Attacks President Dye
As an Oberlin alumnus, I am writing you to urge an immediate reversal
of the 11 lay-offs at the College, and a moratorium on any future
cuts until the entire budget is
made public and accessible. I’m sure many will share my outrage
that these lay-offs come on the heels of your scandalous raise and
$1 million bonus.
It seems academic leaders want to live like CEOs these days. Even
more worrisome, they are running our academic institutions like
In my time at Oberlin the only time I got to know you was at the
negotiating table, debating over Oberlin’s labor policies.
You may remember the campaign against Oberlin’s widespread
use of poverty-pay temporary labor in the dining
halls we in Socialist Alternative launched in Spring 2000. You may
remember that we organized a dining hall boycott and protest of
1/3 of the student body, demanding an end to temp labor abuse in
the dining halls, and to kick out Sodexho Marriott, the union busting,
private prison financing dining company Oberlin contracted with
at the time.
Two days after one-third of Oberlin students made their opinion
known in the most graphic way outside your office, you suddenly
had a change of heart and agreed to most of our demands. You CREATED
19 new full-time union jobs in the dining halls to replace the poverty-pay
According to your accountants, these new jobs represented a $540,000/year
redistribution of wealth to the community in the form of decent
paychecks and benefits. Also, you agreed to put Sodexho Marriott’s
contract up for bid.
We learned a big lesson then, which your response to the recent
budget crunch seems to confirm: The only time you prioritize the
rights of workers and the welfare of the community is when we can
raise the stakes high enough to make your bottom line suffer.
Is this kind of nastiness, this kind of confrontational politics,
what you think best for Oberlin? Or are you banking on the hope
that the Oberlin workforce and students will roll over and take
it? Either way, this is not the kind of behavior that makes me feel
proud to be an Oberlin alum. Shame on you, President Dye.