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“Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Austerity Has Got To Go” — Oberlin College students protest union staff layoffs

“Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Austerity Has Got To Go” — Oberlin College students protest union staff layoffs

Student: “Willingly impoverishing over 100 longtime employees and their families means that, at the end of the day, the values we claim to stand for are hollow.”

As we were the first to report, Under financial stress, Oberlin College seeks to end unionized custodial and dining hall services:

Oberlin College has been under financial stress for a number of years, in part the result of problems filling incoming classes. for the tuition-dependent school. There have been cutbacks in many areas of the campus, including faculty.

Oberlin College is rated as financially sound by bond rating agency Moody’s, but the outlook was downgraded to negative in 2018.

The financial impact of the Gibson’s Bakery loss is not yet clear. It will be interesting to see if the negative publicity impacts the incoming class, and how much in grant money needs to be spent to maintain quality and quantity. But clearly Oberlin College has suffered a public relations body blow from the case.

The seriousness of the situation is further revealed in a campus announcement that Oberlin College will seek to replace UAW union workers in the dining hall and custodial services with outsourced contractors.

We wondered “if the woke students, faculty and staff react to this union-busting with the same outrage and aggressiveness as was directed at Gibson’s Bakery for having the temerity to stop a student from shoplifting”?

There have been protests, though not with the aggressiveness as directed against Gibson’s Bakery, which were so serious that the Oberlin town police considered calling in the county riot squad.

The Chronicle-Telegram has video of the union-related protest:

Morning Journal reports that there were 800 protesters, but the Chronicle-Telegram video (above) doesn’t indicate such a large crowd. From the Morning Journal report:

A large crowd comprised of Oberlin College students, employees and community members gathered Feb. 19 inside the campus’ King Hall to protest the institution’s recent announcement that 108 college workers could lose their jobs.

The protest, consisting of roughly over 800 people, took place during an Oberlin College faculty meeting….

Remy Gajewski, a student who participated in the protest, said the decision will hurt Oberlin College.

“An email was sent out saying 108 union workers were being laid off, so they have less than two months to find employment,” Gajewski said. “We will have contracted workers brought in instead which will be lower-quality products and services, and it would mean working conditions and wages for these subcontractors would be much worse because they would be non unionized.

“We (the students at the protest) feel that Oberlin College is kind of willingly impoverishing long-term employees and their families who have connections to people in Oberlin and who have dedicated themselves to the students here.”

Riley Calcagno, one of the student organizers for the protest, said there were some employees he was surprised to see affected by the impending cuts.

“There was a meeting where workers were told (about the cuts), and I noticed someone that cleaned my freshman dorm,” Calcagno said. “This was someone, I remember, who made everyone in my dorm a Christmas card.

“These are the kinds of people that make this school what it is.”

Matt Kinsella-Walsh, another student who organized the protest and stood in solidarity with the UAW workers, released an official statement on behalf of other student protestors.

“These are the people who cook our food, who clean our homes, who care for us when we’re sick,” Kinsella-Walsh said. “They are often the first people we see in the morning: our coworkers, our mentors, our friends.

“The 108 workers up for elimination are among those who make this place worth it, who embody our motto of ‘Learning and Labor’ and keep this school from falling down around our heads.”

Kinsella-Walsh said students come to Oberlin College because it claims to embody progressive politics.

“Union busting is antithetical to Oberlin’s values,” he said. “Willingly impoverishing over 100 longtime employees and their families means that, at the end of the day, the values we claim to stand for are hollow.

“And if Oberlin continues down this route, students will stop coming. I certainly know I wouldn’t have.”

By constrast, attempting to improverish a 5th generation bakery for stopping students from stealing, well that was okay with the protesters — students, faculty and administrators — who tried to crush Gibson’s Bakery and the Gibson family. Hollow values indeed.

[Featured Image via Chronicle-Telegram video]


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They could offer to pay higher tuition rates. Hahahahaha as if.

Protests and politics aside, Oberlin is going down a road that a lot of other small colleges will travel in the coming years. There aren’t enough students and not enough (loan) money to sustain all the various regional private colleges and universities. While Prof. Jacobson and I at our institutions can ride this out, the regional schools with an aging plant and an aging reputation will suffer.

I would not be surprised to see Oberlin close in the next few years. They can look down I-71 at Antioch College as an example of what can happen.

    Massinsanity in reply to stevewhitemd. | February 21, 2020 at 8:52 am

    I agree that a number of small liberal arts colleges will fail as many have already done but Oberlin is unlikely to be one of them given its $1B endowment.

    If they are running structural deficits, as was mentioned in the last post about this union issue, then they have a management problem at the school and it is unlikely to be fixed by cutting costs in the kitchens and bathrooms at the school.

    The issue is more likely an administration over burdened with highly paid social justice warriors and D&I hacks.

    Whether or not the current President has the skill and intestinal fortitude to fix the problems at Oberlin is a big question but there is no way a school with this size endowment should fail.

