The Oberlin Review May 10, 2019
Volume 147, Number 23
Congressional Map Ruled Gerrymandering Jane Hobson Staff Writer
administrative and professional staff who are ‘at will’ employees, are our colleagues, neighbors, and friends, whose work is not only integral to the excellence of Oberlin but also deeply respected by the entire community. … None of this is easy, but we know that the far greater uncertainty and harm would lie in failing to make the hard choices facing us.” Kamitsuka noted that administrative and professional staff, as well as faculty, have also faced significant reductions in recent years. “As pointed out in the report, and throughout the process, faculty and administrative and professional staff have been most directly impacted by the budget cutting over the last two years, including the elimination of several positions, and more than $5.5 million in savings achieved through salary freezes and benefits reductions,” Kamitsuka wrote. “Unfortunately, that alone will not be sufficient for the long-term sustainability of Oberlin’s finances.” While acknowledging that the College faces financial challenges, Lee remains skeptical that the steering committee has been forthcoming about their source data or the process by which they arrived at their recommendations. “We want to see how they came to these conclusions,” Lee said. “For instance, the [figure] that says that the average hourly person at Oberlin is paid 34 percent higher than at our peer institutions. Well, we’ve gone to the sources that the College was willing to share with us, which are very few.” Lee continued, saying that, when union members looked at the sources shared by the College, they did not arrive at the same conclusions.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio Western Division ruled last week that Ohio’s congressional map is an “unconstitutional partisan gerrymander” and ordered that the district map be redrawn by June 14, leaving enough time for the map to come into effect for the 2020 election. On Monday, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost requested a stay on the federal court decision. The existing districting map was drawn in 2011 by the Republican-controlled Ohio General Assembly, a bipartisan legislative task force advised the assembly. The court’s threejudge panel concluded that this map was deliberately created to favor the Republican party and elect three Republicans for every Democrat elected. “We conclude that the  map unconstitutionally burdens associational rights by making it more difficult for voters and certain organizations to advance their aims,,” the judicial opinion reads. “We conclude that by creating such a map, the State exceeded its powers under Article I of the Constitution.” Janet Garrett, a local politician and former candidate for Ohio’s 4th Congressional District, believes that the current map influenced the balance of Republicans and Democrats representing Ohio. “Ohio is about a 50-50 percent split between Democrats and Republicans — probably closer to a 30-30-30 percent split between Democrats, Republicans, and Independents,” she said. “But, because of the gerrymandering, our Statehouse is hugely lopsided in favor of the Republicans. Out of the 16 district seats, only four are Democrats.” The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, along with the ACLU Voting Rights Project and the law firm Covington & Burling, acted as counsel during the court proceedings. This council represented 17 individual Ohio residents and five Ohio-based organizations who brought the case to court. Yost requested that the decision be put on hold until the resolution of Maryland and North Carolina’s congressional map cases, which are currently being deliberated in the U.S. Supreme Court. Those cases are expected to be decided by the end of June 2019. If the federal court does not grant the stay, Yost plans to appeal to the Supreme Court. “The ACLU on behalf of its clients has opposed the stay,” said Elizabeth Bonham, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Ohio. “It’s our position that the relief the court has ordered should go underway. The state legislature should get busy drawing a new map so Ohio’s voters can have a constitutional map to work with for 2020.” Before last week’s decision, Ohio residents
See Questions, page 4
See Yost, page 3
CDS workers prepare pizzas in the Wilder DeCafé. Hourly employees continue to express concerns over the impacts of the AAPR recommendations. Photo by Mallika Pandey, Photo Editor
Hourly Workers Maintain AAPR Concerns Nathan Carpenter Editor-in-Chief Tensions remain high between Oberlin’s unionized hourly workers and the Academic and Administrative Program Review steering committee. After weeks of collecting community feedback, the committee is wrapping up its work and preparing to submit its final recommendations to President Carmen Twillie Ambar at the end of this semester. Many constituent groups have endorsed the AAPR’s recommendations. Last week, the Educational Plans and Policies Committee, the Educational Policy Committee, the College Faculty Council, the Conservatory Faculty Council, and the General Faculty Council all endorsed the recommendations related to their focus and areas of responsibilities. However, since the AAPR first publicly released its areas of recommendation in late March, unionized workers have consistently expressed concerns regarding proposed changes. These concerns have largely centered around feelings of job insecurity created by the AAPR’s general recommendations, as well as questions about the transparency of the AAPR’s process. Many of these concerns have been previously covered by the Review (“AAPR Unveils Draft of Final Recommendations,” May 3, 2019). According to Oberlin College Office and Professional Employees President Diane Lee, who works as the interlibrary loan supervisor at Mary Church Terrell Main Library, many union members still don’t feel that members of the steering committee have heard their concerns, following multiple opportunities for public comment. “I cannot think of a question that has
actually been answered,” Lee said. “So everything is still outstanding.” OCOPE member Linda Pardee, department secretary for the English Department, emphasized the stress created by the AAPR process, which has left many hourly workers wondering if their jobs are on the line. “I ended up taking last year off for medical leave because of the stress,” said Pardee, who was let go from her prior position at the College in 2017 before being re-hired. “If you look at short-term leaves or long-term leaves, I have a feeling they’ve gone up because people are very stressed, not just with the amount of work, but the uncertainty of what’s going to happen in their lives.” According to Vice President for Finance and Administration Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings, at least some of this uncertainty is due to logistical constraints. “The steering committee has been careful not to interfere with the processes for implementing these changes,” Vazquez-Skillings wrote in an email to the Review. “In particular, the steering committee has been meticulous about not taking any steps that would interfere with collective bargaining, the appropriate place for determining contractual details for unionized workers.” Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences David Kamitsuka, who chairs the AAPR steering committee, also responded to these ongoing concerns over job security. “From the beginning the AAPR steering committee has recognized and acknowledged the anxiety this work is causing, particularly when it touches on employment and compensation,” Kamitsuka wrote in an email to the Review. “Our hourly employees, and our
ARTS & CULTURE
02 Students for Sensible Drug Policy Provide Campus Resources
05 AAPR Must Address LIving Wage
08 Senior Studio Exhibitions
10 Creative Writing Seniors Give Dazzling Reading at the Cat
15 ITLR: Jenna Gyimesi
03 Big Parade Wows Community
06 OSCA: The Problem and Opportunity
The Oberlin Review | May 10, 2019
12 Seniors Strip for Final Time in OBurlesque Performance
16 Caster Semenya Case Highlights Barriers Facing Intersex Athletes
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Students for Sensible Drug Policy Provide Campus Resources Keifer Ludwig Staff Writer Students opened a chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy in March to help reduce drug-related harm and foster sensible conversations about healthy and unhealthy drug use. In addition to educating the Oberlin community, the organization supplies free and anonymous drug testing. College junior Rachel Clark, who founded Oberlin’s chapter of SSDP, described how the group serves multiple purposes on this campus. “[We] offer unbiased, nonjudgmental peer-to-peer education about drugs, free and anonymous drug checking services, workshops on drug safety, and … a variety of outreach tactics designed to integrate Oberlin’s drug education with the surrounding community.” Clark emphasized that many people are often unaware of the actual contents of a substance before they take it. “People think they know what they have, which has historically absolutely not been the case,” Clark said. “What often ends up happening is [someone will bring in a substance and] say ‘I already know it’s this and I’m only
doing this to be safe,’ and then it pops up as something different, which is actually what happened before Drag Ball. We had a test come in that ended up popping [up] as amphetamine, when they were certain it was cocaine.” Levi Dayan, a College first-year enrolled in DrugsCo, an ExCo Clark teaches that focuses on drug education, also expressed concern that people may not be aware of the contents of a drug and potential effects before they choose to use it. “Coke is rarely pure and often mixed with other elements to make it cheaper, so when people do coke on campus, they really need to go in with a special sense of awareness of what they’re using,” wrote Dayan in an email to the Review. Cocaine is one of many drugs on campus that has been tested and shown to contain other substances. “On this campus, we’ve tested cocaine that has popped up for alpha-PVP, which is a synthetic cathinone known as flakka. … [It] is very unpredictable and can cause serious physiological side-effects, as well as addiction,” Clark said. “We’ve tested for supposed ketamine that had no results on our chart; we don’t know what it actually was. We tested supposed DMT that also had no results on our chart.”
When deciding what to do about the laced drugs proliferating at Oberlin, the College administration finds itself in a difficult position. “We have a Department of Education mandate to essentially implement programming that supports the Drug Free Campuses and Communities Act,” said Director of Health Promotion for Students Eddie Gisemba. “If we don’t [implement that programming], then we can’t receive federal funds. If we don’t receive federal funds, we can no longer exist as an institution, because a lot of the students rely on that support to attend college here. … [In addition,] we are liable to fines if we do not abide by federal policy. … As it goes for SSDP, I think we’ve [engaged in] the conversation that can be facilitated between what are the policies that we can re-engage and consider modifying versus what can’t we do. We can’t allow unlawful use.” For Gisemba, the scope of lawful use extends to the testing done on the purity of substance Clark described above. “As a public health professional, I’m kind of in an odd position in that regard,” Gisemba said. “It’s kind of hard to say ‘Don’t do drugs’ and then ‘Here are some testing strips See Student, page 3
HIV Peer Testing Center in Time of Transition
HIV Peer Testers Co-Coordinator and College junior Sadie Munter and former peer tester and College junior Olly Millar examine paperwork in Wilder Hall, room 308. Photo by Meg Parker, Photo Editor
Ella Moxley Senior Staff Writer Oberlin’s HIV Peer Testing has been unable to offer private, free HIV tests for the past semester due to statelevel changes in health funding and newly-updated standard practices around HIV testing. They anticipate that they will not be able to continue these services until spring 2021. The state level changes affect the group’s ability to utilize the Ohio Department of Health’s resources to confirm positive test results. Oberlin HIVPT has historically only been able to perform oral HIV tests, which are slightly less accurate than blood tests. Oral tests can produce false positives or inconclusive results, meaning a consequent blood test must be used to confirm results. “[Previously] in the case of a positive result, we would reach out to the Disease Intervention Specialist for Lorain County,” said HIVPT Co-Coordinator and College junior Sadie Munter. “But now that policies have shifted, that is no longer going to be a possibility. They are moving towards encouraging those who do testing to
The Oberlin R eview May 10, 2019 Volume 147, Number 23 (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 second-class 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
have their own capabilities to have confirmatory testing and connect people to care.” Before the change, the state allocated one DIS per county. Now there will only be one DIS per every five counties. “All of our tests are considered preliminary positives because of type of test we use,” said HIVPT CoCoordinator and College senior Joey Flegel-Mishlove. “If we ever get a test that comes up reactive, we have to do another confirmatory test. And because we haven’t been allowed to use blood tests as students, and a confirmatory test has to be a blood test, we’ve had to bring in someone else to do that confirmatory test.” Under new policies, HIV testing programs are expected to perform their own confirmatory tests. Oberlin peer testers have spent the last semester trying to determine a path forward for the organization. “We realized that we are not comfortable continuing testing until we can find a way to get students connected to a confirmatory blood test in the same day as their initial test, should the initial test be reactive,” FlegelMishlove wrote in an email to the Review. “We are working with several groups ... to establish the relationships and resources we need to make this a reality. In the meantime, we cannot continue testing knowing that we are not providing Oberlin students the best care possible.” One option is to have students administer a fingerprick test. However, this presents several difficulties, including receiving approval from the College, additional training, and ensuring peer testers’ comfort with blood. Additionally, HIV cannot be transmitted through saliva, but switching to a blood test could expose peer testers to a slight risk of transmission. Best practice guidelines have also changed to encourage groups like Oberlin HIVPT to deliver results within the same appointment. Previously, after a student would come to the peer testers to receive an oral HIV test, they then had to schedule a second appointment to pick up their results. Oberlin’s HIV Peer Testing Center does not receive funding from the Ohio Department of Health and are not required to follow this guideline, however, they still view it as an important goal of the organization. “There is a chance that somebody could have a reactive
Sydney Allen Nathan Carpenter Managing Editor Ananya Gupta News Editors Anisa Curry Vietze Jenna Gyimesi Opinions Editor Jackie Brant This Week Editor Mikaela Fishman Arts Editors Kate Fishman Katherine MacPhail Sports Editors Jane Agler Alexis Dill Photo Editors Mallika Pandey Meg Parker Senior Staff Writers Carson Dowhan Roman Broszkowski Julie Schreiber Ella Moxley
test and not come back for their result appointment,” Flegel-Mishlove said. “We would have this information about them that we would need to get to them, but we would have no way [of ] getting it to them because most of our tests are anonymous.” College first-year Zoë Martin del Campo also views this as an important change for the testers because when she got tested, she received inconclusive results. She got a call from the school telling her she would need to be retested by the DIS. “[Receiving results immediately] definitely would have been nice at least for my experience,” Martin del Campo said. “It was scary just because I didn’t know what was going to happen.” Currently, the group is discussing a partnership with Student Health Services to arrange confirmatory testing. However, Flegel-Mishlove explains that this too presents challenges. “Student Health would need to get trained to do rapid tests, but the main problem with Student Health is that they don’t feel like they have the capacity to take that on,” Flegel-Mishlove said. “It would require them to be on call whenever we are open … and they have a pretty small staff, and they often have people in appointments with them.” Other options include sending students to Mercy Allen Hospital, but Flegel-Mishlove is hesitant about this. “We know so many students have had really bad experiences at Mercy [Allen Hospital],” Flegel-Mishlove said. “We are not particularly excited about that idea. … We also like that all of our tests are free, and we want to keep that a part of our mission, and we aren’t sure what it would [cost if we directed students to the hospital].” Though the in-house HIV testing will be discontinued until a solution can be found, the group has plans to provide resources in alternative ways. Last Thursday, members of the Lorain County Health Department came to campus to administer tests. Over the next few semesters, HIVPT hopes to bring in more outside testers. The group also hopes to focus on educational efforts, including bringing in speakers and hosting events on drugs that can lower the chance of contracting HIV either before or after exposure to the virus, such as PrEP and PEP.
