The Oberlin Review February 8, 2019
Volume 147, Number 12
Community Rallies to Support Green New Deal Leo Lasdun Senior Staff Writer
An inside look at one of Oberlin Community Services’ food assistance programs. Their food pantry has seen a stark increase in clients since the government shutdown, indicating an increase in food insecurity. Photo by Mallika Pandey, Photo Editor
Effects of Shutdown Ripple Through Oberlin Anisa Curry Vietze News Editor As Americans across the country navigated the effects and complications of the partial federal government shutdown last month, many Oberlin residents were attempting to manage the consequences and fallout right here in Lorain County. Oberlin City Council passed an ordinance Monday to extend its 2018 contract with safety net organization Oberlin Community Services and grant them $4,000 in extra funds to get them from February to March. The ripple effects of the shutdown continue to impact the lives of many different people around Oberlin. Those directly affected include recipients of food stamps, people trying to apply for unemployment checks, and residents employed by government organizations such as the Federal Aviation Administration — one of the major employers in Oberlin and Lorain County. In response to this increase in need, Oberlin City Council declared an emergency on Monday, allowing them to award OCS with extra money to get through the ongoing effects of the shutdown. “The city actually gives out around $180,000 per year in community organizational funding,” City Council President Bryan Burgess said. “We take applications through the middle of January and then we make the awards in March, but the needs that
OCS has are real now. We couldn’t wait until March. So actually what we did is we extended the 2018 contracts. We extended it through March and then gave them an additional $2,000 per month for February and March.” This ordinance was not typical for City Council, which normally would only award money directly from community organizational funding. “[The money] was direct taxpayer dollars,” Burgess said, “It’s unprecedented. Very often [we] will look to past experience, but the government’s never been shut down for 30 days before. There is no past experience.” Some Oberlin residents who were affected were those who work for the Federal Aviation Administration and were working without pay. “Everybody thinks of Oberlin College as the largest employer in the city; it’s actually the FAA,” City Councilmember Kelley Singleton said. “As far as income tax goes, they are our largest employer.” Many air traffic controllers and other FAA employees struggled to make ends meet last month as they worked without pay. “Everybody was pretty stressed about everything,” said Yvan Thornhill, an air traffic controller in Oberlin. “It was the topic of conversation all the time. About how long we can manage without getting paid and, you know, before bills are just overwhelming and whatnot.” The shutdown and the
uncertainty that came with it has made many people food insecure who otherwise wouldn’t be. Oberlin Community Services which offers a variety of services, including utility, rent, and food assistance programs to help people meet their basic needs, has seen an increase in the people they serve. “We’re responding to the need, whatever it may be,” said Kathy Burns, client services coordinator at OCS. “We’ve been very proactive, like, ‘OK, this is going on, this is how it’s going to affect the people we’re seeing, this is how it’s going to affect people that we probably have not seen before who are going to be new to receiving services.’” As a result of the shutdown, recipients of the SNAP food stamp benefits program received their stamps multiple weeks earlier than they were supposed to, getting their February stamps in late January. Recipients were notified via automated message that these were their benefits for all of February, but some still struggled to budget them effectively. “I think because food stamps don’t last people the whole month to begin with, when they were given these [extra] food stamps, it gave them the opportunity to say, ‘Oh great, I can go get more food for my family.’ You know, more milk, more meat, the things that people need, that sometimes you can’t always get at a food pantry,” Burns said. The effects of these early
Oberlin students and community members gathered at Sen. Sherrod Brown’s Cleveland office Thursday to demand that he take action against the fossil fuel industry, as well as support efforts to implement a Green New Deal, a proposed program that seeks to address climate change. This current iteration of the Green New Deal was proposed by New York Rep. Alexandria OcasioCortez, but there have been versions of the deal proposed since 2007. In addition to fighting climate change, the set of reforms included in the current Green New Deal would also seek to address economic inequality through the lens of development in clean energy and other green markets. Green New Deal policies would likely focus heavily on reworking and restoring infrastructure such as public transit systems, waste disposal systems, and even ecological systems such as wetlands. These projects would require a significant labor force, and proponents think the creation of these jobs will boost the economy and increase employment rates. Discussions of the Green New Deal were sparked in part by the newly elected Democratic majority and recent priority shifts in the House. Oberlin’s show of support was organized by College first-year Emily Hudson, but activists are gathering to advocate for the policies in similar events across the nation. According to Hudson, the Green New Deal is a critical step that lawmakers need to take immediately. “I think now more than ever, with the Democrats taking back the House, it’s really important that we show that the Green New Deal is something that’s really important to the people,” Hudson said. “We’ve been given this platform with all of these new progressive congressmembers where we could actually make some kind of a difference.” As reports increasingly suggest that climate change is more serious and pressing than was previously thought, many students insist that government action has been insufficient to this point. College junior Rachael Hood, like Hudson, thinks that officials need to take action now. “Incremental steps toward carbon reductions have never been enough and cannot be considered as a reasonable option after the release of the latest IPCC report,” Hood wrote in an email to the Review. According to her, the Green New Deal is “the kind of intense, ambitious initiative that we need to see in this country in response to climate change.” In addition to combating climate change, some students highlighted that the policies have potential economic benefits. “The Green New Deal is an economically sustainable way to battle climate change,” said College sophomore Ilana Foggle. “We can simultaneously have a booming economy with new jobs and ensure the sustainability of our earth.” However, some insist that the Green New Deal is economically infeasible and potentially harmful. Colorado Congressman Doug Lamborn released a statement yesterday saying, “This nonbinding resolution makes grandiose socialistic promises of jobs for everyone, free college, and prosperity while calling for policies that we know will bankrupt our economy, destroy jobs, and destabilize the nation. It’s an irresponsible proposal that no serious person can support.”
See Local, page 3
See Green, page 3
02 Ashby Business Scholars Network Across the Nation
05 Oberlin Should Be Proud of Main Library Naming
03 Students Celebrate La Día de la Candelaria at Lupita’s
07 Women’s Rights Discussions Should Not Focus on Abortion
08 Black History Month at Oberlin 10 Former Oberlin Professor Recognized for Shakespeare Productions at Grafton
The Oberlin Review | February 8, 2019
ARTS & CULTURE
Best Picture Countdown
SPORTS 15 Alumni Athletes Thrive in Post-Oberlin Pursuits 16 Narratives of Oberlin Women in Sports
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Ashby Business Scholars Network Across the Nation Jane Hobson Students in the Ashby Business Scholars Program visited Cleveland, New York City, and San Francisco over Winter Term to learn more about career building, navigating the job market, and makeing connections with alumni while touring several companies, including Facebook and Google. The Ashby Business Scholars program, previously known as the Oberlin Business Scholars program, was established in 2003 by Bela Szigethy, and Stewart Kohl, both OC ’77, coCEOs of the Riverside Company, a national private equity firm. It was envisioned as a potential opportunity for Oberlin students to get exposure to the world of business and economics. Every year, the program enrolls 12 of its strongest applicants in a seven-week course during the second module of first semester. Students learn the fundamentals of business and finance and are paired up with a professional development coach to help guide them through the program. Before the Scholars embarked on their trip, they spent a week on campus preparing to dive into the fast-paced professional world. “Before we left, we had a week of professional development on campus which was probably the most helpful, thing that I’ve done for my career so far,” said College
sophomore Jasmine Mitchell. “I feel like that was the most tangible thing for me to transfer over to my career in the future. ” This year, the 12 Scholars began their trip by spending two days in Cleveland, where they visited several companies, including Union Home Mortgage, Key Bank, and the Riverside Company. Many distinguished alumni took time to speak to the students, including the founder of Elizabeth Park Capital Management in Cleveland, Fred Cummings, OC ’89, who spoke about his own journey overcoming obstacles and starting a successful small business. “Supporters of Oberlin invite us to their companies and do panels or one-on-one roundtables with us,” said Assistant Director of Career Readiness and Professional Development Sylvia Rios, one of the organizers of the trip. “So, we get to meet people that work in these fields and they tell us what they do. They tell us more about the industry as a whole and more about their own positions.” The group then traveled to San Francisco, where they had the opportunity to tour tech giants like Facebook and Google and to meet alumni working at these companies. The Scholars also had a unique opportunity to meet former Oberlin Business Scholars at a networking dinner where they got advice on
Oberlin’s Ashby Business Scholars pose at Morgan Stanley, a financial services company, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Katie Kim transitioning from Oberlin into the business world. The Scholars’ next stop was New York City, where they toured diverse businesses like Deloitte, Morgan Stanley, McKinsey, and BBDO Worldwide. “One of the highlights was just being able to see all the different types of businesses that are out there,” Mitchell said. “Being able to know that there are Obies that are in very upper-level positions is a really easy connection for me to make. And being able to talk to them and know that I’m able to get to that position from having that connection to Oberlin and being able to use that, if not for a job but as a connection to move to the next step in my career, was really fulfilling and a great
opportunity.” As an East Asian Studies and Law and Society double major, Mitchell hopes that her participation in the program will encourage students with varying interests to get involved next year. “It doesn’t matter what your major is,” she explained. “I got just as much out of it as someone who’s an economics major.” Katie Kim, a College sophomore in the program, found the experience rewarding but at times challenging. “The program was very intense. It was from seven in the morning to 8 p.m. sometimes,” said Kim. Despite the long hours, she felt the trip was valuable. “In terms of my personal experience, I really enjoyed it because all
these alums showed me that they really want to help us through our Oberlin connection. Also, I just got very close to the other Business Scholars.” Rios was satisfied with the outcome of the trip. “The Scholars had a blast,” she said. “They really got a lot out of this.” The Ashby Business Scholars program represents a new type of opportunity for Obies of any major who are interested in business and finance and want to establish career connections. For students interested in becoming an Ashby Business Scholar, the deadline to apply is April 2. The program is primarily intended for second-year students but is open to students of other years as well.
2019 Global Issues Symposium Addresses International Militarization Sydney Allen Editor-in-Chief Oberlin’s fourth and final Global Issues Symposium will launch this month with a series of panels, presentations, film screenings, and discussions about the “Militarization of Global Politics, Economy & Society.” This year’s series will feature discussions on militarization in the Middle East, East Asia, South Asia, Latin America, and the U.S. The symposium begins next Friday with a lecture about U.S. militarization, as Rosa Brooks, professor of law at Georgetown University, questions the rise of militarization in the United States with her keynote titled, “How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon.” In addition to the typical series of lectures and panels, this year’s symposium course, History 240, “Militarization of Global Politics, Economy & Society” will count in the Politics and History departments. Around 100 students have registered for the course and will
receive credit for attending some of the 11 symposium talks and attending workshops, lunches, and discussions. “Usually the symposium would be just a series of events,” said Zeinab AbulMagd, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History and one of the event’s four organizers. “But this year, we decided to be more creative about the format in order to allow more students to benefit from the speakers as well as to gain credit.” For some students, the one-module course offered a chance to explore global politics in a more hands-on, relaxed environment. “I was hoping to take courses that revolve around Middle East politics this semester but couldn’t find any so when I found out that this course has a Middle East politics component, I was very eager to take it,” said College sophomore Marah Ajeilat. “I think as a whole it’s an awesome idea and I think more departments could benefit from mimicking the model of this course to their respective subject of study.”
The Oberlin R eview February 8, 2019 Volume 147, Number 12 (ISSN 297–256) Published by the students of Oberlin College every Friday during the fall and spring semesters, except holidays and examination periods. Advertising rates: $18 per column inch. Second-class postage paid at Oberlin, Ohio. Entered as second-class matter at the Oberlin, Ohio post office April 2, 1911. POSTMASTER SEND CHANGES TO: Wilder Box 90, Oberlin, Ohio 44074-1081. Office of Publication: Burton Basement, Oberlin, Ohio 44074. Phone: (440) 775-8123
Sydney Allen Nathan Carpenter Managing Editor Ananya Gupta News Editors Anisa Curry Vietze Jenna Gyimesi Opinions Editor Jackie Brant This Week Editor Mikaela Fishman Arts Editors Kate Fishman Katherine MacPhail Sports Editors Jane Agler Alexis Dill Photo Editor Mallika Pandey Senior Staff Writers Carson Dowhan Roman Broszkowski Leo Lasdun Julie Schreiber
The symposium series was launched in 2016 as a way to bring scholars, activists, and politicians to campus to discuss relevant transnational issues. Previous themes have included the consequences of climate change, migrations rights and security, and the global city. This particular symposium is organized through the International Studies Concentration and spearheaded by Abul-Magd, Associate Professor of Politics Kristina Mani, Professor of East Asian Studies Sheila Miyoshi Jager, and Visiting Assistant Professor of History Jiyul Kim. College senior Roman Broszkowski is the course teaching assistant and will help coordinate logistics and communicate with students. “I’m excited because the topic itself, militarization, is something I find super interesting and it also happens to be the speciality of both Zeinab and Professor Mani,” Broszkowski said. “So having the opportunity for us to work with them as students and hear speakers that they’ve chosen is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
Parker Shatkin Jake Butcher Lila Michaels Lillian Jones Business Manager Jared Steinberg Ads Manager Jabree Hason Web Manager Sage Vouse Production Manager Giselle Glaspie Production Staff Olive Hwang Lior Krancer Courtney Loeb Devyn Malouf Madi Mettenburg Allison Schmitt Annie Schoonover
The series is funded through a donation of over $125,000 from the Isenberg Family Charitable Foundation and has allowed the College to bring nearly 50 different speakers to campus, including former international ambassadors, politicians, historians, scholars, and activists. The donation was only meant to cover four symposia, so this will be the final year. “From my own point of view I think the goals were reached,” said Abul-Magd. “Within these four years we covered a large number of very pressing and relevant themes and we also managed to bring an immense number of speakers. … We also managed to make students an integral part of the events by giving them opportunities to have closer discussions with the invited speakers — we always made sure that students would have every opportunity to speak one-on-one or gain more knowledge.” The first event of the symposium, “How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything” will take place Feb. 15, in Craig Lecture Hall at 4:30 p.m.
