bog, the clothing was being worn. What’s interesting about this so-called costume is the mantle is a sort of quintessential Gaelic Irish piece of clothing; the jacket itself is very English in its style. The trews, just to complete the whole story, are made out of tartan — so, more than likely associated with highland Scotland. So we have an English jacket, we have an Irish mantle, we have Scottish trews, and then we have a pair of shoes that were probably first made by an English cobbler, because they’re using stitch construction, and then they were repaired in an Irish manner with leather thong construction, but the style is actually of an Irish style, so you have this complete
hybrid outfit. It’s all heavily worn and patched — these are secondhand articles — so somebody has cobbled this together. It’s very difficult to say anything about the identity of the person wearing it. Maybe that was actually the norm at that time. Maybe it’s saying that this person was just at the lower end of the social scale. But whatever the story is, it forces us to question assumptions of absolute difference in that period between people’s identities and how they dealt with each other. Because that person walking down the street — you would not be able to guess what their identity would have been. You’d probably just fix on the thing that you recognized — you know, “I’m Scottish, I see those trews, I recognize that tartan, I can communicate with this person.” The same: “Oh, very nice once-upon-a-time stylish English doublet, it’s like what I got in Dublin one day.” You know, “I can connect on that level.” It’s a very ambiguous set of material objects. Where it becomes useful in the present is it has been interpreted in various different ways — in ways that relate to contemporary divisions in Northern Ireland. It was interpreted for 50 years in the museum as being Gaelic Irish. All of it, the whole thing: “This is what Gaelic Irish people wore.” Then somebody of an UlsterScottish background protested about that and said, “No, this is actually Ulster Scots because of the tartan.” What that boils down to in Northern Ireland today is that this is either a Catholic Gaelic Irish outfit or it is a Scottish Protestant outfit.
Sign: A Silent Film Speaks to Experiences of Deaf Community Kate Fishman Staff Writer
Editor’s note: This article contains mentions of intimate partner violence. A love story without spoken dialogue, Adam Wachter’s Sign: A Silent Film follows two men named Aaron and Ben as they navigate their relationship through fights and celebrations. The film has a particular focus on their communication, since Aaron is deaf and Ben is hearing. The film is punctuated by several jarring scenes — for example, Ben sitting in a chair at a party with Aaron’s friends before he knows how to sign, watching them communicate while holding a bowl of popcorn in his lap; another, a fight during which Ben violently grabs Aaron’s hands in the middle of speech, effectively silencing him. Ultimately, the film itself serves as cultural commentary on assimilation into an unfaThe Oberlin Review | April 13, 2018
miliar culture — both for those who combat it constantly, and those for whom it’s an entirely new experience. Twenty-three students, two staff members, and two community members gathered in Wilder 101 on Monday to watch Sign: A Silent Film, which Wachter wrote, produced, and scored. The event was cohosted by College juniors Maddie Hinkle and EmmaLia Mariner, who teach Oberlin’s Deaf Culture ExCo. The film, open to the public during the Deaf Culture ExCo’s class time, was shown in two iterations and was followed by group discussion. In the first screening, the only sound accompanying the film was music, and the only communication was carried out through American Sign Language — those who are unfamiliar with ASL would be unable to understand certain parts of the story. In the second screening, the film was narrated by Descriptive Video Services. However, while individual things were
translated, such as the signs for “food” or “condom,” longer argumentative sequences were left untouched. What followed was a discussion of accessibility, wherein many viewers were frustrated by their inability to understand a language they did not speak. However, it was a 15-minute film in which most of the content was at least somewhat understandable, due to musical cues in one and DVS narration in the other — a drop in the ocean compared to the inaccessible spaces that many in the Deaf community navigate every day. “It was an interesting artistic choice, and it was very purposeful,” Mariner said. “In a world where deaf people don’t have access to a lot of language, it was specifically trying to make hearing people who don’t know ASL uncomfortable in that space, and that’s a very valid and important way of expressing the differences between the Deaf community and the hearing world.”
However, Mariner added, it was interesting to note that the film could potentially be alienating to other deaf and hardof-hearing people who didn’t necessarily know ASL or participate in Deaf culture. In the context of deliberate discomfort, it was important for Hinkle and Mariner to make the space accessible in all other ways. They did so through choosing a central location, picking a sizable space with a large screen, providing trigger warnings, and, of course, providing pizza options for a variety of diets. They were aided in this process by María Zoraida Maclay, Oberlin’s Disability Resources Coordinator, and Monique Burgdorf, the Office of Disability Resources’ Interim Director. Hinkle and Mariner wanted to stress that Maclay and Burgdorf had provided incredible help in community building and event organizing. “We cannot afford to be reactive,” Maclay wrote in an email to the Review, referring to See Deaf, page 13
A r t s & C u lt u r e
Tap Project Explores History of Tap Dance
Chandler Browne’s one-woman show The Tap Project opened last night, showcasing the oral history of tap dancing. Photo by Sarah Herdrich
Ananya Gupta Arts & Culture Editor Chandler Browne’s senior capstone The Tap Project is a documentary play about the oral history of tap dancing, especially in Black and American contexts. A part of the Posse Foundation’s “Posse 8” Program — outstanding, diverse high school students recruited to study at Oberlin — Browne’s one-woman show is mentored and directed by Professor of Africana Studies and Chair of Theater Caroline JacksonSmith. “Somewhere over the last two years, [Browne] decided that she would like to build this one-woman show based on the
history of tap, her own talents, and built on interviews with many different tap artists,” Jackson-Smith said. “So she spent a year doing these interviews. Part of the show is her embodying the different people she has interviewed and that’s based on the work by Anna Deavere Smith.” During Browne’s year of interviewing tap dancing professionals, she met several iconic dancers such as Savion Glover, Alexandria Brinae Ali Bradley, and Baakari Wilder. “In the tap community, all these people are our heroes, but they’re also very tangible — I grew up taking classes with these people,” Browne said. “It’s not as distant in our
