Low-Income Housing?

I must be missing something or I'm just one cynical leftover hippie. I read “Three's Company” (Spring 2005) with sincere interest. The housing/retail East College Street project makes sense and seems to have a solid base. I hiccupped a little when the figure of $30,000 was quoted in the range of low-to-moderate income levels, but my hiccup turned into a full bore choke when I ran across the half-page ad indicating 25 units available beginning at $140,000! There must really be more wealth in and around Oberlin than meets the eye. I can't help but wonder if the success of this project will more likely secure a future of “sustainable” gentrification than healthy renovation.
Michael H. Lubas '69
Rochester, N.Y.

Project partner Josh Rosen replies: Between 25 and 30 percent of the building's residential units will be held at affordable rents as defined by HUD. They are separate from the 25 units listed at market rates.

Thanks, Mr. Schulz

I was ecstatic to find Bill Schulz '71 on the cover of the Winter issue and to later learn that he would deliver the Commencement address. This past spring, I had the opportunity to intern at Amnesty's USA headquarters. While helping to research human rights violations and draft reports, I often caught glimpses of Mr. Schulz but had no idea he was a fellow Obie! I'm not at all surprised, however, considering that Amnesty International is remarkably similar to Oberlin College in spirit: a community of concerned activists working toward creating a more humane world. I commend OAM's decision to feature a man who embodies the very best of my soon-to-be alma mater.
Deena Guzder '06
Oberlin, Ohio

Memories of Rust Church

The picture taken in the Rust United Methodist Church (Spring 2005) took me back to around 1953—when I was a student at the Graduate School of Theology — and a Sunday afternoon choir concert there. Two things stand out in my memory: the choir dancing down the aisle as they came in and a seizure of enthusiasm by a lady in the back of the church who knocked over the pew in which she had been sitting.
William P. Reid '53
Hamden, Conn.

Notion of Diversity

I was amused by the insistence (“DC Alums Predict More Tough Times for Dems,” Spring 2005) that the DC alumni meeting featured a diversity of views. Rather, the article confirmed my suspicion that Oberlin's notion of diversity is limited to a small and homogeneous subset of the universe of political thought. There are actually people in this country—Oberlin graduates among them—who are not Democrats!
Doug Bauer '62
Denmark, Maine

Missing London

The demise (albeit temporary) of the Oberlin-in-London program is sad news indeed. My semester there in 2001 inspired me to pursue graduate school in Britain, where I'm currently working toward a doctoral degree at Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute. I had the pleasure of meeting students when they visited Oxford and then again in London, where I gave a lecture on the politics of identity and the development of oil infrastructure in Shetland. The Oberlin-in-London program was an extremely significant part of my time at Oberlin, and I hope it can be returned to service as soon as possible to allow Oberlin students to experience life in England.
Tom Simchak '03
Oxford, United Kingdom

More Than A Lightbulb

A recent appeal for The Oberlin Fund sports a photo of the science library with captions suggesting various costs that are covered by alumni donations. Prominent in the photo is a table lamp with the tag “Lightbulb for reading lamp: $0.34.” We write to point out that this price reflects an in-candescent lamp, and that Oberlin should in-stead be using Energy Star high-efficiency compact fluorescent lamps, at about $5 each. Why pay 15 times more for a lightbulb? When all costs are considered, the com-pact fluorescent lamp is actually less expensive over a full life cycle: it uses a third of the electricity and lasts 10 times longer. The College would also reap the environmental benefits of the reduced use of electricity that is generated mostly from coal. We also point out that the College recently passed an Environmental Policy that addresses this issue. The choice of lightbulbs may seem trivial, but both God and the Devil are in the details.
Michael Bobker '73
Hillary Brown '71
Richard Leigh '65

New York, N.Y.

Class Notes Policy

I assume that Vicky Solan's call for the "gossip column format" in class notes (Letters, Spring 2005), and her suggestion that it is better to be entertaining than accurate, was meant to be tongue and cheek. However, the editor's response (that secondhand news is welcome, and that the OAM "tries" to verify job promotions and deaths) was clearly serious, and I find this extremely alarming. On more than one occasion, inaccurate, secondhand information about my late husband and myself was printed in OAM class notes despite our requests that you refrain from doing so. Even after an explicit promise that you would no longer mention us without our express consent, you printed an anonymously submitted obituary for my husband that was written by an estranged relative, in a style my husband would have abhorred. Printing unverified, secondhand news is, at the very least, tremendously bad journalism, but it also shows a total disregard for the individual's right to privacy. At a time when it is increasingly difficult to restrict outside access to personal information, Oberlin should be making it easier for alumni to maintain privacy, not harder. If Ms. Solan wants news about her classmates, she should remain in contact with them; if she has not done so, I see no reason why she should deserve third-party-granted access to their lives, no matter how starved for "entertainment" she might be. As a long-time alumni recruiter and member of the Charles Martin Hall Heritage Society, I have shown my respect for my alma mater, and I would appreciate Oberlin showing me the same respect by restricting publication to verified news items and information that I have chosen to share.
Jessica Offir '86

Coventry, Conn.

East College Street Project

I am writing to congratulate Naomi, Josh, and Ben. After reading their story (Spring 2005), I poured through their entire web site. This is such an exciting project. I have been dreaming about doing work like the East College Street project, but what I haven't done is find (or create) a suitable opportunity to pursue. Instead, I embarked on an MBA in sustainable business at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, which I hope will equip me with some of the skills to help me in this sort of endeavor. I am always looking for opportunities to apply my academic work in meaningful ways. I've had a lot of experience working on geographically dispersed teams and I'd love to have an excuse to visit Oberlin.Congratulations again.
Karin Borgerson '98
Brooklyn, N.Y.

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