Corrections: The Review is not aware of any corrections this week.
To submit a correction, email managingeditor@ oberlinreview.org.
Students Celebrate La Día de la Candelaria at Lupita’s
Security Notebook Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019
2:33 p.m. Campus Safety officers responded to a smoke alarm in Barnard House. An electrician reset alarm and replaced the battery 3:50 p.m. Officers were requested to assist a person stuck in an elevator in Peters Hall. Members of the Oberlin Fire Department and an electrician also responded. The individual was assisted out of the elevator, and a work order was filed for the elevator. 9:17 p.m. Members of the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm in Robertson Hall. Water from a roof leak caused the alarm to malfunction.
Friday, Feb. 1, 2019 College senior Abby Bordin, College juniors Sam Berg and Jody Shanabrook, Conservatory junior Hannah Sandoz, and double-degree second year Jonas Mondschein celebrate La Día de la Candelaria at Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant with free tamales, punch, and hot chocolate last Saturday. The snacks were part of a free event to celebrate la Candelaria, also known as Candlemas, a Christian holy day traditionally celebrated in Mexico. Restaurant employees taught visitors about the holiday with the after-hours celebration and food, made in-house by Lupita’s employees. Text by Sydney Allen, Editor-in-Chief Photo by Meg Parker
Local Residents Affected by Shutdown Continued from page 1
stamps are only now starting to affect organizations like OCS. “Ironically they had a whole bunch of extra money on their SNAP cards,” said Executive Director of OCS Margie L. Flood. “What that means is that’s going to be gone by the end of this week or by the end of next week [...], so we are actually going to see more people coming in, but there’s a lag time. There’s been a lot in the newspaper about the ripple effects of the shutdown and I think that’s exactly what’s occurring for us, people were just starting to realize the impact of the shutdown recently. And therefore we’re going to be seeing the repercussions of all of that as we get farther into February.” During the shutdown, Slow Train Cafe gave out free beverages to FAA workers who came in with their badge. The idea was sparked by a conversation between owner and manager Jessa New, OC ’01, and her husband. “We just started talking about how we have this pretty big FAA group in Oberlin and even though it’s kind of
on the outskirts and we don’t see them all the time, they’ve been customers of ours pretty much since we opened Slow Train,” said New. “They come in every morning and they’ve always been just really wonderful customers and great people and it just really sucks that they had to go through this.” FAA workers are now back to normal paychecks, but it is unclear if they will ever get all of the pay that they worked for during the shutdown. “We got some back pay, but they didn’t pay for everything for what we worked,” said Thornhill. “We’re still waiting to see. They keep changing how they’re going to pay us. So we’re kind of in limbo for right now. I can’t speak for everybody but for the most part I’m OK now.” Some Oberlin College students saw the shutdown impact their Winter Term projects, including College sophomore Daniel Fleischer, who interned for New Hampshire Representative Annie Kuster. “We had a bunch of different things that we were supposed to do,
but for a good part of the month a lot of our day was just answering constituent phone calls, because people were calling a lot because of the shutdown,” said Fleischer. Other students, like College firstyear Serena Zets, weren’t able to complete the same project they set out to. “I was initially supposed to intern at the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division at their headquarters in D.C., [and] since the entire Department of Justice was shut down for the entire month of January, I couldn’t do that,” said Zets, who ultimately spent her Winter Term researching the effects of the shutdown. As for many residents of Oberlin, the full effects of the shutdown are not necessarily clear yet. “It’s a wait-and-see kind of situation — the ripple effects, we could still be waiting for them,” said Councilmember Singleton. “We can’t really count on Washington, at least for the foreseeable future, so we’ve got to take care of ourselves.”
Green New Deal Supporters Take Action Continued from page 1
Supporters of the Green New Deal, however, believe that this is a misinterpretation of the proposed policies. “I think a lot of people are alarmed by the idea of a Green New Deal because they think it will take away all of these jobs,” Hudson said. “We’re not trying to take away any jobs; we’re trying to transition into still having a 100 percent jobguarantee but having them be green jobs.” A central component of Green New Deal proposal is protections for Indigenous people and other marginalized groups who have been disproportionately impacted by The Oberlin Review | February 8, 2019
climate change. Hudson explained that the event will be pushing for a particular Green New Deal that includes provisions to uphold the rights of Indigenous communities. Hudson continued, saying that pushing for a Green New Deal will provide activists in the Oberlin community with a goal that is both tangible and achievable. “A Green New Deal is a way to give the Oberlin student body a clear thing to push for,” said Hudson. “I think a lot of the time we know what we want is to prevent climate change, but I think a lot of people don’t totally know what that means … I think having a Green New Deal take a leading role on the ticket in upcoming elections gives people a
clear sense of what they should be pushing for.” Sen. Brown has been a proponent of fossil fuel industries in the past. However, as talk of his potential presidential candidacy in 2020 grows, many predict that he will be forced to align his energy policies with those of other progressive colleagues due to traction the Green New Deal has gained in the left-wing political sphere. This event is another example of Oberlin students’ continuous support of climate change policies. Students have recently participated in other environmental actions, like protesting the NEXUS pipeline and raising awareness for Citizens Climate Lobby.
3:43 p.m. Officers, members of the Oberlin Fire Department, and Facilities staff responded to a fire alarm in the Biggs section of Stevenson Dining Hall. The cause of the alarm was a broken sprinkler head from thawing water that leaked into the smoke detectors. 9:36 p.m. Officers and members of the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm on the second floor of Langston Hall. The cause of the alarm was smoke from cooking. The area was cleared of smoke, and the alarm was reset.
Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019
4:57 p.m. Officers responded to a report of a strong odor consistent with marijuana on the first floor of East Hall. The room in question was located. The occupant admitted to smoking marijuana and was advised of the dangers of smoking in the room and bagging smoke detectors. 11:01 p.m. A Residential Assistant reported broken glass in the hallway on the first floor of Burton Hall. An officer responded, and the broken glass appeared to be from a thick mug or vase. Work order was filed for clean-up.
Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019
12:31 p.m. The Oberlin Police was advised of a student who slipped on black ice, hitting their head, on South Main Street. The student was transported to Mercy Allen Hospital for treatment. 11:28 p.m. Officers transported a student who was feeling ill from Langston Hall to the Mercy Allen Hospital emergency room for treatment.
Monday, Feb. 4, 2019
1:03 p.m. A professor at the Conservatory reported the theft of a Baroque flute from a locked office in Robertson Hall. The flute is wooden with ivory accents and stored in a wooden box. The value of the missing flute is approximately $2,200. A report was filed with the Oberlin Police Department.
Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019
1:51 p.m. Officers and members of the Oberlin Fire Department responded to a fire alarm on the first floor of Barrows Hall. The cause was smoke from burnt food in the microwave. The area was ventilated, and the alarm was reset.
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Student’s Cardiac Event Raises Awareness Jenna Gyimesi News Editor The Oberlin community demonstrated its knowledge, composure, and compassion when quickly responding to Conservatory sophomore Olivia Bentley who she unexpectedly went into cardiac arrest in Keep Cottage on Nov. 12. Since then, Bentley has been diagnosed with catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, a form of arrhythmia. It is an inherited condition, and Bentley and her family members have now undergone genetic testing to see who else may have CPVT. Prior to this, Bentley did not suspect that she had such a condition. “I have fainted two times before this,” she said. “But with this condition, it just looks like a seizure. Even this time it was described as seizure-like symptoms.” Bentley recounts how quickly those around her reacted when she collapsed. She was in the hall of Keep Cottage and a fire alarm was going off at the time she suffered her cardiac event. “Someone down the hall called 9-1-1, and campus security was already on the way.” she said.”After, I was taken to Mercy Allen Hospital and was put into a hypodermic state to preserve my brain function, and was lifted to MercyHealth-Lorain Hospital.” Gilbert Palmer, Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director at Mercy Health, emphasized the importance of seeking medical evaluation and being aware of potential medical conditions. “Any young person who has passed out previously, they need a cardiac evaluation,” Palmer said. He also noted that many people may not realize how prevalent heart conditions like CPTV are. Palmer sees young people experiencing cardiac events about once a week. In addition to awareness, access to machinery like automated external defibrillators can be critical in saving lives. Campus Safety officers who responded to the situation had an AED — a device that delivers electric shocks that can help restore a normal heart rhythm — as well as the training to use it. “That is one of the things that allowed her to regain some stability, and a pulse back,” said Jonathon Fauvie, Mercy Health public relations manager. “They are pretty user-friendly, and in the heat of the moment, when someone needs help, using an AED can save people.” Palmer noted how many people came together to help Bentley. “There was a huge community of people responding: Olivia’s roommates, the [Campus Safety] officers, and all of us here,” he said. Fauvie echoed Palmer’s sentiments regarding the community rallying around Bentley and added that Bentley is able to continue her studies because everyone did their part. “Olivia’s story is the perfect example of how the system works,” he said. “There was accessibility to AEDs, knowledgeable responders, and a fullfledged hospital close nearby.” Bentley also reflected on how the Oberlin community has cared for her, even after her cardiac event. “Everyone left me cute little notes on my door, and some people visited me in the hospital. Everyone really came together.” Bentley hopes that her story will help raise awareness on campus and in the broader community.
OFF THE CUFF
Kaitlyn Rivers, Chair of Black Scientists Guild
College junior Kaitlyn Rivers is Biology major interested in marine science and conservation. Originally from Florida, Rivers is also the chair of Oberlin’s Black Scientists Guild, a campus organization dedicated to supporting Black students in STEM fields that have historically been dominated by white scientists. As chair, Rivers hopes to build community between Black science students at Oberlin, help them connect with alumni, and help them explore career possibilities. In honor of Black History Month, Rivers is bringing a series of speakers to campus — including some recent Oberlin alumni — to discuss their experiences as Black scientists and connect with students. While the events are specifically geared toward Black and POC science students, all are welcome to attend. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Nathan Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief Madi Mettenburg, Production Editor Can you talk about your scientific interests, your and research, and that background? I’m a bio major, and after Oberlin, my goal is to get a marine science degree … either [a] Masters or Ph.D. — and work with conservation, marine science, so forth and so on. And I hope to have a research lab here my senior year with [Associate Professor of Biology and David Orr Associate Professor of Environmental Studies] Roger Laushman doing conservation work, which is kinda why I got into the Black Scientists Guild. I needed a niche to feel comfortable in the STEM departments, because there are two professors that are Black, so it’s a little rough to find your interests and to find people that look like you.
How did you become chair? Honestly, I was involved but I think I wasn’t as involved as I could have been … Olivia and Daniel and I were really close friends, and they were like, “If you want the position, we trust you with it.” And I just kind of ran with it and thought it would be a good idea, one, for me to be open to the community and be more social, and then also [to] have a pivotal role in especially [first-years] coming in to the STEM department and [realizing] you can graduate in four years with a STEM degree and feel confident that you accomplished it, rather than a lot of people coming in their first year, taking classes, and being like, “I hate it here,” and then [dropping] out.
What kind of community did you find in the Black Scientists Guild? When I joined, Olivia [Woods] and Daniel [Mukasa] had just revamped it … so it was kind of like an infant at that point, because it had been defunct for a couple of years. And so there were definitely some kinks that needed to be worked out. But there was definitely a nice community of people that knew what classes I needed to take and could tell me where to go besides talking to my advisor. It’s just like peer mentorship, which I think Oberlin doesn’t do a great job of sometimes because people [are] like, “I’m battling against you and in these classes I want to be the best.” But [BSG] was kind of like, we’re all here to support each other in that sense.
