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The Oberlin Review October 6, 2017

established 1874

Volume 146, Number 6

Students Demand Role on Board of Trustees Alexis Dill and Sydney Allen News Editors

fundamental failing by the administration. “Meredith has dismantled disability services one person at a time,” said Moreno. “She clearly doesn’t get it, and therefore does not know how to manage, nurture, and grow this non-negotiable and essential part of our institution’s services and community.” Though the vacated positions were never filled, Raimondo said the departmental reconstruction that occurred when the College eliminated the Dean of Studies office was meant to ease the workload for ODR staffers. “By creating the Center for Student Success, the idea was to bring a couple of different offices together — disability resources, student academic success programs, and health promotion — and have those colleagues working in collaboration,” Raimondo said. “There are importantly overlapping pieces of work already among those offices, and by bringing those offices together in a singular group, while preserving forms of distinct expertise, staff members may be cross-trained. This shift allows the center to increase capacity and thus to be able to better meet the needs of the students.” Due to the staffing shortages, the ODR has been critically behind all semester, struggling to keep up with appointments and failing to meet many student accommodation needs — including not assigning note-takers to courses, failing to distribute text-book enlargements or audio conversions, and at points, not communicating with students. President Carmen Ambar characterizes the efforts of the CSS as a way of compensating for those shortcomings. “The goal of that plan is to try to crosstrain people so that there is actually more support,” Ambar said. “That if you only have a certain number of people who can be responsive to student needs, that person is out

The Board of Trustees held its tri-annual student forum last night, giving students the chance to voice their opinions and concerns to the trustees before they enter their quarterly executive session. Though students raised a number of issues during a forum, discussions regarding potentially adding a student representative to the board dominated the evening. For many students, the forum — which was held in four classrooms in the King building — marks years of culminating work as the board is projected to vote on whether to include some type of student representation on the board. Although the board was originally set to vote on this issue at their June board meeting, it delayed the decision to this fall session. Chair of the Board Chris Canavan, OC ’84, acknowledged student frustrations at the delay, expressing a desire to increase transparency with students. “We owe it to those of you putting [the proposal] before us to give you a straight answer,” he said. “We just don’t know what that answer is yet or when we will give it.” Student attendees expressed frustration over the sparse communication with the board. Some said that because the board keeps its agenda confidential, students don’t know what information they should seek from the trustees. “We can only ask questions about what we know, and there is a lot that we don’t know,” College senior and Student Senate Chair Thobeka Mnisi said. College senior León Pescador, a Student Senator, said that students feel they aren’t included enough in the institution’s long-term planning. “We need to establish a permanent communication channel that works,” Pescador said. “We’re asking for that chance.” Honorary Trustee John Elder, OC ’53, commented on his experience of working with student representatives through Student Affairs Committee, one of the few committees that allows student representation among the trustees. “We hear from students involved in some particular aspect of college life, and we have them

See Interim, page 4

See Trustee, page 2

Office of Disability Resources Administrative Assistant Laura Krupelak works at her desk. The ODR’s interim director Isabella Moreno, OC ’94, resigned Monday, leaving the Office understaffed. Photo by Hugh Newcomb, Photo Editor

Office of Disability Resources Faces Staffing Shortage Sydney Allen News Editor

The Office of Disability Resources is under duress after the abrupt departure of its interim director Isabella Moreno, OC ’94, Monday. Her resignation leaves the office with no permanent full-time personnel and has sparked outrage among students and community members concerned for the future of the ODR. A search for a new director was announced in the wake of the controversy. Moreno had been serving as the interim director since January 2017 and was scheduled to resign Oct. 31. The crisis was made even more volatile after an email written by Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo began circulating on social media. The email, addressed to ODR staff, asked its recipients to “please stop immediately any communication with current student[s] and families about staffing shortages.” The office now has two temporary staff members — Laura Slocum, OC ’98, and Maria Zoraida Maclay, OC ’17 — who are being assisted by Associate Dean Matthew Hayden and Assistant Deans Anna Brandt, Monique Burgdorf, Chris Donaldson, and Brook Escobedo until a permanent hire can be brought on. Moreno says her early departure is the result of a severe staffing shortage that created an insurmountable workload. “I left because I realized that there was no intention to hire a permanent full-time staff,” Moreno said. “This week alone, there are 87 appointments on our calendars. Every semester [Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo] has been in her role, one person from ODR has left. And she has not replaced a single person. Now, we are all gone.”

Belle Espinal, Moreno’s daughter, posted a message on Facebook Thursday morning explaining her mother’s early departure. “She found herself handling a caseload previously shared by three full-time staff independently,” wrote Espinal. “[ODR serves] 23 percent of Oberlin’s student body. ... Each of these students come in and out of the office for regular, intake, and follow-up appointments. My mother had more on her plate than any one person could handle. She does not quit easily and worked day in [and] day out, believing … something had to change.” At the start of the semester, Moreno was the only full-time staff member serving the over 700 students who use the ODR. On Sept. 11, Slocum and Maclay joined the office as temporary staffers. This staffing shortage comes after two of the three full-time ODR workers resigned last year. The first loss was due to the Voluntary Separation Incentive Plan, which was implemented in April 2016. Jane Boomer, the former director of what was then the Office of Disability Services, accepted the buyout and retired in December 2016. This left the office with two full-time employees: Moreno, who became the interim director, and former Assistant Director Joe Young. In May 2017, Young announced his resignation, which took effect in June. This left Moreno as the only full-time staffer in the ODR, and contributed to her eventual departure. Originally, the Division of Student Life was planning to launch the search process to find a new director in mid-October, but the recent departure has sped up the timeline, leading to the creation of a search committee chaired by Assistant Dean Toni Myers. Moreno sees the state of the office as a

CONTENTS NEWS

OPINIONS

City Council Candidates Prepare for Election

05

02

Office of Disability Resources Vital to Community, Insitution

Hiroshima “Survivor Tree” 06 Medicare For All RepreCelebrated in Tappan sents Best Path Forward 03

The Oberlin Review | October 6, 2017

07 Voting Right Crucial to America’s Future THIS WEEK

Professor M. and the Wonder Women 08

ARTS & CULTURE

SPORTS

oberlinreview.org 14 Tennis Continues Strong Conference Addresses facebook.com/oberlinreview Intersection of Race, Aesthetics Season With ITA Performances TWITTER @oberlinreview 16 ITLR: Professor and Col12 On the Record with Ian INSTAGRAM @ocreview umnist Kevin Blackistone Blanchard 10

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Trustee Forum Opens Dialogue with Students

City Council Candidates Prepare for Election Sydney Allen, News Editor Alex Davies, Staff Writer Jack Rockwell

Continued from page 1

meet with the committee,” Elder said. “Our last meeting was with student representatives from [the Office of ] Religious and Spiritual Life. Then the committee reports to the board as a whole. [This is a] formal way in which trustees hear students’ perspectives.” Canavan added that there are several informal ways that the trustees gain insight into students’ thoughts and desires. “We meet with students a lot, [because] we would like to understand the perspective of students as best as possible,” Canavan said. “The challenge is in defining what is meant by ‘engagement.’ [Engagement] could mean many things.” Canavan said the board has no issue with receiving views from all constituencies involved: faculty members, community members, and students. He added that trustees make better decisions when they have diverse input. The controversy lies in whether the board should allow students to participate in discussions and to allow students to vote on decisions. “This has nothing to do with how we feel about Oberlin students,” Canavan said. “It’s about how we can do our jobs the best we can as trustees.” A reason they potentially would not add a student trustee, Trustee Amy Chen, OC ’79, said, is because students are only here for four years, while the board tends to deal with long-term issues. Students looking for day-to-day changes need to talk to the administration, she said. “[The board looks] at long-term issues, which is why [it] is composed of alumni and trustees,” she said. Mnisi argued that although it would be difficult for one or a small number of students to represent the entire student body, there are ways of mitigating this limitation. As the chair of Student Senate, she said the organization could hold a forum and listening sessions on weekends for any students wanting their voice to be heard. “This [limitation] isn’t a good enough reason for one student’s voice not to be taken into account,” she said. Very few schools — especially liberal arts schools — across the country have student trustees. However, students view that as an opportunity for Oberlin to maintain its reputation of being a pioneer. “I’m not fazed that 90 percent of schools don’t [have student trustees] because the ones that do are so valuable,” Mnisi said. “Those are the schools we should be looking at, not the 90 percent.”

Oberlin City Council elections are coming up next month, and with eight candidates vying for seven seats, local campaigning is in full swing. Five of the candidates are incumbents, two have served on Council before, and one is a new candidate. Every two years, the city holds elections for all seven council seats. The Review sat down with some candidates to discuss their campaigns, experience, and hopes for Oberlin before the Nov. 7 election. Council President Bryan Burgess, Vice President Sharon Pearson, and councilmembers Ronnie Rimbert, Kelley Singleton, and Linda Slocum will each be running as incumbents. William Jindra and Kristin Peterson, who have each served on council before, are also running. Heather Adelman will be running for the first time. Heather Adelman Adelman, a California native, is the sole first-time candidate running in the upcoming City Council election. She is a co-founder of the Oberlin Food Hub, she is on the board of Oberlin Community Services, which is a nonprofit in town that helps people pay for food, bills, and other expenses, and has worked with the Oberlin Project. She has also worked for the Environmental Protection Agency, working specifically with tribal communities. Adelman is most passionate about supporting sustainability initiatives, encouraging job creation and economic development, and preserving the integrity of drinking water. Adelman is running for Council because of a deep commitment to public service. “Community involvement and public service really are in my bones. It is the theme that ties together my life decisions, it really dictated where I went to school, what I studied in school, and the jobs that I took and am currently working. I want to make a difference in the communities that I live in. I love Oberlin, it’s a phenomenal community, and I have always been really interested in politics. In fact, as a little girl, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said — my mom claims as early as four years old all [the way] through high school — I said the first woman president of the United States. It has been something that I have wanted to do my whole life and if not now, when would possibly be a better time to try to make this world a better place?” William Jindra Jindra is a retired law enforcement officer who recently retired from his position as chief bailiff at the Oberlin

The Oberlin R eview October 6, 2017 Volume 146, Number 6 (ISSN 297–256) Published by the students of Oberlin College every Friday during the fall and spring semesters, except holidays and examination periods. Advertising rates: $18 per column inch. Second-class postage paid at Oberlin, Ohio. Entered as secondclass matter at the Oberlin, Ohio post office April 2, 1911. POSTMASTER SEND CHANGES TO: Wilder Box 90, Oberlin, Ohio 44074-1081. Office of Publication: Burton Basement, Oberlin, Ohio 44074. Phone: (440) 775-8123

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Editors-in-Chief  Managing Editor News Editors  Opinions Editors  This Week Editor Arts Editors  Sports Editors  Layout Editors

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Melissa Harris Christian Bolles Daniel Markus Sydney Allen Alexis Dill Jackie Brant Nathan Carpenter Lucy Martin Julia Peterson Ananya Gupta Alex McNicoll Julie Schreiber Anya Spector Amanda Tennant Parker Shatkin Elena Hartley Bryan Rubin Hugh Newcomb

Municipal Court, where he worked for 10 years. He served on City Council from 2000–2005. Some of the issues he is most passionate about include fighting the NEXUS pipeline and working on Oberlin’s climate action plan, as well as creating a plan in case President Trump follows through on discussions to privatize the Federal Aeronautics Administration — which has a facility in Oberlin. He saw the events around last year’s Gibson’s protests as one of the central issues in city-College relations. “When President Krislov and the administration said that that would be ‘thoroughly investigated’ and there would be some determination as far as what actually happened — the Gibsons were accused of racially profiling people, and I think that the county or city prosecutor and the city police chief have done studies to show that the shoplifting incidents were all over the spectrum, that it didn’t matter what the race was, whether they were college students … Gibsons has a high incidence of shoplifting incidents, and I think there needs to be more of a discussion about what the College findings were and there needs to be some closure to that.” Linda Slocum Slocum is running for her second term on City Council where she serves as the council’s vice president. During her time in Oberlin she has helped reestablish the League of Women Voters. She is interested in improving the housing stock, providing ways that people can get low-interest loans, and clarifying Oberlin’s governance process. She sees herself as a “moderating voice in council,” specializing in finding workable solutions to complex problems. She sees city-College cooperation and communication as an essential component to future success. “I think that it’s a big challenge for the city, the college and other stakeholders in town to work together, partly because … we have the same mutual interests, when you get right down to it. Affordable housing, a vibrant downtown, public transportation, a healthy infrastructure … there are so many things where we can cooperate working together. I think we’re in a good position right now with the new city manager, a new college president, to kind of shake things up, re-think. … We don’t have to be doing things the old way that we’ve been doing things. Because people are new, they can bring fresh ideas on how to work together, and I’d like to see better coordination. More talking, more understanding, More mutual working on projects that do affect us all. Kelley Singleton Singleton is an Oberlin native who is running for his second term on City

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Council. Singleton plans to focus on economic development if elected for a second term on the council. He wants to solve the city’s property tax deficit which results from the disproportionately large amount of tax-exempt property in Oberlin. He is interested in exploring the possibility of medical marijuana facilities in Oberlin and increasing protections for LGBTQ community members. He discussed his efforts to increase jobs in Oberlin. “You need to have places that businesses can grow. The city has a few properties [where] they’ve done a nice transition where those properties were staying within the city. They have channeled their marketing of those to a different group: the Oberlin Community Improvment Corporation investment group. It’s a group that will actively market the city properties that we have. They also work with the industrial park that we have, helping with new business just coming in this month which will create 35 jobs for the city and they are good paying jobs. When it first came up, I was really pushing for the city to — and we did pass a resolution and agreement to it — that we would try to get medical marijuana in Oberlin. As far as processing, growing, testing, dispensaries; those are good paying jobs.” Bryan Burgess Burgess has served on the city council for eight years and currently serves as city council president. His goals for the city include establishing a stormwater utility system for the city and continuing his work on sustainable energy. If reelected, this upcoming term will be the final consecutive term he can serve without taking two years off. If reelected, he hopes this final term would allow him to finalize his work on making Oberlin environmentally friendly. “When I first ran for council, we were trying to decide if we made the right decision in walking away from fossilfuel based energy, and moving over to a green portfolio. That’s largely done — and that is largely why I got elected on council — and seeing this issue directly through to the end is really…that’s my main goal. We made the hard decision to move away from fossil fuels, and are now powered in a green economy, and now that we’ve done that our electric rates are the lowest in Lorain County — they’re the lowest in the region — we’ve made this switch and we’ve done it in a cost-effective manner.” Kristin Peterson, Sharon Pearson, and Ronnie Rimbert did not respond to requests for interviews.