      Massinsanity in reply to Massinsanity. | February 21, 2020 at 9:06 am

      Here is a link to a list of colleges that closed in the period of 2016 through early 2019. There are links to articles that provide background on the school closings for a number of them. Common characteristics are – shrinking enrollment, structural deficits and little to no endowment which lead to a death spiral.

      All of these school combined likely didn’t have $1B in endowment funds.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to Massinsanity. | February 21, 2020 at 6:17 pm

      They can fix the problem by taking only paying students, getting rid of useless majors and going back to core subjects.

      One would think that they should have learned from how badly Carmen Twillie Ambar F ed this up. While her predecessor dealt with the original theft problem, Carmen Twillie Ambar was the one who turned this into costly litigation. Carmen Twillie Ambar’s folly, there should be a cement statue of her likeness, with a plaque with her name and Folly.

      MajorWood in reply to Massinsanity. | February 21, 2020 at 7:32 pm

      The failure for Oberlin will not come from a lack of a sizeable endowment but from a lack of cash flow. Of that $1B only about $50M is free and available for general use, and those who have been paying attention know where a big chunk of that is going at some point down the road.

      This is going to be a slow withering death, an academic Munchaussens by Proxy where the principal players plead for help while slowly poisoning the institution with bad decisions. For them to come clean is to sign their own academic death warrants, but that is what is needed for the school to survive. So for the next 10 years just pop some corn and sit back. I expect a bit of excitement in 2-3 years when the big payout happens, and a real sense of panic sets in, but by then I expect the college to be close to a 50th ranking by US News and at that point there will be no coming back. I imagine that the only alumni who are supporting them right now are either true believers or haven’t worked out just just how much disinformation has been shuttled their way. At some point even the slow ones will wise up.

    I meant a thumbs up. Hit the wrong icon.

X and Y shouldn’t gain more rights against Z by combining forces than they have individually. In particular, X and Y shouldn’t be able to force Z to negotiate with them.

The underlying mistake in labor law. It’s probable that X could make a better deal for himself than Y anyway, if he’s better at the job. Y is dead weight that makes unions cost everybody more. Lower productivity.

“Willingly impoverishing over 100 longtime employees and their families means that, at the end of the day, the values we claim to stand for are hollow.”

He’s right. Shut Oberlin down and sell it for scrap. It clearly doesn’t deserve to exist.

And no tuition refunds for any students. I’m sure all the Oberlin students will want to put their (or their parents’) money where their principles are, right?

Nice to see the Oberlin students receive an impromptu science education … cause and effect … every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

“ … attempting to improverish a 5th generation bakery for stopping students from stealing, well that was okay with the protesters — students, faculty and administrators — who tried to crush Gibson’s Bakery and the Gibson family.

Hollow values indeed.“

Best. Closing. Sentence. Ever.

Nailed it.

NeighborOfTheBeast | February 20, 2020 at 9:29 pm

I don’t generally go to the local Ford plant when I’m hungry. Why is the UAW providing cafeteria employees? There are other unions for food service workers.

    NorthernNewYorker in reply to NeighborOfTheBeast. | February 21, 2020 at 8:06 am

    It’s technically the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America. I thought the same thing when I was working in the dining hall on campus and heard it was under the UAW, but the permanent workers fall into the Agricultural category, apparently.

You did this to yourselves….and were proud of it.

“By contrast, attempting to impoverish a 5th generation bakery for stopping students from stealing, well that was okay with the protesters — students, faculty and administrators — who tried to crush Gibson’s Bakery and the Gibson family. Hollow values indeed.”

And spend all the money necessary to make sure one of the principals *died* waiting to be made whole, and still talking trash about them the whole time.

Who would hire a Oberlin graduate from the super woke era? The students may be crying their own river soon enough except the extra woke don’t need jobs as trust fund babies.

    Pillage Idiot in reply to Sunlight78. | February 21, 2020 at 11:42 am

    I would hire them – to clean the dorm bathrooms at Oberlin.

    Only caveat, it would certainly be at non-union wages, since they are guaranteed to be lousy at the job.

Will Oberlin officials help them print out flyers for this protest?

Lucifer Morningstar | February 20, 2020 at 10:15 pm

That’s fine. Then the administration needs to immediately announce a 50% across the board tuition hike for the next year and following that another 25% to 50% hike for the year after that as needed to stay solvent. And make it perfectly clear to the little snowflakes that it was their choice. Cut staff or increase tuition. And they chose a tuition hike.

OwenKellogg-Engineer | February 20, 2020 at 10:23 pm

““These are the people who cook our food, who clean our homes, who care for us when we’re sick,” Kinsella-Walsh said”

So your servants are being taken away from you; sounds like a rather privileged statement……

If Ambar were white and male, they’d already have called for President’s resignation for this decision.