Similarly, can you talk about your priorities as chair and what you’re hoping to get done? Yeah, I have narrowed them down to finding mentorship from peer to peer. But also mentorship with staff and faculty, and then those outside of Oberlin, which is why I’m bringing outside speakers to come talk to students and [help them] realize that these careers are possible for you with an undergrad degree, with a Masters, a Ph.D., and it’s not just, “Get an undergrad at Oberlin, go to med school, or get an undergrad degree and then, you know, sit there for a couple of years wondering what your job was going to be.” I want people to realize that their faces are visible in STEM and that it is possible to excel past their undergraduate degree and
Photo courtesy of Kaitlyn Rivers
honestly even just make it past their [first] year. You mentioned the programming and events you put on. Can you talk about that generally and then also specifically about what you have planned for Black History Month? This is my first [time] event planning for the BSG. Olivia and Daniel did a really good job last spring semester doing the Black Women in Science [event] and kind of got that ball rolling by bringing outside speakers and showing people that these people are visible in STEM, and they do matter, and their careers are important. Then for this event, this is the same thing. I want people to realize that they can have these careers and be successful in them in a whitewashed world, and at the same time realize the possibilities that are beyond Oberlin. I think a lot of us, we go to Oberlin, and we’re like, [this is] such a small place. Where do I go and how do I get bigger when I leave this place? ’Cause you get kind of sucked into a rabbit hole. And for this event, I do hope that ... not just Black students, but POC students in general across the campus, and white students as well, walk away with a sense of, “I could maybe contact this person if I wanted to discuss their job or their education if they go to a school that I’m interested in, maybe I could go there and get a reference or discuss what their pros and cons were.” And especially [with] Winter Term, I think Oberlin is
really amazing in that we do Winter Term projects and you can have an internship with this person and get experience before you have to dive into the workforce. So if people get Winter Term or summer internships out of it, that’s even better. What can non-Black students in STEM fields do to support your work and support Black students in STEM departments? I think attendance at this event would be great. It is catered toward Black and POC students, but I do want all students to come. All students and faculty are welcome, no matter your race, and honestly no matter your background — it doesn’t have to just be STEM students. If you have a friend in STEM, come support them, come meet new people in general and connect yourself socially in the world. I would also say, in terms of being an “ally,” that I think it’s important that … white students at Oberlin realize that POC are a part of the campus and that we do occupy space in your classroom. We might be one out of 50, but we are there, and I feel like acknowledging us and giving us ownership of our position as a major or a minor ... is important to make us feel like we are welcomed in the department. A lot of students go in and they feel like they don’t belong because nobody looks at them. Nobody talks to them. And I feel like this is kind of breaking the barrier for that moment.
Oberlin Community News Bulletin Women in Sports Mentor Future Athletes in Play Like a Girl Event Oberlin athletics will hold the annual Play Like a Girl clinic where girls ages 5-14 can come play their favorite sport or try something new with Oberlin College women’s varsity athletes and coaches. Play Like a Girl is 1–4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10, with registration beginning at 12:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Come to Philips gym (200 Woodland Street) to hang out with female athletes, have a snack, and learn more about basketball, soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, field hockey, tennis, and softball.
Allen Memorial Art Museum Hosts Tour of Japanese Art Exhibit Curator of Asian Art Kevin Greenwood will give a casual, in-gallery tour of his Nature and Nostalgia in Early 20th-Century Japanese Art exhibit at the Allen Memorial Art Museum. The exhibit focuses on a moment in history when Japan was rapidly becoming more urban and industrialized. In response, many artists created works that romanticized rural life and returning to nature, often masking the chaotic period in Japan’s history. The tour will start at 10:15 a.m. on Feb. 15 in the King Sculpture Court at the AMAM, 87 North Main Street.
Big Parade Workshops Encourage Creativity The Big Parade is an exciting and inclusive community-wide celebration that highlights Oberlin’s creativity and ingenuity. The Oberlin Public Library is offering several Big Parade workshops, giving community members the opportunity to explore their artistic abilities, as well as learn more about the work that goes into creating Big Parade puppets and floats. All workshops will take place at the Oberlin Public Library and will run from 1–4 p.m. Drop-ins are welcome. The first workshop on Feb. 9 will focus on teaching simple origami. Local origami expert James Peake will lead attendees in creating animal figures out of paper.
February 8, 2019
Letter to the Editors
Oberlin Should Be Proud of Main Library Naming
Mary Church Terrell (OC 1884, MA 1888, HON 1948) was one of the first Black women to earn a four-year degree in the United States. Typifying how “one person can change the world,” she became a prominent suffragette, educator, and civil rights leader, serving as a founding charter member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and National Association of Colored Women. Both of these organizations remain at the vanguard of social justice and civil rights efforts in America. Mary also believed in the transformative power of academic libraries for democratized learning and informal dialogue. Consequently, she gifted the NAACP’s magazine, The Crisis, to several academic libraries and mentions in her autobiography, A Colored Woman in A White World, how she enjoyed staying in constant communication with college librarians. Mary was a frequent speaker at Commencement Reunion Weekend and joyfully wrote of her times visiting Oberlin. And, in the difficult periods when Oberlin disappointed her, Mary remained committed to our principles and held our institution’s leadership accountable to co-create a better Oberlin for future generations. In recognition of her commitment to civil rights and to Oberlin, she was awarded an honorary degree in 1948. It is for these reasons that our trustees voted with enthusiasm to name the Main Library in honor of Mary Church Terrell, by recommendation of alumni, Dr. Pam Brooks, Dr. Carol Lasser, and with my endorsement. I am so particularly honored as the first person of color to serve as director of libraries at this special time in the history of our institution. The official act of naming the Main Library took place Oct. 6, 2018 as a part of the historic occasion of President Ambar’s inauguration.
It was momentous that President Carmen Ambar elected to elevate the Main Library’s naming ceremony at the same time in which we celebrated her appointment as our first person of color to hold the position of college president. The emotionally moving program included a donation of love letters between Mary and her husband Robert Terrell from her descendants to the College Archives. We are the only institution in the world to have this treasured collection. The Friends of the Oberlin College Libraries, the Oberlin Alumni Association of African Ancestry, and the libraries jointly endowed a book fund in honor of Mary Church Terrell that expands the libraries’ resources in civil rights, cultural diversity, community leadership, and social justice. Yet, this incredible occasion received very little mention in the Review last year, which surprises me given the fact that she served as an editor for the newspaper. The libraries and archives are exploring Mary’s life through four lenses of achievement: learning, labor, leadership, and legacy. We created scores of beautiful educational materials, including a traveling exhibition celebrating Mary’s life that hit the road this year with current viewings at The College of Wooster and Butler University — a striking digital exhibition — and bookmarks with QR codes that are being distributed throughout our library system. In an era where controversy and conflict ensues regarding the names of buildings and spaces on college campuses, Oberlin has asserted our leadership in naming our institutional heart — the Main Library — after this esteemed alumna. The nation has taken notice. We have received commendations and inquiries from several institutions seeking to follow our lead. Naming our Main Library after Mary Church Terrell should constitute a very proud moment for all of us, as she is one of us. Alexia Hudson-Ward Azariah Smith Root Director of Libraries
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 email@example.com or Wilder Box 90 for inclusion in that week’s issue. Letters may not exceed 600 words and op-eds may not exceed 800 words, except with consent of the Editorial Board. All submissions must include contact information, with full names and any relevant titles, for all signers. All writers must individually confirm authorship on electronic submissions. The Review reserves the right to edit all submissions for clarity, length, grammar, accuracy, strength of argument and in consultation with Review style. Editors will work with contributors to edit pieces and will clear major edits with the authors prior to publication. Editors will contact authors of letters to the editors in the event of edits for anything other than style and grammar. Headlines are printed at the discretion of the Editorial Board. Opinions expressed in editorials, letters, op-eds, columns, cartoons or other Opinions pieces do not necessarily reflect those of the staff of the Review. The Review will not print advertisements on its Opinions pages. The Review defines an advertisement as any submission that has the main intent of bringing direct monetary gain to a contributor.
The Oberlin Review | February 8, 2019
Volume 147, Number 12
Editorial Board Editors-in-Chief
Managing Editor Ananya Gupta
Opinions Editor Jackie Brant
Higher Education Shifts Spell Trouble for Small Liberal Arts Colleges Small liberal arts institutions like Oberlin are in trouble. This much has become clear in recent years, as many — not just Oberlin — have faced significant financial challenges, some even forced to close their doors. Earlham College, for instance, was forced to cut a staggering 12 percent of costs across all divisions in a single year and suspend its football program. Hampshire College recently announced it will no longer be accepting a firstyear class for fall 2019 because it isn’t confident it will be solvent in nine months. Ohio’s own Antioch College — which has been kept afloat for the last eight years primarily through alumni donations — will soon be closing its doors for good unless it can merge with a peer institution. Fortunately, Oberlin isn’t staring down the brink of bankruptcy like other schools — at least not yet. However, our challenges are severe and, if left unaddressed, could become unsalvageable. It was for this reason that President Carmen Ambar assembled the Academic and Administrative Program Review committee, tasked with making difficult decisions to ensure Oberlin’s long-term financial solvency. While Oberlin certainly faces individual challenges, some of the factors contributing to our budget deficit are shared by small liberal arts schools across the board. For decades, the number of high school graduates rose consistently. Beginning in about 2006, however, the figure began to hover around 3.5 million graduates per year, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. This plateau in high school graduates means that colleges and universities are increasingly competing for the same applications — the population isn’t growing. Further, only about one-sixth of those graduates (at most) are interested in receiving a four-year private education, and even fewer have the test scores or income available to meet Oberlin’s academic standards and price tag. Beginning in 2026, the average number of high school graduates is projected to decline nationwide, particularly in the Midwest and East Coast because of decreasing populations and lower birth rates. Unfortunately for Oberlin, students from those areas make up the majority of our student body. Many of those available graduates will also likely question the value of a college degree relative to its price, as tuition rates have exploded across the board in recent decades. This drop foreshadows a higher education landscape even more competitive than it is now — where thousands of schools are competing for a dwindling number of interested applicants. For schools like Oberlin, that pool will be even further drained as large state schools promote small niche programs, tracks, and honors colleges that promise to mirror the private liberal arts experience for a fraction of the cost. For some students it simply doesn’t make financial sense to attend a college that will cost upwards of $280,000 for four years at sticker price — regardless of how nice the All Roads swag is or how clean the new Langston Hall bathrooms are. Members of the AAPR committee are certainly aware of these realities, but it’s important for students and other community members as well to understand this landscape and how it will impact the future of private liberal arts schools. The challenge now in front of us is how to distinguish Oberlin from the pack — a steep ask as the number of competitors grows and the number of potential applicants shrinks. We need to be able to make a case for Oberlin that reverberates off campus as well as on it. President Ambar’s administration is keenly aware of this need, and work is already underway to boost Oberlin’s marketability and create clearer pathways for students to connect their interests and passions with future career opportunities, all while reaping the benefits of a small, tight-knit campus community. Oberlin’s doors aren’t about to close, and the language of financial ‘crisis’ likely creates more hysteria than it’s worth. However, these are the questions we need to be keeping in mind now, as the AAPR committee prepares to unveil at least some of its findings and recommendations to the broader Oberlin community. Why Oberlin? It’s a question that many of us intrinsically know the answer to, even if we might struggle to put it into words. Now is the time to begin to articulate that vision, as we collectively set sail into uncharted waters.
Editorials are the responsibility of the Review Editorial Board — the Editors-in-Chief, Managing Editor, and Opinions Editor — and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the Review.