Corrections: The photo caption in “College Implements Hiring Freezes” (Sept. 29, 2017) incorrectly named the Geology professor pictured. He is Geology Professor Dennis Hubbard, not Steven Wojtal.

Eliza Guinn Willa Hart Courtney Loeb Kaitlyn Lucey Madi Mettenburg Kendall Mahavier Distributors

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Office of Religious and Spiritual Life Holds Las Vegas Vigil

Security Notebook Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 1:44 p.m. While conducting a Village Housing inspection on Woodland Street, a staff member found a sign from the athletics department on a wall inside the house. A follow-up will be conducted.

Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 12:08 a.m. Safety and Security Officers were requested to investigate a strong burning odor on the second floor of Dascomb Hall. The building was evacuated as members of the Oberlin Fire Department arrived. A smoldering towel had been thrown into the trashcan, which then ignited. The fire was extinguished, the area was cleared of smoke, and the alarms were reset.

Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 8:18 a.m. Catering staff reported the theft of a food carrier valued at $900. The cart was first noticed missing Aug. 12. 4:16 p.m. Officers and members of the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at a Goldsmith Village Housing Unit. A faulty detector in a bedroom caused the alarm, which was reset. An electrician responded to make repairs. The College held a vigil at Wilder Hall Tuesday after more than 500 were injured and 58 killed at a concert in Las Vegas Monday. 58 bricks were placed to honor the victims who lost their lives. President Carmen Ambar and Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo released a statement Tuesday advising students to take care of themselves and others and to take advantage of the many resources available on campus. Students may contact Safety and Security at (440) 775-8911 (emergency) or (440) 774-8444, the Counseling Center at (440) 775-8470, the Lorain County 24/7 Emergency/Crisis Hotline at (800) 888-6161, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life at (440) 775-8103, and the Dean of Students Office at (440) 775-8462.  Photo by Patrick McBride

Hiroshima “Survivor Tree” Celebrated in Tappan Gabby Greene

College and community members held a dedication ceremony honoring a sapling planted in Tappan Square Wednesday. The sapling sprouted from seeds that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. The Oberlin College Environmental Studies, East Asian Studies, and Biology departments, as well as Grounds Services and Oberlin Shansi have collaborated over the past two years to grow the seeds into saplings. Tomoko Watanabe, co-founder of Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative and a second-generation survivor of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, gifted the trees to Oberlin in September 2015. Green Legacy’s mission is to “safeguard and spread worldwide the seeds and saplings of Hiroshima’s A-Bomb survivor trees,” according to its website. Grounds Services Manager Dennis Greive, along with Biology professors and students, oversaw the handling and raising of the saplings. “This is significant because it connects Oberlin with Japan, and with the reminder that working for peace all the time is really important,” Greive said. Japanese and East Asian Studies Professor and Shansi Board of Trustees Member Ann Sherif helped orchestrate the donation, working with Green Legacy co-founders Watanabe and Nassrine Azimi to bring the seeds to Oberlin. Despite traveling to Hiroshima multiple times in the past, connecting with Green Legacy gave Sherif a new perspective. “I had never really noticed the trees,” Sherif said. “I had noticed that [Hiroshima] was a green city, but I had never really thought about [how] these trees are living creatures like ourselves and have stories to tell, and many of them died in the bombing, [too].” Sherif proposed a partnership with Green Legacy to the Shansi board after visiting Hiroshima on a 2014 research trip. The Shansi board approved Sherif’s proposal, and in the process created the Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative. “These are very emotional connections for the people in Hiroshima,” Shansi Executive Director Gavin Tritt said. “The symbolism and the power of these trees as survivors are symbolic of the renewal in that city. It’s a really powerful thing for people there.” “I think planting the trees in Tappan Square, in the center of the community, gives us an opening to start thinking about Oberlin’s connection to the broader world outside of the United States,” Sherif added. Sherif incorporates the saplings into her lessons, teaching her Intermediate Japanese class tree-related words not usuThe Oberlin Review | October 6, 2017

ally found in language textbooks. Students in Intermediate Japanese also “adopt” trees on campus in order to create a connection to trees and understand their symbolism. Shansi Fellow Annelise Giseburt, OC ’16, works in Hiroshima for Green Legacy and ANT-Hiroshima, a non-governmental organization that fosters peace initiatives both in Japan and internationally. Besides giving tours, writing articles, and updating Green Legacy’s website, Giseburt also facilitates some of the seed distribution. “I hope the trees in Oberlin inspire people to learn more about Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and other places that have experienced the effects of nuclear weapons and nuclear power,” Giseburt wrote in an email to the Review. College junior Rex Simmons, a student assistant for Oberlin’s Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment, aided in advertising and organizing the logistics for the dedication. Simmons, along with fellow LIASE assistants and College seniors Shang Yasuda and Danyang Dong, organize grant-provided events such as the dedication. “Oberlin’s connection to East Asia goes very deep — about a century,” Simmons said. Green Legacy gifts saplings and seeds to institutions like schools, botanical gardens, and churches in 34 countries. According to Sherif, Oberlin High School plans to adopt a tree, and at least two saplings have been planted at Kendal at Oberlin. Two saplings were also planted in front of Shansi House Tuesday. Presidential Scholar in Islamic Studies Mohammad Jafar Mahallati said he plans to take one of the trees back to his hometown of Shiraz, Iran. Mahallati became familiar with Green Legacy after lecturing in Hiroshima and touring the trees with Amizi. “[The saplings] remain witness to the stupidity of human beings in using a bomb,” Mahallati said. President Carmen Ambar watered the sapling at the ceremony, which featured a performance by Oberlin College Taiko and speeches by Sherif; Associate Professor of Biology Michael Moore; Taiyo Scanlon-Kimura, OC ’15; and Ambar. “I think that we really are an international institution,” Ambar said. Scanlon-Kimura echoed Ambar, adding that the saplings will serve as a “physical reminder of [the] relationship [between Oberlin and East Asia].” Sherif and the students of LIASE are hoping to create a “Friends of Green Legacy” group that would allow students to get further involved in Green Legacy’s efforts.

Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 12:38 a.m. Officers assisted a student ill from alcohol consumption on North Professor Street. The student was able to answer all questions and walk without assistance. The student walked with friends to their dorm. 2:07 a.m. Officers assisted a student ill from alcohol consumption on the second floor of Dascomb Hall. The student was able to answer all questions and declined medical attention. They were escorted to their dorm. 2:11 a.m. Officers assisted a student ill from alcohol consumption on the third floor of Dascomb Hall. Paramedics were also present. 2:41 a.m. Officers were requested to escort a student under the influence of alcohol. The student was able to hold a conversation and walk to their room alone.

Monday, Oct. 2, 2017 11:38 a.m. Two students were struck by a vehicle at the crosswalk on West Lorain Street and Woodland Street, staff members reported. The driver of the vehicle stopped, asked if they were OK, and left the area. The students were located and taken to the Student Health Center to be checked. The area was searched for the vehicle, which was not found. 12:49 p.m. A visitor reported that a Chevy truck struck a parked vehicle and a parking sign in the Hales Gymnasium parking lot. When officers arrived, the driver had already left the area. The owner of the parked vehicle was contacted. 3:29 p.m. Staff members reported offensive graffiti on the floor of a room in Bibbins Hall. An officer responded, but the graffiti had been removed before they arrived.

Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 1:22 p.m. A student reported damage to posters in various areas advertising a guest speaker. Some posters were ripped, while others were missing. There are no suspects at this time. 2:30 p.m. Staff members reported damage to the closet and catwalk area in Hales Gymnasium. An unknown person(s) climbed a ladder onto the roof and kicked in the door that leads to the catwalk. A work order was filed to repair the damage. There are no suspects. 5:14 p.m. Officers and members of the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm at a Union Street Village Housing Unit. Smoke from cooking caused the alarm, which was reset.

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Interim ODR Director Resigns

OFF THE CUFF

Continued from page 1

Mohammad Jafar Mahallati is the Presidential Scholar in Islamic Studies and Nancy Schrom Dye Chair in Middle East and North African Studies at Oberlin College, where he has been teaching for a decade. Prior to his arrival at Oberlin, he received his Ph.D. from McGill University. He has taught at Columbia, Princeton, Yale, and Georgetown, and has worked with Search for Common Ground, the Middle East Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Affairs. From 1987–89, he served as Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, when he played a major role in bringing an end to the Iran-Iraq War. His book, Ethics of War and Peace in Iran and Shi’i Islam, explores modern Iranian responses to war and peace. Mahallati addressed the topics presented in his book Wednesday in front of a crowd at Mudd library.

and something happens, then that’s all you have — you really limit the number of people who can be supported.” For some students, this attempt at consolidation was an inadequate measure in meeting students’ accessibility needs. “Again and again, the health and well-being of non-disabled people are prioritized over the health and wellbeing of disabled people, which is clear from Raimondo’s email, where she references these people who don’t even provide resources for actual disabled people,” said Alison Cameron, College senior and All-OSCA accessibility committee coordinator. “When you implicitly leave disability out of organizations like that, it’s ableism. What is the point of providing any sort of services if you’re not going to center the people who the services are for?” As students prepare for midterms, deficiencies in the ODR are presenting added challenges during an already difficult time. “Right now, students are not getting their accessibility needs met,” said College senior Kate Hall, who used to work in the ODR. “They weren’t before, but they especially are not now. I am disabled, and I am affected by this. I still have not gotten my accommodations and access needs met so far this semester, and that’s, of course, due to disability resources being incredibly understaffed, and these two new people having to work their asses off for the entire population of students who need disability resources.” The new model of cross-departmental supportive roles is the result of a series of austerity measures taken over the summer to reduce the operating budget in the Division of Student Life by five percent. For most departments, this had minimal effect, and was focused on efficiency issues and minor budgetary lines. Student Senate sent out an email voicing concern about the situation in the ODR. “We believe that supporting students with disabilities is integral to facilitating a learning environment in which all Obies can thrive. ... We are aware of how Oberlin has failed to support this population, our peers, and friends.” Ever since students found out about the changes, there have been numerous Facebook posts circulating on Oberlin Community pages describing the deterioration of the ODR. The posts encourage students to contact Ambar, Raimondo, and Hayden with any comments or concerns about the state of disability services on campus.

Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, Professor

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Alexis Dill News Editor

Where are you from and when did you come to Oberlin? I am Iranian. I came to the U.S. in the end of the ’80s and began teaching at Columbia University. I was a professor in international relations [and] stayed there for seven years. Then, I decided that I should probably move to religion, and I dropped everything, … went to McGill University, [and] got my PhD in Islamic Studies. And then I came to Oberlin, and [have] stayed for 10 years now in the Religion department. Why does friendship play such a large role in the work you do, and how you think about and teach religion? Religion, by definition, is a philosophy of friendship — from the etymological roots of the word “religion” to the contents of the Message of Revelation. We know [religion] has been heavily abused by so many nations and so many communities, but its original message has been friendship. I think of friendship in two dimensions: friendship with God and human beings, and friendship to the environment. I think we have not paid enough attention to that original message of religion, and friendship is the original message of religion. But it’s overlooked because we or they thought that this was sentimental and of no value because it’s not based on intellectuality. I work here [at Oberlin] on friendship projects, showing that it has very important intellectual roots in religious studies, in philosophy studies, and so many other areas of study. Since I’ve been working on philosophy of friendship, [I’ve been] working with students to create a number of ventures like the Friendship Initiative. We have a website for that. We have Friendship Circle, which is a student organization. We meet weekly and have activities. Next semester, I’m teaching a whole course on friendship in economics, politics, religion, and [the] arts. I’m trying to bring it into all areas of study and show that it is essential.

For those who couldn’t make it tonight, what was the purpose of your speech? What is your book about? My main message was that peacemaking has three areas: ethics of war, ethics of forgiveness, and ethics of friendship. My book was on the ethics of war, the first part of peacemaking. War doesn’t seem like art, but the message is that even if you aren’t doing a legitimate war — for example, defending yourself — still you have to observe ethics. It’s a message to religions: don’t be in conflict, but even if you are in conflict, there is something called ethics that you have to observe — ethics before war, ethics in war, and ethics after war. My book examines the Iranian reaction to the question of ethics of war — how they respond, how they understand. I went to different disciplines and different areas to come up with peoples’ mindsets on the ethics of war: how they react, how they want to react, or ideally how they think they should react in a war. In chapter eight, you refer to ISIS as a mirror of how religion can be abused. Can you expand on this? What ISIS did was in the name of Islam, and so it opened a window or a mirror in every religion and said, “This can happen to you, too.” So be careful. These guys can go so crazy in the name of religion. We should be careful, because we may have the potential. We should make sure that never happens to us. You conclude your book with a quote that assures readers that one person can make a difference. Why? It speaks to individuals, and even if the government and large numbers of people don’t listen, if one person listens, that’s important. In other words, it’s not a collective venture. “I can’t do it alone” isn’t an excuse, and therefore we are saying, “Yes, you can do it.” What are some ways students can get involved, whether through volunteering or simply becoming informed? They can send us posters, so we can display them on [our] website. It’s open

Oberlin Community News Bulletin

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Oberlin Library to Host Paranormal Experts

President Ambar Opens Office Hours Schedule

The Oberlin Public Library will host experts from the EVP Mediums paranormal group Saturday, Oct. 21, from 1-3 p.m. The representatives will give a presentation about the process they go through when investigating buildings and homes to communicate with spirits and help them cross over. Experiences from their case files will be shared.

President Carmen Ambar has begun hosting office hours in the basement of her home. Students can make an appointment by contacting Jennifer Bradfield at (440) 775-8400. Ambar will be available Oct. 11 from 2-5 p.m., Nov. 2 from 12:30-5 p.m., Nov. 8 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and Dec. 12 from 2-4:30 p.m.

