Concern Over Student Exclusion From Dialogue
Senate would like to publicly express our concerns with the recent
decisions to eliminate the 25 college intern positions. The inclusion
of the four MRC Community Coordinator positions in this decision
is especially troubling. While we understand that the decision to
include the Community Coordinators was reversed, we would still
like to express unease about the use of a decision-making process
that lacked student voices, the top-down nature of the decision,
and the administrations lack of honest discussion with student
In this instance it is clear that all students were kept outside
of the decision making process. Neither the President of the College,
the Dean of Students nor any other member of the administration
made any attempt to seek student input on changes that will drastically
affect our experiences here. In fact, student senators were not
properly informed or allowed to adequately represent students at
the College Faculty meeting where the decision was first announced.
The administration was initially uncooperative in allowing senate
to represent students according to Oberlin College constitutional
bylaws. Not only were student voices ignored, but there was also
no attempt to seek input from any of the interns themselves, or
from the offices which depend on their employment. In short, the
people who will be most affected by these decisions were the ones
most actively silenced or disregarded.
This signifies to us a significant breach of administrative confidence
and trust in the student body. This college has continually referred
to its past history of diversity and liberalism to draw students
here stating, Oberlin seeks a diverse and promising student
body, Oberlin is dedicated to recruiting a culturally, economically,
racially, and geographically student body. Looking to this
history and stated interest in multiculturalism, we feel it is crucial
that those who are directly impacted by such changes be included
in the decision-making process and that any conversations which
result from such changes include students.
However, our concern also extends to the positions still being considered
for termination. These positions, directly affecting the theater
department, computer information technology, the athletic department,
etc. are detrimental to specific constituencies on this campus.
Though many departments have plans for restructuring and change,
others do not. For example, the intern positions being released
from the Athletic department will result in significant decreases
in facility accessibility to the Oberlin community and a detrimental
cut in coaching for student-athletes.
As representatives of the student body, Student Senate seeks to
advocate for the concerns of students within the higher workings
of this institution. In the ongoing conversation concerning further
staffing changes and the future of the MRC, we feel that it is our
right as members of the Oberlin community to have adequate input,
clear information and open communication on all future decisions
made by the College.
The lack of concern and regard for the consequences of such brash
actions on the Oberlin community only undermine the efforts of those
who have worked hard against all odds to make Oberlin a better place
for all of us.