community as it is in a lot of art forms. … That’s something that’s core in the ideology of tap dancing.” The Tap Project features content from several primary sources. With a live band and over 12 tap performances embedded, the show is both an informative and an artistic masterpiece. “I would say 95 percent of this show is a primary source,” Browne said. “For instance, there’s a monologue where I talk about master Juba, who was one of the first recorded tap dancers, and what he did in his life, and that was an article that was written by Thomas Low Nichols who was a newspaper editor in 1860-something.” The show is also a timely extension of Black History Month and the theme of sankofa, remembering and learning from the past. The main topics of the performance are the creation of African ritual systems born through slavery; the invention of dance in Black communities, particularly tap dancing; and the misuse of Black art by oppressors and appropriators. “The beginning is really about coming from Africa and African ritual systems through slavery and all the different ways that dance was invented within Black communities and also the way it was misused by oppressors and eventually by
appropriators,” Jackson-Smith said. “As she moves through it, she goes through different time periods, [and] she’s showing a lot of footage of historic tap moments. She’s looking at the tension [within] minstrelsy, where Black culture was distorted and appropriated.” Though Browne was trained in ballet and several other dance forms from early childhood, she did not find any of them fulfilling. For Browne, the history of a dance style is equally important as the dance itself. More than art for art’s sake, the struggle and story behind the movements in her performance represent a key aspect of her connection to tap dancing. “Even in the small ways, ‘til today, we see minstrelsy and blackface that is still perpetuated, and people don’t even know where it’s coming from,” Browne said. Other than professional training, Browne has also attended several tap festivals such as the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s festival, D.C. Tap Festival, and the LA Tap Festival. She was, however, dissatisfied with the representations of tap dance that she experienced, leading to the conception of this project. “Chandler is fantastic,” College junior and Tap Project sound designer Max Robinson said. “I think this is the only
show I’ve seen in Oberlin, if at all, where by the end of the performance I can see the sweat on the actor. And that’s saying something, because she puts her heart and soul into every single piece.” The show also features the vocals of College sophomore Jaris Owens, chief dramaturg for the project. Some highlights include “Brother Trying To Catch a Cab (On the East Side)” by Branford Marsalis and Dr. Harold Cromer’s iconic choreography to “Opus One” by Tommy Dorsey, a performance Browne performs in honor of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. “I like to say it is an education,” Jackson-Smith said. “It’s highly entertaining, it’s very unique, very fun in places but also with a serious intent. Chandler’s tapping is incredible. One of the things that is exciting for her is [that] she has always been connected to live music and tapping, but she’s also interested in looking at what happens with Beyoncé and tapping and where contemporary issues fall. So it’s very original, very entertaining, and at a high level of virtuosity.” Performances of The Tap Project will run April 13 at 8 p.m., April 14 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and April 15 at 2 p.m. in Kander Theater. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $5.
More Title IX Trainings Would Benefit Students, Faculty Continued from page 10
place to start. While there are, on occasion, similar workshops offered for faculty members, these should be required on a more frequent basis. This isn’t to say that many professors don’t put a lot of thought and care into these issues, but it’s essential that we all take an active and continuing role in educating ourselves and helping to positively shape our community. Even just a basic introduction to these issues could give faculty the skills and language to better navigate the power inherent to their positions and the relationships they have with their students. From sexual assault, to misgendering of students, to unqualified sexism, these issues are not only present but, for many students, a normal part of their education. Very recently — and the recency of this certainly speaks to the privileges I have as a white man in the world of classical music — I came to the realization that every musical space I’ve ever been in has been subject to rumors and allegations surrounding teachers and professional performers. This includes Oberlin. Not only are these issues very real, but students are also dreadfully unfamiliar with the resources available to them. Many of my classmates are unaware that we have an Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion liaison, and I worry that, if a student wanted to report any sort of incident, they would have no idea where to even start. Some of this is certainly up to students to educate themselves, but it’s important that the administration play an active role in the dissemination of information and visibility of resources available to the student body. This past March, famed conductor James Levine was fired from the Metropolitan Opera in the wake of allegations of sexual assault and harassment going back nearly 50 years. Once considered one of
the greatest American conductors, Levine was deified by those who played under him. He was infallible, untouchable, and could do no wrong in the eyes of the Met administration despite being the epicenter of rumors and allegations for, again, nearly 50 years. This sort of deification of artists and leaders is dangerous, and often leads to gross displays of misconduct that are only addressed years later — if ever. In academic settings like Oberlin, this phenomena happens with professors, and cultivates an environment dominated by ever-widening power asymmetries that are all too easy to disrespect — even if inadvertently. It’s unreasonable to leave this to students to silently endure. It cannot be left to those being harmed to stand up to their aggressors. In conservatories and orchestras across the country, there are professors and performers who, much like Levine, have been at the center of controversy for years. It’s time we say something — we cannot continue to silently bear witness to such behaviors. Oberlin holds an important place in the framework of American conservatories. It is not only a renowned musical and academic institution, but also one with a strong tradition of social progressivism and inclusion. When Levine was fired from the Met, it provided a wonderful opportunity for the school to use its platform to make a statement — at least to the Oberlin student body, if not nationally. This statement could simultaneously acknowledge these widespread problems, condemn Levine’s actions, and call to action institutions that neglect these issues. Unfortunately, aside from a New York Times article that circulated on Facebook for a few days, there has been very little public discussion of what happened. Levine’s firing was a big deal. It should be — and perhaps already has been, in the case of Charles Dutoit — a
