A Senator's Response, other letters
To the Editors:
I would like to thank the editors at the Review and everyone who has given feedback to the SFC regarding the wage policy draft I have offered. It was my hope that opening up this proposal to the wider community would be certain to create a sounder outcome. I am more convinced of that fact now.
Student organizations are, as the editors pointed out last week, “just as vital to the college experience as academic classes” and “provide diverse outlets for the creativity of our student body.” These truths and values are at the heart of all my service on the SFC as the Senate appointed Co-Chair.
I wish to make clear the true motives behind the creation of this policy and the ends I hope to achieve. As it stands now, certain organizations have waged positions and others do not, without standard or justification. Within some organizations there may be simultaneously those who are paid and those who are volunteering.
This is a conscious choice to use limited money, which must be understood as limiting the ability to provide resources to other programs. Clearly, if everyone were being paid, other activities would be shortchanged, to the detriment of all. Unless we want to put every single wage request to referendum or allow groups to arbitrarily add positions, there must be a neutral and representative body that weighs these requests. My intention in the end is not to limit wages but to make sure that all wages paid are justified.
We have to assume that most clubs are for individual’s enjoyment and not for monetary gain. The burden of proof should be on groups to prove otherwise. Organizations such as WOBC and the Review have dedicated people who are providing invaluable services to the community. This policy specifically acknowledges the fact that some time commitments are serious enough to limit alternative employment.
A point of contention has been the use of a financial need requirement. Let it be known I have no desire, intention or right to create the type of financial inquisition that the editors have raised as a frightening specter. The proposed committee would ask whether a particular student qualifies for federal work-study. With this information, we could inquire as to whether a position could be funded by outside sources, which would free up SFC funds. This may not be possible, but it is our job as members of SFC to try and maximize resources available to student groups. Nobody is going to try and accost your parents’ tax statements and no one will be forced to give information they are uncomfortable disclosing. The editors’ claim that we would be violating the rights of students and even breaking federal law is beyond hyperbole.
The situation of the Review itself may help explain the editors’ bizarre comments. SFC has always treated the Review with the respect it deserves as a paper of record for the college community and beyond. It is perhaps due to this respect that previous committees have allowed the group’s debt to climb above $60,000. Being responsible we have to try to rectify this.
What would you think if you looked over a budget from a paper that requested a payroll of over $40,000 for this year alone? Our reaction, as those entrusted to guarantee fair distribution of funds, was to say that this was problematic. Despite the fact that we have allocated over $20,000 to the Review and have tried to constructively deal with our collective challenges, it seems the editors are content to continue in attempts to poison opinion against our work.
That is not the kind of process that will bring about positive change. As the editors stated so eloquently last week, “the most popular option has been to cut corners” in the face of critical financial imbalances. Instead of making the hard choices necessary for their own financial integrity and the good of the campus, the editors have decided to launch a frontal attack on SFC. We have to do better and demand the same from the Review.
–Colin Jones, OC ’07
Student Senator &
To the Editors:
We were pleased to see the article by Lucia Graves, “Symposium Suggests Peace” in the February 23 issue of the Review. However, there were a few factual errors that we would like to correct. First, we have been advocating for a Peace and Conflict Studies Concentration, not a department as was suggested in the article. An interdisciplinary concentration has the positive characteristics of being sustainable with minimal demands on college resources and is valuable in its ability to expose students from diverse disciplines to this important field of study. Second, while the Peace and Conflict Studies Development Group evolved out of the ExCo Course “Teaching Peace,” they have been distinct projects. A timeline of the development and progression of the two efforts will help to clarify that distinction. Here is the history of our activities; beginning in the spring of 2004:
1) Spring 2004, Fall 2004 and Spring 2005 “Teaching Peace,” an ExCo course where students prepared and taught about alternatives to violence in the Langston Middle School. The course was co-led by Melissa Hines, OC ’06, an Individual Major in Education for Social Change, and Oberlin Alum Al Carroll ’58.