Opi n ions
Shutdown: A Wandering Jew Goes to Washington Justin Pelofsky Contributing Writer It all began rather inconspicuously. In fact, at the height of the holiday season, the way it was announced seemed almost like a gift. It was as if the stubbornness of President Trump squeezed its way down the chimney, crept through the house, and placed the government shutdown gently at the base of the tree. Federal workers who work so hard throughout the year usually only get a handful of free vacation days. Quite honestly, they deserved a break. And sure, they suffered a slight sting at the reminder that they weren’t an “essential” part of the federal government, but it would have stung even more to have used up all their vacation days just to travel back to the town where they went to high school, engage in painful conversations with distant relatives, and smile through their teeth as they complimented the “wonderful yule log cake.” And sure, the people on the news seemed angry or upset, but when were they not? Just like everything else in the news these days, the shutdown would pass shortly, obscured by some other ridiculous Trump-induced disaster. By January, the everyday life of a federal worker would resume as scheduled. We were so innocent then. Before the record-long 35-day shutdown during which the government lost around $11 billion, some 800,000 federal employees missed two paychecks, and contractors and small businesses supported by federal workers took a devastating month-long hit to their finances. Those are the hard facts. But the shutdown was a whirlwind of nuanced lessons. So what exactly happened over those 35 days? How did the workers get through the month without a paycheck? And, most immediate to me, what was I going to do with my first Winter Term now that I had been informally furloughed from my internship at
the Peace Corps? I’m glad you asked. I had spent winter break in New York, and when I arrived in late December, all talk of a shutdown was tossed at me jokingly. But when December suddenly transformed into January, I shifted from cool, calm, and collected into a complete nervous wreck. It was during one of my nervous news binges (a new habit of mine) that I heard the government shutdown might last weeks — perhaps until Jan. 29 — the State of the Union and the last day of Winter Term. So, the next day I sent a frenzied barrage of emails to Oberlin’s Office of Winter Term. Of course, the office, unfazed by a nervous first-year, comforted me and offered me a few options. I could either change my project or drop the project altogether (there’s always next year!). I had until Jan. 14 to make a decision. As someone who had only recently become accustomed to independence, I needed all the time I could get. And while I switched back and forth between abandoning and changing my project, I realized I was in a rather interesting position. So, carried by my vision of being a young, groundbreaking investigative journalist, I set out to learn more about that very situation and took the earliest train I could from New York to D.C. My plan was simple: research the current shutdown and its place in history, interview federal workers, and write. On my first day in D.C. I found myself standing outside the White House, looking for signs of trouble. It was a beautiful, snowy day, and as several small tourist groups milled about, it seemed idyllic. If it weren’t for the news, no one would have known that a fire raged inside. Of course the lack of protestors was news as well. What it revealed exactly is hard to say, but it was clear that federal workers were not gathering in protest at the White House. Maybe they
were all working other jobs — it was a Tuesday, after all. Maybe people had lost their sense of rage and were coming to terms with the reality of unemployment, or maybe they were actually fine with getting the time off. It was interesting to be in limbo with these workers as well, and I tried to document visible signs of these uncertain times. I took pictures of the barren landscape of Washington. People were staying off the streets. Rush hour seemed light. I found a few huge groups of students on class trips wandering the city, undoubtedly having changed their plans since most of the monuments and museums were closed for the shutdown. It was shortly after these early adventures in D.C. that I received a call from my grandmother in which we discussed my recent travels and change in plans. “You’re like the Wandering Jew,” she said. Being unfamiliar with the extended Jewish cinematic universe, a bit more research was required to understand the reference. A quick Google search turned Wikipedia entry would reveal that “The Wandering Jew” was “a Jew who was cursed to walk the earth until the Second Coming.” This was a bit more dire than my interpretation of my current situation. Rather, I thought of myself more as the schlimazel to Trump’s schlemiel — the unsuspecting victim of a clumsily spilled cup of boiling hot government shutdown soup. Throughout this time, I gathered accounts from federal workers whose lives had been affected by the shutdown. One issue stood out in particular: morale. While pay is a serious issue for furloughed and excepted employees, all employees receive back pay once the government reopens. Both of these types of employees did not receive a paycheck this month, but while furloughed employees were essentially “laid off” for the month and thus had
Students Must Vote in Upcoming Senate Elections 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. Cecilia Wallace Contributing Writer Today’s seniors have lived through wild times at Oberlin College. There were high-profile protests and thinkpieces, President Carmen Twillie Ambar was inaugurated, and the College began teaching spin classes. The College will continue to make serious changes as it grapples with the evolving landscape of higher education through the Academic and Administrative Program Review process. In that time, Student Senate has transformed itself as well. Over the past couple of years, student government doubled down on its role serving students by strengthening working groups, conducting surveys, communicating proactively with administration, and reforming student activity fund allocation. Senate has worked to have
a bigger impact on institutional decision-making, and voter turnout has reflected this. But last fall, for the first time in five semesters, voter turnout went down. This makes student government less legitimate, representative, and capable at the very time it needs to be most legitimate, representative, and capable. I’m sympathetic to those who spent last fall’s election week out on Wilder bowl in the final spasms of summer, but it will be cold and sleeting for elections this week, so there is nothing between you and that Google Form ballot. Skeptical, Google Form-weary students may ask: What can Senate even do? What has it done? Fair questions. Senate can communicate across the gamut of institutional bodies; senators have regular meetings with President Ambar’s Senior Staff, are voting members of the General Faculty Council, and present to these groups as well as to the Board of Trustees. Senate can crystalize issues that are important to students and target them through working groups. (These are open to all students. Join one once they’re formed this se-
mester, around February 24!) Senate, collaborating with the Student Finance Committee — the fiscal arm of student government — can shape student life by enriching the Student Activity Fund that sponsors student-run clubs, events, and services. And Senate has made use of all these privileges. After surveying almost half of campus in fall 2017, Senate presented the mental health, disability support, housing, and career service concerns it found to groups as wide-ranging as General Faculty, the Board, and the College library staff. With food access near the Conservatory in crisis after Dascomb closed, Senate’s campus dining working group labored diligently to resolve the issue, resulting in grab-and-go lunch added to the Sky Bar. Last semester, SFC worked hard along with the Solarity team to bring Lizzo to campus, for the first time soliciting student input to choose the artist and ensuring it would be free for all. SFC’s innovative reforms for allocating money are making these kinds of events possible, and Senate elections indicate to SFC what students are conSee Senate, page 7
the option to explore other opportunities to earn income, excepted employees had to continue to work their government jobs as normal — just without pay. While money would eventually be paid back, something that cannot be paid back is faith. The workforce fractured along various lines, often resulting in feelings of resentment or insecurity. Unlike the more upsetting accounts on the news, many of the workers I spoke with had some level of financial security. They could manage the economic hit, though it may mean being more frugal or creative with spending. They loved the work they did, but their confidence in leadership was deeply shaken, and they too began to question whether they — as well as their work — were truly essential. My last day in D.C. was another example of my “lucky” streak. As I boarded a plane to St. Louis, I received an alert that a massive group of federal workers had gathered to protest the shutdown in D.C. — the exact type of gathering I had been looking for everyday I had spent there. And while I had so expertly calculated that an agreement would not be reached on the Thursday Senate vote, I had not foreseen the arrest of Roger Stone and subsequent “coincidental” reopening of the government by Donald Trump on Saturday, which would have given me two days to see the return of the workers to the Peace Corps. Instead, I spent the days writing about the rest of the world in Missouri. On the last day of winter term, Jan. 29, the day of what would have been the State of the Union, I received this email: “Dear Justin Pelofsky, Welcome to the Peace Corps team! It is a pleasure to confirm you have been cleared by Peace Corps Safety and Security, and are now ready to come onboard as an Intern.” Keep me in mind for next year, Peace Corps.
Arboretum Fund Sets Example of Environmental Stewardship
Photo courtesy of Kendal at Oberlin Text by Nathan Carpenter, Editor-in-Chief
I recently read Braiding Sweetgrass, a book by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Kimmerer, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, is a Distinguished Teaching Professor and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer discusses how modern society relates to — and connects with — the natural world. For as much as we have advanced scientifically, she argues, we have lost sight of the kinds of reciprocal relationships with land that Indigenous people historically maintained. Essentially, we have forgotten to relate to land — to love it, and to understand and accept that it loves us back. Part of that relationship is understanding how we are all connected through land; the way that we treat land reflects how we treat each other. Care for the environment is care for others. See Kendal, page 7
Women’s Rights Discussions Should Not Focus on Abortion Jackie Brant Opinions Editor At the State of the Union address Tuesday, President Donald Trump asserted a harsh anti-abortion stance. This comes after several weeks without mention of abortion policies from the Trump administration; out of his past four addresses to Congress, the State of the Union address was the first time Trump has even mentioned abortion. Many have been quick to assert that the reason Trump commented on abortion at all was to attempt to fire up his religious base for his upcoming re-election campaign. However, it is highly significant that this sudden harsh stance just happened to coincide with one of the most powerful displays of women’s solidarity in congressional history. The women sitting on the left side of the aisle Tuesday sent a striking and inspiring message to the country by collectively wearing white to the State of the Union address. While the tradition of wearing all white has been used for a variety of reasons by women throughout history — including creating an attentiongrabbing visual effect for the fight for women’s suffrage and racial equality — the 106 women who chose to don all-white outfits this past Tuesday symbolized a new era in the fight for equality. It is rare to see united fronts of any kind in politics these days. Party polarization has seemingly peaked under the Trump administration. There is seldom any cooperation between Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and hardly any successful bipartisan initiatives enacted or bills passed. Despite these increasingly deep divisions, the Democratic Congresswomen of the 116th Congress — the most diverse in history — boldly expressed their solidarity with one another and the women of the United States, while simultaneously paying tribute to those who
enabled them to vote and hold these positions of power. The all-white outfits highlighted these women’s willingness to support and protect each other despite other policy disagreements they might have. Most importantly, it showed Congress and the Trump administration what can happen when 106 powerful and diverse women stand in solidarity. Regardless of political party, I imagine that many women across the U.S. who were watching the State of the Union address or who saw pictures of these women felt inspired and empowered. On the other hand, the topic of abortion has long been a dividing issue among women. As of 2018, only about 31 percent of women supported abortion being legal in all circumstances, and only 48 percent of women favored abortion being legal in certain circumstances. Finally, 50 percent of women identify as pro-choice, while 48 percent identify as pro-life, a nearly even divide. It is essential that we question why one of the most divisive women’s rights issues is the one that is the most talked about — particularly by Trump and the Right. Most of the time when I hear Republican politicians engage in conversations about gender equality, the conversation centers almost exclusively around abortion. When people accuse feminists of being “too radical,” they almost always highlight feminist stances on abortion. Why do bipartisan discussions about gender equality consistently veer in this direction when inequalities of pay, health care, and safety are equally as pressing? Politicians — particularly conservative men — have successfully used abortion to strategically divide and politically conquer women. Abortion increasingly seems to be an issue on which people are unwilling to compromise. Many pro-life individuals would not even consider voting for candidates who are pro-choice. Growing up going to Catholic school, I encountered many women who identified as pro-life despite having
otherwise progressive political views, especially regarding gender equality. Although their views on abortion and other gender-related issues such as equal pay were conflicting, they consistently identified as Republicans. Although I’m sure many of these women would still be Republican regardless of their stance on abortion, I cannot help but wonder what would happen if conversations about gender equality didn’t revolve around abortion. What if other important issues were given as much media attention as abortion debates and bills? This is why Trump’s comments on abortion in the face of an inspiring display of women’s solidarity cannot be a coincidence. Men in positions of power benefit from keeping women divided and the women of the 116th Congress have consistently responded with a strong united front. This solidarity was embodied by their entrance to the State of the Union Tuesday night. With the attention of the entire country, they sent a message to women across the United States that they would stand together. However, the feelings of unity that this image potentially conjured in the women watching may have quickly dissipated at Trump’s very mention of abortion. I cannot help but feel that these comments were meant to remind Republican women why they should not — or maybe cannot — be included in the Democrats’ display of solidarity. Until women recognize that abortion is used by politicians to divide us, true equality seems out of reach. The policies required to address women’s issues must be bipartisan. Such legislation could be passed if women from both sides of the aisle stood in solidarity with each other. Thus, it is essential that we recognize the topics and rhetoric used to divide us, and reframe the gender equality conversation in a way that unites women from all backgrounds.
Sophomores Find Mostly Positive Support System in SOAR Christo Hays Contributing Writer One of the first things students attending the Sophomore Opportunities and Academic Resources retreat were asked to do was close their eyes and imagine their future. When you wake up in the morning a decade from now, what does the room look like? What is your morning routine? Where is your workplace? What kind of work do you do? By the end of the retreat — “retreat” meaning two days cooped up in the Carnegie and King Buildings — I didn’t have answers to those questions. But I did have a folder full of detailed major pathways and some ideas for study away and Winter Term. SOAR is, on paper, a cohort-based support system somewhat like Peer Advising Leaders
— but instead of learning about the best study spots and campus events, you receive guidance specific to your major and how to work toward a meaningful, rewarding career. As a sophomore who’s a bit further behind the ball than some in terms of academic planning, SOAR sounded perfect. When I applied to Oberlin, I wanted to major in Cinema Studies. But by the time I got to campus, I was eying the Psychology Department. Then I had a stint as a prospective Creative Writing major before briefly considering Biology. Last semester I settled on Environmental Studies, but I had catching up to do. I signed up for SOAR to help with that. Wherever the practical was emphasized over the ambiguous and theoretical, SOAR succeeded. For instance, when we broke off into small groups sorted by
major, I spent valuable time with students and professors I share academic interests with. Everyone brought a more collaborative and creative energy to these small group activities, which were great for pooling our knowledge and spitballing ideas. This was particularly helpful for me since I knew less about the different ways to approach my major than a lot of the other students. Now I have a local network of students and faculty to bounce ideas off of, get insight from, and brainstorm co-curriculars with. This dynamic broke down during larger group activities. With no major to unite us, the SOAR leaders stepped in to guide the activities, which ranged from bizarre to stress-inducing. One of the first was a reflection on the complexities of choice, using a dystopian short story we’d been
assigned to read before the retreat. It was obvious right away that half the students hadn’t read the story and the other half found it cringe-worthy. The final event of the retreat was a talk on imposter syndrome. I certainly understood how imposter syndrome works in an academic setting by the end of the talk, but I didn’t really know what to do about it outside of some vague truisms. A friend of mine put it best when she said, “They basically told us we all have imposter syndrome, and we should fix it by not having imposter syndrome.” Not an inspiring note to go out on. There was the occasional gem, though. Learning how to use Wisr, the online Oberlin alumni network, was useful — especially since I didn’t even know it existed before. But on the whole, there
were more misfires than successes outside our major-specific groups. For a pilot program, I do think that SOAR worked relatively well. It certainly worked better than I expected it to. I needed advice and a game plan, and I received both — along with a handful of uninspired activities. Going forward, however, I think the SOAR organizers could loosen things up. Don’t worry about motivational introductory speeches or vague intellectual exercises. Just get the students in a room with fellow majors and some mentors, and they’ll come out more prepared. I feel much better about my major now than I did before, but I didn’t need to visualize 30-year-old me’s morning routine to get there. SOAR isn’t without its flaws, but it’s off to a promising start.