Parker Shatkin Corrections: Jake Butcher Lila Michaels Lillian Jones Business Manager Jared Steinberg To submit a correction, email managingeditor@ Ads Manager Jabree Hason oberlinreview.org. Web Manager Sage Vouse Production Manager Giselle Glaspie Production Staff Christo Hays Olive Hwang Lior Krancer Devyn Malouf Madi Mettenburg Allison Schmitt Annie Schoonover Ivy Fernandez Smith Layout Editors
Big Parade Wows Community
Security Notebook Thursday, May 2, 2019 7:01 a.m. Campus Safety officers and members of the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm in a room on the third floor of South Hall. While in the room in question, two bongs, a grinder, and glass jar containing a substance consistent with marijuana were observed in plain view. The items were turned over to the Oberlin Police Department. Facilities Operations responded to replace the smoke detector and the alarm was reset. 11:00 p.m. Officers responded to an anonymous report of a non-student inside Talcott Hall who was not supposed to be on campus. The individual was located and taken into custody by the Oberlin Police Department and was charged with trespassing and theft.
Friday, May 3, 2019 10:50 a.m. Officers were requested to assist an ill student at Barrows Hall. The student was transported to Mercy Allen Hospital for treatment. Students, faculty, and community members of all ages marched handcrafted costumes, puppets, and intricate floats through the streets of Oberlin on the morning of Saturday, May 4 as a part of the annual Big Parade. Since 2002, this celebration has showcased creative expression and community in downtown Oberlin. Paraders begin working on their floats and costumes months in advance of the parade. This year, community members led workshops in the Oberlin Public Library to teach origami, large-scale masks, puppets, and other wearable art in order to encourage innovation and creativity. Additionally, the maker-space behind the Oberlin College Student Health Services building held several open workspace hours throughout the spring to allow paraders to work on their creations. Participants and onlookers alike gathered in Tappan Square afterward to celebrate and enjoy food and music. Text by Lu Zucker, Staff Writer Photo by Chris Schmucki
Student Group Administers Drug Purity Tests Continued from page 2
to test your drugs.’ … It seems like enabling.” Some students feel that the administration should not interfere with drug culture on campus. “When the administration gets involved with drug stuff, they just f**k it up,” said College senior Jackson Zinn-Rowthorn. “One of the reasons that drug culture is so well-managed at Oberlin is because the administration has taken a step back. I don’t know exactly the reasons, but that level of trust makes it healthier.” However, Clark expressed concerns about the lack of clarity around administrative action once they do become involved. “There aren’t many clearly written stipulations that are easily accessible by students that tell them exactly what to expect if they have a substance-related discussion with someone in a position of authority in this school,” Clark said. “People don’t know what will happen to them after they get brought into Mercy [Allen Hospital] for substance use, they don’t understand that. I don’t even understand that. I’ve heard mixed things from everyone that I’ve talked to.” Gisemba explained the College’s current role surrounding drug use. “If we find out that a student is using alcohol under the age of 21 or any other recreational drug, we generally send them through a sanctioned process where they have to take an online alcohol and marijuana course. … There’s a $60 fine attached to
that.” Gisemba said. “We handle the sanction and disciplinary process internally. And it’s to the point that if ResEd or Campus Safety finds a student in violation of a policy, [even] if Oberlin [Police Department] finds out this has taken place and they catch a student, they will send them to us. They won’t send them to the courts.” Gisemba also recognizes that one of his greatest problems is a general distrust between the students and the College. To address this, Gisemba is pushing to create peer-to-peer substance safety workshops for all first-years starting next year. No other college is doing this, according to Gisemba. The SSDP is trying to provide resources and peer support that cannot be provided by the College. “Even though this is a fresh chapter, the people in SSDP are willing to help,” Clark said. “It is obviously incredibly important to keep in mind that we aren’t mental health practitioners or physicians or anything within a fully professional context, but just when it comes to spring-boarding a conversation and being there to help find resources and move people in directions that help them make different choices and live healthier lifestyles that they want, then SSDP is there for that.” Gisemba recommends that students use the Counseling Center to help them find the appropriate resources, but that students should contact Campus Safety immediately in the case of an emergency. SSDP will have a table set up at Solarity tonight from 10:30– 11:30 p.m.
Yost Requests Hold on Gerrymandering Decision Continued from page 1
had also recently voted to change the state’s congressional mapping system. Last May, Issue 1 — the Congressional Redistricting Procedures Amendment — passed 75–25 percent, ensuring a more bipartisan map-drawing process in which the map must be approved by at least half of the state’s minority party. However, the amendment will not be implemented until after the next U.S. Census in 2021. “The lawsuit that the ACLU brought doesn’t in any way conflict with [Issue 1],” Bonham explained. “One of the things that it would do is strike down the current 2011 congressional map, declare that to be unconstitutional, and obtain relief in time for the 2020 election. It’s our position that even one election using an unconstitutional map is too many.” Lili Sanders, Oberlin resident and founder of Lorain County Rising, expressed enthusiasm about the court’s decision and hopes it will stand. “Regardless of what happens, the people of Ohio have
The Oberlin Review | May 10, 2019
overwhelmingly shown that they want a change — they do not approve of gerrymandering,” she said. “It was just a year ago that Ohioans voted overwhelmingly to have the maps redrawn. I know that the Attorney General is saying that that’s enough and that we shouldn’t confuse people by having different congressional districts from year to year. His argument doesn’t make any sense because out of the next three years, we only have one congressional election. What matters is that democracy is respected and that the people are represented to the full extent of their constitutional rights.” Garrett was also excited about the ruling. However, she feels reluctant to celebrate its outcome before the court decides on Yost’s request. “I’m really hoping they will let the decision stand because what we have right now is not democracy,” she explained. “What we have now is a system clearly rigged in favor of one party. When you get a system that’s so stacked like that, it paves the way for extremists, which we currently have a lot of.”
Saturday, May 4, 2019 3:12 a.m. Officers were requested to assist an intoxicated student in the firstfloor bathroom of Harkness House. The student was able to answer all questions and was walked to their room for the night. 5:59 p.m. Officers and members of the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at Asia House. The alarm was activated by burnt food. The area was cleared and the alarm was reset.
Sunday, May 5, 2019 3:08 p.m. Officers were requested to assist a student, possibly under the influence of alcohol or drugs, in Wilder Bowl. An ambulance was requested and the student was transported to Mercy Allen Hospital for treatment. 8:21 p.m. Officers responded to a report of three individuals on the north fire escape at Wilder Hall. The students were located, warned of the possible dangers, and came down from the fire escape.
Monday, May 6, 2019 12:42 a.m. An officer on patrol of Hales Gymnasium reported that the south double doors to the vacant Crane pool area were ajar and the master lock was pulled from the door. There was an odor consistent with burnt marijuana and alcohol bottles were found throughout the area. The building was checked and no one was located. A work order was filed for repairs. 4:34 p.m. Staff at Stevenson Dining Hall reported damage to one of their catering trucks. The rear passenger side of the truck was damaged with a 12- to 16inch scratch and the metal was peeled back. It is unknown who is responsible for the damage.
Tuesday, May 7, 2019 4:00 a.m. Officers were requested to assist an ill student at an off-campus residence. The student was transported to Mercy Allen Hospital for treatment. 6:44 p.m. Officers and members of the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm on the first floor of Noah Hall. The alarm was activated by smoke from burnt food. The area was cleared and the alarm was reset.
Wednesday, May 8, 2019 4:13 a.m. Officers were requested to assist an ill student on the first floor of Barrows Hall. The student was transported to Mercy Allen Hospital for treatment.
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Questions Remain for Union Workers Continued from page 1
“We were able to find, if you actually paid attention not to the job titles, but the job descriptions that are offered for each position … that our salaries are not out of line for the Cleveland-Elyria metropolitan area,” she said. Pardee added that, in the past, union employees have made recommendations for how to cut back on spending that did not involve cuts to employee compensation — recommendations she feels weren’t heeded. Lee agreed that these employees have unique insight into how to address institutional waste in ways that don’t compromise employee compensation. “We frequently offered other avenues for the College to save money, because it’s the secretaries and the financial folks — they are the ones who actually handle a lot of the budgets,” Lee said. “They handle a lot of the purchasing and the billing and payment requests and stuff like that. So these people see where money is being wasted.” Concerns that wages are being cut before institutional waste are shared by members of other unions as well. “We know the College needs to cut back, but we would like to see waste addressed first,” wrote custodial staff member Diane Fritz, who belongs to UAW, in an email to the Review. “Our concern is that we had no input before the recommendations were given to the president.” However, Kamitsuka and Skillings maintain that employee compensation must be considered alongside reductions in wasteful spending. Students, for their part, have been quick to support union workers. Many students have begun to sport laptop stickers reading, “I support Oberlin’s unions.” Others have advocated for hourly employees through public installations asking community members to share their thoughts on the AAPR process, as well as posters telling stories of how unionized employees have supported students in caring and personal ways. Many feel that important questions about employee compensation have yet to be answered. “There has to be a decrease in wages, but the question now is, will a decrease in wages still mean a living wage for the people that we’re [employing] here?” College sophomore and former Student Senator Elmo Tumbokon. “I’ve heard anecdotes of many staff members here who can’t support their families [with] their current wages. What would a decrease mean for them?” On May 15, the AAPR will bring their final recommendations in front of the General Faculty for a vote of endorsement. From there, the recommendations will be submitted to President Ambar and then to the Board of Trustees over the summer.
OFF THE CUFF
Sydney Allen, Review Editor-in-Chief
College senior and Review Editor-in-Chief Sydney Allen is a classic Obie with a wide range of interests. Throughout her tenure as a writer and editor, Allen has covered a broad range of campus and community news, including the launch of the Academic and Administrative Program Review, controversy about Gibson’s, and much more. When she’s not editing articles in the Burton Hall basement, Allen can be found on the field as a member of the varsity women’s lacrosse team, working with students as a Writing Associate, and getting coffee with the members of her PAL cohort — and she still sometimes even makes it to class. After she graduates later this month, Allen will travel to Indonesia as part of the Oberlin Shansi Program, where she will spend two years teaching English and traveling. This week, Allen sat down with next year’s editors-in-chief, Nathan Carpenter and Katherine MacPhail, to reflect on her time at Oberlin and look toward the future. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
KM: What was it that stuck with you that made you want to continue and commit to the paper? When I was a first-year, I was pretty shy, and so I think there was something about having a reason to go to events and go to certain spaces where I might not necessarily feel that comfortable of my own volition. And being able to go and interview organizers and faculty and staff members, and other students who were involved — and actually having a reason to do so and making connections that way — was really helpful for me. I made some of my closest friends and mentors through the paper and through stories I’ve done here. NC: This is obviously a very delicate moment in Oberlin’s history. I’m curious what thoughts you have about where we’re going from here? I’m really optimistic about where
[the school is headed]. I think this has been a really powerful year in terms of seeing the school actively work to introduce institutional change, and I think it’s pretty clear we have to do that. And I’m glad that we’re taking the steps to do that. I’m a triplet, and my siblings go to a similar liberal arts school that is also having financial trouble, but no one really cares or talks about it. The engagement around financial issues here is unique compared to other liberal arts institutions that are also having financial difficulties. KM: What are you going to do next? Will you continue with journalism? Yes! I’m super lucky to have received one of the Oberlin Shansi fellowships and I’ll be traveling to Yogyakarta, Indonesia next year. It’s a two-year fellowship where I’ll be working as a kind of writing tutor in a university. And they encourage you to also get involved in something else in the community because it’s not full time, so I’ve been talking to a lot of journalists in the area and I hope — once I get settled and hopefully learn some of the languages — to work in an English publication there. I’d love to get involved and keep writing or editing or something. NC: What advice do you have for me and Katherine and next year’s Review staff? I’d say keep trying to see the bigger picture. One of my favorite things to do — this is super nerdy — is to look through the Review archives and see what we used to write about, and see what used to be a big deal for Oberlin. And also talk to people who’ve been at this school [for] 20, 30 years. I talk with people who used to work here, who don’t care about sharing Oberlin’s dirty laundry and drama. You always find some funny stories but also some interesting perspectives on the school’s trajectory. I think getting as much of that information as you can really gives you a good picture of what Oberlin is, and what it has been, and what it can
Oberlin Community News Bulletin Oberlin Tax Levies Renewed After May 7 Election Oberlin voters passed both the renewal of the income tax levy for the city and the levy for the Oberlin library in Tuesday’s local election. The income tax levy, which supports the operating and capital improvement expenses and the city’s general fund, was passed 85 percent to 15 percent unofficially. The renewal levy for the benefit of the Oberlin Library, which supports the public library and its programs, passed 90 percent to 10 percent.
be. I think the archives are a really fun resource to use throughout different school projects and stuff like that.
Nathan Carpenter Editor-in-Chief Katherine MacPhail Arts & Culture Editor Katherine MacPhail: How did you end up with the Review? Did you always know that you wanted to do journalism here? No. So I joined first semester [first] year. Coming into Oberlin, I had no journalism experience, and I was pretty unsure about what I wanted to do with my time. I didn’t know what major I wanted, and I was really kind of aimless. About midway through I still hadn’t found my group at Oberlin or anywhere I fit. And so I started writing for the [Review’s] News section each week, producing some terrible, terrible, really bad stuff. It’s kind of embarrassing now. But I kept doing it every week. And then that same semester, one of the production editors quit and they needed someone else. So I applied and got hired, which, looking back, I’m super lucky that happened because I’ve been with them every year — every semester — since. I’ve worked my way through being a sports and news staff writer, to a production editor, to news editor, and now I’m the co-editor-in-chief with Nathan. So it’s been a fun ride.