catalyst for the dismantling of patriarchal hierarchies and predatory behaviors that have become almost normalized. Oberlin should use its platform as a way to instigate these conversations and invoke real change across the country. April is Oberlin’s first-ever Consent Month, so this is the perfect time to start these conversations. PRSM and the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion have organized many events to raise awareness and understanding of what sexual misconduct looks like on our campus — including events specifically for faculty and staff. My hope is that we can bring many workshops like these to the Conservatory that deal with Conservatory-specific issues on a more frequent basis. These are really wonderful resources and should be fully utilized by every member of the Conservatory community. This isn’t only about educating faculty, but about empowering them to have a sense of ownership over the impact they have on their students. The student body wants to have these conversations. We know they aren’t always easy, but we need to see that they’re willing to invest serious time and energy into working with us to address these very real issues. We need to see that these conversations are happening. In a myriad of ways, the relationships we have with our private instructors define our time at Oberlin and beyond, and it’s important that we all have the awareness and knowledge necessary for cultivating a more loving and inclusive learning environment. It simply isn’t enough to be a great artist. The student body needs to do a better job understanding that our professors are not omniscient and all powerful, and the administration needs to provide better education and more accessible resources for its students and staff in order to mitigate
these abuses of power. The personal and artistic investments and contributions that most of Conservatory faculty offer should not be understated, and I have no doubt that many members of the administration are well aware of these concerns. Despite this, there remains a subset of professors and staff that either consciously contribute to or are dangerously unaware of the roles they might play in perpetuating these problems in our community. It is essential that we do not become calloused — if someone as visible as Levine can avoid his reckoning for so long, I am deeply worried that many of my classmates will be subjected to the same sort of behaviors and never have a way out. It’s time we all looked inward and examined how we talk about sexual misconduct. We have an obligation to ourselves, to administrators, and to future generations to address the sexualized violence and gross misuses of power that have become normalized in classical music culture. Oberlin Conservatory has the power to set an important precedent and standard for how musical organizations engage with issues ranging from sexual misconduct to sexism and transphobia. We’re certainly ahead of the curve in many ways, and I’m grateful for the work that has already been done, but we have further to go. The note I found in that stairwell represents a musical culture that has decided to prioritize the needs of antiquated language, power hierarchies, and teaching practices over the safety of its young people. I am anxious and excited to begin having these conversations, and to begin creating a culture in which every student feels safe and welcome to fully express themselves exactly as they are. Let us, together, take the first steps toward that end.
Students Shine in Colors of Rhythm
Deaf Culture ExCo Screens Love, Conflict Continued from page 11
Pictured, members of the South Asian Students Association perfoming in the 22nd Annual Colors of Rhythm. Staged in Finney Chapel last Friday, the event’s main themes included healing and home, as well as “Rhythmic Resistance”. The event, emceed by College sophomores Eder Aguilar and Brian Smith, also featured performances by Oberlin Taiko, African Students Association, Movimiento, and #FASAband. The free event had a suggested donation of $3 and all proceeds went toward the Undocumented Students Fund. Text by Victoria Albacete and Kendall Mahavier Production Editors Photo by Daniel Firebanks Staff Photographer
policies on campus accessibility. “When spaces are not accessible to everyone, people’s experiences are excluded and their valuable voices go unheard.” Oberlin’s ASL ExCo was disbanded due to concerns about what kinds of voices were being heard, as all of its teachers were hearing and felt uncomfortable representing an experience that was not their own. Mariner and Hinkle hope to bring back the ASL ExCo at some point, should someone with greater authority to teach it come forth. For now, they are doing their best to establish a Deaf community in Oberlin through their ExCo, the ASL lunch table in the lobby of Dascomb available at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesdays, and various events that they have in the works. “There’s a history here that we’re trying to revitalize,” Hinkle said, referring in particular to a previous exchange connection between Oberlin and Gallaudet University, a D.C. school geared specifically toward deaf students. As someone who spends summers working as an intern with deaf children in schools, Hinkle is very conscious of the greater need for a Deaf community on campus. Her work alongside Mariner, though, is geared toward maximizing that space. Maclay emphasized that the events that they organize should have an impact on campus beyond the scope of the event itself. “We’ve done something,” Maclay said. “It was awesome. Now [the students] have the skills and confidence to build, and the staff … can provide the resources and support.” There are several related new projects coming up in the fall. Obility, a student organization chartered for the next academic year, will provide a space for dialogue around disability and accessibility on campus. Work is also being done to implement a Disability Solidarity Theme Hall, and to bring back the Student Accessibility Advocates mentoring program for first-years. “There’s a huge stigma against disability. That’s a thing,” Hinkle said. “So one of the important things is to create an awareness that people exist who are different — that they are still approachable and still people.” To join Obility’s newsletter mailing list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Dance Showcase Provides Space for Diversity Victoria Albacete Production Manager It’s hard to believe that Oberlin’s Student Dance Showcase first appeared only six years ago, given the campus staple it has since become. Now one of the most well-attended student dance performances each semester, the showcase — which will present its spring 2018 iteration this weekend — is a space for student dance groups of any and every type to spotlight their hard work, talent, and enthusiastic energy for friends, family, and other students and faculty. Previous to the 2012 creation of Student Dance Showcase, student dancers and choreographers were limited to auditioning for Dance departmentsponsored performances Spring Back and Fall Forward, which required dance faculty approval, or participation in the precursors to Student Dance Showcase: Sprung and Fell. Sprung and Fell — according to Hayley Larson, OC ’14, — “had the reputation of being the ‘reject shows,’ since many of the pieces that auditioned for the faculty shows and didn’t make the cut would end up presented there.” Larson, who auditioned for Spring Back her first year but was not selected, intended to perform