Mohammad Jafar Mahallati.  Photo courtesy of Oberlin Communications

to any kind of contribution. I advise students to look at it. It’s really impressive. We are waiting for new posters to come from Oberlin students. What is the Peace Poster Project? It is a website that includes about 110 posters coming mostly from Iran on peace, and because [many of ] these posters do not have any language [written on them], you don’t need to worry about translation. They are very effective. Alexia [Hudson-Ward] and I got together and created this website, and it is open to all international contribution. We create a dialogue using these posters, and we are planning to expand it to art as well. We really encourage students to look at it and participate. What was your experience with the U.N. like? I spent 10 years with the United Nations. It’s really difficult when you only talk to representatives of government. It’s very difficult for people to speak their own conscience out when they are representing a whole nation. From time to time you see strong people who can do that. The U.N. is a very necessary organization, and I believe in it. It’s not perfect or effective, but it’s definitely much better than [a] lack [of it]. It should be strengthened and supported by nations in order to have a greater leverage to stop violence across the world. I believe in the U.N. after working there for 10 years. I do believe its paradigms should be shifted toward a higher level of ethics. They should focus on friendship rather than tolerance. What are your plans for the future? I’m open to anything if I make an impact or feel I can make a difference. Whatever I feel can help me make a peaceful difference, I will definitely work on.

Oberlin’s Andrews Named President and CEO of Community Foundation Cynthia Andrews was named the incoming president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Lorain County, effective Nov. 6. The national search for the successor to Brian Frederick began in March, after Frederick announced his plans to retire after nearly two decades of service. Andrews said her first priority in her new role will be to address the needs of the community and ensure that the Community Foundation is inclusive. Andrews lives in Oberlin with her husband and has two children, one of whom is a senior at the College.


OPINIONS October 6, 2017

established 1874

Letters to the editors

Oberlin Voters Must Evaluate Building Proposal Carefully To the Editors:

Kudos to the Review for reporting on local town issues, namely the desire of Oberlin city school officials to have a new building built at a cost to taxpayers of $36 million. Any attempt to help the campus community learn about life in our town — and vice versa — is a good thing. I do wish, however, to alert readers of the Review to the fact that there is a growing group of concerned Oberlin residents questioning whether the board’s proposal is in the best interests of the city and its people. It is a fact that Oberlin residents have generously supported city schools by voting for the tax levies frequently appearing on the ballot. For example, we pay property taxes in support of city schools for educational technology (1.3 mills, up from 1 mill in 2007), general permanent improvements (3 mills, increased from 2 mills in 2014), and 5 mills for “emergency requirements,” up from the 4.88 mills first requested as an “emergency” in 2011. Oberlin’s effective property tax rate is above the state average, and roughly in the middle here in Lorain County. In addition, however, Oberlin collects a substantial income tax in support of local schools — one of the fewer than one-third of the 611 school districts in Ohio to do so. Oberlin’s two percent school income tax rate is tied for the highest in Ohio, matched by only four other districts. The combined property taxes and income taxes paid by Oberlin residents in support of city schools have clearly added up over the years: In 2015 Oberlin residents paid $3,000 more per student than the state average, and $3,500 more per student than the average of the other 13 school districts in Lorain County. The proposal for a $36 million school building is not new. In June 2016, the school board voted to place a levy for a new building on the November 2016 ballot. A group of concerned citizens, however, successfully circulated a petition asking the board to consider less expensive alternatives. Although the school board decided against putting the new building on the ballot at that time, the board has not seriously considered other alternatives, despite receiving input from a facilities committee appointed by the board to look at alternatives to new construction. If this proposal for a new building were to go forward as planned, Oberlin residents would pay both an income tax increase of 0.5 percent (to a 2.5 percent school income tax rate) for the next 30 years, and a new 4.81 mills property tax for the next 37 years (that is, a new property tax at a rate of 4.81 mills, in addition to the various existing property taxes mentioned above). The impact of higher taxes is important

to consider within the context of our community. That Oberlin is not a wealthy community is clear: we have a 19.9 percent poverty rate (compared to a countywide average of 14.6 percent), with 51 percent of Oberlin city school students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. In addition, a 2016 housing study commissioned by the City of Oberlin listed our “high tax burden” as one of “Oberlin’s challenges” in terms of attracting newcomers to Oberlin. The study also found a lack of adequate housing for middleincome seniors, low-income families, and young families seeking starter homes. In addition, this housing study found that the diversity of Oberlin’s historically diverse population is eroding. According to the report, Oberlin’s African-American population has dropped from 18.5 percent to 14.8 percent since 2000, due in part to a paucity of decent, affordable starter homes, along with our high taxes. “One of the things that deeply concerns me is that in the last census we lost 200–300 members of the African-American community,” Oberlin City Council member Sharon Soucy said. “[Oberlin is] defined by [its] diversity, so this is really concerning for the future.” (“Cleveland State Report Reveals Housing Deficiencies,” The Oberlin Review, Feb. 17, 2017) Oberlin City School Board President Anne Schaum states her hope is that “the new facilities would help attract more families to the district.” While laudable, I would suggest this hope is but wishful thinking, for at least three reasons: the increasing and burdensomely high tax rate, the results of the aforementioned housing study (buying homes and moving to Oberlin would be even more problematic for young families), and the results of the 2017 state report card (Oberlin falls below the state requirement in terms of the numbers of students passing state exams in every grade and on every state test). In sum, these factors constitute a significant deterrent to families contemplating a move to our district. It is my hope that readers of the Review will be on the lookout for factual information on both sides of this important issue in the future. In particular, perhaps an interview with members of the group formed in opposition to the new school building plan could run in a future issue of the Review. – Jim Walsh Professor of Mathematics

Rimbert, Jindra Provide Leadership Experience To the Editors: I write in support of both Ronnie Rimbert and Bill Jindra’s bids for Oberlin City Council in this next election. Both men have prior service on the council and have proven themselves to See Letters, page 7

SUBMISSIONS POLICY

The Oberlin Review appreciates and welcomes letters to the editors and op-ed submissions. All submissions are printed at the discretion of the Editorial Board. All submissions must be received by Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at opinions@oberlinreview.org or Wilder Box 90 for inclusion in that week’s issue. Letters may not exceed 600 words and op-eds may not exceed 800 words, except with consent of the Editorial Board. All submissions must include contact information, with full names and any relevant titles, for all signers. All writers must individually confirm authorship on electronic submissions. Op-eds may not have more than two authors. 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 | October 6, 2017

Volume 146, Number 6

Editorial Board Editors-in-Chief Melissa Harris

Christian Bolles

Managing Editor Daniel Markus

Opinions Editors

Nathan Carpenter

Jackie Brant

Office of Disability Resources Vital to Community, Institution As significant budget constraints threaten to jeopardize everyday aspects of campus life, the Oberlin community has rallied around the Office of Disability Resources — an office that a large number of students regularly depend on for support. Neglected over the course of the past few semesters, the ODR is a perfect example of the kind of resource that is so vital to Oberlin’s core values that members of our community must make sacrifices to keep it afloat. The departure of former Interim Director Isabella Moreno is — and should be — a wake-up call for students and administrators alike, as it represents the latest debacle in a history of inadequate service for those who need it. The ODR must be staffed to full strength to meet not just the needs, but also the rights, of students who depend on the office’s proper functioning. Comparing disability services at Oberlin with that of any of our peer institutions is an exercise in futility, given the disproportionately high number of students in our community who require such support. Nearly a quarter of the student body — 23 percent, to be precise — is actively enrolled with the office, a figure made all the more stark by the ratio of ODR staff to students in need at this semester’s start: 1 to 700. Though two part-time staff started on Sept. 11, the two weeks prior to their arrival represent an unacceptable level of negligence on the part of those in a position to bolster the ODR’s capacity, not to mention a curious lack of preparation for an employee shortfall that should have been entirely predictable. On Oct. 3 — one day after Moreno’s resignation — Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo sent a school-wide email in response to a widelycirculated Facebook post concerning Moreno’s departure. The post, after decrying Moreno’s treatment at the hands of her superiors, included the text of an email sent by Raimondo to ODR staff members Sept. 23 requesting that they cease communications regarding staffing shortages to students and parents due to the potential damage such complaints might cause. In her Oct. 3 letter, she did not address that leak, but did assure students that a search committee was already in the works to locate and hire a new director for the ODR. The Editorial Board has previously called for the administration to practice transparency when it decides to preserve or, if necessary, eliminate school programs. But even Moreno was neither aware of any plans to hire a new ODR director, nor conscious of the additional permanent position alluded to in Raimondo’s email — in fact, Moreno cited lack of institutional support as the primary reason for her resignation. The community, then, is right to ask why both the ODR and its students were kept in the dark about a process which directly and intimately concerns them. The administration has expressed its desire to include students and staff in the upcoming hiring process for the ODR, as is standard procedure — but if we are to be included in the latter stages, shouldn’t we at least be informed of the process in the first place? In our Sept. 15 editorial, “Students Must Advocate for Departments, Programs,” we called on our fellow Oberlin students to speak out for the programs and services which define their experience at the College. That is precisely what is happening now. The student response to the state of the ODR — and Moreno’s resultant resignation — was swift and loud, with many reaching out to express their concerns to Associate Dean of Students Matthew Hayden, Raimondo, and, most recently, President Carmen Ambar herself. Their voices tell the story of an office which — while not always capable of providing every needed service — a large portion of the Oberlin community relies on. As we take stock of what matters most, the Office of Disability Resources has emerged as a priority at the top of that list. The Review sat down with Moreno this week as she poured her heart out about the students she loved so dearly and the often-isolating work environment in which she worked 70 or more hours a week to serve them. She spoke of a program that had been dismantled “one limb at a time,” doomed to fail under a system more concerned with budget than student needs. While we truly believe that every member of our college’s administration is doing what they think is best for students, it is understandably difficult for onlookers to reconcile the state of disability services on campus over the past year with the good intent expressed by deans. As President Ambar has stated clearly throughout her successful first month in the position, it is her administration’s job to consider, above all, the needs of the institution — and she is right that such an approach is absolutely necessary for the College’s long-term success. But that means we can’t just fight for the things that directly affect us; we need to be willing to make sacrifices to allow vital resources like the ODR to thrive. It is inappropriate to expect disabled students to individually advocate for the basic resources they need to survive at this institution. Any college’s merit should be measured by its treatment of those who need its support the most. By that metric, Oberlin College has failed. Editorials are the responsibility of the Review Editorial Board — the Editors-in-Chief, Managing Editor, and Opinions Editors — and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the Review.

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Opi n ions

Medicare For All Represents Best Path Forward Xander Kott Contributing Writer

When the latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act — the Graham-Cassidy bill — failed before reaching the Senate last week, many people were left wondering how the health care debate will move forward. If the past few months are any indication, the answer is nowhere. Congress is so divided on health care that the passage of meaningful legislation on the matter is becoming more and more of a pipe dream. Republicans have campaigned on the idea of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act since it was first implemented seven years ago. However, even upon winning the presidency and a majority in both chambers of Congress, they have been unable to fulfill this promise. They have made three repeal attempts since January, each one more desperate than the last, and each one has failed. In each case, a few Republicans — Senators John McCain, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Rand Paul — were not willing to get on board. During the first two attempts, Murkowski cited the cutting of Medicare in her home state of Alaska as the reason for her opposition. Collins, from Maine, opposed cuts to Medicaid and diminishing protections for those with pre-existing conditions, as well as rising premiums and falling coverage rates that would result from the bill. McCain, for his part, felt that the bills were rushed, and that Congress needed to return

to regular order and take adequate time to discuss and analyze important legislative decisions. These three Republican Senators — joined by Paul of Kentucky — were the reason for the downfall of the third main repeal attempt, the Graham-Cassidy bill. Paul opposed Graham-Cassidy because he felt that it was “Obamacare-lite,” and that it did not do enough to repeal the ACA. Now that Republicans have missed their chance to pass health care reform through a simple majority vote, they will be forced to work across the aisle and scrap any plans that will not pick up enough Democratic support. Democrats have been very unified in their opposition to bills that Republicans have proposed thus far, but it is unclear how, exactly, they want to move forward. One-third of Senate Democrats have put their support behind Senator Bernie Sanders’ proposed Medicare For All Program, while the other two-thirds of Senate Democrats favor more incremental improvements to the ACA, rather than a complete revamping of it. This gridlock on health care is unlikely to end any time soon, but senators on both sides of the aisle should seriously consider Sanders’ Medicare For All plan. When it comes to health care, partisanship should be an afterthought, while the well-being of Americans should be the priority. Sanders’ plan puts lives before profits and ensures that everyone — regardless of age or medical condition — will have access to health care. The current high-profit health care insurance industry

is not what is best for Americans. When insurance companies profit off of health care, they are incentivized to discourage people who are more likely to get sick from getting insured. Also, they are less likely to collaborate on medical advancements, because other companies are their competitors. The system, as it is, has put us in a situation in which tens of millions of Americans do not have health care. In a country with so much wealth, we cannot stand for this. A single-payer system should be adopted to create a process through which the government would be in charge of financing health care while the actual facilitation of medical services would still be within the private domain. If this single-payer model were to pass, it would mean that everyone would have health insurance, could choose any doctor’s office, and receive whatever treatment they need. Although this plan might seem like a fantasy, it would be following in the footsteps of Canada and the United Kingdom, among other nations — by treating health care as a right instead of a privilege. The good news for progressives that favor this plan is that each 2020 Democratic frontrunner — including Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Corey Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Sanders — has advocated for it. If Democrats are able to regain control of Congress in 2018, and maintain it in 2020, we may start to see a more compassionate, effective approach to health care in our government.

