On Tuesday March 5, as President Marvin Krislov was interviewed by CNN regarding the “racism mystery at Oberlin College,” a group of dissenting students stood behind him chanting “No bullshit!” The next day a petition was disseminated, through members of the Oberlin student body calling on senior class president A.D. Hogan to publicly apologize for participating in the protest. The petition reminds A.D. of their role as president, which includes acting with “validity, maturity and respect.” Although the petition has since been closed, it sparked an on-campus debate about respect, roles and the relationship between students and administration.
Monday, March 6 was tragic and beautiful. It was invigorating and exhausting. It was a chance, as President Krislov said at the convocation, to focus on a different type of education. As we did this, some contradictions and misunderstandings became clear. As a Jewish woman on campus, the recent events have made apparent the fact that it is incredibly confusing to be Jewish at Oberlin.
Within two hours of the emails that went out to the Oberlin community about the reported sighting of an individual wearing KKK regalia on Monday morning, Gawker had already published an article about it. For the rest of that day, it seemed like every few hours another publication had written an article about us: New York Magazine, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and later CNN and BBC. Watching the articles pile up and go viral while Oberlin was in the midst of organizing a day of healing and community building was incredibly hurtful to me. I wanted Gawker to stop spreading rumors about us. I wanted people to stop talking about us before we had even gotten a chance to talk to each other.
I have never been more proud of my fellow Oberlin students than I was at the solidarity events on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. The March in Solidarity and Stand Up and Sit In, a sit-in in the Science Center Atrium, represent what we as united Oberlin students stand for. I continue to be inspired by students’ ability to produce something so beautiful from something as ugly and hurtful as hate speech.
We are the Edmonia Lewis Center for Women and Transgender People and we are writing to condemn the recent trend of hateful speech attacking marginalized communities on campus. We are acting in solidarity with the Multicultural Resource Center and other student and faculty organizers to address harm caused by racism, queerphobia, anti-semitism and other forms of structural oppression.
Sarah Schulman’s Year of the Queer talk on Februrary 7 was based on her latest book, “Israel/Palestine and the Queer International”. It focused, not so much on the queer international but on Palestinian queer organizations working to end the occupation. This angle was not surprising. It is uncommon to hear a conversation that includes the positive, progressive aspects of Israeli society in Oberlin. It is hard to separate our understanding of the state of Israel as an institution from our recognition of Israeli people who do share progressive values.
With great power comes great responsibility. This I remember most fondly from the comics of Spiderman, but now I am going to apply it to alcohol. Alcohol as we know it, C2H5OH as the science community knows it, and drank as the teens know it. I have often walked home from a bar, house party, or social gathering and witnessed other youthful members of society throwing a beer bottle on the ground, guffawing, and walking away. Every single time I have seen this happen, I first make sure no flying shards of glass have lodged themselves into my body. If not, I shake my head in disappointment and ask myself, “Why do people do this? I know they’re drunk, but what makes them not care?” Continue reading →
The biggest takeaway from last week’s election was that the American electorate is rapidly changing. As Bill O’Reilly put it in the most tactless way possible, “It’s not a traditional America anymore.” Our voter rolls are plagued by people who “want stuff” and “things.” Well, he’s right about one thing: “The white establishment is now the minority” (at least when it comes to voting). Continue reading →
Donald Trump’s second self-promoted campaign “surprise” was revealed last week in an online video. After a brief rant about Obama being the least transparent president in American history, Trump offered to donate five million dollars to a charity of the President’s choice in return for his college and passport records and applications.
The polls taken after the vice presidential debate may have reflected a less pronounced victory for Joe Biden than those following Romney’s win, but pundits agree: Biden dominated. And contrary to what conservative media says, it’s not because he aggressively interrupted Paul Ryan. It’s because he treated Ryan and his policies like what they are–a joke. Continue reading →