in Sprung — until she realized that she was the only performer in the lineup. “I became sad and a bit frustrated that no good option was being presented to students where they could just show new ideas and works without the stamp of approval of a faculty member,” Larson wrote in an email to the Review. “I knew a lot of dancers (not just majors or minors), myself included, who had pieces that didn’t make it into the official shows, or didn’t the fit mold of ‘Oberlin modern dance.’” The following year, Larson became a co-chair of Dance Umbrella, an organization that funds opportunities for student dance outside of the Dance department. She jumped at the chance to create a budget for a re-branding and overhaul of the nondepartmental dance showcases, and Student Dance Showcase was born. Acting as stage manager, director, and general organizer, Larson — assisted by Warner Technical Coordinator and Lecturer Daniel James, as well as some light advice from dance faculty — built a performance space in spring 2012 that would, over the course of the next six years, become one of the most stylistically diverse on campus. “Oberlin provides a variety of performance and
The Oberlin Review | April 13, 2018
learning opportunities for styles like modern and contemporary dance, but not so much for styles like hip-hop, Latin dance, etc.,” said Conservatory senior Alan Wang, who has danced in the showcase with hip-hop and urban dance groups Koreo and Kinetique in recent semesters. “Student Dance Showcase gives us an opportunity to showcase these styles that for many of us are crucial to our backgrounds. It also gives the student body an opportunity to see these styles that they may be less familiar with, and can also serve as a great educational experience.” From fall 2015 to fall 2017, Student Dance Showcase was directed by College seniors Lola Gatti and Isabel Levey-Swain. Both first became involved through other Dance department opportunities but enthusiastically accepted management of the showcase a semester prior to the graduation of former director Alana Reibstein, OC ’16. “We love it so much, we’re backstage and upstairs and just talking the whole time going like, ‘I love it, I love it, this is so amazing, we’re so happy,’ just because [of ] the energy when you’re in that room and everyone’s performing, and that’s the joy,” Gatti said. “Everyone has so much fun during it, and that’s really obvious, and that’s what makes a successful show — not that all the pieces are at some caliber or that it’s good or bad or whatever — it’s very apparent to the audience that it’s a highenergy show, and whoever’s performing is just having so much fun, you can tell. And we’re just doing the logistical part.” Levey-Swain agreed wholeheartedly, adding, “I work on the top with the sound, so I can watch from above all the people who absolutely love it, and that’s the best thing ever.” Having passed on the directorial roles to College sophomore Kierra Nguyen and first-year Micaela Pirzio-Biroli, Levey-Swain choreographed a piece for her senior Dance capstone that Gatti will take part in performing at this weekend’s Student Dance Showcase. The two have also assisted with any questions Nguyen and Pirzio-Biroli have had, although Gatti said she felt confident that the rising directors were organized and responsible enough to handle the showcase well in the future. Given the opportunity to watch a portion of the tech rehearsals this weekend, it seems Gatti’s confidence is not misplaced. Nguyen and Pirzio-Biroli said they were thrilled by the opportunity to direct Student Dance Showcase this year; Pirzio-Biroli first saw the perfor-
mance on her first visit to Oberlin as a prospective student. “It was nice to just see the vibrancy of the Oberlin community channeled through this production,” Pirzio-Biroli said. The diversity and vibrancy of performers will continue with this semester’s performers, which include Koreo, And What!?, and ViBE Dance Company, among others. Nguyen said the Student Dance Showcase matters to her because she sees the joy it brings both to her and the community. “Anyone can come and see it, so it’s good for the performers, good for the audience, it’s good for the rapport of the community, and the social scene, and just having dance be important in that,” Nguyen said. College senior Frances Purcell, who has performed with Beginning Tap ExCo and ViBE Tap Company in previous showcases and will feature with ViBE Tap and the Oberlin Samba School in the showcase this weekend, expressed a similar enthusiasm. “I think it’s a really important space for dance on campus because it really demonstrates the sense of community and really fosters the dance community at Oberlin,” Purcell said. “… There’s been so much support from the crowd — the crowd gets crazy — and from our fellow dancers. It’s truly one of the most supportive and inclusive dance shows we have on this campus because it’s open to everybody.” Larson, who continues to use her performance skills as a professional aerialist at Aloft Circus Arts in Chicago, is delighted by the support and community that the Student Dance Showcase continues to engender in performers and audience members alike. “I am thrilled that the showcase is still happening and such a huge part of the student dance community at Oberlin,” Larson wrote in an email to the Review. “If I could have hoped for anything as a graduating senior, it would have been for the continuation of that show and the hopes and goals myself and all the following directors poured into it. Oberlin has so many beautiful performers and I am glad they have a venue to share that with their peers, whatever form it takes.” The Student Dance Showcase will go up today and tomorrow at 8 p.m. in Warner Main Space. Tickets are free.
Sp ort s IN THE LOCKER ROOM
Lisa Thuer, Yoga Instructor
Lisa Thuer joined the Oberlin community less than two months ago to fill the position of Associate Director of Leadership Annual Giving. She works on the Oberlin Annual Fund, which helps ensure that students receive scholarship funds. Before arriving at Oberlin, Thuer worked in Kansas City, MO, for Women Leaders in College Sports, an organization whose membership includes Delta Lodge Director of Athletics & Physical Education Natalie Winkelfoos, Head Softball Coach Sara Schoenhoft, Head Volleyball Coach and Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics Erica Rau, and Senior Associate Director of Athletics Creg Jantz. Just last week, Thuer kicked off the athletic department’s new yoga program, which provides free drop-in yoga classes for all student-athletes. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Interview by Alex McNicoll and Alexis Dill, Sports Editors