Lack of Gun Laws Fails U.S. Citizens Student Representation Essential, Not Radical Julia Peterson Arts & Culture Editor

When I was growing up in Montreal, Quebec, there was a shooting at the school that I would later attend. I mentioned it to some of my friends here in Oberlin last year, when the topic of gun violence had become urgently relevant yet again. When I told them the death toll, they were shocked that “only” one person had died. And how could they not be, when according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 93 Americans are killed with a gun every day in the U.S.? Since Sunday night, when a gunman opened fire on a concert in Las Vegas, NV, I’ve heard many American commentators and politicians say that now is not the right time to talk about gun control. It is a disingenuous argument that we have heard too many times before: after Orlando, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and San Bernadino. I could go on, but the point is clear. If we can’t talk about gun control in America in the aftermath of tragedy, we will never be able to talk about it. I refuse to believe that it is disrespectful to the victims of a mass shooting to do everything possible to make sure that no one else ever joins their ranks. I am not cynical enough to endorse the position that all attempts at gun safety reform are political gamesmanship. This is not a hopeless cause. While I understand that the right to bear arms is enshrined in the Second Amendment, and I certainly have heard the argument that any attempt at common-sense gun reform is simply an effort to take away everybody’s guns, I also think that the Second Amendment does not have to be the government’s top priority when it comes to guns. According to the Declaration of Independence, a critical part of the government’s job is to protect Americans’ rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The fact that there are nearly 12,000 gun homicides a year in the U.S. strikes me as a grim result of the govern-

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ment’s failure to protect the lives of its citizens. In Canada, silencers are banned, as well as devices that can turn a semiautomatic firearm into an automatic weapon. Magazine capacity is limited; certain forms of ammunition are prohibited; and everyone who purchases a firearm must be licensed by the government. One of the most frequent arguments that I hear against gun control in the United States is that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” as first said by Wayne LaPierre, the leader of the NRA. However, in 2012, there were 8,813 deaths by gun violence in the United States. In that same year in Canada, there were “only” 172. We do not have an epidemic of would-be shooters going unstopped because of unarmed bystanders. Fewer guns and tighter regulations have led to fewer gun deaths in Canada, as such circumstances have in countries around the world. The truth is, I don’t know how to grieve for the victims of gun violence in the United States. I don’t know how to acknowledge every senseless death without becoming callous when I know without a doubt that there will be more deaths — the only questions are where, and when, and how many. I am limited in what I can bring to the table — not being American, my voice can only count for so much, and I can’t take my positions to the ballot box. But what I do know, and what I hope I can offer as a reminder to people who have grown up with this sort of gun violence as a regular event, is that this is not normal. It is not normal to have a new “deadliest mass shooting in modern history” every year. It is not normal to lose count of how many mass shootings have taken place in the last decade. It is not normal to not immediately know who “that congressperson who was shot” is referring to. Mass shootings are not normal. Gun violence at this scale is not normal. And it should not be normalized here.

Thobeka Mnisi Contributing Writer

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. If you Google “How Oberlin Works,” the unfortunately dated but still highly informative site that explains Oberlin’s governmental structure, you’ll learn that the Board of Trustees is the primary and only legally authorized governing body of Oberlin College. Quite simply, the board is responsible for the College’s longevity and wellness. For practicality and in the spirit of shared governance, the board then delegates responsibility to the administration via the President, and to the faculty. The board ensures the institution’s financial sustainability through management and investment of the endowment, hiring — and, if need be, firing — the president, and approving the aggregate operational budget. The administration, which ensures institutional continuity by overseeing daily operations, allocates the operational budget. A portion of that budget allocation is entrusted to faculty governance — whose autonomy is enshrined in the 1835 Finney Compact — which distributes funds to different departments and programs as it sees fit. The faculty also has relative independence over all academic affairs. This is the gist of shared governance, a model that strives to distribute responsibility to various stakeholders and incorporate diverse perspectives and the expertise of multiple constituencies to actualize common goals. Save for at a few

institutions in the single digits, this is a governance model in which students are not delegated any official role in the process. Two years ago, students started requesting to participate in the government of the college through representation on the Board of Trustees. This was, in part, a response to a perceived disconnect between what students value about an Oberlin education and what the board and administration prioritizes through budgetary decisions. It was also a display of students’ lack of confidence in the board’s ability to consider the student body’s current concerns in its larger considerations about the school’s longevity, financial sustainability, and brand integrity. In my naïve idealism, I assumed the board would receive our request, see its merits, place students on the board, and kick themselves for not having done so sooner. That is not how the process ensued. Students were first told that Oberlin was not ready to include the students on the board for reasons that could not be divulged. It was only after months of persistence from Student Senate, accompanied by explicit support from the student body through emails and verbal support culminating in a silent demonstration, that the board started engaging meaningfully with the idea of student representation. It’s been a long process, but the protracted negotiations are nearing an end. The board will be voting on a proposal drafted by a collaborative working group of both students and trustees that I’ve been privileged to participate in. The taskforce was established after a productive mini-retreat among students and trustees, held March 6, and was an act of good faith — a demonstration that the board agreed with the principle of student representa-

tion, even while uncertain on the measures through which it could be implemented. The trustees on the committee — Jacob Gayle, OC ’79; Anne Chege, OC ’16; and Ed Helms, OC ’96; along with Chris Canavan, OC ’84, Chair of the Board; and Donica Varner, interim General Council — generously gave their time and expertise throughout this process. Whatever the outcome of the upcoming meeting this weekend, I’m highly encouraged by the diligence of each of the task force members. However, I am largely dissatisfied with Oberlin’s attitude towards student representation on the board. We’ve had a structural deficit for years that confounds and overwhelms everyone. Our endowments lost tremendous value in the 2008 stock market crash and we are still recovering from it. I’m not so pompous as to claim that welcoming students onto the board will fix any of this, but clearly what we’ve been doing thus far isn’t working. Our fiscal challenges, currently manifesting in low retention and enrollment, will take years to mitigate. I fail to understand how anyone can ignore the imperative role students should play in this process of change. When it comes to student representation, we should seek to emulate the few institutions, such as Colorado College, that have incorporated students on their Boards of Trustees. Accepting challenges rather than cowering in times of change is the Oberlin way. We didn’t make history by following the norm. Why are we excusing our lack of student representatives on the board by looking at all the schools that don’t? Students are simply seeking participation in the governance decisions of the school that is currently our educator, and will forever be our alma mater. It’s not that radical.


Letters to the editors

Continued from page 5

be worthy of reelection. First, Mr. Rimbert is a fair, respected, and moral gentleman. He has served in the position of President of Council/Mayor for the City of Oberlin, and his ability to garner peace when conducting meetings before a sometimes hostile audience is remarkable. He has a no-nonsense approach to the business that comes before the council and reaches out to the community to gather input so he can make grounded decisions in sometimes difficult situations. Secondly, Mr. Jindra served in the same position several years ago. He then went on to be a court bailiff in Oberlin’s Municipal Court. Thus, he brings confidence, fairness, and knowledge as a candidate. Bill has always been prepared, open, and smooth through meetings. He has made himself available and inviting to our citizens. These two dedicated gentlemen have continually set excellent examples both as citizens and as leaders in our community. Having worked with both over a span of many years, it is my belief that they are superior candidates for Oberlin City Council. I urge Oberlin to vote for Ronnie Rimbert and Bill Jindra. They have proven themselves in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Both are established winners in their pride, constant devotion, and accountability to this community. Give them the chance they deserve. Thank you. – Jean Foggo Simmon Retired City Clerk/Clerk of Council

Singleton Provides Honest, Committed Council Candidate To the Editors: Kelley Singleton deserves to be reelected to Oberlin City Council. As a registered Oberlin voter and one that attends most council meetings, I have been impressed by Kelley’s efforts to execute his council role representing all residents in a professional and engaged manner. In my opinion, Kelley has steadily given thoughtful consideration to issues presented for discussion and/or review amongst fellow councilmembers and/or fellow residents. Kelley listens attentively, asks pertinent questions, and voices his concerns in an appropriate and calm manner. Kelley is committed to standing up for what is right for all community residents. Kelley addresses concerns realistically with sensible solutions. Kelley expressed strong support for the council’s reaffirming Oberlin as a sanctuary city, voted to condemn pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, and advocated for the additional protections for the LGBTQ community passed by the council. It’s easy to be disparaging about politics. But a local elecThe Oberlin Review | October 6, 2017

CARTOON OF THE WEEK 

Shea Sion

tion allows all registered voters the opportunity to cast a vote for someone they know who demonstrates honesty, is intelligent and is respected. Kelley Singleton has demonstrated throughout his first term as a councilman that he is a great agent for all people. – Marianne Caldwell Oberlin Resident

Environmental Work Sets Adelman Apart To the Editors: Election day is Nov. 7. It is important that those of us students who vote in Oberlin learn more about the experience, goals, and passions of the candidates for City Council. I’d like to tell you about one candidate that stands out in the race. Heather Adelman is a firsttime candidate who brings fresh ideas based on her extensive experience of environmental and community work. From working with tribal communities around issues of environmental justice for almost a decade to currently sitting on both the Oberlin Resource Conservation and Recovery Commission and the Lorain County Solid Waste Management Policy Committee, Heather shows through her actions and her commitments that caring about the environment requires supporting people in working together and listening to each other’s needs. Heather is an active community member, demonstrated through her ongoing seven-year run as the Oberlin Farmer’s Market Manager and her work on the Executive Committee of Oberlin Community Services. In 2016, Heather was a part of creating and launching the Oberlin Food Hub, a nonprofit organization that distributes local foods as a means to create new markets for small-to-medium- size farms in the surrounding counties, while increasing the accessibility of these foods for local wholesale buyers such as schools and restaurants. The Oberlin Food Hub is where I met Heather, and her passion and drive for founding and continuing the Hub inspires me in my own work for the organization. In the early stages of the Hub, Heather was willing to spend extra time on each task and work hard in order to ensure its future success and evolution. Heather’s dedication and leadership are exhibited in her attention to detail and her commitment to push through bureaucracy in order to directly benefit her community. And she works tirelessly if it means that the goals of her community will be supported through her actions. I am grateful to know Heather, and I know the community will significantly benefit from getting to know her as a city councilperson. Please consider voting for Heather Adelman for the upcoming election. – Yael Reichler OC ’19

Plant-Rich Diet, Carbon Fee Key to Fighting Climate Change To the Editors: I appreciated Sheridan Blitz’s piece on the values of veganism, “Veganism Offers Sustainable Choice” (The Oberlin Review, Sept. 29, 2017). Paul Hawken’s book, Drawdown, lists “the top 100 solutions to global warming,” and the number four most effective action,

according to Hawken’s team, is a “plant-rich diet.” Hawken writes, “If cattle were their own nation, they would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. According to a 2016 study, business-as-usual emissions could be reduced by as much as 70 percent through adopting a vegan diet and 63 percent for a vegetarian diet, which includes cheese, milk, and eggs. Making the transition to a plant-based diet may be the most effective way an individual can stop climate change.” Paul Hawken also says that the single most important legisla-

tive solution to global warming is the “carbon fee and dividend” proposal of the nonpartisan group Citizens’ Climate Lobby. The Oberlin chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby meets on the second Saturday of every month, from 1–2:45 p.m. at the Oberlin Public Library. You can email oberlin@citizensclimatelobby.org for more information. We would love to have you join us! – John Sabin Volunteer Group Leader Oberlin Chapter, Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Voting Rights Crucial to America’s Future Alice Koeninger Contributing Writer

Over the past nine months, the American Civil Liberties Union has taken a prominent role in fighting the Trump administration’s attempts to oppress marginalized communities across the country. Many of the ACLU’s battles take place in the courts and seem distant from everyday activism, but their outcomes impact daily life. The policies set down by this administration are so blatantly discriminatory that facing them as an individual can be overwhelming and terrifying — having institutional support from a group accustomed to fighting battles for civil liberties is both helpful and comforting. One of those battles is for one of our most important civil responsibilities: voting. Voting in a non-presidential election may seem less compelling, but voting in local races is just as important as voting for a president, if not more so. In the 2016 election, Republicans took the majority in both the Senate and the House, which has resulted in a series of bills attempting to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, destroy the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, give tax cuts to the wealthy, and defund many important government agencies and services like the Environmental Protection Agency, Medicare, and Medicaid. While some of the more centrist Republicans have found the strength to stand up to their own party, the reality is that many people are suffering already. As a voter, this is where you come in. In 2018, Ohio will elect a new governor to replace the outgoing John Kasich, and 17 of the 33 seats in the state Senate will be up for grabs. Oberlin’s current state senator, Republican Gayle Manning, is term-limited and will therefore not be running for re-election. These openings represent the perfect chance to enact progressive change across Ohio, even while our federal government is in disarray. Voting in local elections is also a great way to vote on local issues like election reforms through redrawing Ohio’s heavily gerrymandered districts.

If you are registered to vote in Ohio, you have a duty to show up and make your voice heard in these vital upcoming elections. However, many eligible voters in Ohio face difficulties when trying to vote. For example, Ohio purges its voter rolls after each election, meaning that people who did not vote in that election or have the same name as someone in another state may be deregistered without their knowledge. The ACLU is one group fighting for voting rights in Ohio. They are seeking volunteers to join their People Power initiative across the state to increase voter registration acessibility. In particular, the intiative focuses on enfranchising those awaiting trial or on parole. Studies have found that civic action and engagement are key in reducing recidivism rates. As an activist volunteer, you can help the ACLU’s efforts by supporting election reform in your local elections, meeting with elected officials, speaking at public meetings, helping others register to vote, and by writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper. Local elected officials and their staff judge what their constituents are looking for by reading letters to the editors in the communities they represent. We must stress the need to increase voting access for those who are detained for any reason but remain eligible to vote. We also want to make it easier to apply for absentee ballots for those who might not have a way to get to the polls. More early, absentee, and postal voting makes the ballot box more accessible for voters and makes lines shorter on Election Day. Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy, and many conservative politicians have tried to eliminate this civil right in marginalized communities, especially after former President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 with the biggest voter turnout seen in years. It is difficult to feel like you have a voice when the White House is so outwardly oppressive, but all politicians, especially local politicians, ultimately have to answer to their constituents. Make yourself heard. Help other people be heard. Vote.

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professor m.

Backdrop photo courtesy of Annapurna Pictures Wonder Woman costume designs courtesy of Halloween Costumes

Layout and design by This Week Editor Lucy Martin

and the wonder women William Moulton Marston created Wonder Woman in 1941 with the help of his wife Elizabeth Holloway and lover Olive Byrne. He originally wrote under the pseudonym Charles Moulton. Although DC Comics asked him to create a superhero after he criticized them, it was Elizabeth’s idea to have a strong, female superhero. Marston was in a polyamorous relationship with Holloway and Byrne, who was his former student. He had children with both of them, and the women continued to live with each other for 50 years after his death in 1947. In the 1940s, this type of relationship was not only frowned upon, but could ruin a person’s social standing.

