Platform

YES EZRA
I’m running for Class Trustee because I care about Oberlin’s future.

I am concerned that during this economic downturn, Oberlin may be tempted to focus more on finances than on its core values. As Class Trustee, I will push the Board to continue to work toward sustainability, accessibility, and increased community involvement – while maintaining and improving our incredible academic programs.

As a Major Representative for the East Asian Studies program and Student Representative for the Educational Technology faculty committee, I understand how decisions are made within the College. As an ExCo instructor, OSCA member, Bike co-op mechanic, RA, staff member at the Oberlin Review, and student worker in the ResEd office, I’ve been exposed to the wide variety of student and staff viewpoints I will represent on the Board.

I also believe in transparency in decision-making. While the business of Trustee meetings is confidential, I plan to blog my experiences as Class Trustee to open dialogue with the larger Oberlin community.

Issues

Communication
One of Oberlin’s most challenging problems is communication: both internal and external. While the new Office of Communications has made significant improvements in the accessibility of information on campus, there is still much work left to be done. Electronic media – including websites, blogs, video, audio, and social networking – should be used to tell Oberlin’s story, on- and off-campus. It should be easy for anyone on campus to learn about the amazing things going on daily. Similarly, alumni, community members, and prospective students should be able learn about today’s Oberlin in an honest, nuanced way.

Sustainability
The College has made a commitment to be sustainable, but to meet this goal, the environment must be a consideration for all decisions the Board of Trustees makes. The Trustees should pursue alternative transportation, including improved bicycle infrastructure and public transportation. Local foods initiatives led by OSCA and CDS must be supported. And construction projects should exceed the College’s own sustainability goals. To continue its role as a leader in sustainability, the College must not only devise but also implement new and interesting ideas.

Accessibility
With the economic downturn, it is more imperative than ever that the College be made accessible to students from diverse economic, racial, and geographic backgrounds. 70% of Oberlin students receive some form of financial aid; the College should expect this number to grow during the recession. But accepting a diverse group of students is not enough – students must be given the on-campus support they need to be successful. Support must continue for programs such as Oberlin Research Fellows and the Posse Foundation program.

Community Involvement
Oberlin College and the City of Oberlin must be partners for either to succeed. Opportunities, such as those offered through the Bonner Center for Service and Learning, for College students to get to know community members are an important component of the Oberlin College experience. Programs like SITES, Ninde Scholars, and the Graduate Teacher Education Program, have created learning opportunities that are shared between students at Oberlin College and Oberlin City Schools. The College’s purchase of the Apollo is another example of an opportunity for the College to work with, not against, the local community in development of academic and co-curricular programs.

Housing/Construction Projects
With the construction of a new Jazz Studies building, planning of a new residence hall on North Professor Street, and eventual summer renovations of every residence hall on campus, this is an exciting time for Oberlin’s built environment. Every student has a right to live in a pleasant, safe building designed to foster – not hinder – community. Similarly, HLECs, RAs, and other ResEd and OSCA staff must be given the tools they need to help communities function. New academic buildings must be given the equipment and staff they need to become fully realized. It is also my priority to encourage the preservation of Oberlin’s unique architectural history.