First Church Hosts Walk for MS Fundraiser The Ohio Buckeye Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is holding a Walk for MS fundraising event. The walk will take place May 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The First Church in Oberlin, United Church of Christ. Participants must register for the event. There will be a one-mile route and a three-mile route and both will be wheelchair, walker, and scooter accessible. The money raised will go towards medical research as well as services for people with MS.
Sydney Allen Photo by Meg Parker, Photo Editor
KM: Is it true you briefly lived in the Review office? No, that’s a rumor. Well, kind of. I’ve worked commencement week for the past three years because we do a Review commencement issue. And ResEd made us move out so early — at like 9:00 a.m. I think I had maybe an interview or something and I just couldn’t move my stuff into Harkness and it was raining that day. So I just moved all my stuff into the Review office for the week. And I’ve definitely fallen asleep on the couch a couple too many times. Some of it’s still there. NC: What’s your drink at the Feve? I go to Long Island [Night] every week. That’s one of my favorite parts of the Review, actually — going to Wednesday Long Island Night after Wednesday production. We’ve been doing it for years. When I was a first, second, and third year, I wouldn’t drink of course. But I made a lot of wonderful friends that way. It’s a great way to build community with your coworkers. NC: Will you miss The Oberlin Review? Oh my god, yes. The Review has been my favorite part of Oberlin. I pretty much majored in the Review. All my professors knew I cared about it more than my actual English major and that it was my priority. It’s been such a wonderful experience getting to meet all of my closest friends in this office and through interviews I’ve done. I encourage anyone who is interested in writing or journalism or even who’s just looking for a community to get involved [with the Review]. There’s so many entry points of how you can work with the Review. It’s such an impressive and important part of Oberlin College’s history and its campus life. I think people should definitely read the Review more often and keep up to date. I’ll be reading it every week while I’m in Indonesia. NC: Unless the server is down. Unless the server is down. That’d be a bummer. I’ll miss you guys.
Downtown Celebrates National Small Business Week Northeast Ohio residents are invited to pick up a “passport” at a local business as part of National Small Business Week from May 5–21. At each participating local business, shoppers can get a stamp in their passport if they make a purchase over $10. Those who get more than three stamps from stores in at least two Main Street districts will be entered in a drawing and have the chance to win one of five $100 prizes. Participating businesses in Oberlin include Agave Burrito Bar & Tequileria, Ben Franklin & MindFair Books, Blue Rooster Bakehouse, Black River Café, Ratsy’s, and many more.
May 10, 2019
Letter to the Editors
Buffy Lukachko Excellent Bargaining Representative Candidate UAW Local 2192 elections will be held Thursday, May 16. As a union member, I am writing to urge my UAW brothers and sisters to vote for Buffy Lukachko as your bargaining representative. Dedication, experience, knowledge, and determination are all qualities of a leader — all of which Buffy possesses, and then some. Buffy is someone who will protect and defend the rights of all UAW members and isn’t afraid to stand up to management. She is a force to be reckoned with. Buffy has worked closely with the committee members of the We Are Oberlin Too campaign and the other unions on campus to reinforce our solidarity. She truly understands the importance of solidarity not only within the unions, but throughout the campus and community. Her union commitment is admirable. A vote for Buffy Lukachko is a vote for all union members. Tracy Tucker OCOPE Local 502 Administrative Assistant, Departments of Politics and Latin American Studies
Erik Villar for UAW Chair Brothers and Sisters of Oberlin College UAW Local 2192: I’m writing to you today to go on the record that I fully support Erik Villar’s candidacy for Chair of Oberlin College UAW Local 2192. Erik is uniquely qualified for this leadership position because he has worked in more than one department at Oberlin College, and there-
fore has a unique understanding of the school’s concerns. Erik began his career at Oberlin on the custodial staff as a part-time employee before securing a full-time position in Kitchen Maintenance. After five years, he transferred to the Transportation Department for a more stable work schedule. In 2016, Erik successfully bid on an open position in HVAC where he is currently a UAW Union Apprentice. This ability for upward mobility within our ranks is an important part of Erik’s union experience and has contributed to his genuine gratitude. Erik has served in Local 2192 leadership both as a steward and as bargaining representative. These combined experiences make him our best candidate. Erik and I have worked closely over the last year on the We Are Oberlin Too campaign. Together, we attended meetings and social events with students, campus organizations, professors, Oberlin College Office and Professional Employees, Campus Safety officers, Carpenters, and other unions in the Oberlin community. We have worked together with others to organize and plan events for UAW members and their families. The UAW Women’s Committee is grateful for Erik’s full support in our many projects and charitable works. All of these things have required time and dedication. Erik has been invaluable to our local union’s mission and recent necessary activism. His dedication to this UAW is apparent with all of the effort and time he puts into it. For Erik, Oberlin UAW is a wonderful second family, and Oberlin College is a part of his real family, too! His mom, Blanche Villar — an OCOPE member — has worked at the College for nearly 30 years. Erik’s personal history has intertwined with Oberlin’s for as far back as he can remember. He wants to protect that history as well as our union’s future here at Oberlin. He will ensure that the opportunities he has been afforded are here for our UAW union families for many years to come. The benefits our national See Letters, page 7
The Oberlin Review appreciates and welcomes letters to the editors and oped 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 email@example.com 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 | May 10, 2019
Volume 147, Number 23
Editorial Board Editors-in-Chief
Managing Editor Ananya Gupta
Opinions Editor Jackie Brant
AAPR Must Address Living Wage At their core, the recommendations that the Academic and Administrative Program Review’s steering committee will submit to President Carmen Twillie Ambar in just a few weeks are a vision of Oberlin’s future that is informed by its past and present values. Sure, it’s a vision developed by a 31-person steering committee, but that committee is broadly representative of many different parts of the Oberlin community, and the draft of the final recommendations they shared publicly last week highlight many values shared by all Obies. It’s worth noting that nearly all of these value-driven proposals have received broadbased support from campus constituencies, including the offices and faculty governance committees that would be at the forefront of implementing the recommendations and guiding them to success. Historically, this kind of consensus has been difficult for similar initiatives to build at Oberlin, and the steering committee’s efforts to reach out deserve recognition. However, this type of unity has yet to be achieved when it comes to the AAPR recommendations regarding employee compensation — and for good reason. The steering committee has not adequately addressed the concerns many employees, predominantly hourly union workers, have expressed about the future of their employment at the College. Specifically, the lack of attention to the issue of a living wage is a gaping deficit in the AAPR’s work. It’s true that the terms of union employment are negotiated through the process of collective bargaining, and it would be improper for the steering committee to interfere in those conversations. However, it’s also important to note that endorsing a living wage would be a statement of values, not an infringement on collective bargaining — and would apply to more than just union staff. Many administrative and professional staff draw lower salaries than unionized workers and are also at-will employees, meaning they are not protected in the same way that unions and tenured faculty are. Incorporating a commitment to a living wage into the AAPR recommendations would provide long-term assurances for those employees as well. While wages for hourly workers and salaries for administrative and professional staff are configured differently, the same commitment can be extended to both kinds of positions. Indeed, the steering committee has already proven itself willing to compare current (and future) employee salaries to the salaries of similar employees in comparable markets. In particular, the AAPR lays out that Arts & Sciences faculty at Oberlin make 11 percent less than their peers in their relevant market, while the wages of Oberlin’s hourly staff are 34 percent higher. These numbers are used to recommend that Oberlin bring its employee costs in line with relevant markets — this recommendation is, on its face, reasonable, but ignores the reality that competitive markets (especially for hourly employees) do not make the kind of commitments to their workers that a progressive institution like Oberlin should make. Those figures also reveal that comparing the wages of Oberlin’s employees to some kind of baseline figure — whether that baseline be the average compensation offered by our peers or some calculated living wage metric — is well within the AAPR’s purview. If comparing current wages to a living wage would interfere with collective bargaining, then comparing current wages to the wages of our competitors should represent an interference, as well. However, we do understand that the steering committee is limited in the degree to which they can comment on union issues, and that’s why we’re not asking them to identify a specific living wage figure at this time — those sorts of evaluations should rightly be left to the bargaining process. We’re merely asking the steering committee to articulate Oberlin’s commitment to the wellbeing of its employees — a commitment that should also extend to non-union workers, however those figures need to be framed. What we call for, essentially, is a general statement of values, the likes of which are already used heavily throughout the AAPR’s draft recommendations. For example, the steering committee included a brief paragraph expressing its commitment to positive relations between the College and the City of Oberlin. That paragraph included no numbers, and it didn’t need to — that wasn’t the point. The point is that the steering committee identified town/gown tensions as an issue they care about, and said so. They can do the same when it comes to a living wage. Over the past year, the AAPR steering committee has achieved a lot. They’ve proposed a path out of our financial challenges that does not involve cutting any academic departments or programs, an outcome that seemed inevitable last spring. To the contrary, new programs and areas for growth have been proposed, which together provide exciting options for Oberlin’s future. This path has been built on an articulation of Oberlin’s collective values. As the steering committee prepares to submit its final recommendations, we call on its members to maintain Oberlin’s commitments to its workers through publicly endorsing a living wage for all workers — both unionized and administrative and professional staff. If we as an institution are unable to use this language that simply recognizes the humanity of all of our community members, what does that say about the path we’re on? Let’s take this moment to have courage and stand by all community members, even as we continue to move into financial uncertainity. Editorials are the responsibility of the Review Editorial Board — the Editors-in-Chief, Managing Editor, and Opinions Editor — and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the Review.
Opi n ions
Senate Reflects on Year and Looks Ahead The Hotel at Oberlin’s Retail Space: This is Not a Metaphor? Serena Zets Contributing Writer
Madisyn Mettenburg Production Editor Last Friday, the Review missed an opportunity to report on a truly remarkable piece of sensationalism: a gold Prius, driving through three panes of glass at The Hotel at Oberlin on Thursday, May 2. Here were all the makings of a great story: drama, action, intrigue, no one getting hurt — and yet my colleagues at this publication let you down. For the sake of “not enough facts” and “come on, this isn’t a story,” we settled on something like “a picture speaks a thousand words.” You can see for yourself the grainy cellphone image of the incident, published last issue. Technically, it gets the point across. But in the crash’s immediate aftermath, something struck me. As I stood there watching the broken glass being swept away, the car being removed from the sidewalk, listening to scattered Doc-Marten-wearing onlookers murmuring into their iPhones that something, uh, weird has happened — but no don’t worry, no one was hurt — I realized that it was all wrong. The goldfish-bowl main lobby of the Hotel itself was untouched. It was the mysterious “retail space” that had been shattered, picked open like a hideous, gilded scab. The wall of glass that separates the retail space from the outside world is particularly useful as a mirror to side-glance at yourself and wonder if you walk weirdly. (Too much heel-toe? Not enough? Should my arms be moving more?). But until the Prius pierced the veil, I had given very little thought as to what could be lurking behind its serene, glassy surface — lurking beneath my very own reflection — until now. And as it turns out, it’s nothing short of ominous — a strange, cavernous dungeon, gravel-floored, cement-pillared, emanating odors of mystery and deceit. The truth of it was only exposed for one glittering moment before workers came to board it up, but I resolved to fix it into my memory for the good of the people. Is this something that we paid for? It’s a well-known and well-grumbled urban legend that some portion of student tuition went into building the Hotel. Could it be possible that we are complicit in this eyesore? If so, can’t we get, like, a Chili’s in there or something? When I did my extremely minimal research into the space, I could find no listings for it — not even any indication on the Hotel’s website that it exists. And it only becomes more disturbing the more you think about it. What kind of retail space doesn’t have a door to access a popular, well-trafficked street? Seems like any hypothetical business would be in trouble if no one could get in — or, I would argue, out. But maybe that’s the point. What could they be hiding from us? Now, my walk past those panes of glass has taken a sinister turn. No longer do I give myself a quick scan (cute socks) before heading across the street to Slow Train Café, Tank Hall, or wherever the rest of the world may call me. Now that I know what hellish dungeon lies behind those walls, I have to wonder: What does it mean that we have been kept in the dark so long? Could a Prius smashing through the façade of a profitable storefront to reveal its decaying skeleton be a metaphor for Oberlin College, or even the future of the liberal arts in America? Of course not. That would be a total bummer. Instead, I would now like to offer a list, still ongoing, of possible uses for the empty space: A Chuck-E-Cheeses’; a Dave and Busters; a Chili’s; a Chili’s To-Go; a mirror maze like the one from Us; a large indoor pool shaped like my face; a permanent, 24-hour pie-eating competition; a BDSM dungeon (we’ve already got the dungeon part); an aviary; an underground fallout bunker; an Anthropologie but it’s only the clearance section; endless fields of strawberries and wheat that can rustle against your bare legs as you await your gladiator husband’s return from war; an empty retail space that isn’t a metaphor for anything.
This article is part of the Review’s Student Senate column. In an effort to increase communication and transparency, student senators will provide personal perspectives on recent events on campus and in the community. This article has been edited for length and clarity. See the online version for the full article.
