First, T. Christopher came, in opacity, for the Gibsons, and few spoke out—because most were not Gibsons.
Then he came, in opacity, for the union and few spoke out—because most were not union members.
Then he came, in opacity, for the student Co-op and few spoke out—because most were not in a co-op.
Then he came, in opacity, for Kosher-Halal, and few spoke out—because most had no food rituals.
Then he came, in opacity, for Meridith Raimondo and no one spoke out— because she was the scapegoat for the blameless.
Then he came, in opacity, for the soul of the College and none could speak out—because all were drowning in the blood of their dreams.
Then he came, in opacity, to kill the last mockingbird.
Alumni group raising relief money for the College’s Union workers because the college bargained with the unlon in bad faith.
Exploring the context of complexity and its effect on Oberlin College.
Terrell Library, 2014
Posted Feb 28, 2021 at 13:12. Revised May 5, 2021 at 16:30.
Things are looking up at ChaosFarm because the snow is melting and the noontime sun is 16 degrees higher in the sky than it was at Christmas time. The longer and brighter days are indeed welcome.
JD has been reflecting on an old school bus from long before all school buses were yellow. The bus pictured here is a North Olmsted Municipal bus which doubled as both a school bus and a city bus. It is the bus JD rode to school and also rode to Cleveland on occasion.
In the days when this bus was in its glory, the student co-ops at Oberlin were respected and served the purpose of providing room and board for the more needy students. It was the 20th-century incarnation of Oberlin College’s original Learning and Labor motto.
Antique school buses have given way to more expensive yellow buses, and the co-ops have drifted away from the Learning and Labor model that had inspired the College in its infancy. The College has become alarmed at the growing cost of keeping the co-ops going in their current form.
Reflections on OSCA
It does not seem to matter that co-ops are still available to help people who cannot afford the College’s full bill. As long as the College accepts the idea of giving financial aid to the neediest students, there is no discernible reason why the co-ops should not be a cornerstone of such a plan.
True, the co-ops became populated by a few people who were not the neediest. The solution to this situation is to ensure that the neediest students will be allowed into the co-ops first. The college had an extensive financial aid system that once included the co-op students — but no more.
Thanks to the magic of creative accounting, the co-op students can be portrayed by the College as either expensive liabilities or valuable assets. If the numbers are not telling you what you want to hear, you fire the accountant. The current BOT and Administration understand that concept well.
A Ph.D. in creative accounting
Many years ago, JD received a surprise Ph.D. in creative accounting on Sunday morning at The First Utilitarian Church. The overarching and core creed of this church is pragmatism, which it practices religiously. Maintaining a transparent and pragmatic appearance means that the church must post its financial statements on its main bulletin board. These reports factor out the church’s revenue and expenses into illogical categories and subtotal them in useless ways.
On one particular Sunday, JD paused to look at the financial statements and realized he was looking at total BS. He then pointed out the absurdity of the financial statements to the church’s chief theocrat of financial pragmatism. JD was immediately admonished for his heresy.
The theocrat said, “Look, those financial statements have been posted on the bulletin board for months for all to see [true], everyone has looked at them [false], and no one except you has questioned them. [true] So what the hell is wrong with you? Why are you trying to stir up trouble?” The moral of the story is that financial figures are rarely looked at and can be easily adjusted to show whatever the financial pragmatism the moment might dictate. Almost no one will notice or care.
JD told a Republican friend of his about the way the Oberlin co-ops and union workers were being treated. He reacted angrily, saying that if he ever treated his employees the way the College has treated the co-ops and union workers, he would expect to have a nasty union form in his shop and that he would deserve that fate. He recognized that dealing honorably with his people and treating them with dignity was a good business practice and a compassionate one.
Starting needless wars
Oberlin College has descended into a sick power war oriented toward hobbling or destroying the uniqueness of Oberlin. Some transparency here, along with people negotiating in good faith, would probably have generated a better and happier outcome. The following links say it far better than it could be said here.
The College never produced an initial contract proposal [in its negotiations with the UAW], nor subsequent ones; its last proposal was also its first. This meant that for four months, the UAW was negotiating in the dark, negotiating with itself essentially, making offers and concessions, with no sense of what the magic number was, or indeed if there was a magic number. This does not meet any definition of bargaining in good faith.
The purpose of this blog is to tell the other side of the Gibson’s Bakery, OSCA, the Kosher-Halal Co-op, and UAW stories to Oberlin Alumni lest they believe the College’s heavily redacted and whitewashed version of events. Please tell your fellow Obies how the Trustee-Politburo has damaged the College’s reputation, the worth of our degrees, the Gibsons, the college’s union workers, K-H, and the OSCA Co-op tradition. No pandemic, sleazy PR, or conflating of libel and slander with free speech can divert attention from the BOT’s negligence in these matters. Speak up and insist that the BOT arrest its compulsive, neo-Puritan righteousness, which has already eradicated either THOUSANDS of $36,000 scholarships or 225 Steinway concert grand pianos — just to wreck a tiny bakery, a cooperating union, K-H, and the OSCA Student Co-op!