How and why did you get into yoga? I have a Master’s in social work and a Master’s in education, and for the first part of my professional life, I was a social worker and worked predominantly with women who were experiencing intimate partner violence and excessive poverty. Going to the courtrooms every day and listening to their stories and engaging with the person who was causing them so much pain — that really gets to you. I needed to start healing from that vicarious trauma that I was experiencing, so I started running. I was just tearing up my body, and there really wasn’t a space in that to get silent and listen. I started practicing yoga, and that is where I have found so much healing. How did you end up at Oberlin? I was so intrigued by how social justice ties into [students’] education here and how students really seem to be aware of what’s going on around the country. I became aware of Oberlin because Natalie Winkelfoos was on the [Women Leaders in College Sports] board, and you can really tell she values her job here and students’ wellness. In college athletics, she is definitely a force, and I knew I wanted to be on a team with her. Then I watched one YouTube [video] of President [Carmen] Ambar, and I was like, “Done.” She is a leader. She also is a force and is going to ignite positive change on this campus. What is this new yoga program, and how will it benefit student-athletes? The NCAA has come out with a bunch of mental health initiatives, and what we
know is that student-athletes experience the same amount of stressors as other students on campus. The one difference, though, is that there is an additional environmental stressor [for athletes]. You have to go to class and practice. There’s these time restrictions on yourself, and then there is also performance and [the question], “What kind of coach do you have?” Student-athletes have this whole additional set of environmental stressors that we’re not seeing, and the really cool thing is that Natalie Winkelfoos recognizes that in a way to kind of dissipate some of that is to get really silent with yourself. Yoga can work to do that. Of course we talk about strength and balance and flexibility, but more than anything, going into that Savasana — or Corpse Pose — is where all the magic happens. You’re listening to your breath, and your breath is your medicine and your life force. You really go inside yourself and find a softening. What are the different classes that you are offering and how do they differ from one another? I don’t know if you remember being five and flipping around and doing cartwheels and things. As we move along, we’re losing this flexibility because we do this repetitive motion of throwing a softball or swinging a tennis racket and have a stagnant lifestyle that we’re living. [Students] are sitting at a desk all the time studying, or we’re sitting in our cars or sitting around at work. Those two pieces really take away from our flexibility, which is really important, especially
Yeomen, Women Take Senior Day Jane Agler Staff Writer The Yeomen and Yeowomen track and field teams invited 19 different teams — 9 women’s and 10 men’s — to their annual Bob Kahn Invitational for Senior Day, besting them all as they both claimed first place last weekend. While the Yeowomen have been no strangers to success this season as they look to claim their second consecutive North Coast Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championship, the men had yet to claim a first-place finish until last weekend. “We were really proud of how well both teams competed in what was the deepest field we’ve had at the Bob Kahn Invitational in some years,” said Head Track and Field Coach Ray Appenheimer. “It bodes well for this weekend’s All-Ohio Meet and the conference meet early in May.” Senior Monique Newton raked in points in the women’s field events by clinching the top spot on the podium in both the shot-put and the discus. Her shot-put landed at the 146–06.00 mark, while the discus was recorded at 44–04.00 — some of the best heaves recorded in the entire NCAA Division III re-
cord books, going down as fourth in the shot-put event and third in the discus event. The Yeowomen also snagged both the first and second-place spots in the triple jump by senior Annie Goodridge and junior Olivia Woods, respectively. It was an encouraging outing for Goodridge, who earned the 34–11.75 mark after having taken a few weeks off mid-season for injury prevention. According to Goodridge, the meet lifted the spirits of the entire team, hers included. “Everyone on the team has been in the best shape I’ve ever seen in a really long time,” she said. “[We are all] in that mode that we are competing and really succeeding. It’s a wonderful feeling. Outdoor track is really fun.” In the men’s field events, the Yeomen did not disappoint. Junior Hank Sinn sank a 170–09 hammer toss to grab first place in the event and later went on to get fourth in the discus with a 129–07.00 mark. First-year Adriano Atallah impressed during his performances, coming in first and second in the long jump and 110-meter hurdles respectively, as he leapt a 21–02.75 and clocked a time of 16.20. Junior Jahkeem Wheatley, however, See Track, page 15
for a student-athlete. Through Vinyasa yoga and Hatha yoga, I am able to offer this balance to who needs [it]. I would describe Vinyasa as a seamless movement — like a wave or water. There are more dynamic poses in there to heat up the body. I would describe Hatha as a space-defined balance that really helps you find healing. That’s where I use more of the passive movements and restored movements that are preparing the body to rest, relax, and restore. Why do you believe it is important to be physically, mentally, and spiritually well, especially as a student-athlete? The perception of yoga for athletes is that it’s going to improve strength and flexibility and balance, and those are all real things, but there’s more. When we see Olympians and [professional] athletes, so many of them are practicing yoga and really it’s more of the breath work. I was just talking about the Ujjayi breath the other day. Before high divers prepare for their dive, that is the breathing that they’re practicing as they totally zone in and focus. I am confident that through the power of yoga, you will raise your game. What advice do you have for students looking for other ways to achieve a healthy mindset or lifestyle? I think it’s really important to pay attention to what you’re putting in your body. Waking every morning and making a cup of lemon water to cleanse the body, refresh, and renew [is a good practice]. Another practice I have is a grati-
Photo by Bryan Rubin, Photo Editor
tude journal, so in the morning I wake up and grab my journal and write down three things that I’m grateful for. I think a practice of gratitude is huge, and I fully believe that everybody should take five minutes to meditate every day — just walking outside and taking the headphones out and really coming into the present. That’s the only place to be — staying in the present, whether it’s the conversation you’re having or taking out the headphones and hearing the birds. What is the power of positive thinking and self-care? I think the power of positive thinking is absolutely transformational. I think living in a space of fear and sadness or jealousy and hate is easy for us to do, but when you’re doing that, you are choosing the cheapest room in the house. I want people to have better living conditions, because they are so deserving of that. I also believe that the vibes you put out in the world, you get back. What you give, you get back. When are these classes offered? This could totally change, but I think SAAC decided that right now 12:15–1 p.m. on Wednesdays and 5:30–6:30 p.m. on Tuesday evenings is best, depending on whether you’re in season or out of season. All you have to do is come by or send me an email [at email@example.com]. I held a private practice for softball and the women’s track and field asked me to hold a class for them, so I’m happy to do that.
