Posted Oct 6, 2022 at 21:52. Revised Oct 16, 2022 at 09:33.
Winter is coming, and the growing population of black squirrels is reducing the population of lighter squirrels.
The Summer and Fall weather here at the farm has been far more tranquil than that in most of the rest of the world. No complaints.
I was in Oberlin this afternoon (10/6/22) attending the student and faculty protest over the proposed ending of the Finney Compact. The angry crowd consisted of people from all age groups. There were frequent chants of F**k the trustees.
The total number of people in attendance was not clear, but the turnout was larger than that for the infamous Gibson protests of 2016. The College’s “Director of Student Conduct” was present with a clipboard to bust any student who might say or do something not to the administration’s liking. Faculty members who spoke to the crowd expressed fear of retaliation for speaking their minds.
When it was stated that the administration and trustees regarded the proposed bylaw changes as a clarification and nothing more, the crowd reacted with contempt. We all believed this “clarification” was a cheap cover for a power grab by the infallible trustees and administration. IMHO the BOT is incapable of listening respectfully or attentively to what students and alums might have to say. Why should they bother when they are infallible?
Some trustees were allegedly present at the protest but did not make themselves known. After the rally, the trustees met in the basement of Mudd Library to party in regal elegance, all at the expense of the allegedly broke College.
The protest crowd made its presence known by holding signs against the library windows for the trustees to read. It was somewhat like the days before the October Revolution in Russia when the nobility dined in luxury while the starving and freezing peasants looked in through the windows.
BTW it would be appropriate to “Harness” the Trustees.
The BOT speaks – coherently?
The BOT is feeling the heat over its latest fumbles, so it has published an “explanation” for its decision to kill the Finney Compact. Unfortunately, it eloquently explains almost nothing. Have a barf bag handy before reading on.
Oberlin College and Conservatory
Dear Oberlin Community,
Last week, the Board of Trustees once again experienced what is special about Oberlin. It was wonderful to be on campus for a beautiful homecoming fall weekend in Northeast Ohio!
During two days of meetings, the Board covered a number of topics. The proposed amendments to the bylaws understandably attracted the most scrutiny and concern. In addition to that important issue, the Board spent several hours focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion strategies that could build upon recommendations in the Presidential Initiative. The Board also celebrated the extraordinary Center for Engaged Liberal Arts (CELA), which is dedicated to engaged learning and student benefit, and passed a budget that allows Oberlin to continue down a path that will lead to a bright future.
At one point, the Board sat with faculty who described some of the research and exceptional coursework helping to transform the academic and musical experience at Oberlin. We discussed institutional innovations connected with data science, public humanities, undergraduate research, music, EDI in STEM, business, and more. It was energizing to hear about how our students are taking full advantage of new learning and community-based opportunities and the central role our faculty play in curricular innovations.
In another session, trustees discussed the exciting potential connected with our new and developing partnership with the United Nations. The relationship we are building with the U.N. has the capacity to enhance the experience of all Oberlin students. The first such opportunity occurs on December 2, when more than 100 Oberlin students will perform at Carnegie Hall in front of the entire U.N. General Assembly.
On Friday, the Board considered, amended, and approved changes to Oberlin’s bylaws that will protect and support our institution as we seek to reduce risk, align our bylaws with accreditor expectations, and face some of higher education’s most intractable fiscal and demographic challenges. We approved the amendments after adding an important sentence based upon elected faculty feedback expressed during a briefing and in written communications to the Board a week earlier.
As part of the newly adopted Article I, Section 1, which covers the authority the Board delegates to faculty and to the administration, we added: “In keeping with the tradition of Oberlin College, this delegated authority should not discourage consultation with the faculty on matters outside the authority specifically delegated to the faculty, especially in matters of long-term strategic importance.”
All of the exciting educational innovations we heard about last week, as well as the development of our new relationship with the U.N., will continue under the amended bylaws. None of the amendments discourage the faculty’s consultation, creativity, support, and enthusiasm for this great work. In fact, the faculty’s input and collaboration is integral to our future overall success.
During a protest last week, a student asked how the changes to the bylaws would impact the classroom and the quality of academics at Oberlin. The question goes to the heart of the matter. The amendments will impact neither the quality of Oberlin’s education nor the critical relationships faculty form with students. They will not alter how Oberlin has been operating on a daily basis. Rather, we believe our actions clarified the bylaws to guide the Oberlin of today and to better prepare our institution to address the realities that face higher education.
The Board’s primary role is to ensure that Oberlin thrives for the next 100 years. We know we cannot do this work without the faculty and staff whose commitment and dedication we value beyond measure. It is our hope that our work in last week’s board meeting will help carry Oberlin into a bright future based on innovation and responsible leadership.
Best regards for a successful Fall semester.
Oberlin’s Board of Trustees
/s/ JD Nobody (ho, hum), OC ’61.
Copyright ©2023 Charles E. Dial. All rights reserved.