Who would hire an idiot with an oberlin diploma?

The price paid for litigation comes with a pretty hefty price tag. A learning curve to prepare them for the real world. Knowing when and how to pick your battles and the cost of paying the piper is cheap if you’ve learned anything.

Hey Hey, Ho Ho!
Solvency has Got to Go!

I don’t know, it has a nice swing to it.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

Reality/karma. It’s a bitch, bitchez. Learn it, love it.

“This was someone, I remember, who made everyone in my dorm a Christmas card.
If they can’t learn to code.
Carmen Twillie Ambar will help them interview with Hallmark.

“Ho ho, hey hey.
Oberlin College
Has got to pay.”

This is the “consequences” part of being “woke” that your commie professors don’t tell you about. Should have taken that basic economics course.

“No workers, no Oberlin”

So… what’s the downside?

The article presents a prediction. At the next Commencement Oberlin’s woke and modest BOT Chair, T. Christopher Canavan, will eat crow and personally award Prof. Jacobson an honorary degree from Oberlin College and justice will be served.

/s/ JD Nobody, OC ’61.

Demand the high pay facility take a pay cut.

They all look vaguely unisex along with pudgy and mongoloidal.

What is their value to society?

They are losers so lets hope Mini-Mike can figure out a way to make them disappear into the Bermuda Triangle.

Be aware that due to normal student turnover:

1. The current protesters are not protesting in support of a crime.
2. Unlike the Gibson protesters, these protesters are protesting something that is factual and not hearsay.
3. Very few of the original protesters are still on campus.

BAD THINGS, BAD THINGS can happen when you try to oppress the innocent. I look at this as merely ‘pay-back’ for how Oberlin treated Mr. Gibson and his bakery. Was it planned? I doubt that, except perhaps from the throne of God.

But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.
(Psalms 75:7)

I don’t see any black faces in that crowd, just over privileged fat white kids.

Maybe the diversity deans could pitch in in their spare time–I’m sure Meredith Raimondo has some free time on her hands.

Am I the only one who find it highly ironic that students (though a different set) now support the same dining service workers whom they excoriated for serving ethnic food not being authentic (cultural appropriation)? Those workers were directed to issue a apology. Thus emboldened, students went on adventures such as shoplifting. And the administration….. well, that is another (long story).

I know it is sexist and un-woke of me to notice and comment, but there were no pretty girls shown in the video (at least, the early part before I turned it off). When I visited Oberlin in the 70s as part of my college selection tour, the girls were much more attractive.

    MajorWood in reply to Geologist. | February 21, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    In the 70’s Playboy’s Campus Review described Oberlin women as “muscular with hairy legs.” My high school mates used to bring that one up frequently.

Clean your own damn dorm.

Hey hey! Ho ho!
Chants from the 60s
Have got to go!

Anyone here a member of the unofficial uncensored Oberlin alumni facebook group? I am not on facebook and was wondering how much LI material was being posted there.

    I am a member of the unofficial uncensored Oberlin alumni Facebook group. People are posting to this group referencing LI, but the frequency of their posts is far lower than are those of LI.

    The comments to the Oberlin group appear to be much less vitriolic than those to LI.

      duckface in reply to J.D.Nobody. | February 26, 2020 at 4:43 pm

      Have those alumni seen the Gibson’s FAQ/evidence document?

        duckface, I think most of them have seen the Gibson FAQs. Those who have seen them could not be very sympathetic to the College’s managerial stupidity. I have made the FAQs available on, which is aimed at Oberlin alumni.

        BTW, there was increasing managerial negligence over the last two decades to get to where it is now necessary to take on the UAW union. Since the student protesters have some valid points and the College is cornered and can not back down the situation could get ugly before it is over. To a degree, the College is trying to blame the union for decades of managerial stupidity.

        /s/ JD Nobody, OC ’61.

With great sadness I am rescinding the following FB comment and am joining the Oberlin group. Will be glad to help.

For 5 years I have refused to use Facebook because of my disgust for the way Marque Suckerbird operates his business. I find it shocking that so many of my acquaintances do not realize that everything they post on FB is used to compromise their privacy, and is used for both commercial and intelligence gathering purposes. The intelligence gathered from places like FB was critical to planning President Trump’s successful election campaign, yet most of my FB “friends” are fanatical Trump haters. They seem to have no clue that they are supporting a machine that was critical to creating what they profess to hate the most!

Tragically, they do not connect the dots between being able to post cute pictures of their kitty cat FOR FREE and that these pic postings are paid for by selling the essence of their souls to the highest bidders. FB has not become one of the world’s most profitable businesses by letting people post pics of kitty cats for free. The market value of your privacy and the intelligence gathered from FB users generates these huge profits for FB on top of the tiny cost of letting people post kitty cat pics for free!

The very idea of a FB “friend” is a mockery of what friendship is supposed to be.

Behold the wrath of the Upper Middle Class Whites!