Men’s Lacrosse Drops Close Games to Denison, Kenyon
Junior midfielder Will Prangley drives to the net in a tense game against Denison University. The Yeomen made a valiant effort in their 6–14 loss to the No. 8 Big Red. Photo by Devin Cowan, Staff Photographer
Owen Mittenthal Staff Writer This week, the men’s lacrosse team dropped both of its games. While the team nearly pulled off an upset against the No. 8 nationally-ranked Denison Big Red, they ultimately fell short 14–6 last Saturday. The Yeomen also faced off against North Coast Athletic Conference rival the Kenyon College Lords, losing 15–10 on Wednesday. The pair of losses dropped the Yeomen to 5–7 overall and 0–5 in NCAC play. Against Denison, Oberlin was
able to take a 4–3 lead early in the second quarter, thanks in part to two goals by first-year attacker Tom Decker. The Yeomen hung around late into the second half as first-year David Martin added two goals of his own. The Yeomen only trailed 8–5 heading into the final quarter, and a victory seemed possible. However, the Big Red began to assert themselves as the final minutes ticked away, outscoring the Yeomen 6–1 over the quarter to secure the win. “I hope our team can see that we have the potential to run with
and beat anyone on the schedule,” Head Coach Topher Grossman said. “But we also need to have the humility to realize we can be beaten by anyone on the schedule. We took a lead on Denison in the second, and it was a three-goal game with 15 minutes left. That’s not a terrible place for us to be against a top 10 team.” Sophomore goaltender Calvin Filson was key to the team’s spirited effort. Filson faced a thenseason-high 50 shots from the Big Red’s formidable attackers, but was able to make a careerhigh 17 saves to keep his team in the game. Senior defender Sean Somerville also chipped in, forcing two turnovers and collecting three ground balls. “It is always a challenging experience when I face more than 20 or 30 shots a game, but seeing more than usual — especially against a great team — is all a part of the job,” Filson said. “I changed a few things up technique-wise in practice leading up to the game, and I believe that helped me make saves more efficiently.” Heading into their matchup with the Lords, the Yeomen knew that they would likely have to win the remainder of their
games in order to keep their postseason hopes alive. The Yeomen played with intensity and urgency against the fifth-ranked team in the NCAC, as first-year Thomas Berle Carman’s goal cut the Lords’ lead to just 11–10 in the fourth quarter. Decker and senior Steve Kelleher also chipped in two goals apiece. While Carman was upset with the loss, he noted that the environment that the older players set up made it possible for so many first-years to contribute from the get-go. “The upperclassmen included and supported us from the second we stepped on campus and told us to not be afraid to make plays,” he said. “They’ve put us in a position to keep building for the next few years, and set a standard for us to improve off of throughout our tenure at Oberlin.” However, the Yeomen were once again outdone down the stretch, as the Lords scored the game’s final four goals to preserve the outcome. Despite the loss, first-year midfielder Max McAllister was a standout performer, as he won 16 out of 25 face-offs and scooped up a team-high 11 ground balls. However, the Yeo-
men were outshot 54–27 by the Lords, and this onslaught proved too much to overcome. After a scorching 5–0 start to the season, the Yeomen have completely fallen off the map against conference foes. While the Yeomen have remained competitive in nearly every matchup against a slew of talented opponents, the team’s stated goal of qualifying for the NCAC tournament appears to be out of reach this season. However, with the number of underclassmen already contributing at a high level, brighter days could be ahead for this squad. “Moving forward, we need to continue playing loose but hard in order to not make a ton of mental mistakes early on in games,” Filson said. “I think if we can mimic our playing mindset from the Denison game, we should see success in the near future.” The Yeomen will play their Senior Day game against the Wabash College Little Giants tomorrow on Bailey Field at 1 p.m. Following that game, Oberlin will close out its season on the road against the Hiram College Terriers and the DePauw University Tigers.
Underlying Racism Affects Lamar Jackson’s Draft Stock Jason Hewitt Columnist Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson should easily be one of the top three quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft. He won the 2016 Heisman Trophy and arguably had a better season this year. So it’s quite confusing why Jackson has received widespread criticism by NFL scouts and draft analysts and is projected as a late draft in the first round. Jackson is a Black athlete, and the unfortunate root of the criticism he receives is racism. The premier quarterbacks in this year’s draft include Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, and Josh Rosen. The common denominator between these four men is that they are all white with big arms. However, if you watch Lamar Jackson’s film and Pro Day tape, his arm is just as powerful as the other four. Why isn’t he just as celebrated as they are? It’s certainly not his decision-mak-
ing. Last season, Jackson threw a total of 10 interceptions while playing teams in one of the most competitive conferences in the country, the Atlantic Coast Conference. Jackson had to play against elite defenses such as the Florida State Seminoles and the Clemson University Tigers and still managed to throw only 10 interceptions. Rosen, who is also likely to be drafted over Jackson, threw 10 interceptions as well. Darnold — who is considered the best quarterback in many scouts’ eyes — threw 13 of them. Jackson has also taken criticism for being a running quarterback. An uptick in injuries to NFL quarterbacks, namely Carson Wentz — the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles and favorite for the MVP Award until he tore his ACL midseason — has made general managers skeptical of quarterbacks who take extra hits. However, Jackson has managed his health quite successfully, despite his smaller frame. He’s played through minor injuries just as any college football
player would, but he’s never experienced any devastating injury that would make teams second-guess him. Jackson’s arm, awareness, and durability are up-to-par with the other elite NFL Draft quarterback prospects. Add unbelievable athleticism to those abilities, and you have Jackson. He is by far the best athlete out of all of the quarterbacks in the draft. Jackson’s qualifications should make him a surefire top pick, but there’s a glaring problem that isn’t being talked about: Racism is a factor that plays into Lamar Jackson’s draft stock. While most quarterbacks — one of the only positions in the NFL that is dominated by white men — are praised for having a high football IQ, Black quarterbacks are only ever praised for their athletic abilities. NFL scouts and analysts constantly criticize Jackson, saying that he won’t be able to handle concepts at the next level, even though he ran an effective NFL-style offense last year. Tangibles aside, the most laughable
critique about Jackson is that he should try switching his position to wide receiver. Scouts told him that his build is better fit for a wide receiver in the NFL, but Heisman-winning and record-breaking quarterbacks shouldn’t have to switch to wide receiver. A few years ago, Johnny Manziel — another former Heisman winner — wasn’t pressured to switch positions. His game is often compared to Jackson’s, even though with off-field character issues he also had a late firstround grade. This screams racism. Jackson’s situation reminds me of the same old bias that Black people have to deal with all the time when it comes to job hunting. Their white counterparts will always have the advantage, no matter how talented they are, because of their skin color. Lamar Jackson will be just fine when he enters the league, but it’s both frustrating and disappointing to see him receive this racially coded criticism repeatedly from both scouts and the media in 2018.