This year has brought unprecedented changes, triumphs, and challenges that impact all of the Oberlin College community, including Student Senate. It has certainly been an interesting time to be a first-year student and Senator who’s been thrust into an era of both uncertainty and hope. In this column, I asked members of Student Senate to reflect upon the events of the past year and plan for the year ahead. What Senate-related work from this year are you most proud of? Why? Kameron Dunbar, College senior: I am most proud of our collaborative appeal to the Board [of Trustees] to bring our student activity fee to a sustainable figure. Student life on campus is really hindered ... [by] our limited resources, and I know that campus activities
will improve with greater funding resources. Johan Cavert, College junior: I continue to be most active in sustainability work and was proud of what the Committee on Environmental Sustainability, the Green Edge Fund, and the administration accomplished to further those goals and advocate for a longterm commitment to improving institutional sustainability. Kirsten Mojziszek, College senior: Starting last semester, Caleb [Knapp] and I worked on adding conduct checks for all Senate candidates in an effort to prevent those who have caused harm from being a representative on Senate. Emma Edney, College sophomore: I am most proud of the partnership Oberlin entered with the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit foundation committed to strengthening college campus’ community care protocols, suicide prevention, and substance abuse and mental health resources. Bridget Smith, College sophomore: I am most proud of working with the College’s Winter Term Committee to help reshape Winter Term based off of the Academic and Administrative Program Review recommendations. Caleb Knapp, College sophomore: I am most See A Year, page 7
OSCA: The Problem and Opportunity John Petersen Contributing Writer “Oberlin’s relevance as an institution is more important today than it’s ever been.” So said President Carmen Twillie Ambar in the pages of the Review at the time she became our 15th President (“Off the Cuff: Carmen Ambar, President of Oberlin College,” Sept. 1, 2017). I think just about every student, alumnum, and faculty member strongly agrees with her on this point. And at the same time, I think most of us have also been convinced that Oberlin College needs to tighten its belt in order to achieve financial sustainability so that we retain our ability to positively impact the world well into the future. So the question that the Academic and Administrative Program Review steering committee members and the rest of us have been grappling with is, what exactly is it that makes Oberlin special? What are the elements of this institution that we need to preserve and to augment to retain our Oberlin distinctiveness? Members of the AAPR steering committee deserve credit and appreciation for grappling with these questions. They produced a set of potential areas of recommendations designed to, in the words of the AAPR draft, “leave intact the fundamental and distinctive elements that make up Oberlin and an Oberlin education.” In my mind, the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association is one of the distinguishing features of this institution. That’s why I find myself perplexed by the recommendation that the College seek to “work with the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association and the Kosher-Halal Co-op to develop a financial relationship that eliminates the $1.9 million annual negative impact on Oberlin’s budget.” The report expresses a commitment to working collaboratively with OSCA to identify cost savings to accomplish this goal. However, I fear that the conclusion that this large of a sum can be saved represents an existential challenge to the future of OSCA and to OSCA’s ability to continue to contribute to Oberlin’s distinctiveness. While I am otherwise favorably impressed by the AAPR steering com-
mittee’s commitment to data-driven analysis, it is not apparent to me that data was gathered to assess the value of OSCA to the Oberlin experience, or to consider how OSCA might contribute to many of the report’s creative suggestions for enhancing the Oberlin experience in the future. As an example, with a multi-million dollar annual budget, OSCA is surely the largest student-run business among any small liberal arts college in the country. The fact that the business is cooperatively owned and operated is all the more remarkable. One of the investments the AAPR envisions is a new “integrative concentration in Business.” The report further recommends that a “co-curricular experience will provide an additional set of skills and career-oriented training” for students in this program. Yet nowhere in the report is it recognized that this is precisely what Oberlin student cooperatives have been doing at Oberlin since the 1940s! I’ll confess that I am biased. In 1983, when I visited Oberlin as a prospective student, it was the co-ops that sold me on coming — I was flabbergasted that this unique ongoing experiment in grassroots democracy and entrepreneurship had not been featured in the College’s promotional materials. No other school then or now has anything comparable. I did well in my courses at Oberlin and benefited from excellent teaching. However, I still maintain that the most important professional skills I developed at Oberlin — skills such as how to facilitate a meeting, how to manage a budget, how to follow through on major projects, how to organize a disparate group of people to achieve a common goal — were developed and honed through my experiences in Oberlin’s co-ops. Many of my closest friends at Oberlin and many of the students I have worked with during my 18 years on the faculty here tell me the same thing. As former OSCA President Stewart Kohl, OC ’77, is quoted as saying in the Oberlin Alumni Magazine, “Co-ops touch the lives of a significant percentage of students who come through Oberlin. ... If you were to list the institutions that really make a difference in the lives of students in
their years at Oberlin, I think the coops would rank pretty darn high.” If the name “Kohl” sounds familiar, it is because of his enduring commitment to the College — he served as a member of the Board of Trustees for 12 years from 2003–2015 and stepped in at a crucial fundraising moment for Oberlin with a $5 million gift to complete the Jazz Studies building which now bears his name. Like Stewart, many former OSCA members have leveraged their co-op experiences in leadership positions in nonprofits, government, academia, business, philanthropy, and the corporate world. To be fair to the AAPR steering committee, their charge was to consider how Oberlin College might achieve sustainable excellence. The strength and also the weakness of OSCA is that it is not, in fact, Oberlin College; it is a student-owned and run cooperative business which makes its own decisions. This is what I believe explains the absence of a clear consideration of the unique current and future value of OSCA to the Oberlin experience. And I believe that the solution to this problem is a commitment on the part of both Oberlin College and OSCA to a rigorous assessment of OSCA’s value and the articulation of a clear and shared vision moving forward. I support a data gathering process that surveys and interviews alumni and current students to determine the ways in which careers and life choices have been affected specifically by OSCA and the myriad ways that OSCA might be more fully integrated into College programming. I am convinced that OSCA has much to contribute to many of the proposals put forward in the AAPR report — a Business concentration, a Public Health concentration, capstone experiences in a variety of majors, Winter Term opportunities, ExCo courses, novel programming with Center for Innovation and Impact and LaunchU, better integration with Career Services, etc. I am not suggesting that discussions can’t include creative ideas for cost savings. But I worry that the assumption that $1.9 million can be recovered by the College from OSCA is not a very collaborative or cooperative place to start.
A Year in Review for Student Senate Community Should Promote Oberlin’s Green Fire Station Continued from page 6
proud of the work done in relation to [the] AAPR this year. It has been particularly moving and impactful to see how engaged people have been throughout the process. Student Senate has worked tirelessly throughout the semester to make sure that students and community members have access to information impacting the AAPR process. Patrick Powers, College sophomore: We got food in the McGregor Skybar, providing a vital resource for [Conservatory] students who need to eat and don’t have time to run to Stevenson Dining Hall. We also helped set up a number of institutional mediums for student feedback in CDS. EmmaLia Mariner, College senior: I am really glad that I had the opportunity to elevate the voices of people who use the Multicultural Resource Center when the MRC was facing a decrease in staff from four to one and the College was searching for a new director.
What do you think the state of Senate is? What are you excited to work on next year? Dunbar: I think the current state of Senate is reflective of the current state of Oberlin. Now is an appropriate time for internal reflection. Many seniors who have been strong participants in student government will be leaving this May, so it’s time for folks to really step into and embrace the leadership roles that are essential to Senate’s stability and success. There’s often little direction for how to do our roles well, whatever they may be. When this is the case, we really have to think creatively about how to own our ideas, our passions, our jobs, and our values in a setting where they will constantly be challenged. Renzo Mayhall, College first-year: I think that the current state of Senate is one that I’m really proud of in some ways, but in other ways would like to change. Next year, I’m excited to work on food insecurity with the information we garner from the survey, as well as finishing and releasing an informational video about how to recycle properly! Powers: Next semester, I’m excited to see new faces [in Student] Senate. A lot of folks are leaving, and new people will be coming into turbulent times.
I’m excited to see how they tackle those challenges. I’m also excited to continue my work with campus dining. Knapp: I don’t think that I’d be the first to say that Student Senate as a body has made some mistakes this semester. No one is perfect, and I think that we’ve been working to try to address and learn from the mistakes that we have made. I am excited to continue my work in the Campus Community Working Group, in trying to understand and address community issues that impact students. Brian James, College senior: Senate, now more than maybe ever, has credibility and respect from faculty and Oberlin’s administration. I envision the future of Senate to be more well-respected and open with the student body. I would like [the] student body to be more heavily reflected within Senate (identities, majors, interests) and have a better [rapport] with the student body as a whole. Serena Zets, College first-year: In my eyes, the future of Student Senate is uncertain. I plan on stepping down from Senate at the end of this semester because it has ended up being a very different space than the one that I ran for a position on. I firmly believe that Senate has the capacity to do good work, but I have found that it is not an effective platform for the work that I hope to do during my time at Oberlin. As Communications Director, I found myself constantly apologizing for Senate’s past actions rather than amplifying new voices or sparking constructive dialogue. Thus, this piece is most likely my last Review column as a senator. I hope that the next generation of senators will bring about a new era of change. I envision the future of Senate being more diverse and reflective of student voices. While I’m sad I won’t be there to see that through, I believe that I begun that work this semester opening channels of dialogue with student activists to explore the possibilities and limits of Senate as a student advocacy platform. As students, it is not only our right, but our duty to imagine a radically just and representative Student Senate. This school is your school, this Senate should be your Senate. I hope it continues to be in the future.
Letters to the Editors (cont.)
Continued from page 5
UAW has bargained for in our contracts over the last 80 years, have given UAW members a better life. It wasn’t just about pay raises; it was about quality of life and ensuring future members had a seat at the table. This is why we fought for paid holidays, vacation time, and health benefits in contracts. We will continue to support or challenge policies or strategic plans at Oberlin that affect any of this. We oppose any policies that are cruel and leave people to fend for themselves.
Erik wants the things we all want. Education! Fair wages! Health benefits! Retirement! Security! Dignity! Respect! Please join me on May 16 for UAW elections day. Wilder Hall, Room 112 from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Cast your ballot for Erik Villar. I will! Buffy Lukachko Member and Women’s Committee Co-Chair, UAW Local 2192
Athina Apazidis, Staff Cartoonist The Oberlin Review | May 10, 2019
Devlin O’Keefe Julia McCormick Bella Tuffias-Mora Clara Zucker Contributing Writers
Founded in 1853, Oberlin’s Fire Station has a long history of assisting its residents in times of need. However, many are unaware that the Oberlin Fire Department is dedicated to the Oberlin community in ways beyond protecting its citizens from fire and accidents. As the City of Oberlin planned for a new station, they pushed for this facility to become the first LEED certified fire station in Ohio. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a program that awards certifications to newer buildings that are especially environmentally conscious. The program uses a point system; the more points the building has based upon green initiatives, the higher their rating is. As of 2009, the Oberlin Fire Station has a LEED-gold certification, meaning that its remodel was executed with strategies to ensure the station would use energy and water efficiently, emit less carbon dioxide, and provide a safer and cleaner indoor working environment. The green fire station was inspired by the vibrant and motivated Oberlin community that the firefighters serve and protect. “It’s a privilege and an honor to work here and for a community that takes great pride in sustainability,” said Fire Chief Robert Hanmer. With the support of the Oberlin community, Oberlin City Council, and the assistance of Oberlin College, the Oberlin Fire Department was able to remodel its fire station to match the environmental commitment that characterizes the community. Firefighters and architects alike considered many opportunities for energy efficiency and lower material impact. The reality is that there are environmentally conscious ways of living that can save money for an entire community — high expenses and eco-friendly living should not go hand-in-hand. The building’s features include rooftop solar panels, pervious concrete in the parking lot, a cistern that allows gray-water collected to be used for toilets, and a rooftop garden with plants specifically selected to mitigate water collection on the roof. The city and fire station are currently working with Oberlin Municipal Light and Power and Oberlin’s Environmental Dashboard team to pilot technology for continuously monitoring and displaying water and electricity use within the facility. This will allow the city to more carefully track resource use and identify opportunities for additional conservation measures. The display will also allow the city to better communicate its conservation commitments to the Oberlin community. If this technology proves successful in the fire station, it will likely be expanded into other city-owned buildings. The station additionally worked to find ways to improve firefighting, rescue tools, and tech through sustainable means, as a part of their ongoing commitment to environmentalism. The City of Oberlin and its fire department are constantly looking for new opportunities to increase efficiency and decrease environmental impact, including switching the types of lightbulbs they use in the station to LED bulbs and incorporating glass garage doors to utilize sunlight rather than bulbs. They also invested in upgrading the fire trucks to reduce exhaust pollution. There are many examples of other ways in which Oberlin is leading efforts to implement green firefighting practices. These include electric “Jaws of Life” that are used to extract people who are trapped and other tools that use rechargeable battery power from their solar array, as well as a compressed air foam cannon on top of one of their engines, used to suffocate fires and reduce carbon emissions. For several decades now, the City of Oberlin has been at the forefront of the environmental movement. We, as a community, have committed to stopping the use of fossil fuels for electricity generation by 2050, and the Oberlin Fire Department and future public buildings are just the first steps along the way. Members of the Oberlin Fire Department saw the opportunity to support their community and didn’t hesitate to grab it. Oberlin community members should feel so proud that they are home to one of the few green fire stations in the country.
SENIOR STUDIO EXHIBIT
IMAGES FROM THIS YEAR’S SENIOR ART EVA KOCHER
LAMEYA AAMIR ERIN WOLF
HALEY JOHNSON EMILEE TAXMAN
CALENDAR FRIDAY–SATURDAY, MAY 10–11 CHOREO & AndWhat!? Dance Showcase Oberlin’s hip-hop and urban dance groups, CHOREO and AndWhat!?, will present a free, joint show to close out the semester. Warner Main Space • 8–10 p.m.
SUNDAY, MAY 12 SASA Holi and Banquet 2k19 In celebration of Holi, a Hindu festival of spring and color, the South Asian Students Association welcomes all to a banquet, with color throwing to follow the meal. The event is free but a $5 donation to the Undocumented Students Fund is suggested. North Quad • 5–7 p.m.
SUNDAY, MAY 12 Celebrating 39 Years: Recital Honoring D Faculty and alumni will perform a recital i longtime Voice professor Daune Mahy. S works by Debussy, Handel, Wagner, Puc Puts, and Blumenkrantz. A reception will Warner Concert Hall • 3–5 p.m.