Wonder Woman was an icon for second-wave feminists, yet also received backlash regarding her blatant eroticism and selfconfidence. Marston was criticized for her lasso and the references to bondage that he made throughout the comics. Wonder Woman’s costume was heavily influenced by Marston’s love of erotic pin-up art.

a background on the movie Marston invented the systolic blood pressure test with the help of Holloway, who recognized the relationship between heightened emotions and blood pressure. This was a key component of the polygraph test and it was this fascination with telling the truth that also inspired Wonder Woman’s golden lasso of truth.

Friday October 6 Enjoy a beautiful October night at the Observatory and Taylor Planetarium’s Public Observatory Viewing. Peters Hall 8 p.m.

saturday October 7

Celebrate with Oberlin College Women’s Volleyball as they face The College of Wooster. Philips gym 4 p.m.

Marston earned his Ph.D in Psychology from Harvard University and Holloway received a Master’s degree in Psychology from Harvard’s Radcliffe College. Marston believed that people’s attention is either passive or active depending on whether they consider their environment favorable or antagonistic.

Wonder Woman herself was designed to represent the ideal leader that led with love and temperance and the goal was to change the perception of femininity. He wanted to create a superhero that was strong but also possessed “weak” feminine qualities. Because of this, there were many underlying themes of “submission to a loving authority” in the comics.

monday October 9 Frank Durgin, a psychology professor at Swarthmore College, will present “The Cognitive Science of Racism: Anchoring, Familiarity, and Metaphor.” King 306 12 p.m.–1.15 p.m.

Monday October 9

Peggy Orenstein, the author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, presents “Girls & Sex: Power, Pleasure, and ‘Intimate Justice?’” There is a book sale and signing post-lecture; cash and checks only. Dye Lecture Hall 7 p.m.

thursday october 12

Dress up as your best Marty McFly, as A Night at the Apollo features Back to the Future and offers prizes for best costumes! Tickets are $10/adult, $7/ student, and $5/18 and under. Apollo Theatre 7 p.m.


professor m.

Backdrop photo courtesy of Annapurna Pictures Wonder Woman costume designs courtesy of Halloween Costumes

Layout and design by This Week Editor Lucy Martin

and the wonder women William Moulton Marston created Wonder Woman in 1941 with the help of his wife Elizabeth Holloway and lover Olive Byrne. He originally wrote under the pseudonym Charles Moulton. Although DC Comics asked him to create a superhero after he criticized them, it was Elizabeth’s idea to have a strong, female superhero. Marston was in a polyamorous relationship with Holloway and Byrne, who was his former student. He had children with both of them, and the women continued to live with each other for 50 years after his death in 1947. In the 1940s, this type of relationship was not only frowned upon, but could ruin a person’s social standing.

Wonder Woman was an icon for second-wave feminists, yet also received backlash regarding her blatant eroticism and selfconfidence. Marston was criticized for her lasso and the references to bondage that he made throughout the comics. Wonder Woman’s costume was heavily influenced by Marston’s love of erotic pin-up art.

a background on the movie Marston invented the systolic blood pressure test with the help of Holloway, who recognized the relationship between heightened emotions and blood pressure. This was a key component of the polygraph test and it was this fascination with telling the truth that also inspired Wonder Woman’s golden lasso of truth.

Friday October 6 Enjoy a beautiful October night at the Observatory and Taylor Planetarium’s Public Observatory Viewing. Peters Hall 8 p.m.

saturday October 7

Celebrate with Oberlin College Women’s Volleyball as they face The College of Wooster. Philips gym 4 p.m.

Marston earned his Ph.D in Psychology from Harvard University and Holloway received a Master’s degree in Psychology from Harvard’s Radcliffe College. Marston believed that people’s attention is either passive or active depending on whether they consider their environment favorable or antagonistic.

Wonder Woman herself was designed to represent the ideal leader that led with love and temperance and the goal was to change the perception of femininity. He wanted to create a superhero that was strong but also possessed “weak” feminine qualities. Because of this, there were many underlying themes of “submission to a loving authority” in the comics.

monday October 9 Frank Durgin, a psychology professor at Swarthmore College, will present “The Cognitive Science of Racism: Anchoring, Familiarity, and Metaphor.” King 306 12 p.m.–1.15 p.m.

Monday October 9

Peggy Orenstein, the author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter, presents “Girls & Sex: Power, Pleasure, and ‘Intimate Justice?’” There is a book sale and signing post-lecture; cash and checks only. Dye Lecture Hall 7 p.m.

thursday october 12

Dress up as your best Marty McFly, as A Night at the Apollo features Back to the Future and offers prizes for best costumes! Tickets are $10/adult, $7/ student, and $5/18 and under. Apollo Theatre 7 p.m.


A r t s & C u lt u r e

ARTS & CULTURE October 6, 2017

established 1874

Volume 146, Number 6

Conference Addresses Intersections of Race, Aesthetics

Conferencegoers attend the second day of panel presentations on race, art, and aesthetics last Saturday. Photo courtesy of Charles Peterson Victoria Albacete Production Manager Julia Peterson and Ananya Gupta Arts & Culture Editors

“Exploring Beauty and Truth in World of Color,” a conference which took place over last Friday and Saturday, highlighted new and groundbreaking work on the subject of race and aesthetics from Oberlin academics and scholars from many other institutions. The two-day conference, which had wide community appeal, explored essential conversations about the role of Blackness and Black aesthetics in diverse art forms. For Associate Professor of Africana Studies Charles Peterson, the driving organizing force behind this conference, a major point of focus was the interdisciplinary nature of aesthetics as an academic field. “[Scholarship that crosses disciplines] can have a very vibrant intellectual life,” he said. “Speaking across disciplines can be fruitful and generate tremendous new ideas and perspectives. For those who are caught in rigid disciplinary perspectives — do not be afraid of moving across the divide.” The conference included panel sessions on fashion, technology, afro-futurism, humor, film, visual art, music, theater, and curriculum and pedagogy, as well as a student panel. The keynote speech, “We Have Voice, We Have Temper: African American Artists and Public Discourse,” was delivered by Kymberly Pinder of the University of New Mexico. The seventh presentation of the conference, conducted by speaker Chris Jenkins,

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focused on the application of Black aesthetics to AfricanAmerican music. Jenkins posed the idea that Black speech uses “signifyin(g)” — a literary device that “turns” the literal meaning of words into a metaphorical meaning — to appeal to a select “in” group which identifies with that reference exclusively. He cited examples like “yo’ mama” jokes and how Michael Jackson and countless others have used the word “bad” to mean “good,” analyzing how these coded phrases have entered mainstream conversational speech. Phrases like, “shake it like a polaroid picture” or “drop it like it’s hot,” for instance, can’t really be explained in a literal sense, but if you’re a member of the “in” group, you know what they mean. In a more technical musical sense, Jenkins also referenced compositional techniques such as the pentatonic scale, which uses five notes in repetition as well as syncopation, which can be used to create a rhythm that mimics a theme or motif. Following Jenkins’ presentation, the eighth session featured Associate Professor of Theater and Africana Studies Justin Emeka, OC ’95, whose presentation was titled “Playing with Race: Casting Black and Brown Bodies in White Classical Theater.” Professor Emeka spoke of the struggles that actors of color face when auditioning for classical theater. He suggested that even modern productions of white classical theater continue to mold the actor of color into a white skin for the role, rather than changing the role itself. They do this, he

said, because audiences don’t empathize with non-white representations of characters on stage. “As an actor and a director, I’ve found three ways to approach casting a Black actor for a role that’s written for a white actor,” Emeka said. “You can approach it like you’re creating a colorblind society where race does not exist in the world of the play you’re creating, or you can approach it as, you know, this actor, this Black or Brown actor is playing a white character. And the character is still white, and theater is make-believe — anybody can play anything. You can have a grown man play a kid, you can play an animal. Or, you could change the role of the character to match the role of the actor … Now this character is a Black character in this world — and let’s see what happens to the play.” Though delayed by about half an hour, the Student Panel presentation that followed the eighth session was not one to miss. The main portion of the panel showcased College junior Kennedy Kline and Conservatory senior Theodora Nestorova’s readings of analytic papers they wrote for the Philosophy of Music course, which might not seem like an important contribution to the conference at first. But their essays analyzed themes of cultural appropriation and the label of primitivism

in Black musical forms, presenting an essential perspective on these hotly debated issues: the student point of view. Both papers were built around a reading of Paul Taylor’s book Black is Beautiful: A Philosophy About Black Aesthetics, particularly the chapter about Black music. This chapter focuses on analyzing the musicality of James Brown’s 1973 funk hit “The Payback,” discussing the repeating base rhythms in particular. Taylor teaches Philosophy and African American Studies at Pennsylvania State University. The Philosophy of Music course for which these papers were written is a collaboration between the College Philosophy department and the Conservatory Music History department. It is co-taught by Philosophy Professor Katherine Thomson-Jones, who introduced the panelists on Saturday, and Music History Professor James O’Leary. Kline read her paper in the first section of the panel, primarily discussing the misconceptions of the label of primitivism as it’s assigned to the rhythms of Black music. Her paper also touched upon the cultural appropriation of Black genres in music produced by white people, citing wellknown examples like Elvis

Presley in the blues genre and Macklemore in rap. Kline’s analysis was particularly scrupulous in pointing out that the supposed link between repeated rhythms in Black music and the concept of primitivism is absolutely superficial; rather, Black music is based on sophisticated rhythmic microstructures and polyrhythms. Kline and Nestorova’s papers overlapped on the theme of cultural implications of music and music appreciation; both students were intrigued by the phenomenon that each person’s cultural background conditions them to hear and experience music in a different way. In her paper, Nestorova proceeded to analyze this idea in more detail, investigating cultural insiderism and racial exclusivism. “What I was looking at was the inclusive and exclusive — the universal versus particular — use of Black music and what exactly are characteristics that are inclusive of all humans, and which characteristics are exclusive to Black performers and Black people,” Nestorova said. In the final portion of the panel, Professor ThomsonJones played back a recorded video interview with Paul Taylor. Kline and ThomsonJones originally conducted See Philosophy, Page 13


Deej Highlights Interdependence, Challenges Assumptions Kate Fishman Staff Writer

The lights dim. An image of hands typing on a laptop keyboard appears on the screen. A digital voice narrates the scene as it dissolves into an animation of a poem. This is Deej, the autobiographical documentary by DJ “Deej” Savarese, OC ’17, whose art speaks to autistic civil rights and universal inclusion. Dye Lecture Hall was nearly full Sunday night, when the film made its Oberlin College debut. Afterward, Savarese answered questions about the film, his life, and work. Throughout the film’s 70-minute run-time, there was laughter and applause from the audience, punctuated by emotional, pregnant silence. It was clear how much the work had resonated with the students, faculty, and community members who came to see the documentary. In 2012, Savarese became “the first nonspeaking autistic student to attend college on a residential campus and live in the dorms,” as he refers to himself on the website for the documentary. Elizabeth Hamilton, associate professor of German Language and Literature, who introduced Deej, spoke about her experiences with Savarese as his first year academic advisor. “He was quite interested in disability history and advocacy, and I was preparing to teach a first year seminar in disability and let him know that I was teaching that,” Hamilton said. “It was the first time I taught that first-year seminar, and it was very exciting to have him here. … It was [a] very vibrant conversation. That was where I got to know DJ best.” Savarese uses a text-to-voice synthesizer and the help of an aide to communicate. It is

DJ Savarese, OC ’17, returned to Oberlin Sunday night for a screening of his documentary Deej, which follows his experiences over the past six years and advocates for civil rights and accessibility for autistic people.  Photo by Hugh Newcomb, Photo Editor

very effective, especially given that many other people with nonspeaking autism never have the opportunity to communicate. “Most people still perceive kids with autism as bad, instead of teaching us to read and write,” Savarese says in the film. “Our silence makes some estimate us as incapable, and soon we are left out of anything meaningful.” The film illustrated that Savarese and his family have worked tirelessly to make sure that his disability would not exclude him from education and other meaningful life opportunities. At Oberlin, Savarese taught an ExCo on neurodiversity and served as one of several students on a disability and access working group. This group assembled a report on the campus climate for access and inclusion, which is available on the website of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. He graduated

Phi Beta Kappa in May, with a double major in Anthropology and Creative Writing. He is an Autistic Self Advocacy Network scholar fellow, as well as the recipient of the William Battrick Poetry Award and the Comfort Starr Award. Savarese’s life has always been influenced by storytelling. As he says in the film, “In my childhood, cameras were translators.” To him, “words have meaning, not just melody.” In high school, he wrote Finding Our Voices, a play based on his experiences; published a chapbook, A Doorknob for the Eye; and of course, the camera would once again be his translator to the world as he worked on Deej as a co-producer. Savarese’s brand of storytelling involves bracing vulnerability — the film discusses his feelings of isolation, his physical struggles, the stress of moving to Oberlin

with his mother, and the abuse he endured as a child in the foster care system. Ultimately, he is pleased how this vulnerability has led to representation in the final product. “I love the poetry and animation, and I love that it isn’t all perfect,” Savarese said. “I might wish it had come out a little sooner. It’s not easy to parade your high school self out after college.” The most important thing for Savarese, however, is that the film tells an authentic story and starts a dialogue about disability and autistic civil rights. “I love doing outreach, so I’m delighted to see it and to see its effects on other places,” he said. “I can’t wait to hear what other autistics bring to our discussion. I love hearing our voices. I also love making people rethink assumptions with film and poetry and scholarly work.”

Redefining assumptions and narratives about disability is at the crux of the conversation around inclusion. Savarese said in the question and answer session that he defines disability as a “byproduct of ableism.” “A lot of what we think about access and disability is centered in the person who doesn’t have a disability,” Hamilton said, adding that, for example, the phrase “wheelchair-bound” stems from the idea that for a person who can walk, a wheelchair would be binding; but for the person in the wheelchair, it is freeing and mobilizing. For Savarese, genuine inclusion is paramount — hence the choice to use both written and spoken subtitling in the film. “DJ is all about access, and lots of people have lots of different access needs,” Hamilton said. “Not everyone can see. Not everyone can hear. Not everyone can follow a linear narrative. So he, with enormous integrity and respect for others whose sensory needs might be different from his own, built in written subtitles for people who can’t hear, and the audio description for anybody who has difficulty seeing or processing.” Savarese, who is currently touring with the film, has also recently been awarded a large grant for social activism for nonspeaking people. “I’m glad I’m making it possible for other people to be free,” Savarese said. “I hope we all take our educations and make our world an imperfect, hopeful place.” Deej will be broadcasted on America ReFramed, PBS World Channel, Oct 17th. Mudd library also has a copy of Deej in its collection and is available for students and faculty to check out.