2) In Fall 2005 an ExCo, “Creating Change within Oberlin College: Developing a Peace and Conflict Program” led by Sheera Bornstein ’08, Kara Carmosino ‘08 and Al Carroll ’58, researched, wrote and presented a proposal to the EPPC. They also met with numerous faculty and alumni to discuss the possibility of a Peace and Conflict Studies curriculum.
3) During the Spring ’06 semester the Fall’s ExCo group continued its efforts from the previous semester now as “The Peace and Conflict Studies Development Group.” Its efforts focused on defining an academic core of the concentration and gathering support among the faculty, students and members of the administration. This Development group has continued to the present.
4) As part of an effort to attract attention to our efforts, Carmosino and Carroll developed another ExCo for the Fall ’06 entitled, “Changing the World: Perspectives on Nonviolent Movements.” About 20 students and 10 community members attended this class, which featured videos and discussions lead by seven members of the Oberlin faculty.
5) In the Fall 2006, Steve Crowley (Politics) and Steve Mayer (Psychology) volunteered to lead faculty efforts to implement the Peace and Conflict Studies Concentration. They have since received commitments from numerous other faculty to help with the project.
6) On February 15-17 of this year, the Peace and Conflict Studies Development Group hosted a symposium on Peace and Conflict Studies. Featured guests included Hardy Merriman, OC ’01, Colman McCarthy, Lee Smithy (Swarthmore) and Carol Hunter (Earlham). This was a major accomplishment in our effort to promote a Peace and Conflict Studies concentration. In addition to an enthusiastic response by the faculty and student panel, a talk by Hardy Merriman illustrated the overwhelming success of nonviolent methods in bringing about lasting, democratic change with a minimum of bloodshed.
Numerous people have contributed to the symposium and assisted with our efforts over the past few years. Many thanks to all our supporters. We greatly appreciate your ongoing encouragement and ideas.
–Sheera Bornstein, OC ’08
–Kara Carmosino, OC ’08
–Al Carroll, OC ’58
Peace and Conflict Studies Development Group
To the Editors:
The Center for Leadership in Health Promotion, the Office of Judicial Affairs and the Office of Residential Education partner to support the College’s mission to provide students with educational programming in an environment that encourages personal growth and individual well-being. In particular, we seek to support students in making choices that avoid the risks associated with unhealthy or dangerous use of alcohol and other substances. We recognize that students are adults and are expected to obey the law and take personal responsibility for their conduct. We would like to draw your attention to the following policies and initiatives related to alcohol and other drugs:
1. All students are expected to familiarize themselves with college policy related to alcohol and other drugs. A complete summary of the rules and regulations related to alcohol and other drug use and abuse can be found at this link: www.oberlin.edu/students/links-life/rules-regs.html.
2. All on-campus parties held in residential spaces must be registered through Residential Education in advance. Students should call x58472 to schedule an appointment. It takes up to five weeks for an alcohol permit to be approved by the state. To host a party with alcohol, a $30.00 fee is required to receive the temporary alcohol permit. Parties not approved through the party planning process will be held accountable to College policy.
3. Substance-free housing is available for any student wanting to live a lifestyle that includes abstaining from the high risk use of drugs and alcohol within their residential community. Please contact Residential Education at x58472 for application information.
4. AA and Al-Anon meetings take place both off- and on-campus. For complete information, visit www.oberlin.edu/lifeskills/aod.
5. The electronic THC Online Knowledge Experience (e-TOKE) is a marijuana-specific brief assessment and feedback tool designed to reduce marijuana use among college students. The assessment takes students about 10-15 minutes to complete, is self-guided, and requires no face-to-face contact time with a counselor or administrator. www.oberlin.edu/lifeskills/aod/
6. Curious about your own drinking habits? Free anonymous on-line alcohol screening: www.oberlin.edu/lifeskills/aod/
–Lori K. Morgan Flood
Director of the Center for Leadership in Health Promotion
–Kimberly Jackson Davidson
Dean for the Class of 2009
Dean for the Class of 2008
Director of Residential Education