Office of the Dean of Students

Open Expression Observers (OEO)

Open Expression Observers Logo

Oberlin College’s mission statement states that “(Oberlin) seeks to offer a diverse and inclusive residential learning environment encouraging a free and respectful exchange of ideas”. Furthermore, “Oberlin College is committed to maintaining an environment where open, vigorous debate and speech can occur.” These quotes underscore the importance that Oberlin College places on maintaining an environment that promotes social engagement while balancing a respectful culture.

The “Open Expression Observers” (OEO) are a collection of Oberlin College professional staff members that, on request, attend campus events, demonstrations, and protests. Their attendance may be requested to promote the College community’s free exchange of ideas while maintaining the integrity of the academic environment and communicating important community standards to those present.

With their attendance, “Open Expression Observers” do not endorse the speech of a given event. Furthermore, “Open Expression Observers” primary job is not policy enforcement, rather their main role is deescalation of potential conflict and as a resource to promote social engagement on-campus.

Students are also welcome to reference our "Student Demonstrations and Speech Guide" for information.

In order to request the Open Expression Observers to attend an event, please complete this form.

Do you want to get in contact with the Open Expression Observers? Please email Thom Julian, Associate Dean of Students, at!