Queer Romance, Intimate Staging Elevate Circle Mirror Transformation

Julia Peterson Arts & Culture Editor

Circle Mirror Transformation, the first play in the 2017 — 2018 series of the Oberlin College Theater Lab Series, opened yesterday evening in Warner Main Space. The play tells a metatheatrical narrative about five people in small-town Vermont who have come together for a community theater class. Over the six weeks that they are together, friendships are made, relationships form and fail, and the newfound classmates engage in some very silly acting games — telling stories where everybody can only add one word at a time, or “passing” words and motions around in a circle, changing them slightly every time. This exercise is where the name of Circle Mirror Transformation originates. “[The play] is so unique,” said College sophomore Meg Franz, who plays Teresa, a former actress. “The line between theater and real life doesn’t exist with this play. When you see it, it’s like the thing is actually happening right in front of you. It’s not like, ‘I’m going to see this to see a story, to see a plot progress.’ The line is so thin between what’s actually theater and what’s actually real life.” Adding to that sense of realism is Director and College senior Han Taub’s decision to stage the play in the round, taking advantage of the space in Warner Main to seat audience members on all four sides of the stage. The Oberlin Review | October 6, 2017

“There’s audience on every single side, basically making a big rectangle that serves as our studio,” Taub said. “It provides a really intimate space that can be challenging as a director and also challenging to the actors and to the audience because everyone is in there so close, and there’s not as much separation between the audience and the characters. I think that’s really good for this particular show.” This intimate staging decision adds interest to an otherwise extremely minimal set. The only props on stage are an exercise ball and a hula hoop — all of the focus is on the actors themselves. The play is very modern, having opened Off-Broadway in 2009. That same year, it shared the Obie Award for Best New American Play. College sophomore Miranda Purcell, who plays high school junior Lauren, thought that the modern and honest language of the play was especially appealing. “The playwright, Annie Baker — her dialogue is very honest,” Purcell said. “It’s telling of how people speak in reality. It’s not filled with flowery language, and there’s a lot of pauses, and the characters will retrace their words. [Sometimes] a character says something that they wish they didn’t say, and then they get uncomfortable about it because that’s how normal people would react. So it feels very real, and those lines where characters reveal too much and are almost ashamed about it, or are nervous

about it and then try to stumble back on their words, really ... makes it more alive and human.” In every aspect of the production, Circle Mirror Transformation emphasizes compassionate recognition of human vulnerability. This idea is at the heart of the play, especially when the actors are doing silly exercises on stage. “All these exercises may seem kind of ridiculous, but they’re all centered on vulnerability and being able to completely make a fool of yourself in front of everyone,” Franz said. “They may seem very strange, and they probably will even to people who have acted before, … but if you’ve never acted, these are really helpful things to do.” “All our characters mess up at some point during games because they’re unsure,” Purcell added. “Everyone is learning together as the show goes on, and you really see improvements when we re-do games. You can see the characters growing and becoming more confident.” There is only one romantic relationship arc in the play: between Teresa and the recently-divorced Schultz. In the original play, Schultz is a man. Taub, however, made the decision to reimagine Schultz as a woman to explore this relationship from a different angle. “I wanted a chance to explore queer relationships, especially in terms of the queer relationships of older women,”

Taub said. “I was really interested in seeing how that kind of dynamic functions in this kind of a space, and with that kind of a plotline. [I think] it lets more people see themselves in the play, which is something that I’m really invested in. It creates a story with a lot more nuance than it was originally written with, simply because the politics of identity insert themselves even more [into the narrative].” In the end, by centering on a group of people who have come together because they are drawn to acting, Circle Mirror Transformation raises the inevitable question — what is it about theater that gives it such an enduring appeal? In this case, it draws in the characters in this play, the dramatic team involved with portraying them, and the audiences who are coming to see their story. For Taub, the answer lies in the emotionally liberating power of theater. “I think, in general, the reason that theater persists is that it gives us permission to feel things fully and deeply in a way that we’re conditioned not to in our lives,” they said. “The society that we live in conditions us to hold back emotion and not show it, and to not feel emotions fully all the time. I think going and seeing theater is an exercise in being given permission to let those barriers go and really engage on an emotional level that we don’t normally get to. I think that’s why theater has persisted and will persist forever.”

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A r t s & C u lt u r e ON THE RECORD

On the Record with Ian Blanchard

Ian Blanchard is one of the founders of Maya Universe Academy in Nepal. He graduated from College of the Atlantic in 2008 and spent the next several years working as a mushroom farmer, traveling the United States, and learning about sustainable agriculture before deciding to open a school. Maya Universe Academy is a nonprofit organization that works alongside communities to provide free education to children in villages across Nepal. It currently runs three schools in different districts, where the children are educated for free in return for their parents’ participation in bi-monthly volunteer activities. Maya Universe Academy also operates an organic farm, as well as raises chickens locally. Along with his educational work, Blanchard writes grants for his municipal environmental commission, builds sets for television and works as a videographer for the Nature Conservancy. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Ian Blanchard, co-founder of Maya Universe Academy in Nepal

Photo courtesy of Ian Blanchard

Interview by Julia Peterson and Ananya Gupta Arts & Culture Editors

How, when, and where did you come up with the idea of opening a free private school? I was approached by my friend Manjil [Rana] to talk about our lives [and] what had happened after school. He was still in school [and had] written this business proposal for a school that he wanted to open in his grandfather’s village. I was working as a farmer and this conversation got started about the differences between life in the United States for young college-educated people and life in Nepal for young college-educated people, and the idea of opening a school got started. When we started I was maybe 25, Manjil [was] 23, [Shin chul] Yoon was maybe 22, so we were all quite young, basically still kids ourselves. Then we got started on this project.

Many of the founders of Maya are from the international school Mahindra United World College of India. How was your network created, and what was the role of MUWCI considering that Maya is represented in 13 countries around the world? It happened so organically — I mean, MUWCI is a tight group of people. Manjil went to MUWCI and so did Yoon. [UWC students] have their own grants, … [and] that’s an enormous extended international family. Now there’s a relationship between UWC and College of the Atlantic. … There’s a scholarship [so] UWC students get to go to College of the Atlantic, and that’s a really small school. [Yet] 10 percent [of the students] are UWC students, so that was the seed of our international community. There are a couple of websites out there like workaway, helpex, ecoteer — quite a few websites that function as a manifold of volunteering organizations and volunteers so that with a certain degree of accountability, people can investigate different volunteer organizations before they go. Initially, we just got a bunch of good reviews, and that put us at the top of the list. The organization grew from there. When was your first visit to Nepal, and how was your experience learning Nepali?

I went there in April of 2011. I didn’t speak Nepali, and I would say that learning Nepali through immersion was a very abrupt process. The English language served me no good in the village, and so I had no option. In the beginning, I only knew 5 to 10 words, and those were the only 5 to 10 words I could communicate with, so I learned as many new words as I possibly could. The villagers were really excited that someone from abroad was there, trying to learn their language. So I was really encouraged, and it was definitely a communal effort in the village to teach me Nepali. What motivated you to choose education as the change you wished to create in the world? I come from a background of environmental and peace activism. We are facing so many problems globally, locally, culturally, socially. None of these problems have any solution without education. Whether we’re talking about global climate change, international terrorism — if we’re talking about famines and food shortages, none of these things are going to change or improve without education. It’s a slow process, but an educated youth is absolutely, in my opinion, the starting point for any major effective change to any of the global problems we face today.

What advice do you have for Shansi scholars at Oberlin about bridging the cultural gap between the West and Asia? The biggest thing that I can say is to leave your mental drama and personal identity at home. Observe the world around you. Take the camera lens off yourself and look at the world around you. Don’t become too fixated on your personal identity and how you relate to it. Accept the world for what it is and move around within it. The world is changing, and we have to participate in that change, no matter what we do. If we focus too much on how we identify ourselves and our own idealistic tendencies, we end up isolating ourselves from the world we’re in. Who are some of the educators in the world you look up to? And what do you think makes a good educator? I would like to point [to] Paul Stamets for his work in mycology and biodiversity, maybe [John Amos] Comenius, who traveled all over Europe in the 17th century and was somebody who was early in combining ideas, text, and illustrations together. [And], I don’t know, my mom. There’s something about a good educator; they will learn more than they will teach.

Observer Horrorscape Creates Shiver-Inducing Gameplay Avi Vogel Columnist

Science fiction allows us to look at the future while tackling issues of the present. In an increasingly bleak world, there seem to be two approaches to the genre: imagining a setting that grapples and resolves our dilemmas, and creating a future that makes current shortcomings seem minor in comparison. Observer, a first-person horror game from Bloober Team, follows the latter approach. Set in the year 2084, the world is presented as a cyberpunk dystopia. In this world, the line between human and machine is thin as humanity and technology meld together, presented as the norm. A disease — the “Nanophage” — and a huge war called the Great Decimation plague life in the game and cause mass casualties. This combination of illness and war leads the Chiron Corporation, the new authorities of Poland, to become the dominant force in the world. This horrorscape is, however, a mere background narrative in the game. Presented as simple text and told in a 30-second opening scrawl, the context of this story exists only to color the gloomy atmosphere of the dimension. At the forefront is the journey of Dan Lanarzcki, the character that the player controls, whose purpose is to follow the mysterious message his estranged son Adam left him. As soon as the player sets foot into the building where the call is coming from, the entire building is locked down,

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forcing you, the player, to determine why you are locked in and what happened to your son. Visually, the cyberspace is thematically grotesque. The complex is an amalgamation of deteriorating construction, neon signage, and propaganda posters. The miniscule portion of the outside world that is visible from the courtyard of the complex is overrun with massive buildings that dwarf the entire setting, and the game is blighted by ever-present rain. A relatively cliché expression of the cyberpunk genre, Observer is still incredibly effective at conveying a catastrophic dystopia that fills the player with apprehension from the get-go. Observer is, however, an aesthetically gorgeous game. But it’s important to mention that I played it on the Xbox One gaming console. During gameplay, I ran into a number of frame rate issues. The game stuttered and stalled in places, especially when there were multiple interactable objects on screen. Fortunately, these issues damaged my immersion only a couple times. On the computer, the game seems to run fine, but if you purchase Observer on console, buyer beware. The game, which is similar to walking simulators like Gone Home or suspending horror games like Amnesia, is split into three distinct parts. The first allows gamers to explore the apartment building on foot, speaking with tenants and following leads that are discovered from these conversations. The player

then investigates specific areas of interest using distinct overlays, a feature that hints and highlights zones of interest to help move the game forward. The last segment involves jacking into neural implants and reliving the memories of individuals in order to solve the mystery. The core of the game is to interrogate witnesses and extract what their minds are hiding — the main character’s power is to invade the minds of others. Lanarzcki talks to tenants who, when aware of his mission and powers, are terrified of the observer in an almost mystic sense because he doesn’t balk from using the tools at his disposal. While Lanarzcki isn’t supposed to use his powers on dead people, he is constantly forced to do so in order to find out more information throughout the game. Lanarzcki has to continuously bypass parts of his own conscience that stops him from this. As the game progresses, the character’s mind slowly breaks, and the game takes the player to different places with that idea. Ultimately, tactical use of the powers provided to the player is where Observer truly shines. Along with the main plot of discovering what happened to Adam, there are secondary plots the player can find and follow. I only found two in my time testing the game, but it’s here that the game explores provocative innovations that the future might hold, such as the ethics of organ creation or the obligation of a third party in deciding what is right or wrong in a person’s view of their own life. The resolutions to these arcs are some of the

highlights the game has to offer. Together with large moments of payoff, the small conversations with the buildings’ tenants aid in expanding the fiction of the world. One of these storylines is about an ex-champion that had his augmentations taken back by the company that provided them, leaving him barely able to live without illicit drugs. Another is a family of Immaculates, a type completely devoid of any type of augments, living in the complex without any contact with the outside world. These stories, and several more, are bits of wonderfully written dialogue that fill the world with details which make it all the more terrifying due to their matterof-fact presentation. All of these aspects come together to form a cohesive package. What is even more impressive is how the game sticks the landing. Games of this variety often fail to create a comprehensive ending or resolve the plot threads that accumulate throughout the gameplay. Without spoiling anything, Observer leaves me wanting to jump back in, just to scope out the nuanced attributes in the game that I missed the first time around and could add to the explanation of the ending. Observer is a dark and depressing game at a time when one might argue that we need more happiness. But for me, this game is an incredible piece of science fiction that succeeds in ways I have not seen in other mediums. Despite the technical hiccups I had, Observer is still an insight into a future I never want to be a part of but continue to find fascinating.