New Stars Make Regular Season Fun Track & Field Hosts Invitational
Continued from page 16
two full years to injury, is healthy the 76ers instantly become a contender. However, even when he went down with an eye injury in the final month this season, the 76ers were able to finish on a sixteen-game winning streak in which they beat top teams like the Cavaliers and clinched the third seed. During this stretch, Ben Simmons, their 6’10” point guard who is a virtual lock for Rookie of the Year, averaged a tripledouble. In just his first year in the league, he has drawn comparisons to the likes of James and Magic Johnson, and is sure to be one of the league’s premier talents for years to come. Giannis Antetokounmpo, the fourthyear forward who finds himself playing all five positions for the Milwaukee Bucks, earned the moniker “The Greek Freak” with his preternatural abilities on all areas of the floor. While the Bucks haven’t been able to surround him with enough great players, at 23 years old, he will likely be battling Simmons and Irving for the Eastern The Oberlin Review | April 13, 2018
Conference soon enough. Also rounding out the conference are likely Most Improved Player Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers, who shocked everyone by locking up the fifth seed despite trading away Paul George this summer. In other words, the Eastern Conference isn’t the cake-walk it once was, and James won’t have such an easy path to the finals in years to come. The NBA has always taken on WWE tactics to attract fans. While the MLB and NFL strive to have parity amongst all of their teams, the NBA’s appeal has always been rooted in its superstars. Between 30-foot three point shots, reverse slam dunks, and some of the best Twitter beefs in the sports world, the NBA is a big-personality league. Over the course of an 82-game season, the league has had to rely on these qualities a bit too much in the past four years. But with so many young players on the verge of dominating the league, the next regular season might just be exciting again.
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seemed to shine brightest for the men. In the pole vault, he managed to clear 13–05.75 feet, out-jumping the secondplace finisher by over a foot. While the win was worth celebrating, Wheatley was quick to point out that there is always room for improvement. “It was good to get a win, but it’s not how high I want to be jumping,” he said. “Mentally I’m in a good spot right now, so I feel I’m getting into that championship mindset again.” On the track side, the Yeowomen filled first through third-place in the 1,500-meter race. Sophomore Marija Crook finished with a winning time of 4:53.31, followed by fellow sophomores Oona Jung-Beeman and Shannon Wargo. Junior Imani Cook-Gist crossed the finish line at 13.01 in the 100-meter dash, just shy of her career best of 12.54. Three other teammates clinched second-place through fourth-place in the same event,
adding to the team’s overall success. The Yeomen also triumphed on the track, as highlighted by first-year Archie Velazquez’s first-place completion of the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:26.05. Senior James Tanford won the 400-meter dash in 50.48 seconds and later took part in winning the 4x100meter and 4x400-meter relays with teammates Atallah, first-year Malachi Clemons, and junior John Olsen. The win was a positive outcome amid a particularly cold transition from the indoor to outdoor season. “We’ve had a bit of a late spring in Oberlin this year,” Appenheimer said. “Regardless, the team has been undeterred. We understand that while the elements might curb our overall performance from time to time, it never gets in the way of our effort.” Track and field will be competing tomorrow at Ohio Wesleyan University for the All-Ohio Championships.
SPORTS April 13, 2018
Volume 146, Number 20
NBA Expands from Two-Team Race Alex McNicoll Sports Editor
Junior catcher Brendan Mapes rips the ball against competition in Tucson, AZ. Mapes currently leads the team in conference play with a .350 batting average. Photo courtesy of OC Athletics
Baseball Gains First NCAC Victory
Alexis Dill Sports Editor
After losing its first five conference games of the season, the Oberlin baseball team earned a 6–1 victory in the second half of their doubleheader against the DePauw University Tigers Saturday. Although the team currently holds an 8–16 record, the Yeomen are confident in their chances of making it to the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament for the fourth time in six years. In the first half of the twin bill, junior starter Zach Steer kept his team in the game by giving up four hits, two walks, and three runs while fanning five batters in 5.1 innings of work. However, the Yeomen offense wasn’t able to give Steer any support, only recording four hits against DePauw ace Grant Rademacher. Juniors Jack McGowan and Ian Dinsmore and sophomores Amari Newman and Max McGee each recorded a hit. The sole Oberlin run came in the ninth inning, when Newman ripped a double to right center, scoring sophomore pinch runner Jack Derwin. In the nightcap, the offense came alive as seven different Yeomen accounted for hits. Junior Brendan Mapes and senior Sam Harris — who missed the first four conference games due to injury — each went two-for-four. Despite their slow start, the Yeomen have plenty to be happy about, and hope their first NCAC victory will give them some momentum going into the second half of their season. A big piece of the puzzle is hitting. This spring, the Yeomen has collectively hit .252, which is significantly lower than last year’s team batting average of .313. The team knew that replacing sluggers Justin Cruz and Brian Carney — both OC ’17 — would be nearly impossible, but luckily two players have stepped up while some of the Yeomen’s big hitters from last year are still trying to get hot. The Yeomen have had to rely on the usual suspects faces this year. Sklar — who has been dominant thus far — actually spent his first two years at Oberlin as a member of the bullpen. As a first-year, Sklar appeared in a team-high 19 games and collected a team-high 35 strikeouts, playing a huge role in Oberlin’s first-ever championship finish in the NCAC Tournament. As a sophomore, Sklar led the Oberlin pitching staff in appearances again with 15 and recorded the second-lowest ERA in the NCAC at 2.63. Sklar turned himself into a utility player for the Yeomen as a junior, breaking the program’s single-season saves record with seven saves and gathering 30 hits in 93 at-bats, resulting in a .323 batting average. This year, Sklar leads the team in several offensive categories, hitting .366 with a .563 slugging percentage, 14 runs scored, 26 hits, 18 RBIs, two triples, and two home runs. Like Sklar, McGowan was a bullpen pitcher during his first two years on the team before heading to the outfield, but now currently boasts the team’s second-best batting average at .346. However, McGowan credits his teammates and hitting coach for his success. “It was a slow curve at first when it came to getting used to facing college pitching,” McGowan said. “I owe a lot of
