By: Kristopher Fraser
For approximately twenty-five years Kosher Halal Co-op (KHC) has been affiliated with the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA), the second largest college student cooperative in the United States. OSCA, which has been around since the 1950s, houses nearly 200 students and feeds over 500 students every year. KHC specifically caters to the dietary needs of Muslim and Jewish students and is advised by Rabbi Shimon Brand. While only 30 or so students are KHC members, the co-op is well known around campus for its Friday night Shabbat dinners, when the co-op opens its doors to all students for a delicious Shabbat meal.
This semester, KHC’s affiliation with OSCA might come to an end.
When KHC first began, it was added to OSCA on the condition that it pass an annual review; failure to pass would end KHC’s affiliation with OSCA. While the OSCA board has worked very hard to keep speculation quiet, there are several theories on campus as to why the potential partnership may dissolve. Some have theorized that it is a money issue, others have questioned if the conflict is religiously driven, and many attribute it to issues that relate to Ohio food regulations and the accessibility of the KHC kitchen.
OSCA board member Dan Quigley has stated that “this is not a money issue, it is not OSCA’s prerogative to try and break even on costs, so money saving is not relevant.” So while it has been affirmed that money is not the source of conflict, there are still several issues at hand between OSCA and KHC that remain a mystery. The board will be meeting this week to continue talks on the future of KHC’s relationship with OSCA. Technically, KHC could continue without an official affiliation with OSCA. However, breaking from OSCA (and the financial support that comes with it) may not be a viable option for the long-term survival of KHC.
KHC has the support of Rabbi Brand and Oberlin’s Jewish Community, who would like to see the two organizations come to an agreement that allows KHC to continue its relationship with OSCA. According to Quigley, “There is a legal liability with removing KHC from OSCA, the exact details of which have not been fully disclosed.” Quigley also stated, “I don’t see why KHC and OSCA can’t come to deal on their issues, they have been partners for 25 years, but no major decision will be made soon.” As KHC and OSCA continue discussions Oberlin students hope that they soon come to an agreement that will continue their unique partnership.