Layout and Text by Mikaela Fishman, This Week Editor Photos courtesy Senior Studio Catalog Photographers
MADELEINE WEILAND MEGAN KENNEY SPENCER ZAROU KATE TRAPNELL
Every year, senior Visual and RACHEL WEINSTEIN Studio Art majors put on three exhibitions to showcase the art they’ve been working on all semester. These exhibitions are an opportunity for seniors to showcase the culmination of the work they’ve done in the Art department throughout their years at Oberlin. This year, the shows were April 5 and 19 and May 3 in Baron and Fisher galleries. Each student showed a cohesive body of work in mediums ranging from paint to digital to performance and on topics such as sexuality, Jungian theory, race, contact improvisation, extinction, and surveillance. Photos of pieces from each student’s exhibition are featured here. ALEX FREUNDLICH
HANNAH BERK ELIZA KUPTA
Daune Mahy in tribute to Selections include ccini, Dvořák, l follow the recital.
MONDAY, MAY 13 Last Lecture with Charmaine Chua Assistant Professor of Politics Charmaine Chua was asked: What would you lecture about if you were planning your last ever lecture? She came up with this lecture, titled “Try Shit; Dare to Fail: Collective Possibility In and Against Capitalism’s Chokehold.” This lecture is aimed at first-years, but all are welcome. Science Center, Dye Lecture Hall • 2–3 p.m.
TUESDAY, MAY 14 CINE 364 Advanced Filmmaking Student Screening The screening will feature original narrative, personal narrative, and animated films by senior Cinema Studies majors. Science Center, Dye Lecture Hall • 8–10 p.m.
A r t s & C u ltu r e
May 10, 2019
ARTS & CULTURE established 1874
Volume 147, Number 23
Guggenheim Award Latest Step in Albright’s Storied Career Kate Fishman Arts & Culture Editor If you saw this year’s Spring Back performance or have attended a Contact Improvisation jam — either the weekly events or last Sunday’s special 12-hour jam — chances are you have encountered Professor and Chair of Dance Ann Cooper Albright. On April 9 of this year, Albright was awarded a fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, one of the most prestigious grants possible for work in the arts. There are typically over 3,000 applicants for the award every year, whose work is then reviewed by peers in their field. Albright was one of 168 candidates selected to receive a grant in 2019. The Guggenheim rewards careers that exhibit thoughtful and impressive trajectories, with a look to future projects that would continue that reach. Applying for a grant was a practical choice for Albright, though — she had a project she wanted to work on. “If you want to create a situation where you get a year paid leave [at Oberlin], you can apply for research status,” she explained. “In order to apply for research status, you have to apply to at least two sources outside the College.” This particular accolade is historically awarded mid-career — but this also means the application process is a rigorous one, and attracts many qualified applicants. “The thing that’s different about a Guggenheim, which is kind of interesting, is that it also requires a career narrative,”
Albright said. “And the career narrative is pretty hard to write, actually. It’s not, like, easy, it’s not just … ‘Here’s my CV.’ It has to have some kind of conceptual depth to it.” Albright’s career treads two lines often presented as opposing — body and mind. Working on her Guggenheim application and then winning the grant validated her belief in the fortitude of these intersections — the foundation’s president told her that he appreciated how her work combines theory and practice. This assessment was icing on the cake for her. “Somewhere along the way, philosophy and dance leaned into one another, beginning a duet that would lead to a life spent thinking and moving,” she read to me from the career narrative she had written. Albright’s students share this assessment. “In response to the College’s shift to ‘job readiness,’ she once explained the value of her classes,” College junior Zach Arfa, a Dance minor, wrote in an email to the Review. “She told us that the skills we’re learning are for when you’re 45 and you get fired from your job the same week you get divorced. Learning to survive and navigate in disorientation and suspension are critical to dealing with huge life changes. [Albright] is incredible at connecting the physical practices we learn to the real life implications that they have.” These real life applications were critical for another longtime student of hers, College senior Charlotte Andrews. “[Albright] emphasizes the importance of falling and risk-taking physically, but
also in all components of one’s life,” Andrews wrote in an email to the Review. “Because of [Albright], I trust myself to be able to improvise and land safely when I fall on the dance floor, but she has also helped me improvise and land safely in the face of rejection letters for summer internships, finding new possibilities where I thought there were none.” In addition to being Dance department chair, Albright is the president of the Society of Dance History Scholars and the creator of Oberlin’s Girls in Motion program, which has been active for 14 years. She’s also a frequently-published scholar, a mother, and an active teacher in the studio each semester. Albright has authored seven books, five of which were solo endeavors and two of which were collaborative anthology works. Albright’s most recent book, How to Land: Finding Ground in an Unstable World, was released just last year. Analyzing technological disembodiment in a post-9/11 world, Albright examines the phenomenon of falling in our culture and the effect it has on our experience living in our bodies. In a review, MacArthur fellow Liz Lerman describes the book as a “startling awakening to the possibilities of living more deeply with our body as guide, host, and generator of sensation and ideas.” This book also includes inserts of movement exercises for readers to try out, which Albright tested with her Varsity Contact class last year. And as anyone who’s taken a class of hers knows, Albright’s philosophies are the underpin-
nings of the movement skills she teaches. “After taking several of her classes, it was such a joy to read the fully fleshed-out and articulated versions of the ideas she teaches,” Arfa wrote. “For me, the book feels very personal because I can imagine her telling me those things, and I can feel her words resonate through my body and the practices she’s taught me.” Kate Trapnell, a College senior and fellow member of the Varsity Contact class, agreed. “Exercises like Authentic Movement, where we try to move from impulses in our body rather than preconceived ideas about movement, have allowed me new ways of understanding and expressing myself, and helped me break movement patterns,” she wrote in an email to the Review. “So much of [contact improvisation] involves listening: listening to yourself, to your partners, to people around you. This is a skill that [Albright] has helped us tune into and practice, and I’m very grateful for her focus on that.” Albright’s next project will, as some of her others have in the past, focus on a particular figure — in this case, the dancer and writer Simone Forti. Forti is renowned for creating improvisational structures now lauded as groundbreaking, and combining improvisational dance and sound with critical thought, analysis, and written word. Albright is interested in the less-investigated aspects of Forti’s life and history — she plans to call the project Simone Forti: Improvising a Life. “The Museum of Modern Art in New See Dance, page 12
Creative Writing Seniors Give Dazzling Reading at the Cat
Senior Creative Writing students on stage at the Cat in the Cream after their reading. Back row: Rebecca Wood, Claire Wong, Jacob Fidoten, Madi Mettenburg, Gabi Shiner; Front row: Michelle Chu, Em Marcus. Photo by Abbey Chung
Lu Zucker Graduating seniors in the Creative Writing Program read their work aloud to an audience of about 70 at the Cat in the Cream on Monday, May 6, their final chance to present their work as undergraduates. The event was organized by Madi Mettenburg, Creative Writing major representative and graduating senior. Mettenburg credits the large crowd with the fact that she booked the event at the Cat, a popular venue on campus, as well as advertising the event in advance with enticing memes. She said the organizers of last year’s reading couldn’t book a venue in time, so the reading took place at
a professor’s house and had a much smaller attendance. “It was great that [this year, the event] was an hour, and people were in and out,” Mettenburg said. “No one was exhausted. Some readings can be exhausting, emotionally tiring. But I would have loved to have more readers. There’s not really a community for the Creative Writing major, but there could be, and I’d love if that developed in the future.” Mettenburg added that the event is not officiated by the Creative Writing Program itself and that if she hadn’t organized the event, it may not have happened. “I would love if this were an official event that happened every year,” she said. “It would show that we have
some sort of presence, we’re not just scattered writers. We can all come together for one night and read to each other.” Oberlin graduates between 20 and 30 Creative Writing majors each year. Students majoring in Creative Writing are required to complete an individually-designed capstone project as part of the curriculum. Under the guidance of faculty, each student completes a lengthy body of work, as much as 200 pages of writing. Some of the readers on May 6 read from their capstones, but many chose to read from their other works, too. Graduating Creative Writing major Jacob Fidoten echoed Mettenburg’s desires for more communal opportunities. “This was a lovely event and I wish there had been more like it during my tenure at Oberlin,” they said, mentioning that their first opportunity to read their work on campus was during their junior year at a reception celebrating students who had won prizes in the English and Creative Writing departments. “It’s important for students of writing to showcase their work this way.” Fidoten also expressed the desire for more opportunities for Creative Writing students to share their work with each other and the broader group of students, faculty, staff, and community. “Moving forward, the [Creative Writing Program] ought to prioritize giving students such opportunities instead of leaving it up to them to organize” they said. Among the students and faculty in the audience was College senior Nicki Kattoura. Kattoura is a graduating Politics and English major, but nonetheless made a point to attend this reading because he wanted to support other students and the energy they put into their work. “Our peers are working on projects all year long, whether it’s an honors thesis, or a capstone reading, or a project we’ve worked on independently,” Kattoura said. “A lot of this work is written [with] the intention of being listened to.” This week’s event was a wonderful chance to listen to that work, and bid farewell to the program’s graduates.
Indie Singer-Songwriter Anna Burch Gives Poignant, Intimate Performance
Singer-songwriter Anna Burch sings onstage at the Cat in the Cream on Tuesday. Photo by Mallika Pandey, Photo Editor
Carson Dowhan Senior Staff Writer Detroit-based singer-songwriter Anna Burch gave an intimate performance at the Cat in the Cream Tuesday night as a stop before her show at the TREEVERB Music Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on June 1. Burch has been a part of a few folk-rock bands in the past, one of which is Frontier Ruckus. Her stab at the
indie-rock genre is a stark contrast from Frontier Ruckus’ banjo-twanging songs, more personal and ambitious territory for Burch. Her song demos — which she wrote after finishing graduate school and moving to Detroit — caught the attention of the Polyvinyl record label. Burch’s deeply personal themes range from a relationship with a drug dealer in “Asking 4 A Friend,” her struggles with the nomadic lifestyle of a musician in “Yeah You Know,” and the stomach-turning feelings of new affection in “Tea-Soaked Letter,” one of her most popular tracks and the final song of the night. She sang over a chorus of airy harmonies and guitar riffs reminiscent of Snail Mail. “‘Tea-Soaked Letter’ was the last song she played, and it’s my favorite song of hers,” said College first-year Sofia Zarzuela. Burch sat down after the show to talk about her solo project and how it differed from being in a band. “For one thing, I have a lot more engagement with this project because it’s mine,” she said. “There were times when being on tour, I could check out in the back of the van and space out. But now, it feels more all-involved. Which makes it good but stressful sometimes — I do prefer it, and I definitely feel like I’m treated more respectfully than I was being a singer in a band.” The live midweek show was buzzing with interested students. Occupants slowly trickled into the Cat in the Cream as Burch’s set, which ran for about an hour, took place. “I write indie music, so I really like seeing it at shows — especially musicians who I listen to because I’m like, ‘Oh, that could be me! I could do that,’” Zarzuela said. Burch led her four-piece band, complete with two guitars, one bass, and drums, through a night of songs from Quit the Curse and from her new, unreleased record. Burch talked about the recording process for her first album. “It was very drawn out,” she said. “One good thing
about it was that we got to spend a lot of time arranging the parts for it. A lot of the guitar parts were super thought-through.” Her newest record was recorded in less time. “It was like two weeks, and it felt really organic,” Burch said. “It was really nice — it was home studio, but more set up and equipped this time. We got to play a lot of it live, and I spent a week doing vocals.” Burch’s live sound maintains the familiar tone from her 2018 album. This level of continuity left audience members knowing exactly what they would be hearing, and it was pleasantly surprising. The same flowy, ’60s-esque surf-rock guitar strumming patterns and chord progressions provided a platform for Burch’s smooth-sailing voice, at times backed by harmonies in all the right places. At one point in the evening, however, Burch took to the stage alone to perform a solo song. She hesitantly asked those in attendance whether they would prefer to hear a brand-new song that she was likely to mess up or a more practiced song that she could perform with confidence. The crowd’s response was resounding: “The new song!” Burch set aside her guitar and took to the piano, and Oberlin students were among the first people to hear the song performed — and Burch’s ease on the piano was a wonderful payoff. “Anna Burch is a great blend of sad girl singer-songwriter and ’90s-style angst,” College junior Aly Fogel wrote in an email to the Review. “The audience was pretty quiet that night and she was adorably awkward on stage. She has a really charming presence, which added to the intimacy of her music. Especially the new song she played on the piano — she’s just a great mix of fun lyrics and raw emotion.” Burch’s songs were musically light and consistent. They transitioned naturally into each other, and she warmed the Cat with her humble stage presence during the song breaks. Her music fit the essence of spring in bloom.
