Oberlin Finance Suggestions

To the Editors:

Here are some ideas which I submit to this public forum as a contribution to the community brainstorming about how the College could save some money and avoid layoffs. Certainly, there can be objections raised to any idea, and I expect that none of these is ideal. Still, I hope there may be something useful to somebody here.
Could we all accept a pay cut of equal percentage sufficient in amount to make up the deficit? What conditions would have to be met for most of us to accept such a pay cut?
In the same vein, could our retirement benefits be cut? I cannot say equally since they are not distributed equally. If you are under 26 and have been doing the same job I do for the same amount of time, you get no retirement match from Oberlin, while I do. So, perhaps in making cuts to retirement, we could also make the benefit more fair in recognizing years of service instead of age of employee, or implement a flat rate for everyone, maximizing the potential of compounded interest. I also worry that the current system based solely on age of employee could expose Oberlin to an age discrimination lawsuit and its costs.
Could we stop buying and spraying broadleaf herbicides and inorganicfertilizers on campus and on the College-owned golf course? It would save a little money for the cost of the chemicals, and there might be substantial health benefits. If dandelions came up on Tappan Square, we could consider changing the mascot to the “Oberlin Dandelions” and it would all seem very natural.
Could we follow the example of the Markem Corporation in Keene, NH, which offers 24 hour access for employees to its gym, as well as incentives and bonuses to those who exercise frequently? (These money saving efforts were started by an Oberlin alumnus who works there.)
Could we charge a lot more (forgive the pun) for on-campus parking? More people might walk to work as a result (and perhaps save a few visits to the doctor).
Could we offer an optional summer term? Voluntary summer teachers could get a supplement to their salary and we could still be ahead in yearly tuition, room and board revenue.

–Edward Derby
OC ’87
Assistant Director of Admissions

October 4
October 11

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