Senate Needs Student Participation Kendal Demonstrates Care for Oberlin Continued from page 6
cerned about. “Wow, let me vote already,” you may be crying. “When can I vote? How do I vote? Does Senate use the electoral college?” This semester’s ballot will open Monday, Feb. 11 at 5 p.m. and will close Saturday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. The ballot will be emailed out as a Google Form where you can read candidate statements and rank your top picks. The rank matters! Senate uses the Single Transferable Vote system, most familiar to computer science majors and the Scottish. Your vote will count toward your first rank candidate unless they are, by a plodding algorithm of elimination, ejected from the pool. At that point, your ballot will be reevaluated and counted toward the next candidate you ranked. (So, don’t vote for the same person six times The Oberlin Review | February 8, 2019
— it will not help them. And don’t vote in alphabetical order, unless your priority is electing more A-names to office.) By voting for Student Senate next week, you will help your student government be more legitimate, representative, and capable. Senate will be better able to advocate for students at a crucial time in Oberlin’s history. And you don’t have to stop at voting. Ask candidates questions on campus or online. Ask senators questions, too, once they’re elected. Tell them your thoughts, the good and the bad. Follow Senate’s Facebook page @Oberlin College Student Senate and Instagram account @oberlinsenate. No one knows what awaits Oberlin, but one way to help it all turn out OK is to fill out the Senate ballot before Saturday at 5 p.m.
Continued from page 6
“The outlet from my pond runs downhill to my good neighbor’s pond,” Kimmerer writes. “What I do here matters. Everybody lives downstream.” With Kimmerer’s words in mind, I was excited when the Review received an email from a representative of Kendal at Oberlin, informing us of a recently-established endowment fund benefiting the John Bartram Arboretum. The endowment was established by two Oberlin residents, Anne Helm and her late husband, Professor Emeritus of Classics Jim Helm. The Helms’ strong connection to the environment — and also to Oberlin — prompted them to establish the fund, which will support the Arboretum for years to come. In this way, sense of place becomes an important element of environmen-
tal stewardship, one of Oberlin’s core values, across both College and town communities. In order to fight for a place, you have to know it and love it. As Kimmerer writes, you have to understand that the only reason people live downstream of you is because you lived downstream of those who came before. We in Oberlin live downstream of so many incredible people who have made profound impacts on this community and beyond. Moments like the establishment of a fund to support a local arboretum are a recognition of that, and allow the rest of us a moment to pause and reflect on this place, what it means to us, what it has been, and what it can be. With the environmental and climate challenges we now face, that’s more important than ever.
Black Histor LAYOUT AND TEXT BY MIKAELA FISHMAN, THIS WEEK EDITOR
Black Musicians Guild Events “This event is catered to the African-American community and its allies for Black History Month. Ms. Callie Day presented a vast majority of genres from Gospel to Negro spirituals. Recently, Day has taken social media by storm as fans all over the United States have captured her amazing voice in videos that have almost instantly gone viral. Even before then, many had already witnessed her gifts in schools and churches where she’s taught and served. In August 2016, Callie released her first single, ‘Hear My Prayer.’” – Oberlin Black Musicians Guild Upcoming BMG Events:
Moses Hogan Sing-Along Tuesday, Feb. 12 • 7:30 p.m. • Warner Concert Hall BHM Tiny Ref-Desk Concert Thursday, Feb. 14 • 12 p.m. • Conservatory Library
Painting with Pink Siifu PHOTOS BY MIKAELA FISHMAN, THIS WEEK EDITOR
Melanin Monday events at the ’Sco
Painting with Pink Siifu and Live Poetry Feb. 4 • 9:30 p.m. Movies and Melanin Film Festival Feb. 11 • 6 p.m. Black Splitchers with DJ Sinistarr Feb. 18 • 9:30 p.m. Africana Student Showcase Feb. 25 • 9:30 p.m.
PHOTO CREDIT SIGNIFYIN’ WORKS AND FRAMELINE DISTRIBUTION
Callie Day• Wednesday, Feb. 6 7:30 p.m. • Warner Concert Hall
Theatrical Release Poster
Queer Cinema Series Presents: Marlon Riggs’ Tongues Untied
Wednesday, Feb. 27 • 7 p.m. • Apollo Theatre “Released at the height of the AIDS crisis in the U.S., Marlon Riggs’ 1989 film Tongues Untied frankly and imaginatively addresses issues of race and sexuality. This now-classic film explores Black gay life with a fierce lyricism, combining poetry, testimony, rap, and performance. While enjoying its fair share of accolades, the film was not without controversy. However, even as his health deteriorated, Riggs never backed away from his courageous commitment to exploring race, racism, and queer sexualities through film and video.
We will be celebrating those commitments in [this] 30th anniversary screening of Tongues Untied. In honor of Black History Month, we invite all to participate in a discussion of this visionary Black filmmaker and his landmark film following the screening. This event is free and open to the public.” – Visiting Assistant Professor of English Rachel Carroll
STEM in Color
Saturday–Sunday, Feb. 23–24 • 12–3 p.m. Norman C. Craig Lecture Hall “In an effort to promote diversity and inclusivity at Oberlin, the Black Scientists Guild will be hosting STEM in Color. This event will showcase Black and Brown professionals, graduate students, and current student researchers to highlight their amazing accomplishments. Due to the lack of representation in STEM, difficulty of courses, and cultural factors, many students [of color do] not choose STEM majors. [This] yields a massive impact on the participation and retention of STEM students in marginalized communities.
This event is open to the larger community, but it is particularly built around the needs and desires of the marginalized communities in STEM at Oberlin College who have expressed feeling underrepresented in this community.” – Kaitlyn Rivers, junior Biology major
ry Month AT OBERLIN
Black by Popular Demand: The BHM Fashion Show Saturday, Feb. 23 • 8 p.m. • Root Room
After last year’s success, the BHM Fashion Show returns. Director and faculty in residence at Afrikan Heritage House Candice Raynor wrote in an email to the Review, “The fashion show is a celebration of Black style and the impact Black cultures have on popular fashion. Similar to how Black music influences popular music, Black fashion and style influences popular fashion and style.”
▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼ THURSDAY–SATURDAY, FEB. 7–9
What We Look Like 7:30 p.m. • Irene and Alan Wurtzel Theater What We Look Like is a play by B.J. Tindal, OC ’16, that comically delves into the challenges of being an African-American family living in a white suburban area. Directed by Caroline Jackson Smith, professor of Theater and Africana Studies.
TUESDAY, FEB. 12
PHOTO BY DAQUAN WILLIAMS
Five for Freedom: Oberlin’s Connections to the Raid on Harpers Ferry 7 p.m. • The First Church in Oberlin, Meeting House Author, journalist, and historian Eugene L. Meyer leads a discussion about abolitionist John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, WV, and the five African-American men — two of whom were from Oberlin — who helped with the raid. A book signing will follow the discussion.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 13 Last year’s BHM Fashion Show
PHOTO BY ALEX LOZUPONE
Greg Tate speaking at NYU
Greg Tate Residency
Creative Writing/Music Journalism Workshop Monday, Feb. 18 • 12–1:15 p.m. • Afrikan Heritage House, Lord Lounge The Impact, Influence, and Innovation of Tom Wilson Monday, Feb. 18 • 7 p.m. • Afrikan Heritage House, Lord Lounge ConFab Listening Party Tuesday, Feb. 19 • 4:30–6 p.m. • Birenbaum Innovation and Performance Space Music Production Workshop with Craig Street Tuesday, Feb. 19 • 7 p.m. • Afrikan Heritage House, Lord House, Room 220 Marginalized Voices in Music Journalism Panel with Annie Zaleski Wednesday, Feb. 20 • 12 p.m. • Wilder Hall, Room 101
“Musical Studies and Africana Studies are co-sponsoring a Greg Tate Residency. Drawing on Tate’s writing, criticism, and musical expertise, the residency will center on the life and musical legacy of producer Tom Wilson, an underrated and oft-forgotten African-American cultural stalwart in American popular music responsible for iconic sounds of the 1960s by [Bob] Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Sun Ra, Zappa, the Velvet Underground, and more. Joined by Grammy Award-winning producer Craig Street, Tate will discuss Wilson’s impeccable (and short) musical career. Moreover, Tate will host a listening party at the [Birenbaum Innovation and Performance Space] and offer a creative writing/music journalism workshop. Street will lead a workshop at the Afrikan Heritage House recording studio on sound engineering and production.” – Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology Kathryn Metz
Are You Ready For This: Consent and Women’s Agency in Carnival Culture 12 p.m. • Wilder, Room 112 Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Comparative American Studies Meredith Gadsby will discuss women’s agency in the context of Carnival throughout the Caribbean diaspora, and how Carnival traditions have been complicated as issues of consent become more widely discussed.
THURSDAY, FEB 21
Bridging The Gap: African Immigrants and Black American Culture 7:30 p.m. • Afrikan Heritage House, Lord Lounge Assistant Professor of Psychology at The College of Wooster Barbara Thelamour presents her research on the interaction between African immigrants and Black American culture, and the ways that Black Americans perceive African immigrants.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
A r t s & C u ltu r e
FEBRUARY 8, 2019
ARTS & CULTURE established 1874
Volume 147, Number 12
Oberlin Emeritus Professor Recognized for Grafton Productions Roman Broszkowski Senior Staff Writer The Ohio Arts Council recently announced that Phyllis Gorfain, Oberlin Professor of English Emerita, had won its 2019 Ohio Arts Administration Award. This award is one of several categories of the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio. Gorfain was nominated for her role in founding Oberlin Drama at Grafton, a theater group that operates within the Grafton Correctional Institution, located about 20 minutes from Oberlin. ODAG helps to put on inmate-acted plays inside Grafton, providing incarcerated people the opportunity to engage with theatrical works in collaboration with Oberlin students and volunteers. While the group grew from Gorfain’s earlier work, she is quick to insist that its roots come from all its participants, not the work of any one person. “In some ways, [this award] made me feel uncomfortable,” Gorfain said. “But I’ve worked my way to embracing [it] because I love the fact that because it’s an award for arts administration. It first and foremost is an award for ODAG as an organization.” Gorfain was initially introduced to prison academic work through two personal friends — Oberlin professors teaching an expository writing class to inmates. In 2006, they invited Gorfain, who holds a doctorate in Shakespeare studies, to read a Shakespearean play to their class. Around the same time, Gorfain attended a Shakespearean scholars conference, where she found herself at a showing of the documentary Shakespeare Behind Bars,
written and directed by Hank Rogerson. The documentary follows a year in the life of an acting troupe of inmates, as they prepare to stage The Tempest in a Kentucky prison. Two years later, Gorfain retired from Oberlin and began to organize the group that would eventually turn into ODAG. The group’s mission is nuanced and complicated. While ODAG’s official statement focuses on preparing inmates for successful reentry to society, Gorfain elaborated that this is only part of the group’s goal. “Our goal is deep personal and social change,” Gorfain said. “Zero recidivism will follow from that ... one of our goals is that by doing this program, people will ... contribute to the society as returned citizens and, as we put it, to be able to go home and stay home. So we can put it in terms of recidivism and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s too narrow a goal. In other words, our goal is much more immense.” ODAG works towards this social change by providing Grafton inmates with a nurturing environment where they can be vulnerable and safe while pursuing new experiences. College senior Abby Bordin volunteers with the group and says that the atmosphere it creates sets it apart from other forms of theater people may be exposed to. “The thing I liked the most about doing ODAG is that it really is a learning experience and a community-building experience,” Bordin said. “We call it — it’s so cheesy — we call it the ODAG family [because] we care deeply about each other’s artistic and creative successes. And that’s just a really wonderful environment to be around.”
The program also challenges many stereotypes of inmate life, not for the benefit only of the performers or of an outside audience, but also in opening up the way other inmates think about their experiences. Some of these productions include male prisoners in female roles, in contrast to the stereotypical hyper-masculine behavior expected in prison. “The reception is [always] so positive,” Bordin said. “The most feedback that I’ve ever heard from the general population shows is new guys will come to the first rehearsal after that show and say, ‘Hey, I saw the show, and I want to be a part of that.’ I hear that so much more than I hear anything that’s mocking or in any way putting down anything that’s happened. It’s wonderful, and I think that goes to show there are so many subtly dehumanizing stereotypes about people who [are] in prison.” Working with the prisoners has also had a strong impact on ODAG’s student volunteers. College senior Joey Flegel-Mishlove said that the hands-on experience has shaped how he thinks of prison-related issues. “I think it’s made a lot of the things that I thought I knew very real and given a face to people [facing these issues],” he said. “I could say abstractly that I thought the American criminal justice system is broken in innumerable ways, but I didn’t know it in the way that I do now, and I didn’t [attribute] a human characteristic to it.” ODAG is in the process of preparing their next show, The Merchant of Venice, for sometime this year, and Gorfain is set to receive her award May 15 at the Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio.