Seniors Strip for Final Time in OBurlesque Performance Aly Fogel Staff Writer Last Wednesday, the Cat in the Cream was packed with students chatting under the venue’s familiar twinkling lights, nibbling on cookies, drinking tea, and anxiously waiting for their peers to come on stage and take off their clothes. It might seem unconventional, but shows like these have become a celebrated tradition at Oberlin over the past four years since Oberlin’s own burlesque troupe, OBurlesque, was founded. Burlesque is a style of performance that is broadly satirical, parodic, and theatrical in nature. The term usually refers to strip routines in which the dancer plays at sexuality through exaggerated character routines or comedic bits. “So basically, the classic burlesque is kind of oldtimey, lingerie, slow-dancing, slowly stripping and teasing the crowd,” said College senior and four-year OBurlesque member Katya Bouazza-Salvá. “Burlesque at Oberlin has kind of really drifted away from that and is more definitely [about] doing stripteases, but is more comedic. It’s more body-empowering.” At an OBurlesque performance, the acts range from sexy solos to oddball group numbers to dances incorporating circus tricks. The genre is vaguely defined and held together by a similar aesthetic value of exaggeration and camp. On Wednesday, the audience loved it all, hollering in support and roaring with laughter. The OBurlesque show has been an on-again, offagain tradition at Oberlin since 2006 but was revitalized four years ago and made more popular than ever. The group has come full circle as the then-first-years who helped re-energize the organization completed their final show last Wednesday. Tech Director and College senior Max Robinson explained that past burlesque performances were done infrequently and on a much smaller scale. “[The Sexual Information Center] did a big Safer Sex Night [in 2015], and one of the things at Safer Sex Night was a burlesque number at [the] Cat in the Cream,” Robinson said, adding that the founders performed at this event, and then “found the [club’s] old charter and decided to reinstate the club, and I was there at the first meeting where they were trying to feel the room on it. So I got in at the ground floor.” Robinson explained that OBurlesque has come a long way since that first meeting. The Oberlin Review | May 10, 2019
“It was very much the sort of underdog story,” Robinson said. “It was all so scrappy, and we just kind of rolled with the punches. There was a charter, but … there was nothing in the charter about how to run a show, what the leadership positions are or what the performers are supposed to do. We’ve just been kind of building that up over time.” Since the club was re-founded in 2015, the club’s membership has increased dramatically. Some students sign up for just one show, while others become regular performers. The quality of the shows and the organization itself has also changed for the better. “It’s definitely become more creative in ideas,” Bouazza-Salvá said. “I think we’ve become better at choreography too, because the first few years we really had no idea what we were doing.” It was easy to see those improvements at the Cat in the Cream on Wednesday. Each performance was electric. There were many comedic acts, and some standouts included: a performance to Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” by a group that dubbed themselves SexyJack and the Hoebot Snaccs, where performers wore robot costumes; and a duet to “The Loophole” by Garfunkel and Oates, a song about Christian women who exclusively have anal sex to save their virginity. Both left the audience shrieking with laughter. The more traditional stripteases were met with equal levels of enthusiasm. This was the last show for some of the seniors who have been dancing together for four years. They went all out with their performances, choreographing both solos and intense group numbers to songs like “Teeth” and “Another One Bites the Dust.” It’s clear from this show that OBurlesque has grown as an organization, but behind the scenes the group has helped its members grow on a personal level as well. “I think I’ve become better at those [traditionally sexy acts] though because I’m more in tune with my sexuality and more confident now,” said Bouazza-Salvá. “Like for the [routine to Lady Gaga’s “Teeth” choreographed by Helen Stern] — she did some [wild] choreography that, if she had brought this up like three years ago, I’d be like ‘there’s no way I’m doing this. I cannot dance like this. I look ridiculous.’ And now I’m just like, ‘OK, let’s do it. Bring it on.’” Fellow College senior and four-year member of OBurlesque Helen Stern also mentions the confidence she has gained through having ownership over her sexuality in her acts.
“I think that [OBurlesque is] a venue for people to feel sexy for the first time — for themselves,” said Stern. “That’s something that I only feel in burlesque sometimes, because feeling sexy outside of burlesque can feel like it’s sexy for someone else, and usually it is. And creating a piece that you think is sexy, that you don’t care if someone else thinks is sexy, and then putting it on stage, … that’s kind of the idea. It doesn’t always get there, but when it does it’s really nice.” Despite these significant strides, OBurlesque still has improvements that can be made. The club often gets criticized for its majority white membership. Stern spoke to these concerns by explaining the club needs to be better at encouraging a POC membership and having difficult conversations without losing what the art form has to offer. “There is such a good thing inside of [OBurlesque],” said Stern. “I want to preserve that while also developing a really interesting, and sometimes heated, dialogue about what this is and what it could be. Because I don’t think burlesque has to go away because historically it didn’t do its job right. I think that there is a future where POC can feel this strong connection with ‘I hold the cards in what I display as sexy’ that, for a POC, I think is very important. Because that doesn’t happen that much. You don’t get to see that all the time. Even in the music industry, everything is kind of dictated — what is sexy, what is appropriate — and questioning that on stage, that’s what burlesque should be about.” While OBurlesque has work to do, it leaves behind a legacy at Oberlin that will continue to thrive. Now that the original founders are leaving, it’s up to the next round of leadership to continue with this growth. “I consider the seniors to be the people who I initially looked up [to] and the people who helped me to become at ease in this environment with this thing,” said College junior and incumbent Officer of External Affairs Jack Bens. “And now I just see them as friends that I share this thing with, and it’s really nice, and I wish they were staying.” At the end of Wednesday’s show, the graduating seniors lined up and each took a bow. The group is an eclectic mix of people who, as many of the members can attest to, may not have known each other without OBurlesque. The audience applauded each senior as they bowed. The final show was an impressive performance and a great way for the seniors to say goodbye to the community they’ve built and celebrate what the club has done as a whole in the last four years.
A r t s & C u lt u r e ON THE RECORD
Mikaela Fishman, This Week Editor
Mikaela Fishman is a senior Visual Arts major and the This Week editor for the Review. She researches, writes, and creates the graphic design for the centerfold spread of each issue. Her spreads have covered fun topics from creative dorm rooms, student doodles, bathroom reviews, to informative topics like election information and grassroots activism at Oberlin. She has been a beloved member of the Review staff and will be missed next year. Editor’s Note: This interview contains mentions of the death of a family member. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Katherine MacPhail, Arts & Culture Editor
Mikaela Fishman Photo by Meg Parker, Photo Editor
How did you become a Visual Arts major? Well, I came to school not knowing what I was going to major in. I had literally no idea. I had done layout for my high school newspaper and I always did art and stuff. And then my sophomore year I took two art classes, but I still didn’t think I was going to be an Art major. And then I was like, well, I have to declare my major. So I made a list. I looked at the list of every major at Oberlin and I wrote them all down and then I crossed every single one of them off. And then I was like, “Well shit, I have to transfer,” because the only thing I wanted to do was graphic design at that point. And then I went to talk to my internet art professor Jacob Ciocci, who was a visiting professor. He graduated from Oberlin and became a graphic designer, and he was like, “Yeah, you can totally go to Oberlin, be an art major, be a graphic designer, you’ll learn a lot.” There was literally not a single other major that I was even vaguely interested in. What do you like about graphic design? I like the process of making art, but I’m not really a big concept-idea person. Now I kind of am more [into that kind of art], but I like when someone tells me, “This is what I want it to look like,” and then I make it look that way. Even with the This Week spread, I’m still deciding what it’s going to look like, but it’s within a parameter. If I’m going to do a spread about doodles at Oberlin, that means that I’m going to make the spread sort of look like doodles. Whereas creating a piece of art is like, “OK, here’s my feelings. This is how I feel. It’s all going to be me.” I’m a feelings person, but I don’t really feel like I have a lot to say. I just enjoy the process of creating art. Can you tell me about your senior show last Friday? In senior studio, I was like, “I’m going to use this time to make all the different kinds of art that I want to make.” Like “Oh, I’ve never tried long-exposure photography. I’m just going to try that. I have never tried making an animation before. I’m going to try that.” I just kind of hoped and prayed
that some sort of conceptual significance would come from that process. My aunt Andrea died in July of last year, so obviously I was thinking a lot about that. We were close, and she died extremely unexpectedly — no one knew she was going to die, probably including her. And no one said goodbye or anything. So that was something I was thinking about. At the beginning of the year I started off with the long exposure photography. That was fun. And then I started making this animation about a Joanna Newsom song called “Cosmia.” It’s about Joanna Newsom experiencing the death of her friend. I really found a lot of meaning in that. The animation became a way for me to process. Night photos felt like they represented the big loneliness of life and death and everything. What I ended up doing for the show is I had this big studio room that was just mine. And I had these long exposure photos and I had the “Cosmia” animation. And I had these questions hung up that said, “Where are you once you’re gone?” “I am so scared to not exist,” and “You were just here.” Those were the big existential thoughts that I was feeling and that kind of drove the whole thing. Me and my partner [College senior Gavin Epstein] drove across the country over Winter Term. And in that drive, I asked them every single question that I could think of in terms of all of the things I had wondered about them, the whole time that we’ve been dating. I took the recording of that conversation and made it into a sound piece and that was playing on headphones in the gallery [during my show]. That’s kind of my attempt to understand another person completely, because I feel like if you can go through life and fully understand another person, then you have created meaning in life. I also have this video piece that was a bunch of photos from our trip, abstract photos. And that was another sort of way of attempting to figure out everything about America through these photos or summarize everything in the world briefly. Was there any sort of like feedback between that project and what you do at the Review? I say that I’m not really like a concept- or idea-based artist — I would rather just do graphic design — but I gotta say for this art show I really did get into the concepts and I really did get into the emotional whatever stuff. Whereas what I do for the Review is really, “What do I think would be interest-
ing and fun for the Oberlin community to read about?” And “What is interesting for me to learn about?” And “What aspects of campus need more attention?” What’s your dream graphic design job? I want to use my graphic design skills to do something good for the world. I feel like a lot of nonprofits and small organizations that are doing really good work don’t get a lot of credit because they have bad websites and bad promotional materials. I think you get a lot of credibility from having good-looking art stuff, so I want to do that for those people. I would ideally like to work with really awesome people doing graphic design so that I meet really cool people and do something useful. What has been your favorite This Week spread that you’ve made? I think the best design one was about the election, because it was pretty solid graphically. But then it definitely wasn’t the most interesting one because it was just how to prepare for the election. I liked the ones where I asked a lot of people for submissions, like the doodle spread. That was just super fun to see what everyone’s doodling. That might’ve been my favorite content wise. Something I’d wanted to do for my entire four years at Oberlin was review the bathrooms, so I was glad that I had a chance to do that in a spread. How do you go about making a This Week spread? I knew that it was going to be a huge job. So over the summer, I made a list of all these possible things that I could do spreads about, and my dad helped me because he really wanted to influence what goes into the newspaper. He had a lot of very good ideas. And so every week I look through my list and see what I want to write about.
That’s really sweet of him! One time I was doing a spread about how to go on a date in Oberlin, and I thought it was going to be kind of cute and normal. But then I was thinking of some really weird dates you could go on, so it kind of took a turn for the weird. My parents were visiting that week, and my dad sat in the office with me and basically coerced me into drawing all these monsters and making it really weird. Every time I’d draw something, he’d be like, “No, it should look like this.” He changed it up, but I appreciate him doing that. Is your dad an artist? No, my dad is a middle school math and science teacher. What? Why is he giving you all this art advice? That’s a major life question. But my dad actually does know a lot about art because it’s definitely in his family, and he is good at art. My family gives me constructive critiques on the spreads every single week. It’s very sweet. They’re very involved. Are there any stories you want to tell about doing This Week? When I did the scavenger hunt one, all these people emailed us asking for help with it, which was kind of funny. But that’s not really like a “story” story. Did anyone win the scavenger hunt? I don’t know because the prize is this sign — it says the real prize is the friends you made along the way. So you don’t really win, you’re just a sucker because you went through the whole thing and then all you get is this stupid sign. What if you did it alone and you have no friends with you? Then you failed!
Fishman displayed this installation at her senior art show last weekend. Photo courtesy of Mikaela Fishman
Dance Chair Albright Awarded Guggenheim Honor Continued from page 10
York contacted [Forti] about buying her dance constructions, which were all improvisational scores that are written about in a handbook she published in the ’70s, like the huddle,” Albright explained. The huddle is a contact improvisation score where dancers form a kind of football huddle and then climb out of it and on top of it, rolling off to rejoin the huddle once more. “That’s a score millions of people do, but somehow now MOMA owns it,” Albright said. She sees these conundrums over staging rights as an interesting lens through which to examine the ownership of dance art
and improvised movement. “The history of Simone Forti’s work is woven into my body and my scholarship,” Albright explained in her proposal to the Guggenheim Foundation. “This project draws on my extensive teaching and writing about contemporary improvisation as an ephemeral form of dancing that can nonetheless be described, historicized, and theorized. While I was living and studying in New York City in the mid-’80s, I frequently took workshops with Forti. I have hosted her twice at Oberlin, once for a month-long workshop on ‘Logomotion,’ and most recently for a short residency in December 2015.” The Guggenheim, as the practice of writing does, affords the opportunity to look back and become aware of
how the past moves us into the future. That wasn’t lost on Albright. “For me, the significant thing about the Guggenheim — besides the fact that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime grant, you can’t get it more than once — the thing that’s really sweet for me is that they take an ad out in The New York Times and they publish who they gave the Guggenheim to in The New York Times,” she said. “And my parents were such avid New York Times readers. I just think back and think, ‘Oh, they would have been so happy to have their daughter’s name in The New York Times.’ That made it real.” Albright will be on sabbatical next year, working on Simone Forti: Improvising a Life.