Cleveland Orchestra Brings Beethoven to Finney Chapel

Aesthetics Conference Spotlights Black Academic Theory Continued from page 10

The Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, visited Oberlin Tuesday night to play an all-Beethoven concert in Finney Chapel featuring pieces like the Coriolan Overture and Symphony No. 5 in C Minor. The Cleveland Orchestra’s visit to Oberlin is a cornerstone of the Artist Recital Series, and comes mere weeks after Oberlin Conservatory students joined members of the Cleveland Orchestra, Credo Music, and Cleveland Institute of Music students to play a benefit concert to raise money for hurricane relief. This year, the Cleveland Orchestra is celebrating its centennial season. Text by Julia Peterson, Arts and Culture Editor Photo by Bryan Rubin, Photo Editor Across

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1. Type of poplar 6. One way to piss off the family 11. Goes with “ooh” 14. Lost ________ 15. Nasty thing to call a disabled person 16. Dr.’s order 17. Happy couple’s perch 19. Retired wrestler and WWE producer Anderson 20. Bow prep 21. Like some TVs 22. Freedom _______ 25. Italian “pick me up” 28. Mixed 30. Sound an ewe makes 31. Sing loudly 32. Skiing or gymnastics maneuver 35. Tasty things like the words in this puzzle’s shaded squares 41. Rhyme and _______ 42. Musician Amos 43. Half of the folk group famous for “California Dreamin’” 45. Someone who tells mom 48. Famous short guy 51. Tributary 52. Where the Executive works 53. Where LeBron took his talents in 2010 55. A snap, for example 56. From a certain time forward

the interview, which primarily consisted of questions that had come up during the students’ readings and analyses of Taylor’s book. One of the questions Kline asked was whether feeling rhythm in physical movement is different from listening appreciation, to which Taylor responded that the two experiences are not heard differently, but are folded into different cultural experiences with physical movement. This is inherently linked to the performance of racial identities and inhabiting spaces in forms that are uncomplicated and unproblematic. When thinking about potential undertones to the themes of cultural and racial appropriation in both the conference and the student panel, Nestorova said, “I think for me, I was nervous in approaching it because I obviously don’t feel like I can connect as fully as someone who has that background and culture — and he [Paul Taylor] talks about that in his papers. But I think that there wasn’t anything — cultural appropriation was something that was talked about in both Kennedy’s and my papers, so we both thought that it was a valid thing that he approached.” For Peterson, the conference was a very positive experience, not least because of the support that he experienced from the Oberlin community throughout the organizational stages and at the conference itself. “There was a lot of excitement among my colleagues and various offices that I went to for support, and students as well,” he said. “I was grateful for the level of enthusiasm and excitement and the ways in which people came out. … I was very happy that Oberlin as an institution and as a community came out with such support.”

62. Bonfire remains 63. What to drink if you don’t like IPA 64. Tempo marking 65. Martial artist Bruce 66. It’s impolite to do 67. Wipe away Down 1. Tan without tannin 2. Indigenous person from Utah, perhaps 3. Steve Jobs’ “profound experience” 4. Homemade bomb, abbr. 5. Made into a duo 6. Like roe are to fish 7. Sanctioned 8. Like someone from Muscat 9. Bond’s weapon, for short 10. Where to thread the needle 11. Famed Mexican choreographer Hernandez 12. Apprehend 13. Follower of an Indian religion 18. Right on the _______ 21. Sometimes made with egg whites 22. Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist 23. Depend (with on) 24. Global law enforcement organization 26. Gained with HRs. and 1Bs., for example

27. Word to say with exasperation 28. “Brb!” equivalent 29. Makers of bad jokes 33. Now known as Tokyo 34. Musical based on Puccini’s La Bohème 36. Keep it _______ 37. With _______ 38. Character up for grabs 39. Hike 40. “Please _______, may I have some more?” 43. Large shield 44. Type of helicopter 46. Explosives company loved by Coyote 47. Something of little importance 48. Edible cactus 49. Greek letter representing resistance 50. How to say 9 over the radio 54. American hectare 56. Encryption type, abbr. 57. Cat in the _______ 58. “_______ the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?” 59. Single-stranded biological molecule 60. Protocol that converts words to sound, abbr. 61. Farming implement Editor’s Note: Solutions to the crossword run in the following week’s issue.

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Sp ort s

Tennis Continues Strong Season with ITA Performances Isabel Klein Staff Writer

The men’s and women’s tennis teams both demonstrated strength and skill entering the second half of their fall seasons. The Yeomen shined bright at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Regionals at Kalamazoo College last weekend with domination in doubles play, led by seniors Manickam Manickam and Robert Gittings, who beat Westminster College 8–2 in the first round. The Yeowomen followed up a commanding ITA Central Regionals win in Oberlin with a 7–2 victory over the University of Findlay Oilers Saturday. The men culminated their efforts with their defeat of North Coast Athletic Conference competitors from Denison University, who they bested 8–5. Manickam and Gittings eventually fell in the quarterfinals to a No. 1-seeded pair from the University of Chicago. The pair of junior Mattie Gittings and first-year Matthew Porges also reached the quarterfinals of the backdraw and came home from the ITA Regionals two victories deep. “This was overall a really good weekend for our team,” Mattie Gittings said. “Our team has really been focusing on raising the daily level and intensity of our practices, so I think we all felt like we were ready to go into the invite and compete.” Senior Michael Drougas displayed a strong effort in singles play as he swiftly navigated competition from DePauw University and Washington University. How-

ever, Drougas was eventually eliminated by a Kenyon College competitor, 6–3, 6–4. Sophomore Stephen Grupposo also held his own in singles, making it through the first rounds triumphantly before falling to Kenyon, 6–3, 5–7, 6–2. The Yeowomen blazed ahead following their accomplished weekend at the ITA Regionals. The team exhibited solid consistency at their first home dual-match of the season, hosting the team from the University of Findlay. The Oilers were no match for the Yeowomen in doubles, as Oberlin swept all three matches, each at 8–5. Seniors Jackie McDermott and Sarah Hughes won at the No. 1 seed, followed by teammates Delaney Black, a sophomore, and Mayada Audeh, a senior, at No. 2. Sophomores Rainie Heck and Lena Rich also delivered, taking the No. 3 seed victory over the Oilers. The Yeowomen later bested competition from the Oilers in singles play. Rich defeated her opponent 6–2, 6–1; McDermott at 7–5, 3–6, 7–5; and Black at 6–1, 6–2. “We had a good weekend facing all levels of competition, so it was a good confidence booster for us,” Rich said, “but we can always make improvements.” Perhaps the highlight of the entire day was senior Sarah Hughes’ battle in singles play, which lasted over an hour and eventually went to a super-breaker, with Hughes ultimately pulling away with a 12–10 win. McDermott, who captains the Yeowomen team, has been happiest with the support she receives from her teammates as they compete. “The best moment for me [during the

Senior Jackie McDermott focuses on her match against University of Findlay last Saturday, Sept. 30. McDermott and the rest of the Yeowomen will cap off their fall 2017 season tomorrow in Pittsburgh. Photo courtesy of OC Athletics

ITAs] was when I won a third set tiebreak against a strong player from Augustana [College],” McDermott wrote in an email to the Review. “She was a real competitor, but I fought my heart out, too, and am proud to have played with a lot of intensity. The best part about that win was that my entire family — parents, grandparents, and sister — as well as a bunch of my friends and teammates were sitting there watching, cheering me on. I am beyond lucky to have so much support. That is what makes the Oberlin tennis community so special.” The women’s team closes its fall run

tomorrow in Pittsburgh, against competition from Carnegie Mellon University and Christopher Newport University. “This weekend we’re looking to bring even more energy and fight harder, because the matches we have coming up are our toughest of the fall season,” Rich said. “This is the last weekend of the fall season, so we all want to leave it all out on the court and play our best.” Meanwhile, the men’s team will cap off its fall season Sunday, facing the same competition in Pittsburgh.

Cross Country Shines at Meets Lindsey Vonn Deserves to Race Men Sam Harris Staff Writer

The Oberlin men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in their fifth race of the season last Friday at the All-Ohio Championships, hosted by Cedarville University, and at the Paul Short Invitational, hosted by Lehigh University. At All-Ohio, the women’s team finished 25th of 38 teams in their race. They finished 11th of 18 Division III schools in the race, and holding their own against schools such as Ohio University, University of Cincinnati, and the University of Akron. At the Paul Short, the women were 9th of 20 teams. Among the top finishers for the Yeowomen at the Paul Short Invitational were junior Oona Jung-Beeman, sophomore Shannon Wargo, and first-year Corrie Purcell. Jung-Beeman led the pack, finishing her 6K in 22 minutes, 30 seconds and placing 26th in the race out of over 230 runners. Purcell, a standout first-year, posted her career-best time of 22:56, good for 42nd place. Wargo, who finished just five seconds in front of Purcell, placed 41st in the championship. “The team ran in a really unified way at Cedarville,” junior Becca Chant said. “We really stepped up, given that our top seven were competing out of state. There were great, supportive vibes all around, and a few runners had major personal accomplishments as well.” Head Coach Ray Appenheimer is looking forward to seeing what his teams can do on their home course the next two races, as home-field advantage could play a strategic role for them. “We’ve done a ton of our workouts on the home course and should be really confident at both the invitational on [October 14th] and the conference championships on the 28th,” Appenheimer said. Senior Owen Mittenthal thinks run-

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ning on his own course will play a big role in the conference championships, and anticipates big things from the women. “We expect the women’s team to win the conference and qualify for the national meet,” Mittenthal said. “They look nearly as strong as the team that placed seventh at nationals my [first] year, and the team believes that a similar result is possible.” Both Mittenthal and Appenheimer attribute success in this year’s teams to the winning culture and success of past teams. Watching the women’s team make a national run and training alongside three-time All American Geno Arthur, OC ’16, has allowed Mittenthal and others to see what it takes to secure success on and off the course. “On the men’s end, we have looked better and better at each meet, and we’ll be looking to place within the top half of the conference,” Mittenthal said. “We are hosting the conference meet this year, which is a huge advantage knowing the course and not having to travel.” The men had just four runners at the All-Ohio Championships, so they were not able to register a team score. Firstyear Christopher Bell finished with the best 8K time of the Oberlin men with a 30:11.3. Bell came in 270th place in the race, finishing behind only 118 competing Division III runners. The other men were at the Paul Short Invitational and finished with a team score of 2:15.30 in the 8K. Junior Grant Sheely led the way, keeping a 5:15 mile pace throughout the 8K race. Sheely placed fifth overall, helping the men finish 10th of 36 teams in the invitational. The cross country teams will be back in action at Oberlin for the Inter-Regional Rumble Oct. 14. Two weekends later, Oberlin will host the Conerence Championships Oct. 28 as the men and women look to win both races.

Julie Schreiber Sports Editor

Lindsey Vonn, the most decorated professional female skier in history, faces the toughest challenge in her legendary 15-year career this fall. In addition to preparing for the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Vonn recently issued her third official proposal to the International Ski Federation, known as the FIS, to race against men. While Vonn’s 2012 and 2017 bids were denied, the ski federation is meeting her last push with significantly less resistance. She said in an interview with Refinery29 that she first seized on the idea to race against men during her 2011 training. “All my training times were right there with the best male skier in the World Cup,” she said. “And I thought, ‘If I’m training with them, and I’m right there with them, why can’t I race with them?’” According to Patrick Riml, alpine director of the U.S. ski team, Vonn clearly has more support for her proposal than she did before. The official decision on Vonn’s competitive future — and whether it will include a race or races against men — will not be delivered until May. But it seems clear that it is time for the FIS to do what is right and give Vonn, who is already 32 years old, a chance to fulfill her quest. For years, Vonn has been the top women’s skier in the United States. She is the only American woman with four World Cup overall titles, and she is also an eight-time world downhill champion and five-time super G champion. She has won 77 World Cup races in her career, just nine short of the record of 86, held by Swedish men’s racer Ingermar Stenmark. In addition to her dominance on the slopes, Vonn has also displayed immense courage and determination in recovering from major injuries over the years — most recently a severely fractured humerus bone in the 2016–2017 World Cup. Despite the

dangers of her sport, Vonn has approached it unfazed at every turn. While the FIS has been unwilling to let Vonn race against men, they can not prevent her from training with them. She regularly works out with the U.S. men’s national team and is said to race as fast as, if not faster than, many of them. Additionally, Vonn has the support of many teammates and coaches as she strides forward with her proposal. She stated in the same interview with Refinery29 that most of Team USA is behind her, so at this point convincing the FIS to get on board may be the only real obstacle still in her way. While the recent postponement, rather than outright rejection, of Vonn’s proposal by the FIS demonstrates that the organization is considering her request more seriously than before, her fight against the FIS is still an uphill one. The official response by the FIS to Vonn’s proposal in 2012 was a stark one, “one gender is not entitled to participate in races of the other.” Her chances remained bleak for five years, and even now remain unlikely. Vonn is not fighting on behalf of all women skiers or to change the nature of the sport at all. Instead, she remains steadfast that her capabilities as a skier are so transcendent and her achievements over the years so impressive that she has earned the right to compete with whomever poses the greatest challenge. How many other women would then follow her lead remains to be seen, but Vonn deserves the chance to break the barrier. Never in history has a woman competed in men’s Alpine World Cup race or any other official men’s FIS competition. Vonn stated in an interview with People Magazine that she now is primarily focused on her performance at the upcoming Winter Olympics. After that, however, will come the 2018– 2019 ski season, which could be her last one. At the tail end of her career, Vonn deserves to ski on the same slopes as men and open new doors for women athletes before she closes hers.


Yeowomen Suffer First Loss of Season to Tigers

First-year midfielder Sydnie Savarese fights for the ball in the Yeowomen’s face-off against the Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops Sept. 23. The Yeowomen will take the field tomorrow night against the Hiram College Terriers in Hiram, Ohio. Photo courtesy of Sarah Marshall, OC ’87 Jane Agler Staff Writer

The Yeowomen endured a crushing 3–0 loss in a match against the Wittenberg University Tigers last Saturday, ending an 11-win streak that stretched back to last season. While the team entered North Coast Athletic Conference play at 6–0–1, they are now 7–1–2 on the season. Head Coach Dan Palmer,

who is in his fifth season with the Yeowomen, was not discouraged by the final score, and dispelled any notions that the team might have been playing poorly. “We played well last game,” Palmer wrote in an email to the Review. “It was a very close game despite the score. Wittenberg was [ just] able to capitalize on their chances when we could not.” In the first half, the Wit-

tenberg Tigers found little to no success when facing off against the Yeowomen defensive line. On the other side of the field, senior striker Gwennie Gardiner rifled off two shots on goal, but to no avail. While the Tigers managed three shot attempts — one attempt more than the Yeowomen — they fell short with just a single shot on target. “Most scores don’t actu-

ally show what the game is about,” junior defender Maddi Kimball said. “The first half was pretty even, and the second half had a few breakdowns on defensive formation and focus.” The Yeowomen saw a lot more action in the second half, both on their opponents’ end and on their own. The two teams battled against an empty scoreboard until the 61st minute, when the Tigers worked the ball past the goal line, taking the lead and keeping it. Kimball retaliated with a long-range shot from outside the box and managed to place the ball past Wittenberg’s keeper, but was ultimately met with the metal of the crossbar. Seconds later at the 74th minute, the Tigers managed to snag another near-deflected goal on the other end of the field. Gardiner affirmed that falling behind in the match did not lessen the Yeowomen’s attack. “I think the team held pretty strong until the half,” Gardiner said. “It was very even. We definitely had some faults and made some mistakes, but overall we really held our own for the great majority of the game.” Oberlin did not go down quietly, taking two more scoring chances during the final 15 minutes of the match. At

the 84th minute, Wittenberg clinched the win with their third and final goal off of a penalty kick. Despite being winless after two NCAC games, Gardiner still believes the Yeowomen should be confident going forward. “I think the loss was certainly disappointing,” Gardiner said. “But we all have our minds in the right place and this conference table is nowhere near set. There have been a few major losses, so to speak. Denison and DePauw have already lost, and these are usually teams that are typically one and two in the conference, or at least top four, no doubt.” While their standings in the NCAC are 0–1–1, the Yeowomen have a chance to take their first conference win against the Hiram College Terriers tomorrow in Hiram, Ohio. “It was really important to us that we came out hard and show that Oberlin is a force to be reckoned with, because in the past years, the program has not been something that people feel threatened by,” Kimball said. “It’s important that throughout the conference we seem like fierce opposition. I think that we did go out and prove — in some capacity — that we are.”