M. the Heir Apparent Discusses Success, Music Career Carson Dowhan Senior Staff Writer California singer-songwriter Kyle Terrizzi knows what it’s like to try and make it as an independent creator. Currently working as the one-man band M. the Heir Apparent, Terrizzi has advice and insight into negotiating the twists and turns of the lucrative music industry. Prior to his 2016 debut EP Be Free, Terrizzi has released three albums under the name The Plastic Arts, which had a similar acoustic style to his current act. Since then, he has explored acoustic covers that have been added to multiple editorial playlists on Spotify; his most popular cover, of DJ Snake’s 2016 release “Middle,” garnered over 10 million listens on Spotify alone. Terrizzi’s covers have won him a strong following, particularly in the Philippines. This audience provides him with a reliable platform for his upcoming original releases. His international success and loyal following in the San Francisco Bay Area earned him the opportunity to open for San Francisco artist Matt Nathanson on the West Coast portion of his tour. Nathanson is best known for his 2007 hit, “Come On Get Higher.” Terrizzi uses a unique release strategy. “Artists are competing for attention now more than ever,” he wrote in an email to the Review. “Meanwhile, the work of most independent artists is largely ignored upon release.” Terrizzi went on to explain that he will be releasing over a dozen new original singles in 2019, rather than the typical two or three that one might expect. “I think independent artists especially need to divorce themselves from the archetype of the album as a ‘grand statement,’ put their faith in their own gift, and create,” he wrote in an email to the Review. “Most importantly they should release music constantly.” The business
side of music can be demanding, but artists can become successful by finding the right product, target audience, and schedule. However, even when they find all those things, the best still don’t always rise to the top. “Myths are easy to identify,” he wrote. “In the music industry, one is that it’s a meritocracy. Another is that talent is rare. Myths about songwriting are harder to articulate, but one is that pop music is categorically easier to craft.” Terrizzi drew attention to the misconception that songwriting is easy. While people like to give pop music a hard time because of its sheer marketability, massive hits like Drake’s “In My Feelings” are often written by large teams of professionals — an entire portion of the industry is dedicated to the manufacturing of pop songs that rely on tried-and-true formulas to make the chorus stick in your head. “Sometimes I wish someone could have tapped me on the shoulder when I first started writing songs and told me that the creative process would always feel this difficult,” he wrote. “I would force myself to do it every day and felt like I was wringing myself like a bar rag to write songs that even I knew weren’t very good.” In a craft like this, work ethic is key. “The old adage that writing is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration is absolutely true in my experience,” he continued. “I really believe in the power of clarity in songwriting. For me, almost all of the songwriting process is the lyrics. What takes the most time is writing a lyric that is a complete idea from the beginning to the end.” It’s easy to get lost in a song with effective melody and chord choice, but the written word brings in a new empathic element. Lyrics often offer more clarity than any instrumental composition could.
Kyle Terrizzi, M. The Heir Apparent “I want the listener to be able to trace my thinking from the first line to the last,” Terrizzi wrote. However, he certainly does not rule out the use of collaboration when creating songs. “When it comes to the arrangement of the song, I work this out with my longtime collaborator Gawain Mathews,” he explained. “But if the song doesn’t stand
Photo by Emily Sevin
on its own with just voice and guitar, then I haven’t done my job in the writing process.” Today, Terrizzi is a songwriter in Berkeley, CA. In 2019, he plans to release new material every month on all digital platforms. His advice looks to the future, both in writing music with discipline and in bringing his songs to the public.
Best Picture Countdown Weekly Movie Reviews on the 8 Oscar Nominees
A Star is Born Liz Stewart In today’s cinematic era riddled with countless mediocre remakes and sequels, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut A Star is Born has refreshed Hollywood’s current creative dry spell by subverting the standard remake. Cooper knows how to properly recreate a timely classic, adding even more purpose and heart to a screenplay that was already laden with emotion — A Star is Born is a necessary deviation from our tragic status quo. Cooper presents familiar material with a new twist, allowing the film to stand alone from its predecessors. It still tells the story of an impulsive rockstar, whose fame declines while his formerly working-class girlfriend ascends to stardom. However, 2018’s A Star is Born is more interested in the male side of the equation than some of the film’s previous iterations. The movie closely follows singer-songwriter Jackson Maine, played by Cooper, as the country star struggles with substance abuse and self-punishment. He suffers from impaired hearing and tinnitus which emphasize his vulnerability and lack of control in the public eye. He has been placed in a position of both power and fragility, and his attempts to contend with this reality are poignant and intriguing. Though at times Cooper’s directing can teeter on the edge of self-adulation, we are ultimately introduced to a complicated, three-dimensional character who is carefully imbued with nuance and, of course, sex appeal. A Star is Born has impeccable casting. Lady Gaga shines like never before as
Ally, a waitress-turned-pop-singer-sensation who falls in love with Maine when he discovers her at an underground drag show. Her powerful voice is a character all its own. “I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in / I’ll never meet the ground / Crash through the surface, where they can’t hurt us / We’re far from the shallow now,” Ally belts onstage in a riveting and now iconic scene with Maine. The shot incorporates extreme close-ups of characters who are consumed by their love for music and each other. These crooning lyrics, which you probably recognize from listening to the radio or your Top 100 Spotify playlist, belong to Lady Gaga’s original song “Shallow,” a country and folk-pop power ballad she wrote for the film. Unlike Hollywood’s usual quickie music-fad cash-ins, the soundtrack from A Star is Born accentuates the film’s artistic significance. It doesn’t exist for the sole purpose of appealing to music consumers. “Shallow” and the larger songwriting relationship of the protagonists center the film in a fundamental confrontation about what it means to be one’s true, authentic self. Do not mistake the film’s blockbuster appeal for poor filmmaking. Although you may prefer to watch a more niche film produced by an independent production company, give A Star is Born a chance. For Oberlin students, it could be a fun watch with friends and at the very least, a touching sing-along. While I don’t expect it to win Best Picture, as the Academy typically favors more intellectual films, there’s a reason it has Oscar nominations in four other categories.
What We Look Like
Jaris Owens and Ti Ames in rehearsal for the upcoming mainstage production of What We Look Like, directed by Professor of Theater and Africana Studies Caroline Jackson-Smith. The play, written by B.J. Tindal, ’OC 16, follows a Black family moving into the white suburbs. How will the Hodges family contend with this change, especially after eight-year-old Tommy comes home with a picture he drew of his imaginary white family? The show runs from Thursday, Feb. 7 through this Sunday, Feb. 10 at the new Irene and Alan Wurtzel Theater. Tickets are $8.
The Oberlin Review | February 8, 2019
Text by Katherine MacPhail, Arts Editor Photo courtesy of the Oberlin Theater Department
Black Panther Kabir Karamchandani Marvel Studios is notorious for churning out movies that are fun to watch but lack substance and depth, which makes Black Panther a pleasant surprise. The film sets a new bar for the genre, with a compelling villain and a semi-nuanced debate of a politically relevant issue. In a time rife with xenophobia and immigration issues, Black Panther tackles serious questions about whether a country’s responsibilities extend beyond its borders and whether those in power have a responsibility to help those who are not. The film handles these issues with surprising tact, painting them as a debate rather than the black-and-white depiction of disagreements usually found in superhero films. Despite this, the film still remains somewhat hamstrung by its genre, resorting to flashy action scenes at its climax rather than focusing on the moral debates merited by its weighty themes. However, the emotional beats of this movie hit close to home, and the level of action comes with the territory. What’s more, Black Panther is a phenomenal success in its superhero genre. Its moral discussions add to the story, making it extremely compelling. The action is standard for a Marvel movie, and while the visual effects are slightly subpar, the film’s pathos more than makes up for it. In a nutshell, Black Panther is the best possible version of the formulaic
Marvel superhero movie. It does everything by the book and still succeeds in telling a nuanced story. While Chadwick Boseman plays the title role well, it’s Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger who really steals the show. He solves Marvel’s long-standing villain problem by presenting a relatable character with a sympathetic vendetta and code of conduct, and is easily the studio’s best villain to date. Marvel also solves its bland music problem with an Oscar-nominated score and soundtrack that bring the world of Wakanda to life. Black Panther has also received universal acclaim for its commitment to diversity and representation, both in the cast and behind the scenes. While the movie is a monumental achievement in terms of racial representation, it also is one of few Marvel productions with multiple strong female leads. Throughout the movie, women have a far greater level of agency than previously seen in Marvel films. While it is not flawless, Black Panther accomplishes its goals and is a masterpiece in the Marvel universe. There are many fans of superhero movies at Oberlin, and for them, this movie is a mustsee. However, even if this isn’t your typical genre, I would still encourage you to watch Black Panther — a plain good movie and one of my favorites of the year. While I would not expect it to win Best Picture, the nomination is well-deserved.
Bohemian Rhapsody Kabir Karamchandani A music-packed ode to Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody is, unfortunately, more style than substance. While the score is sure to entertain any Queen fans, the biopic is far from true to its source material and lacks coherence and a consistent story thread. The movie is scattered from the opening. Within the span of a few minutes, the focus quickly switches from scenes of Mercury’s home life to a musical performance, to his introduction to his future band-mates, and finally to his first meeting with his future wife. The beginning chaotically sets up up various elements of the plot that never quite come together. Instead, the film jumps from song to song for the majority of its runtime — which isn’t actually a bad thing, as the songs are easily the best part. The issue is that there is little flow or structure to the rest of the movie, making it feel like a garbled greatest hits collection rather than a cohesive story. The movie’s one saving grace is Rami Malek’s performance as Mercury. Malek does a spectacular job, portraying Mercury both at his loudest and his most vulnerable. Bohemian Rhapsody is Mercury’s story, not Queen’s, and that
is due in no small part to Malek, who is at the front and center of every scene. He shines in all of the musical numbers, and his climactic Live Aid performance alone makes the movie worth watching. This movie is difficult to recommend to Queen fans, who are not hard to come by at Oberlin. On the one hand, if you’re just a casual listener, then this movie is a must-watch. While it has structural issues, it’s entertaining on the whole and is filled with great music. However, if you have followed the band at all then this movie will be nearly unwatchable due to the sheer amount of fabrication. Events in the film appear in a completely different order than they originally transpired, and several disagreements and confrontations are completely made up to manufacture tension. The film alters the story of Queen and Mercury drastically, glossing over several of the less savory incidents of Mercury’s life and detracting from much of what made him an icon. All told, Bohemian Rhapsody can still be enjoyable if you sit back and ignore everything but the music. However, in terms of the actual storytelling, it falls short of the rest of the Oscar nominees. If you can’t watch them all, I would miss this one.
A r t s & C u lt u r e ON THE RECORD
B.J. Tindal, OC ’16, Playwright of What We Look Like
B.J. Tindal, OC ’16, wrote the upcoming theater mainstage production, What We Look Like. At Oberlin, Tindal majored in Theater and Africana Studies before earning his MFA at Northwestern University’s Writing for the Screen and Stage program. Tindal won the 2019 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition with his Oberlin senior capstone project, Goodnight, Tyler, which will go up at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta this month. What We Look Like is the first play that Tindal wrote at Oberlin. It runs from Thursday, Feb. 7 through this Sunday, Feb. 10 at the new Irene and Alan Wurtzel Theater. Tickets are $8.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Katherine MacPhail, Arts & Culture Editor
accident that are now permanently in the show. I think a big part of the show is that it’s been shaped by a community of people. That community includes the cast and the crew. The stage manager Amethyst Carey, the costume designer Calypso Moon, and the lighting designer Dominique Pearson all added to the show and affected the narrative in a way that I was super proud to put in the script permanently. It’s been on a journey, and I hope it continues to go on a journey.