my success to working with [Assistant] Coach [Brandon] Jossey, Brendan Mapes, and Quin Butler for countless hours over this off-season in order to catch up to where I needed to be.” In a fitness competition held by the team before the season, Sklar and McGowan both finished in the top nine. “We are lucky that Milo and Jack are two of our most athletic players,” Jossey said. “I personally think it’s a good reminder of how important athleticism is in any sport. Those two have [spent] so much time in the weight room in their careers, and you can see it paying off now.” Harris, the team’s starting shortstop, and Mapes — who starts every game behind the dish — are heating up. Harris has continually put pressure on opposing defenses, leading the team with 13 walks and 11 stolen bases. Mapes — who was an All-NCAC First Team selection and ABCA All-Region Second Team selection after a sophomore season in which he hit .403 — has hit the ball hard all spring. Defensively, the Yeomen are statistically similar to the team they were last year. In 2017, the team held a .948 fielding percentage, just .002 percent higher than the team’s fielding percentage this year. The pitching staff last year had a 5.46 ERA, while opposing pitchers held a 5.42 ERA against them. This year, the pitching staff has a 7.39 ERA, while opposing pitchers have a 3.72 ERA against the Yeomen offense. Oberlin’s rotation has been solid up to this point. Steer, who was named NCAC Pitcher of the Week two weeks ago, leads the team with a 4.02 ERA. Junior Noah Gear has yet to lose a game in his four starts, boasting a 3–0 record. Senior Sean Kiley — who was an All-NCAC Second Team selection last year after posting a team-low 3.67 ERA — leads the pitching staff in strikeouts with 41. Sklar, who has started two games and appeared in seven, follows Kiley in this category with 23 strikeouts. “Those guys make my job fun,” Mapes said. “They are all super competitive guys, and that’s fun to work with. Each one totally understands their strengths as a pitcher and knows how to use it to find success against any hitter we see.” The Yeomen expect to kick it into gear moving forward. Last year, the team had a slow start in conference play but won games when they needed to. “We need to get back to our identity as a team — win games with aggressive hitting and smart baseball and capitalize on mistakes when the opportunities arise,” McGowan said. “It’s do or die at this point in terms of achieving our goal for the season: making it to and winning in Chillocothe, [Ohio], at the NCAC Tournament.” Jossey said that his team will win games if they begin competing for each other rather than themselves. “Everyone needs to do their job for the betterment of the team,” Jossey said. “If we get a lot of guys showing up every day with a selfless mentality, I believe we will be very happy when we look back at the final stretch of the season.” The Yeomen look to begin a winning streak tonight as they take on the Wittenberg University Tigers in Springfield, Ohio. The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Since the 2015–2016 season in the NBA, when the Golden State Warriors — the reigning champions — passed Michael Jordan’s 1995–1996 Chicago Bulls for a seemingly unbreakable record of 73 wins and nine losses in a single season, the NBA regular season has largely been considered boring and predictable. While finals duels between the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are always entertaining, fans of the league often prefer following player’s Instagram accounts or pre-game outfits during the regular season, and then only tune in for LeBron James’ yearly championship cameo. However, if this past regular season has proven anything, it’s that the Warriors and Cavaliers matchup we’ve grown accustomed to isn’t going to last much longer. First and foremost, the Warriors and Cavaliers didn’t even come in first place in their conferences this year. In the Western Conference, the Houston Rocket’s James Harden not only did enough to earn the MVP award, which he will undoubtedly receive on June 25, but also led his team to an NBA-best 65–17 record. While the Warriors — who ended up in second place — battled injuries throughout a large part of the year between Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, they still finished seven games behind Harden’s Rockets. The Rockets have a history of floundering in the playoffs, especially against the Warriors, but this year, with another season under his belt and superstar point guard Chris Paul joining him in the back court, Harden may have enough to take the conference. Although the Western Conference has been a twoteam race, there have been several teams at the heels of the Warriors and Rockets that can only get better. The Utah Jazz, led by rookie Donovan Mitchell and potential Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, were expected to fold after their star player Gordon Hayward left for the Boston Celtics last offseason, but they finished fifth in the stacked conference. In fact, just one game separated them and third-place Portland Trailblazers, whose star, Damian Lillard, has been one of the best players in the league this year. With Anthony Davis leading the New Orleans Pelicans to the sixth seed without DeMarcus Cousins, and the Oklahoma City Thunder having a full season of reigning MVP Russell Westbrook gelling with superstars Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, the West is full of teams just one or two pieces away from taking the top spot next season. In the Eastern Conference, James has made it clear several times over his 15-year career that seeding isn’t important to him, and in all fairness, it shouldn’t be. As the all-time postseason scoring leader, James’ legendary playoff performances, including eight finals appearances and three victories, speak for themselves. Even this year, when his team underwent a complete midseason roster overhaul, his game has been strong enough to make his team a perennial threat. If anything, this has been his best year yet, as he set his career records in both rebounds and assists. Cleveland fans shouldn’t be worried about the Cavaliers’ fourth-place finish in the Eastern Conference this year, but it is definitely a sign of things to come. Finishing ahead of them were the first-place Toronto Raptors, whose stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have finally matured into legitimate threats. The Celtics are sure to pose a threat next season, as they locked up the second seed without their two best players. Kyrie Irving missed most of the end of the year with knee injuries, and Hayward — who broke his ankle in the season-opener — did not even play a full game. Despite this, second-year Jaylen Brown and rookie Jayson Tatum didn’t just keep the team afloat, but allowed them to thrive. While the 76ers don’t quite have a player like Irving, they are also a team full of young stars in the making. Whenver Joel Embiid, the electrifying second-year center who missed his first See New, page 15