Tanking Undermines Competitive Nature of Sports Alex McNicoll Sports Editor

Professional sports plays dirty. From performance-enhancing drugs to the NBA fixing the 1985 draft, cheating and outof-sport advantages have always created unfair playing fields. However, some advantages are more hidden than others. Big market teams like the New York Yankees have been poised to get whichever free agents they want, fast-forwarding the rebuilding process to just a year or two. Meanwhile, for small market teams, such as the Buffalo Bills, it is not so easy to develop into a competitor. A strategy that has been gaining momentum amongst the less fortunate professional teams, however, has finally broken into the mainstream: tanking. In other words, the best way to win in the future is to lose as often as possible now. Competitiveness is the cardinal rule of sports. That’s the agreement that fans make with sports leagues; they pay to watch the best athletes compete at the highest level. That’s what made the 1919 World Series — when the Chicago White Sox intentionally lost to the Cincinnati Reds; they gambled against themselves — arguably the greatest sports scandal in history. Controversies like this are why OJ Simpson is in the NFL Hall of Fame, but Pete Rose — the batting king who recorded The Oberlin Review | October 6, 2017

over 4,000 hits in his career but who is banned for life for gambling on his own team’s games — is not in the MLB Hall of Fame. While good competition is the pinnacle of the sports world, front offices have a set of priorities separate from fans or players. They look at sports as a business, so being terrible isn’t a general manager’s biggest nightmare. For them, the only thing worse than coming in last place — even having the worst season in professional sports history — is ending their season with a .500 record repeatedly, never being anything but mediocre. Sports leagues are designed so the worst teams are able to acquire better talent through the draft. In the NFL, the draft order is determined by a team’s performance from the previous season, such that the worst record picks first, and so on. The NBA has a lottery in which every team that did not make the playoffs has a chance for the first pick, the only caveat being that the odds of getting a top pick are determined by the previous year’s standings. If a team is terrible, such as the 2002–2003 Cleveland Cavaliers, they can get the first pick, consequently drafting a transcendent, franchise-defining player like LeBron James. Not every draft has a LeBron, but if a team is consistently average, they will never be great enough to win, and they will never be bad enough to draft a great player. While the Cavs probably had

LeBron in mind when they came in last place during the 2002– 2003 season and the Phoenix Suns intentionally blew their last regular season game of the 2005–2006 season so they could play the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs, no one has ever tried harder to lose than Sam Hinkie. Hinkie, the notorious general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers from 2013 to 2016, decided that with the assets his team held, he had no way of losing in the foreseeable future, so instead he traded every good and decent player his team had for draft picks. He then used those picks on players he knew would miss at least one season due to injuries or overseas draft rights so his team would continue to perform poorly. During his four-year tenure, his teams went an abysmal 47–195, including a 10–72 last-place finish in his final year before being forced to resign. Other teams hated Hinkie, and fans around the league mocked him, but his tactics may have just worked out. The 76ers are now poised to make a playoff push with a core of potential stars Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, and Dario Saric. Simmons and Fultz were considered two of the best draft prospects of the decade, and went number one overall in 2016 and 2017 drafts, respectively. Embiid, the outspoken Cameroonian who went third overall in the 2014 draft but could not

play until last season due to injury, had the Sixers looking like a playoff team in the 31 games he could play, and he and Saric finished as Rookie of the Year finalists last season. While the 76ers may have tried to be competitive from 2013 to 2016, Hinkie dedicated himself to the long game more than anyone else in history. While Hinkie left the NBA with everyone thinking he had been clairvoyant, shrewd drafting and trading definitely helped his cause. Despite his success, tanking doesn’t always work out, especially when bad teams end up winning. This NFL offseason, the New York Jets attempted a Hinkielike rebuild. They got rid of Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall, their two best wide receivers, and put quarterback duties on Josh McCown, a 38-year-old certified second-string who has never shown the ability to lead a franchise. The Jets, who have failed to reach the playoffs since 2010 and have not won a Super Bowl since 1969, relied on a stifling defense and below-average quarterback-play for decades. After six years of mediocrity, the front office decided to strip their team of talent in order to draft Sam Darnold, the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck, in next year’s draft. Four games into the season, however, Josh McCown has posted a 70.1 percent completion percentage, which is second-best in the league, and the Jets stand at 2–2.

While they likely will not make the playoffs, and definitely do not have the talent to win a Super Bowl, they already have enough wins to not get the first overall pick, foiling their plans and making them mediocre once again. Players will, and should, always compete. This does not stop front offices from intentionally stripping their teams of talent in order to bottom out and then rebuild through topflight prospects and free agency. Being a .500 team leaves little room for front offices to take the leap from good to great, but assembling a bad team does not equate to an uncompetitive team. The NBA recently changed their lottery system so the worst record has a slightly less chance of getting the top pick than before, but this did not stop the Atlanta Hawks from trading Dwight Howard and officially bottoming out to try and get Michael Porter Jr. in next year’s draft. While some teams lose for strategy, others just genuinely perform poorly. Despite the best efforts of both their teams and their front offices, franchises like the Cleveland Browns, who went 1–15 last year and selected a potential franchise building block in Myles Garrett first overall, may just never get it right. The nature of losing is a diverse one, but at the end of the day, some teams are great, and some teams aren’t.

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SPORTS established 1874

October 6, 2017

Volume 146, Number 6

IN THE LOCKER ROOM

In The Locker Room with Professor and Columnist Kevin Blackistone This week, the Review sat down with Kevin Blackistone, ESPN and NPR commentator, Washington Post columnist, and University of Maryland journalism professor. Blackistone has enjoyed a journalism career that has spanned more than 30 years, and while he mainly writes about sports, he also covers politics, news, business, and economics. He also makes frequent appearances on ESPN’s Around the Horn, a sports debating show that covers current topics of contention in sports. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Julie Schreiber and Alex McNicoll Sports Editors

Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem has been a huge topic of contention in the news these past few weeks. How do you think the protest has changed since Kaepernick first started kneeling a year ago? Do you think it’s favorable for the movement that lots of people are joining in? Just the fact that you call it a protest is evidence that what Kaepernick started in August 2016 has been completely usurped, and has been reduced, really, to what I would consider theater. We watch the beginning of NFL games now just to see if a player is going to kneel, sit, lock arms with a teammate, raise a fist, if they’re going to do any of this in conjunction with owners and coaches — yet no one is asking, “What are they demonstrating about?” One year ago, it was clear that Kaepernick was demonstrating about unchecked extrajudicial killing and brutality against Black males in this country. It has been morphed now, however, into something that Donald Trump said about NFL players and their mothers, into signs of unity among players, into demonstrations that are no longer even related to the national anthem. Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys and a staunch opponent of any sort of protest involving the national anthem, even had his team kneel and then stand up before the anthem even started. I don’t even think this is a protest anymore. It’s more like a demonstration that has become part of the theatrics of the production of the games. Fox TV recently said it won’t even broadcast what goes on during the national anthem anymore. It’s been really watered down and diluted, unfortunately. What Kaepernick was originally doing was protesting, but what it’s become now is a rebuttal to Trump, and all of a sudden, a number of NFL players got their spine and decided to demonstrate against that. Yet still, we don’t see a majority of players doing anything. It’s really been lost. Some Oberlin athletes, such as the members of the Varsity Field Hockey and Volleyball teams, have practiced kneeling during the national anthem in their recent games. Do you

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think this kind of protest has any place on a college campus, where essentially anything that students participate in and identify with can be used as their springboard for social action? This protest absolutely has a place here, as long as everyone knows why they’re kneeling. Are you kneeling for the reasons Kaepernick knelt? Are you kneeling because of what’s happened in the last few weeks regarding Trump? Are you kneeling for Tamir Rice in Cleveland? Are you kneeling for better food on campus? Protest has to be defined, direct, and consistent, and as long as you have reason and purpose and people understand, I think that’s fantastic. Historically, NBA players have always been unified in efforts to promote social justice. What do you think this means for the Golden State Warriors to issue a statement not to visit the White House? In situations like this, what is the responsibility of athletes like Stephen Curry and LeBron James to use their platform for social justice? There’s lots to unpack there. In some instances, it is unfortunate that we place these expectations and make these high demands of athletes simply because they are athletes. I think we should all be involved energetically in our democratic process, regardless of one’s profession, location, or station in life. Also, we should not be so quick to blindly praise the NBA. Let’s praise the players, but be wary of praising the organization as a whole. In the NFL, you see 1,700 members, a much bigger group with significantly different career spans than those of the NBA. When an NBA player says or does something political, it’s easier for them to coalesce. Good on them for being steady and making their voices known. But in some instances, we are too quick to praise. We were too quick to commend Adam Silver, a longtime NBA official who reiterated that the NBA expected players to behave in certain ways during the playing of the national anthem and when the flag is raised. Remember, the WNBA scrutinized the Minnesota Lynx, who protested in the aftermath of

Philando Castile’s death. They refused to talk to reporters after a game about anything other than police killing and brutality, and the WNBA eventually came down on them. The NBA is recoiling again to its corporatized leadership, and its future rests all on the players, not on the league. This presidency has completely changed the dynamics of going to the White House. It’s no longer just a ceremonial thing, it has politics attached to all sides of it, as this presidency is so steeped in racial politics that no one can ignore. ESPN Broadcaster Jemele Hill came under fire for publishing some tweets accusing Trump of being a white supremacist, which almost cost her her job. How do you think ESPN handles covering sports in the Trump era, and how appropriately do you think they responded to Hill’s tweets? I think the two are a little separate. Quite some time ago, there was an “all hands on deck” meeting for ESPN employees, which established an edict about what employees can and can’t do on social media. In the aftermath of the tweet debacle, Jemele admitted she violated that code. Having said that, what happened to Jemele is also a representation of where we are today in the world. A week ahead of her tweets, Ta-Nehisi Coates excerpted an entire chapter from his new book which gave a nuanced and brilliant argument that Donald Trump is a white supremacist. In an un-nuanced way, Jemele Hill in 140 characters very emotionally spat out that “Donald Trump is a white supremacist.” Any time you use nouns like that, it’s gonna get you in trouble, especially given the platform she has. Had she written that tweet in a column, rather, and been able to unpack it, she would’ve been in a much better space to defend herself. ESPN has also admitted that they have been a little clumsy in handling critiques of their politics. Maybe some of us who work there have been clumsy in the way that we’ve gone about critiquing the current political climate, but it’s tough and it’s just a reminder that politics have always been a part of sports, and sports always a part of politics. This isn’t the first time we’ve

Kevin Blackistone, sports journalist and professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Photo by Bryan Rubin, Photo Editor

had these kinds of debates intertwined. How has race affected, or posed obstacles, in your job as an African American sports journalist? How has it changed throughout your career, especially in the past year of Trump leadership? For me, journalism has always been about advocacy, especially for the progeny of enslaved Africans in this country. My original masters thesis was actually about the use of pamphlets by African Americans in the 19th century, most famously Walker’s Appeal. So for me, race is not a hurdle or something I have to navigate; it’s something I try to engage with every time I write. I’ve done news, investigative reporting, and economics, so when I moved into sports, the first column I wrote was about a discrimination lawsuit brought against the Denver Nuggets by their recently fired coach. He had been fired by the two new owners of Nuggets, who were the first Black owners of professional sports team in America, and I wrote about how specious his lawsuit was. If I’m not gonna write about sports from the perspective of being a person of color in this country, then I’m not doing a service to our profession or the public. Then I’m just doing what’s been done since the first sports story written in this country hundreds of years ago. As a professor of sports journalism, what are the important values you try to impart to your students, many of whom are presumably aspiring journalists? At the University of Maryland, I teach two courses. The first, in the spring, is on the skills of sports reporting and writing. Essentially, I give students the playbook on how to report and how to construct a story, I send them out into the field, and they bring back a product. I lay out to them what’s important in the

digital age — in terms of what kind of story they ought to produce — and encourage them to include video and at least audio with their story. I teach students to be curious, because if you want to be a journalist but you lack curiosity, you should find another profession. I try to emphasize to people to be good writers and teach what good writing is. The other class I teach is a sports and culture class, which is now called Sports Protest and Media, because people got so excited about Kaepernick. I came to the realization that people’s understanding of protest within sports is very shallow, and people don’t understand that politics and sports have gone together for as long as one or the other have existed. They don’t know that Kaepernick is not the first person to use sports as a platform for protest, but it goes all the way back to the 19th century and relationships between sports management and labor. I want people to have an understanding of that history, and there are a few themes I like people to understand: one, that there’s a symbiotic relationship between sports and sports media — which is difficult sometimes for ESPN because it’s such a behemoth that it makes it difficult for it to exercise its journalism sometimes — and two, that there is an element of patriotism, nationalism, militarism that has always been a part of sports, which has shown what an uncomfortable and controversial place sports can be. The Kaepernick thing wouldn’t be an issue had the NFL not — in 2009 — decided to make the anthem a part of the “theater,” and demanded that players be on the sideline for the anthem and flying of the flag. That was a conscious political decision by the NFL, just as much as it is a conscious political decision by Kaepernick not to take part in it the way they want him to. There’s a lot going on there; sports are a lot more complicated than they ever appear to be.

October 6, 2017  
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