B.J. Tindal So what is What We Look Like about? The play is about the Hodges family, a Black family, that just moved to the suburbs. They’re a family of five: you’ve got a mom, a dad, the oldest son, the second oldest daughter, and the baby boy who’s eight years old. It’s revealed in the first scene — the mom and dad are in a counseling office — that the youngest son has an imaginary white family, which in a lot of ways ends up being the mom’s worst nightmare. They’ve moved from a neighborhood that was predominantly Black into a suburb which is predominantely white, and now her son essentially doesn’t want to be Black. A lot of the play is about what family is “supposed” to look like, and who that idea benefits and who that idea disadvantages. The American dream of the house with the lawn and the white picket fence is damaging for some families. The play kind of shows how that idea works negatively against the Hodges. You go on a ride with this family that is trying
to make things work. Why did you write this play? I started writing it in [Professor Caroline Jackson-Smith’s] African American Drama class in the spring of 2013. We were reading a lot of plays about Black families from the 20th century. At that time there was, what felt like, a drought of Black people in the media in meaningful ways. Black-ish had not premiered yet — that wasn’t a thing until a year and a half later. So I was really interested in writing a piece that talked about a Black family in the 21st century. The play was [originally] only one scene — it was that first scene. We had talked about Brown v. Board of Education and the doll test that they did in response to that case in that class. I chose for my final to write about that and make a scene that dramatized it and put it on its feet. How has the script changed since you first wrote it? A big way that it’s changed after I worked on it in Ms. Car-
Photo Courtesy of B.J. Tindal oline’s class is that Tommy, the youngest son, was originally a character in the play. That was the direction that I was going to go. And then basically there was a scene where I was like, “Well what if I just took him out of the scene and saw what it was like if just the older brother and the sister talked?” Just as an experiment. And I liked it so much better. Everyone’s responses to what it means when an eight-year-old black boy comes home with a picture of a white family, and all the politics around that and who it affects in the household — I ended up finding more dramatically interesting. Aside from that, the group that worked on it in 2014 and 2015 really, really helped shape what it is. Maansi Sahay Seth co-directed it with me that year and also was the dramaturg for the show. We came to rehearsal and we both knew we were going to work from what was on the page but we were also going to add to it. There was a lot of ad-libbing. There were a lot of lines added that were messed up by
What is it like coming back to Oberlin? I definitely didn’t expect to be back so soon. A lot of the people who I was here with are gone now, so it’s really interesting going to a campus where I feel very much like an outsider — but not in a negative [way] at all. A lot of the folks who were [first-years] when I was a senior are now seniors, so it’s really cool to see all of them kind of running campus and doing what they do. A lot of the culture on campus seems very similar to what it was when I was there. But, you know, there are problems that we had to deal with that I’m happy that people now don’t have to deal with. I guess working with this play particularly, and knowing what the culture of campus was like when we did it the first time versus what it is now, it felt like a good way to get an idea of what campus life is now. I feel like I learned a lot while working with the cast that’s putting it up now, just because we spent several days talking about how Oberlin might respond to this play, and when the last time was that Oberlin had a play that talked about some of the politics that are in What We Look Like. What do you hope that the audience walks away with? A couple of things. One — when it comes to Oberlin’s campus, a lot of what this version of this play is about is Black people moving into situations where they’re around predominantly white people and it’s not the norm for them. Allegedly 7 percent of Oberlin is Black. When I was here
a lot of us came from schooling where we had been used to being around all white people already. But there are a lot of Black people at Oberlin where this is the first time where that’s true, and I feel like that gets overlooked sometimes. And so a lot of what this play is talking about is what the disadvantages and consequences of that experience are. So for Oberlin specifically, for the white audience members, I hope it can be, “How are we carrying the culture of this campus so that it makes room for the students of color here?” Oberlin’s position as a high-end institution, as a super-progressive academic and highly performing place, is a utopia for a lot of folks and it’s also really not a utopia for a lot of the students of color. I hope that this play can be a wakeup call or a reorienting around how you think about race culture on campus. I also hope that folks can walk away thinking about who their family is and thinking about what their relationship is to their family. And when I say family, I mean birth family and chosen family. Who do you stand by no matter what? Because you get to choose. I think you get to see that a few characters make that choice actively in this play. I hope when folks walk away they think, “Who are the people in my life that I choose, and why do I choose them?” Other than that, I hope you liked it. I hope you had fun. Is there anything else you would like to add? This play in a lot of ways is about family and community, and I really want people to know that a community built it. I want to highlight Maansi’s work particularly. There’s a lot of work when it comes to playmaking that goes unseen and that we don’t talk about and that we don’t value because people don’t know that it’s been done. Dramaturgy work gets missed a lot. I want folks to know how hard and integral that work is to what this show has been since its inception. The show is about community and community is what made this show possible.
Celebrities Incognito Charlotte Taylor ACROSS 1. “Gross” 4. Cake decoration 9. Father figure 14. ___ tai 15. Macadamia ____ ____ product you can put on your skin 17. Old Italian coins 18. Latin for “human foot” 19. Fruit with almost no perfect rhymes 20. ___ ex machina 21. Snake sounds 23. Martha Stewart’s unlikely cooking buddy 25. Brazilian author Jorge ______ 26. Author Harper 27. Collegiate URL 29. Dream phase 30. “Oh, Pretty Woman” crooner 35. Danny, who directed Slumdog Millionaire 37. Predilection for cruelty 38. Ed of The Mary Tyler Moore Show 41. German article 43. For all ___ ___ 44. Buys drugs, slangily 46. Tech CEO responsible for taking down Gawker 48. Common accessory of 11. Across, 16. Across, 29. Across, and 37. Across 50. Connections 53. Middle-earth race 54. Oberlin College music venue 55. Provides an advantage 56. German creative director for the house of Chanel 60. Othello epithet 62. Mother of Artemis and Apollo 63. Common time for a lunch break 65. Master 66. Platter 67. Hybrid species mentioned in Napoleon Dynamite 68. Medical professional in the ambulance 69. The first musician to be awarded the Nobel Prize 70. Bronco QB legend 71. Link DOWN 1. Mischievous ones 2. He has a palace in Las Vegas 3. Imperative you might see on a candy heart 4. Diminutive Italian suffix 5. Hasty 6. “Let’s call ___ ___ evening.” 7. A thou-shalt-not 8. Call boy 10. Designer for Gucci 11. Narrative counterpart to mimesis 12. Something you might see on an Rx bottle 13. “Affirmative” 16. Pariahs 22. Funny “D*** in a Box” performer 24. Argue 28. Not reached 31. Over the hill, metaphorically 32. Poet William Butler 33. Worship of false gods 34. Outmoded 36. Threatening words 39. Room for prep work next to a kitchen 40. Lethal antonym 42. Female pronoun 45. Relating to holy rites 47. Dancer Duncan 49. Pushover 51. Webkinz forerunner 52. Kylie’s baby 57. “The Naked Maja” painter 58. Most densely populated U.K. country, for short 59. Co-founder of MGM 61. Type of learning through repetition 62. Inc. in London 64. Abbreviation for the institution Sherlock Holmes reports to
The Oberlin Review | February 8, 2019
COMIC: POCKET HAMLET
Claire Wang Staff Cartoonist
Sp ort s
Daniel Mukasa and Jahkeem Wheatley, Senior Pole Vaulters and Besties IN THE LOCKER ROOM
College seniors and pole vaulters Daniel Mukasa and Jahkeem Wheatley were each other’s first friends at Oberlin. Now, in their final year of collegiate track and field, the two hope to see each other on the podium at the Indoor and Outdoor North Coast Athletic Conference Championships. Mukasa, a Physics major from Riverside, CA, has a pole vault personal record of 14’1.25” and hopes to either receive a Fulbright Fellowship in Uganda or work toward his Ph.D. in material science after graduation. Wheatley, a Law and Society and Sociology double major from Mount Vernon, NY, was the indoor conference champion last winter and holds a personal record of 14’5.5”. After Oberlin, Wheatley plans to attend law school and hopes one day to represent professional athletes and entertainers. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Interview by Alexis Dill and Jane Agler, Sports Editors and outdoor is for us to go one and two. I don’t care what order it is. I just want us both to be on that pedestal. We’re going to support each other and we’re going to get there. JW: I want to beat him.
Daniel Mukasa Jahkeem Wheatley Photo courtesy of OC Athletics Photo courtesy of OC Athletics
What were your first impression of each other? Jahkeem Wheatley: I had never met Daniel, but I heard a lot about him from [Associate Head] Coach [John] Hepp. Throughout my recruiting process, he told me a lot about Daniel because we’re in the same year. He told me Daniel’s from California and a lot like me, and that we’d be really good teammates. So, I looked him up, and he definitely seemed like a California kid. I’m from New York, so I have my preconceptions about California kids. He had the longboard and the tank tops. What I thought of California, I saw in Daniel. Daniel Mukasa: Coach Hepp talked about Jahkeem a little bit. He told me that there was this other pole vaulter that he was trying to recruit who jumped about the same height as me. So I kept up with him [online], checking and seeing how he was jumping at every meet. Internally [I was] competing but also getting ready to be awesome teammates, knowing we could just push each other to get better. I always saw him as this force that was going to push me to get better throughout the entire recruiting process, and that’s what it’s been like since we got here. We’ve just made each other better pole vaulters. How did you discover pole vault? DM: My story is uneventful. I was too slow for the sprint team, and so I was like, “Let me do something where I won’t need to run as much.” I did pole vault for a minute, and at one point had
to actually start getting good to stay on the team, so I started sticking with it. JW: For me it’s the same thing. Freshman year [of high school] I played football, and my coach made me do track. I didn’t know what pole vault was, so I tried it and stuck with it. What are some goals you have for the season? What’s your mentality knowing that this is the beginning of the end for you? JW: My goals for the season are [to beat the] indoor and outdoor pole vault records, [win] both conference championships, qualify for nationals, and [be named] an All-American. Those are big goals. This is my last year, so I definitely want to enjoy every moment of it, which I’ve been trying really hard to do. I’ve gone through many different mindsets with injuries and whatnot throughout my career, so I know how to go into the year. I know it’s going to be a much longer season than I’ve had in the past [since I’m not injured], so I know that if I’m not jumping high right now, it’s going to be a longer season — so just being patient and working on the little things now in the beginning of the year, which I probably didn’t do in prior seasons. DM: When Jahkeem and I came in freshman year, we were like these freshmen who were projected to basically do the best in the conference together, and subsequently every single conference championship we’ve had, one of us has been injured. I’m now recovering from an injury, and Jahkeem is fine this year, so my goal for indoor
What was your injury? DM: It was bizarre. A year ago, I was jumping at indoor conference. Finally, we were both uninjured, and it was going to be equal competition. During my last jump at like 14 feet, I randomly felt like something in my foot popped, and it turns out I tore my plantar plate, which has taken me out for, basically, until the start of January. I’m still a little injured, but I’m figuring out how to work through it because this goal means a lot to me. I really want to see us both up there, and I think we can do it.
the same for me. JW: I definitely agree with that. We’ve been vaulting together for four years, so I know what his tendencies are — if he needs a bigger pole, when his jump is under, and exactly what he’s working on. That’s one of the things — familiarity. If the younger guys tell me to do something and Daniel says something different, I listen to Daniel since we’ve been together longer and know each other’s vault very well.
How do you feel like you’ve grown over the years as leaders, teammates, and competitors? DM: I think we’ve gotten really good at supporting each other through our jumping. JW: There’s been times when I’ve been hurt, and Daniel’s not hurt. When we lived together, that was important. That was when I was out for the longest time in my career, so he always told me to keep my head up when I was kind of down, watching Netflix and eating chips in the room. Daniel definitely helped me get through that phase and encouraged me to keep working out and doing the right things. DM: Over the four years, what we’ve really learned is how to help each other out during meets. Every pole vaulter has their different cadence of how they want to handle a meet — whether they want their step checked or whether they want to know how their swing-up was or different aspects of that. So now I know exactly what Jahkeem needs when he gets on the runway. I know I need to cheer him on and get his step and check for these three things that he may not be doing consistently in the vault to get him over the highest height possible, and he’s always there to do
How has your friendship evolved over the years? How do you make each other better? DM: It’s definitely grown throughout the years. As soon as we got here, we started going to practices together and were each other’s initial friend group. We roomed together sophomore year and started picking up on each other’s habits. Whenever one of us is supposed to be dieting, the other one is watching out. Like in Stevie, sometimes I’ll see Jahkeem walking around with a plate of fries, and I’ll be like, “Bro, you know you’re not supposed to eat that.” But sometimes he’ll see me doing the same and will give me the same feedback. We push each other to be the best athletes, but also best people inside the classroom as well. I’m always cheering him on whenever he gets any kind of job position, like his awesome position inside the Career Center, or whenever he’s applying to law schools or whenever I’m applying to Ph.D. programs, we’re there to cheer each other on. JW: Daniel is definitely smarter than me. He does physics and a lot of other things. He’s the leader and creator of the Black Scientist Guild, and he does a lot of conferences. I’ve always looked up to all of the academic stuff he’s always been able to do along with coming to practice every day and being a good teammate. We’re similar in some ways, but he looks at things differently and sees things differently. I’ll ask him for advice, and he sees things in a completely different way than I do, which is sometimes frustrating but, more often than not, very helpful. In some ways he’s my mentor.
teammates and coaches, I believe that I have found a group of people who not only see my size, but also my ability and strength as a softball player. My size was no longer something to be ashamed of, but rather an invaluable advantage. Without having a role model like Keilani Ricketts to show me that my body was made to perform, I think my journey to self-acceptance and love may have never started. Playing sports has
given me the confidence to try things I never thought I would be capable of, whether it was throwing a no-hitter, lifting a heavier weight, or tackling academic challenges. My confidence on the field and in the weight room has translated into a confidence in the classroom and in a society that still sees my size as something I should be ashamed of. But I know that in my body, there is indescribable power and value.”