New Netflix Thriller Chambers Highlights Native Identities Jackie Brant Opinions Editor Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers for Chambers. Chambers, an innovative new Netflix horror series, premiered last month and has received mixed reviews amidst a growing genre of horror-themed TV shows. The storyline follows the main character Sasha, a Native teenager living in Arizona who receives a heart transplant from a girl named Becky (Lillya Scarlett Reid). After Sasha connects with Becky’s parents, mysterious and dangerous events begin to unfold surrounding Becky’s death, and Sasha attempts to uncover what really happened to Becky. The show features breakout star Sivan Alyra Rose, supported by numerous veteran actors including Uma Thurman and Tony Goldwyn. Chambers has been criticized for being too slow and incorporating too many elements of classic horror and thriller into one TV show. However, what the show lacks in pace, it makes up for in calculated plot themes, tenuous and valuable side plots, and superb acting. The subtle complexities might be easy to miss, but if viewers really commit to delving into the story, Chambers has much more to offer than a simple horror storyline. The series has received widespread praise for the diversity of both the cast and characters, featuring several Indigenous and Black actors. Furthermore, Chambers successfully uses experienced actors — notably Thurman and Goldwyn — to boost viewership and exposure for the new and less well-known stars. Most importantly, Chambers is the first Netflix show to star an Indigenous woman, and it attempts to respectfully portray the problems and complexities that Indigenous communities face on a daily basis. It also incorporates several scenes with a spoken Native language and historical anecdotes — one of the first shows to do so in popular culture. The series itself is anything but your typical horror
series, which is one of its greatest strengths. It portrays several intricate side plots that are both entertaining and valuable. Sasha’s relationship with her boyfriend TJ (Griffin Powell-Areand) offers a glimpse into the complexities of maintaining stable relationships in the midst of tragedy and familial disapproval. Sasha’s guardian Uncle “Big” Frank Yazzie (Marcus CaVoi) makes a decision to sell a stolen car in order to obtain vital medication for Sasha, portraying the difficulties of poverty and the health care system, especially within Indigenous communities. Sasha’s best friend Yvonne (Kyanna Simone Simpson) demonstrates the struggles of teen responsibility, as she is depicted taking care of her dementia-stricken mother while attempting to excel at school and prepare for her future career. While none of these sub-plots necessarily further the main plot-line, they are all thought-provoking and essential for the character development throughout the show. Many viewers have criticized the show for combining too many elements and trying to fit into too many categorical genres. There are elements of the supernatural, cult activity, demonic activity, slasher gore, hallucinations, seances, aura-reading, and murder mystery throughout the entirety of the show. However, the compilation of these themes adds to the show’s mystique. These different elements will be easily recognizable to horror film veterans, leaving viewers unsure of the show’s ultimate direction. Will the roots of Sasha’s behaviors and experiences be due to paranormal activity or demonic possession? Or might it stem from the cult activity that her family inadvertently takes part in? These uncertainties keep viewers guessing in a way that the average horror flick does not. Finally, Chambers strings together numerous different themes, which might be easy to miss if audience members are watching just for a simple thrill. One of the most important is the idea of consent. For example, the first episode actually begins with Sasha and her boyfriend TJ consensually deciding to lose their virginity together. However, throughout the rest of the show, decisions are
frequently made without the consent of other characters. Becky’s heart is given to science by her parents. Sasha’s uncle signs papers for her heart transplant. Becky’s brother is checked into rehab despite his explicit unwillingness to do so. Becky herself is forced by her father to participate in cult activity. Every single one of these nonconsensual actions ultimately leads to a turning point and downfall of characters in the show — crucial moments that could have easily been avoided if a character had been able to give consent in the first place. Another overarching theme is the name of the show itself — Chambers. While the title is obviously a nod to the chambers of the human heart, it is also a reference to the chambers that various characters are both literally and metaphorically stuck in. At the end of the first season, Sasha is essentially imprisoned in a chamber cell in Becky’s old house, which is where the climax of the first season occurs. Furthermore, by the end of the show, it seems that Sasha herself has split into chambers: a chamber of Sasha and a chamber of Becky. Aside from Sasha, it seems that each character is stuck in a chamber from which they cannot escape. Becky’s mother is stuck in grief, while her father is stuck in the cult. Yvonne’s home life is a chamber that keeps her from her academic and social responsibilities. Becky’s brother is stuck in the chamber of addiction, and Uncle Frank is imprisoned by the chamber of poverty despite his best efforts. While some viewers have criticized these as melodramatic, they add to the overall themes of the show and contribute to the show’s complexity. Overall, Chambers offers a unique and fresh take on the horror genre. Not only does the show highlight-upand coming actors of color, but it also incorporates difficult themes and narratives — many of which have yet to be offered by any other show. Further, the criticisms that the show faces are often at the price of what makes these shows truly unique — intricate side plots, hard-hitting themes, and a plethora of traditional horror elements that keep viewers on their toes. Chambers is not your typical horror show — and excels because of that.
NHK Films Shikoku Goro Documentary in Oberlin Director Fujimura Naoko and crew from NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organization, visited Oberlin to film an Oberlin College class titled “Living with the Bomb” last Tuesday in StudiOC. Professor of Japanese Ann Sherif and student volunteers held a discussion about Shikoku Goro, a post-1945 Japanese grassroots artist and poet. Acclaimed for his anti-war art, the discussion group focused on Shikoku Goro’s children’s book, The Angry Jizo, which is about the atomic bomb dropped in Japan and its catastrophic aftermath. Goro is from Hiroshima, and his documentary will continue filming in his hometown and at a symposium and exhibit of his works in mid-May. Sherif’s contribution to the documentary is in collaboration with a team of scholars in Japan, and she will also be presenting at the symposium on May 19 at Osaka University. Text by Ananya Gupta, Managing Editor Photo by Meg Parker, Photo Editor
COMIC Clair Wang, Staff Cartoonist
The Oberlin Review | May 10, 2019
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Jenna Gyimesi, College Senior, Varsity Athlete, Columbia School of Journalism Graduate Student IN THE LOCKER ROOM
College senior Jenna Gyimesi can be found on every corner of the campus. At the Review office, we know her best as our hardworking News Editor, but she is also a varsity field hockey player, an equestrian team and fencing team member, vice president of the class of 2019, co-chair of the Student Honor Committee, and a triple-major in Politics, Law and Society, and Philosophy. However, Gyimesi will be directing her efforts toward a different campus in New York City after graduation. Next year, the Oberlin grad and Staten Island native will conquer new terrain at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Jane Agler, Sports Editor
Although you’re a varsity field hockey player, do you also take part in many different club sports? Yes! I didn’t come here as a varsity athlete — I started [playing] field hockey here my sophomore year as a walkon. I’ve done sports my whole life, and I always had a team behind me. I came to Oberlin and did a few club sports, and I am so grateful for the friends I made there. I was seeking something different, maybe something a bit more intense and close-knit. I found that in field hockey. Had you played field hockey before you made it onto the team? Never. I hadn’t even seen field hockey until I got here. Field hockey doesn’t exist in Staten Island. I don’t know how much you know about Staten Island, but we don’t have field hockey. [We have] a lot of baseball. What was that like? I had taken the ice hockey ExCo, where I met a few members of the field hockey team and they told me that the team was low on numbers. So I shot [Head Field Hockey Coach Tiffany Saunders] an email at the end of my [first] year, and I didn’t hear back right away. I ended up joining the team a few weeks into the season in my sophomore year. I came in, and [Coach Saunders] gave me a stick and showed me the basics and asked if I wanted to sit in on a practice the next day. So I did. I got thrown right in and I’ve been on the team ever since.
Even though you joined field hockey, did you continue to do other things? I joined field hockey my second year, but I was seriously involved in fencing during my first year. Fencing was something I [discovered] I loved. I just had a passion for it, and I competed heavily all through high school. I did a bunch of competitions with the club team here throughout my years at Oberlin. My [first] year [here], a few of us even competed in the Junior Olympics. I kept fencing, and sophomore year I was even captain. Even when I went abroad, I continued fencing. I actually trained with the national [Belgian] team and competed in the Dutch student conference. It was a really great experience to travel with international students and to bond over the sport. You are involved in many different parts of Oberlin College, but I know you best as the Review’s News editor and my co-worker. How did you get involved in the Review? I became News Editor for my senior year, but I have been writing for the Review since the very end of my sophomore year. I like news, being able to talk to the people on this campus, and to feel like I am in touch with my community in a unique way. I’m proud of my job, to present information to students. I think Oberlin students really want to know what’s going on in their community, where they live, and where their friends are, and I am so happy that I can help provide that. The office is abuzz right now be-
Women’s Track and Field Win Sixth Championship Title
Women’s track and field ventured to Gambier, Ohio for the North Coast Athletic Conference Championship last week and promptly swept the competition for the sixth time in a row. Guided by NCAC Women’s Outdoor Coach of the Year, Ray Appenheimer, the Yeowomen finished with 211 points — 51 points ahead of second-place Ohio Wesleyan University. While the NCAC season is now over, a select number of Oberlin’s track and field athletes will continue to train for the upcoming NCAA DIII Championships meet in the next few weeks. Until then, however, the team will celebrate its success as the season comes to a close. Text by Jane Agler, Sports Editor Photo courtesy of OC Athletics
cause we heard you are pursuing a graduate degree in journalism. Can you talk about that? So I am going to the [Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism], which is not something I ever thought I would be doing. But I guess I should have, because I [have] wanted to be a journalist [for as long as] I can remember. I was that annoying kid that would shove a hairbrush in people’s faces and tell them that I was reporting live from wherever I was. I also carried this news notebook around, that I got from my local paper. I would take it everywhere, but I never really wrote in it. So I am on my way to graduate school, and I am excited to get to learn in different mediums. I’ll be doing radio, and broadcast, long form, and investigative. I want to figure out my area. I am very lucky that I got to work in print here, but I want to see where I’ll stick. Given that the Review is still in print, you have some experience with print media. How do you feel about the current climate around that? Print media is complicated. As much as the internet is taking over, print still exists. In some way, everything out there is all words. Even when you are doing podcast or broadcasting, my understanding is that you are still writing, even if it’s a different sort of writing. Although I am worried that people say [print] is a dying field, I don’t think it’s a dying field. I think it’s an evolving field. As long as you are prepared to cover what people are interested in, I think I’ll have a career. I also think that online forms can give you a lot more liberty online, in your ability to add audio and video, and to be creative in ways you might not be able to with print. It’s all new possibilities. Journalists and aspiring journalists are always asked about this these days, but how do you feel about the expression “fake news”? I think that it’s really unfortunate that there is fake news out there; I won’t deny that it is there. There is so much sensationalizing in media. Part of the reason that I am pursuing a higher education degree is so that I have the tools at my disposal to not contribute to that. I want to know how to research, and to fact-check, and to recognize fake news. Whether I end up on the production side or the writing side, I don’t know. But I want to put truth out there. If that means people
Photo by Meg Parker, Photo Editor
don’t want to read my work as much as an untrue headline that grabs their attention, so be it. But I won’t be sacrificing my values, or my integrity to get more readers. You’re on your way out of Oberlin and Ohio altogether. How are you spending your final weeks? You know, there are a lot of things I realize that I have never done [during my time at Oberlin], so I am trying to do them before I go. This will probably make people cringe, but I just had my first bagel [from The Local Coffee & Tea] last week. Did you like it? It was really chewy. That doesn’t mean it’s bad; it’s just noticeably chewy. I’m not quite sure, but I think Local bagels are supposed to be New York style? I disagree. If it was a New York style bagel, then it would be as big as my head. It was a really good bagel, but bagels are just so specific for me and where I come from. I’ve liked all “bagels” I’ve had before, but they aren’t bagels to me unless they taste like home. Not even just New York, but Staten Island in particular. Anything that deviates [from that] just isn’t a bagel. It can taste good, but it isn’t a bagel. So you won’t be missing the bagels here, but what about Oberlin will you miss? I’m going to miss the people. People really make a place. I will start off by saying that when I first came to Oberlin, I didn’t like it. It felt really small, I felt like everyone knew who I was before I even got a chance to show them. The same reasons I came in feeling uneasy about it, though, are the same reasons I am going to miss it. I have become so close to so many people. I am so grateful that my professors know me and are willing to listen to my thoughts and talk to me in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. I will miss all my friends, the bonds that I made and my team. I don’t think people realize — and I didn’t until I joined one — what a team can do for a person. I know that my team is always there and always will be no matter where we are. I’ll miss walking around campus and being able to find a friendly face wherever I go. I used to hate that. I used to love feeling like I could get lost in a crowd, and I don’t think it will be so easy to feel that way anymore.
Former Oberlin Varsity Volleyball Coach Runs for Lorain City Council Alexis Dill Sports Editor The primary election for at-large seats on Lorain City Council took place Tuesday, and although candidate and former Oberlin College Head Volleyball Coach Inez James was not one of the three candidates to move on to November’s general election, she had a memorable campaign. Last Friday morning, just four days before the election, James told herself that win, lose, or draw, she’s grateful for the opportunity to have met so many people throughout her campaign. “I’ve met people who are cheering for me, people who have a lot of questions, and people who already made up their minds — which is fine,” she said. “That’s the beauty of it. There’s beauty in a community that is so diverse.” James, who came in sixth place out of nine candidates with a total of 1,090 votes, was born in Lorain but raised in Cincinnati. She moved back to Lorain to live with her father and attend Western Hills High School before going off to Kentucky State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education with a minor in recreation in 1992. Shortly afterward, James was hired as a physical education teacher in the Elyria City Schools district, from which she then landed the head volleyball coaching position at Oberlin, where she worked for just one year. While on campus, James was also an assistant coach for the women’s basketball and women’s lacrosse teams. “I am the politician and the person I am today because of my players,” James said. “I learned a lot from them. There was a tremendous amount of diversity on my team, not just in race but in economic status. My players were outspoken and always voiced their concerns, but they
taught me the strength in being open, and made me walk a lot taller.” After Oberlin, James began working for the Ohio Turnpike Commission as an assistant toll plaza supervisor and kept that position for 22 years. She got her Master’s degree in special education from Ashford University in 2012, and another Master’s in clinical mental counseling from Ashland University in 2015. Her aunt, who was the president of the Lorain Chapter of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc., got James involved in her organization around 2008 — which sparked her interest in politics and a desire to get out into the community. James created the Feed the Hungry program at Greater Victory Christian Ministries, is a mentor and literacy coach for the Boys2Men Reading and Mentoring program, and an active board member and volunteer for the Genesis House, which provides guidance and support for domestic violence victims. She also started the Speak Up & Speak Out program, which holds a conference every year and allows for members of the community to engage with public figures, like Lorain City Schools’ CEO David Hardy Jr., Mayor Chase Ritenauer, and Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera, among others. “Being out in the community helped me get involved in politics,” James said. “I had a friend run for City Council, and someone told her I would make a great campaign manager. We talked about it and prayed about it, and I helped her win. I realized I have a niche and being out in the community helping others is something I truly enjoy doing.” Outside of politics and community service, James enjoys volleyball, reading, and going to church. “Church is the reason I have this smile on my face,” she said. “It gives me some
peace of mind. I read a lot of books about faith, but lately I have also gotten into politics, history, and self-help books.” Had she won the primary, James’ top priority would have been to reform the education system in Lorain. House Bill 70, which passed under former Governor John Kasich in 2015, allowed for the state takeover of Youngstown, East Cleveland, and Lorain schools, which led to the appointment of David Hardy Jr. as the CEO of Lorain City Schools in July 2017 — and has been a point of contention ever since. James, however, said that residents must be understanding and patient with the law. “This isn’t a new thing,” she said. “We must go back to 2013 when the state said that, if we didn’t get our grades up, they were going to come in. This has been a problem for a long time, and we didn’t prepare or consult the community or fight it back then. Now we’re simply reacting.” James said that she doesn’t see the value in fighting the people who were brought in to help, and has instead tried to address the issue by writing several letters to the editor of the ballot, asking the student board to put a levy in place. “Of course I don’t like that the state had to come in, but if you’re failing and they bring in someone to help you, it just doesn’t make any sense to me to fight,” she said. “One man didn’t come in here and destroy us. He came to help us, yet the media only puts the negative stuff in the paper.” James’ other two focuses were job readiness and public transportation. She said that Lorain County Community College should offer more programs to teach residents marketable employment skills and that computer and internet access are things that every resident should have. “You can’t talk about jobs if you don’t
Inez James, a former Oberlin head volleyball coach, ran for Lorain City Council in this year’s primary election. Although she will not move onto the November election, she said the experience was a positive one. Photo courtesy of Inez James
talk about public transportation,” she added. “Public transportation is important to securing a job, and it’s important for senior citizens. By bringing it back, senior citizens can delay living in a retirement home by being able to transport themselves to doctor appointments and the grocery store.” Although she didn’t move past the Lorain County primary, James has an extensive history in community service and politics and will certainly continue fighting for the things she believes in — something she said she picked up while at Oberlin. “We talk about Lorain as an international city, but [Oberlin] is an international college,” she said. “I love the people here. They accept others for who they are, regardless of background or lifestyle. In the world that we live in today, that’s important. They show how important it is to be strong in your beliefs yet respectful of others.”
Mapes Leaves Council of Arbitration for Sport Claims to Protect Mark on Baseball Women’s Sports by Discriminating Against a Woman Program History Continued from page 16
Continued from page 16
“I guess [Coach Abrahamowicz] just thought it would be a fun way for me to go out,” Mapes said. “I showed up to batting practice that morning, and he laughed and said, ‘I’ve got a plan for you today.’ He kept it a surprise until right before the second game.” Mapes isn’t the only player on the team who is versatile enough to play several positions. College senior and fellow captain Ian Dinsmore was a standout shortstop his first year, before transitioning to third base and getting some time at second base the next two years. In his final season, Dinsmore became the Yeomen’s ace, recording a team-low 3.09 ERA with five wins and just one loss. In fact, Mapes said watching Dinsmore thrive on the mound was his favorite part of his last season. Dinsmore expressed a similar sentiment toward Mapes. “Working with Mapes is one of the things I’ll miss the most about Oberlin baseball,” he said. “On the field you can see the great success he has, but off the field I’d say he’s an even better person and one of my best friends. He gave his all for our team every single day and constantly pushed himself and others to work harder, which is why he will retire as one of the best to ever play here.” Perhaps the next time Mapes receives a standing ovation at Dill Field, it will be because his #29 will have become the fourth number to be retired in Oberlin baseball history. The Oberlin Review | May 10, 2019
ited in scope and rife with methodological flaws. Conclusions drawn distort and even contradict data, relying on faulty reasoning based in gender stereotypes. The IAAF, for example, conducted a study on this after the Semenya case was first brought to light in 2009. Though yielding results that suggest there is a relationship between testosterone and athleticism, the IAAF research has been widely critiqued. And even if data suggest that naturally elevated testosterone does provide an advantage, whether that is “unfair” is a totally different question. It should also be acknowledged that Semenya, as a gay Black woman with huge success and global attention, is subject to a level of scrutiny that most athletes are not. These laws instilled by CAS and the IAAF have singled her out due to the way her identities intersect and challenge narrow conceptions of womanhood. Through their handling of this case, the CAS, IAAF and international media outlets have reduced Semenya to gross stereotypes, making her out to be “too masculine” and thus jeopardizing the integrity of women’s sports. The way Semenya’s story has been portrayed by numerous sources, both directly and indirectly involved with the court case, has falsely led some to believe she is transgender. Of course, transgender athletes also have difficulty navigating the gender-binary world of professional sports, as they are sub-
jected to similar policing of their bodies and abilities — this should not be ignored. But the conflation of these issues show how little some of Semenya’s critics actually understand the nature of anatomical and physiological diversity, and how readily they ignore the fact that Semenya was assigned female at birth and identifies as such. Semenya and the rest of the world are being told by the CAS that her inclusion threatens the impartiality of women’s athletics due to her so-called “genetic advantage.” At this point, it is important to note that there are many Olympic athletes who have “genetic advantages” that have only been praised. The most successful Olympian to have ever lived, United States swimmer Michael Phelps, produces about half the lactic acid that his average competitor does, in addition to having other physical quirks — such as his enormous arm span — that are physically rare and advantageous. This means that, while swimming, he can keep muscle fatigue at bay for much longer than is generally normal in human beings. Similarly, small statures are suited to gymnastics. Fellow United States Olympian Simone Biles is a full-grown adult at just 4-foot-8-inches tall, meaning she is shorter than 99.75 percent of American adult women. For comparison, 5–10 percent of adults assigned female at birth experience hyperandrogenism, the same condition that Semenya has. Given the vast diversity of human
biological traits, why is it that intersex conditions are treated as “unfair” when other statistically low features are not? If there are so many kinds of genetic quirks may assist athletes in their respective sports, what is really the problem? In an article written for The Guardian, former professional Australian middle-distance runner Madeleine Pape, who lost to Semenya in Berlin and has since become a sociologist, articulated the heart of the issue perfectly. “As a sociologist, I have now spent several years immersed in this issue,” Pape wrote. “I have seen so many echoes of my own experience in Berlin: an astounding lack of information, an absence of alternative viewpoints, a fear of the unknown, weak leadership from national and international governing bodies, and a stubborn refusal to dig a little deeper and reflect critically on where their views come from and what biases might be underlying them.” It is important to keep this conversation going so that the public can begin to understand what is wrong with the depiction of the issue — that is, that Semenya’s case is not to “protect” women’s sports, but is rather to suppress the success of a Black, intersex, lesbian woman on the grandest of scales. Although it is easy to get lost in the individual nuances and labels applied to this debate, the reality that Semenya is a human being, just like everyone else, should not be forgotten.
May 10, 2019
SPORTS established 1874
Volume 147, Number 23
Caster Semenya Case Highlights Barriers Facing Intersex Athletes Jane Agler, Sports Editor Olive Hwang, Production Editor
First-Team selection and an American Baseball Coaches Association NCAA Division III Mideast All-Region Second-Team honoree after hitting a teambest .403 with 58 hits in 144 at-bats and leading the Yeomen to the conference tournament in Chillicothe, Ohio — which Mapes claims is his favorite memory of his college baseball career. The next year, Mapes continued to hit the ball hard, but often right at a defender. Still, he led the team with 45 hits while batting .326. This season, his last, was his best by far, as he ended with a .441 batting clip with 63 hits in 143 at-bats. For his efforts, Mapes was named a nominee for Oberlin Male Athlete of the Year — the winner will be announced at the Obie Awards Ceremony Monday — and he will almost certainly receive All-NCAC and All-Region awards in the coming days. However, Mapes’ teammates respect him for more than just his talent. “What set him apart was his willingness to hold his teammates accountable,” said College junior Jack Marsjanik, the starting left fielder. “He never let anyone get away with putting in mediocre effort, and he always demanded the most out of his teammates — whether it be in the weight room, in the batting cages, or on the field.” Abrahamowicz came up with a unique way to honor how much Mapes has meant to the program over his fouryear career. Every year for Senior Day, Abrahamowicz honors his seniors by pulling them one at a time — after a strikeout or well-pitched at-bat if they’re a pitcher, or between innings if they’re a position player. The player receives a standing ovation from the packed stands, as the entire dugout comes out to give them a hug or a handshake. Mapes, who hadn’t pitched regularly since he was 10 years old and had only caught and played third base for the Yeomen, played all nine positions on the field before exiting the game.
Every year, there are several sporting events or stories that dominate social media platforms for a few days or, in some cases, weeks. This year, we’ve seen the internet flooded with news ranging from Tiger Woods’ Masters win and the New England Patriots’ historic Super Bowl LII title to the voices of NBA players after the death of Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle. Recently, the debate surrounding South African Olympian Caster Semenya has brought track to national attention. Semenya is a middle-distance track runner born with intersex traits, and on May 1 the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled she must take hormone suppressants if she wishes to continue competing. The two-time Olympian is a massive star in South Africa and was presented one of the most illustrious awards in South Africa, the Order of Ikhamanga, by President Jacob Zuma in 2014. President Zuma has said that Semenya makes “running look like poetry in motion.” Despite the support in her home country, the rest of the world has been consistently critical of Semenya. In 2009, she was forced to undergo invasive sex testing after winning the 800-meter event at the World Track and Field Championships in Berlin. The International Association of Athletics Federations, which called for the tests, stated that this was prompted by perceived ambiguity of her sex, based on her “deep voice, muscular build, and rapid improvement in times.” Semenya’s private medical information was ultimately leaked to the press, revealing that she was born with intersex traits, which in her case means naturally higher levels of testosterone production in her body than is considered “normal” for a cisgender woman. On May 1, the CAS admitted to discriminating against Semenya even while delivering their controversial verdict that she would need to take testosterone suppressants to compete in women’s track. Critics of CAS, however, have long been voicing concerns about the discriminatory and racist way in which the matter has been handled. Behind these rulings are Eurocentric norms dictating what women’s bodies “should” look like and how they should perform. When asked if she intended to begin following guidelines on hormone suppressants, Semenya responded, “Hell no.” Though she hasn’t formally appealed this CAS ruling, it seems likely, given her history of challenging the restrictions imposed on her. Semenya’s lawyers recently released a statement declaring that “her unique genetic gift should be celebrated, not regulated.” Her lawyer’s words get to the core of the issue: Does Semenya’s unsupplemented testosterone level really constitute an unfair advantage when competing against other women? Research on the effects of endogenous testosterone in female athletes often lim-
See Mapes, page 15
See Council, page 15
In his last official at-bat for the Yeomen, College senior and baseball captain Brendan Mapes hit an RBI single into right field to break the school’s single-season hits record. Mapes departs Oberlin as one of the best players and most respected leaders in program history. Photo courtesy of OC Athletics
Baseball Captain Brendan Mapes Breaks Two Records, Closes Out Illustrious Career Alexis Dill Sports Editor In the bottom of the fifth inning in game two of Oberlin College’s Senior Day match-up with the Hiram College Terriers last Sunday, College senior and baseball captain Brendan Mapes stepped up to the plate with two outs and two runners on. With a 1–2 count, he drove an outside pitch just out of the second baseman’s reach and into right field for an RBI single. As he stood on first base, the home team dugout erupted, Oberlin fans got on their feet, and Hiram’s first baseman congratulated Mapes. “Thanks,” Mapes answered. “But why are you saying that?” Assistant Baseball Coach Brandon Jossey patted Mapes on the back. “That’s the record,” Jossey said. “What record?” Mapes asked. A few seconds later, Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications & Compliance Mike Mancini announced over the intercom that with that base hit, Mapes broke Oberlin’s single-season hits record of 62, set by Andrew Hutson, OC ’15, during his senior year. In the 15–14 and 14–12 sweep of the Terriers, Mapes went 6-for-8 at the plate with a double and a triple, driving in six runs and scoring four times. In the previous day’s doubleheader, he went 3-for-8 and broke the career doubles record of 41, which was set by Eric Knight, OC ’13, in 2013. “I’m glad I didn’t know about [either record], because I probably would’ve gotten pretty nervous in the box,” Mapes said. “But it was special. My dad checked the record book throughout the year and was pretty into seeing which records I had a chance to break, but I wasn’t really paying attention to it. Seeing them so happy about it was the biggest record, though. That’s why I play — for them.” His parents weren’t college ballplayers like him or his sister — who was an all-conference pitcher at Division II Adelphi University — but they sacrificed years of summer weekends to drive the siblings all over Ohio to play in baseball and softball tournaments.
It was at a summer tournament during Mapes’ high school years that he first met Head Baseball Coach Adrian Abrahamowicz. The two had an instant connection. Soon afterward, Mapes committed to Oberlin to play college baseball. He ended up walking onto the football team as well, playing in all 30 games of his three-year career as a defensive back. However, getting banged up on the gridiron all year and then catching 30 to 40 baseball games in the spring took its toll on Mapes’ body. This season, he decided to experience his first fall baseball season and be there for his teammates all year long as captain. Because he no longer had to train for the upcoming football season this past summer, Mapes joined former teammates Milo Sklar and Sean Kiley — both OC ’18 — down south to play for the West Virginia Miners, a collegiate summer baseball team located in Beckley, WV. According to Mapes, he played in nearly 60 games and had just four days off all summer. Then, during the academic year, Mapes spent more time than ever before in the weight room and in the batting cages, taking extra reps. “We had extra batting practice as a team every day, but I made sure to take 100 swings or so off a tee every day as well,” Mapes said. “I just made sure not to lose my swing, because although it’s a quick season, it’s pretty easy to lose reps when you’re overwhelmed with schoolwork and other things.” When classes, practice, and homework took up his entire day, Mapes went to the gym to get a lift in at night — sometimes even as late as 11 p.m. Working out the night before a game became part of his routine. “I never really thought about why I felt like I needed to do those things,” Mapes said. “I wasn’t an offensive player at all before college, so I guess my coaches [here] just gave me the tools and told me, ‘This is what it takes to get where you want to be and have success,’ so I took that and ran with it.” In 2017, as a sophomore, Mapes was an All-North Coast Athletic Conference