Narratives of Oberlin Women in Sports (Cont.) Continued from page 16 me playing softball at an elite level. That person was Keilani Ricketts, a 6’2” heavyset All- American pitcher for the University of Oklahoma. I remember watching in awe as the commentators talked about how Ricketts’ long arms and broad frame played to her advantage and allowed her to have incredible power and control over her pitches. She dominated the game, pumping her fist
with every strikeout. I realized that my body was made to be powerful and athletic. I realized that I could be an elite pitcher if I stopped being embarrassed of my and started harnessing its power on the field. Truthfully, I have never felt completely accepted into the athletic community because of my size. I’ve struggled to find an identity that feels comfortable, but through the love and support of my
Vianca Dagnino Begins Oberlin Softball Career After Years with Peruvian National Team Jane Agler Sports Editor The routine of the average high school student is simple: Go to school, attend classes and other extracurricular activities, and then return home to do homework for the following school day. For Vianca Dagnino, a first-year catcher on Oberlin’s varsity softball team, high school was a bit different. While her peers were at school in her home state of California, Dagnino was getting hits off softball legends like Monica Abbott. Since the age of 13, Dagnino has been an active member of the Peruvian National Softball Team, traveling to all corners of the world for tournaments and competitions against big-time opponents. With such a strong focus on softball, her high school experience was certainly unconventional, to say the least. “I missed a lot of high school,” Dagnino said, “but my teachers were totally okay with it. They would make arrangements. I would do my homework on the bus on our way to games. I’ve always been able to manage getting my way through things.” Born in Peru and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dagnino made her initial connection to the national team through a coach at her travel softball organization in the United States. “The coaches were introducing [themselves], and [one coach] said she played [softball] at Cal and was part of the Peruvian National Team,” Dagnino said. “At that time, I didn’t really know there was a Peruvian National Team at all.” This coach put Dagnino in contact with the president of the federation, Marisa Matsuda. Two months later, Dagnino was in Lima visiting family and trying out for the team. After two weeks of practice, the head coach approached Dagnino and asked her if she had a Peruvian passport and a Peruvian ID. When she responded in the affirmative, the coach informed her that the team would be taking her to Brazil in the next couple of weeks. “I was the youngest,” Dagnino said. “Honestly, I didn’t expect myself [to play]. It was intimidating knowing these girls had jobs and were [established adults].” In Brazil, Dagnino started as catcher for the un-
der-17 team. In her first at-bat, she crushed a double and stole third base. Spotting an opportunity after a passed ball, she attempted to steal home but broke her thumb in the process of what she called a “miscalculated slide.” Due to the excitement of her national team debut and innate perseverance, Dagnino managed to play two more games later that day, but ended the tournament with a thumb that had swelled to “the size of a sausage,” thus permanently earning her the nickname “Loca” — “crazy” in Spanish — from her teammates and a scar along the groove of the knuckle below her thumb. Dagnino’s Oberlin teammates would agree that she has an air of confidence about her that most players rarely have, especially as a rookie. Dagnino said she immediately felt comfortable and supported at her new home, but never forgets where she came from. “Obviously, I’ve gotten to play a bunch of amazing players from all over the world,” she said, “but I feel like my main goal was always to get to college. My parents never went to college, so softball was a way for me to go to college. [It] really opened a door for me.” On the softball team, Dagnino has discovered a different team dynamic as well. “I love it here,” Dagnino said. “I [would] say the team chemistry is much more family-like. It is in Peru as well, but it’s much more competitive [there]. But here it’s like, ‘you lean on me and I’ll lean on you.’ We have [athletes] from all walks of life. It’s interesting meeting these [people] because they are just amazing.” Off the field, Dagnino is interested in Comparative American Studies and Politics. She is an avid fan of Netflix and a self-taught guitarist, pianist, and trumpeter. However, some might not know she also loves to write poetry, and completed her own anthology during Winter Term. Much of her work is about her family, for whom she has a lot of gratitude. “I was writing this Winter Term project to reflect [and] learn more about myself,” Dagnino said. “I was born without an ear canal in my right ear, so my dad made the decision to move out to San Francisco so that I could get the right medical help for my ear. [There] he went from the ground up,”
College first-year Vianca Dagnino looks forward to being an integral part of the softball team’s successes this spring. Photo courtesy of Vianca Dagnino
Dagnino explained. “He had everything back in Peru, but decided to drop everything and support our family.” While softball and college seem like a lot to juggle day every day, Dagnino enjoys her commitments. She also has a strong network of support through her family, especially her parents. “My parents are people who have sacrificed a lot for me. I see them in the stands; they go to every one of my games,” she said. “They’ve told me they see the world through my eyes. Everything they do is to support me.” Dagnino will continue competing shortly after the conclusion of her first collegiate season, when she travels to Lima, Peru to play in the Pan American Games from July 28 to August 10.
Alumni Athletes Thrive in Post-Oberlin Pursuits Julie Schreiber Senior Staff Writer To some Oberlin students, it can seem like those who dwell on the north side of campus and those on the south side of campus attend completely different colleges. In the past few years, there have been several initiatives to help bridge these communities — notably the “Hate Sports? We Want To Hear About It” open forums facilitated by English Professor Yago Colas in fall 2017. But to many, an athlete roaming anywhere farther south than King Building remains a rare sight. The history of Oberlin Athletics, however, demonstrates a powerful pattern of crossover between typical athletic and non-athletic activities, and countless successful Obie athletes have led dynamic and varied lifestyles that have taken them to every corner of campus. When questioning what it means to be an Oberlin athlete today, one must take a look at the past. Chris Broussard, OC ’90, is one of the country’s most well-known basketball correspondents, and for anyone who knew him at Oberlin, there’s no surprise that his career has become a hybrid of his various interests. Broussard was a point guard for the one of the most successful basketball teams in Oberlin history and wrote articles about the team for the Review, where he worked as a staff writer. Though he initially enrolled at Oberlin as an Economics major, Broussard’s passion for writing redirected his academic path, and he graduated with a major in English and a few journalism internships in his back pocket. Beyond playing and The Oberlin Review | February 8, 2019
writing about sports, Broussard also spun hip-hop tracks during his shifts as a WOBC DJ and rapped at a handful of Soul Sessions at the Afrikan Heritage House. After Oberlin, he floated between various sports writing jobs until landing one at ESPN. Today, Broussard is one of the most respected voices in NBA commentary. At Oberlin, he is recognized as not only a successful alumnus, but also as a student who took advantage of opportunities offered across campus, living a student life not defined by, but enhanced by sports. Jeff Weltman, OC ’87, also represented the Yeomen on the basketball court. Much like Broussard, Weltman was a point guard who wrote for the Review during the offseason. When he was appointed manager of the Orlando Magic in 2017, his former Oberlin classmate Michael Sorrell, OC ’88, described him in the Orlando Sentinel , “If you didn’t get along with him, it probably said more about you than it did him … He was always a guy that you were happy to have in the room, that made the room a better room. And that’s a cool guy to be.” Weltman serves as another representation of how Oberlin athletics have equipped its student-athletes with strengths that assist them beyond their respective teams, the classroom, and the campus. A love of sports has not only directed these alumni toward promising careers, but also allowed them to indulge in an area that many consider to be nothing more than a hobby. More recently, Lilah Drafts-Johnson, OC ’18, was a record-breaking sprinter for the Oberlin track and field team and helped guide them to three Division III titles during her four years.
While her athletic accomplishments are notable, Drafts-Johnson also excelled off the track, graduating with honors in Politics and a second degree in Latin American Studies. Additionally, she spent time away from campus traveling in South America and working at a summer camp in Vermont. In an interview with The Wicked Local Melrose, Drafts-Johnson’s hometown paper, she states that she was initially drawn to Oberlin because of its wide range of opportunities as a liberal arts college and its strong musical presence — but also because she was able to run. “I grew up playing piano and singing,” Drafts-Johnson explained, “so I was very attracted to Oberlin.” While running her most successful season as a collegiate track star in 2018, Drafts-Johnson also completed an honors thesis titled “The Language of Sport: Understanding Chile and Chilenidad though Marathon Races and Futbol Games.” Inspired by her 2016 semester abroad in Chile, her thesis demonstrates her plans to continue bridging her love of sports, travel, and Spanish language and culture, and to bring every aspect of her Oberlin experience into her post-grad life. In a time when many on campus are working to find common ground between athletes and non-athletes, the experiences of Oberlin’s athletic predecessors emphasize that Oberlin instills a range of diverse interests on all of its students. Athletes like Broussard, Weltman and Drafts-Johnson demonstrate that Oberlin encourages athletes and non-athletes alike to break out of their molds and explore what the campus and curriculum have to offer.
SPORTS established 1874
February 8, 2019
Volume 147, Number 12
For National Girls & Women in Sports Day, Oberlin’s Female Athletes Share Stories
(From left to right) Sara Chang, Delaney Black, Tyler Collins, and Hannah Rasmussen all display athletic prowess in each of their respective elements. Photos courtesy of OC Athletics and Erik Andrews
Alexis Dill Sports Editor When Michigan State narrowly beat Ohio State in a highly-anticipated football game during my senior year of high school, my dad poked fun at what I thought was going to be my future school and told me I should look into his alma mater, Oberlin, instead. The football team might not be as fun to watch, he said, but the academics are better, and you’ll meet some of the most interesting and talented people in the world. “There’s no way in hell I’m going there,” I told him. I loved playing softball but let go of my dream of playing at the next level after learning I had two stress fractures in my lower back that would never heal. I didn’t think being a collegiate athlete was plausible, let alone worth it, at that point. Three years later, and two days after National Girls and Women in Sports Day, I can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am to be a student-athlete at Oberlin and the Sports Editor of the Review, a position that has given me the opportunity to voice my opinions and get to know my fellow
student-athletes for three semesters. Female athletes all over the world look up to stars like tennis legend Serena Williams and gymnastics champion Simone Biles, but I’m lucky enough to be a little closer in proximity to the people I admire. Some of the greatest role models in my life aren’t on my television screen; they’re sitting a few seats over in my classes or training in the same athletic facilities as me. They’re my teammates and my friends. I have been heavily inspired by College senior and softball player Emma Downing, who is my best friend and co-captain, and has been something like a mentor to me for three years. Not only is Emma the team’s best hitter and a natural leader, but she is an honors student who has worked 20 hours a week throughout her entire college career to help her parents pay tuition. Though her plate is constantly full, she never complains. She knows it’s a privilege to be a student-athlete anywhere, especially at Oberlin, and she takes full advantage of all the opportunities that come her way. I get goosebumps every time I run on the indoor track and look up at the banners of track and field national champions Mo-
nique Newton and Lilah Drafts-Johnson, both OC ’18. I’ve gotten to know people like College senior and women’s basketball player Liv Canning, who scored her 1,000th career point Wednesday night — a feat that only eight other players in school history have accomplished. The best part about these athletes is that even though they’ve been so successful in their respective sports, what they’re known for around campus is what they do outside of athletics and for who they are as people. We are beyond lucky to have strong, powerful women leading the way in administrative positions as well. President Carmen Twillie Ambar, who has triplets and a schedule loaded with meetings and conferences, works out every morning at 6 a.m. and consistently hosts student-athletes at her house for snacks or even a meal. Delta Lodge Director of Athletics and Physical Education Natalie Winkelfoos has put together a coaching staff that understands the value of allowing student-athletes to pursue all of their interests. Field Hockey Head Coach Tiffany Saunders has said that she allows and even encourages
person: more aggressive, more bubbly, more confident. More me. Someone who might be physically slight, but who can hit the ball just as hard as the guys.”
helped me find strength and gentleness in myself as a teammate and human, and I am forever thankful for all that I’ve learned.”
her players to study abroad — even if it means missing valuable offseason training — because she wants them to experience as much as they can while at Oberlin. Winkelfoos and her coaching staff have also made an effort to honor and empower female student-athletes. On Jan. 28, Winkelfoos tweeted a note that an anonymous person slid under the door of every woman who has an office in Philips gym. The note quoted former CEO of Global Fund for Women Kavita Ramdas: “We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free.” The anonymous person added, “Thank you for being a leader who exemplifies these qualities. The world needs more women like you.” This Sunday, at the fifth annual Play Like a Girl Day, over 100 young girls from all over Lorain County will have the opportunity to learn from and hang around members of many of Oberlin’s women’s sports teams. They’ll get a glimpse into what it means to be a female student-athlete at Oberlin, and maybe they’ll find some new role models.
Narratives of Oberlin Women in Sports
Delaney Black, women’s tennis junior “Tennis has taught me a lot over the years. It taught me to be intense, to give everything I have, and to put all of my effort into every single point. It’s shown me that I’m more than what I think I am, and capable of pushing myself further and harder than I think is possible. It has also taught me how to let go. In tennis, you lose almost as many points as you win. If I can play a three-set match, fighting for every point, I can cope with other losses in my life; I just need to stay focused on the present. Tennis is empowering because it turns me into a different
Sara Chang, women’s volleyball senior “Being a female athlete has allowed me to discover and embrace my confidence and aggression. Without athletics, I would not be nearly as aware of the necessity of communication, proactivity, and grit. My fellow female athletes are some of the most driven and hardworking people I have ever met, and I am constantly inspired by their efforts in both athletics and academia. They have all
Tyler Collins, women’s basketball sophomore “My dad has always said sports are microcosms of life. Over the course of my athletic career, I have found that to be true. Thanks to sports and the challenges that come along with them, I have developed traits that will carry me not only through the rest of my athletic career, but also my life in general. I will forever be grateful for the many lessons, opportunities, and relationships basketball has granted me.”
Hannah Rasmussen, softball senior “I was one of those kids who grew up playing sports. But as I got older, I began to fall away from the typical ‘jock’ stereotype. I was too tall and too big to be an athlete, not to mention an athletic girl. I began to believe what others saw in me and resigned myself to being the tall fat girl who was smart. However, I continued to play softball because it was something fun that I could do with my friends and father. My outlook on sports all changed when my high school coach showed my team the 2013 Women’s College World Series. For the first time, I saw someone who looked just like See Narratives, page 14