Talk:Oberlin College

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Many other colleges and university articles, especially selective colleges like Oberlin have a section on average board scores and difficulty of admission. Should one be added? Usually, according to the Wiki protocol on colleges and universities, this belongs in a section called "Profile."

Whoever's adding the "citation needed" to highly selective needs to stop. No other major liberal arts college doesn't make that claim and no other liberal arts college has an editor adding this citation needed.

"Obie" Culture[edit]

Looking back over past edits, the list of popular musicians in "Obie" Culture changes rather often. While I don't think the edits are malicious, they serve to point out that the list is inherently not verifiable, not notable, not neutral, and not encyclopedic. I've removed this list from the article. If an artist becomes notable, place them in Notable Alumni. On campus artist gossip should stay there.

Some popular Oberlin musicians, past and present, include Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jug Free America, Di$h and ShiQuana, The Trashbirds, Skeletons and the Girl Faced Boys, The Empty Mirror, Headless Body in a Topless Bar, Guerilla 16, Liz Phair, and Skeletonbreath. 19:04, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

I've removed the following paragraph; I think it needs more clarity (what "the students" have been active towards changing vs. what has actually been done/changed), or a citation, or both. Eric's penguin 02:17, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Recent activism among the student body has involved the divestment of stocks in companies that do business with the Israeli military, a campus-wide ban on Coca-Cola products, and a vote of no-confidence in the college's president, Nancy Dye.

I see your concerns about the above paragraph. While I did not write it, I think it is useful in keeping the wiki entry up-to-date, and so have added a revised version. I have attempted to address your concerns by removing things where the activism has not resulted in any change (e.g. divestment) and adding citations, via links to relevent news articles, where appropriate. 09:36, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

I was looking through the Obie Culture section, and noticed the section on the Bike Derby. It was my understanding that the last Bike Derby was in 1997. Has it started up again? If not, we should remove that.

Also, the section on streaking and nudity could be cleaned up, imho. While it should be addressed, I'm not sure it needs three sentences.

Just my thoughts... 18:05, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

There were definitely bike derbies in 2006 and 2005, and I'm pretty sure in 2003. They've become very low-promotion events because the fire at the end pisses off the fire department, and something inevitably pisses off the cops. --—alxndr (t) 03:50, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Yeah...but Safety and Security got really angry this past year because there was a huge huge stinky fire, worse than previous years'. So, maybe someone should edit it so that it is obvious that the Bike Derby is certainly not college-sanctioned. --Mogwit 16:18, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Google search[edit]

In a Google search for "Oberlin College" this article shows up in the top 10 results (Dec 29, 2005). User:Ceyockey 17:32, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Duh. Wikipedia was created to replace the internet, just like Google. Its a conspiracy.


To say that Oberlin is considered by many to be one of the best liberal arts colleges, though I do agree with this opinion, is really nothing more than a point of view--and is, therefore, not encyclopedic. 21:11, 6 January 2006

Saying that Oberlin is one of the best is an opinion, though there are objective measures by which it is seen to be one of the best, such as size of library. Reporting that it is considered by others to be one of the best is NPOV. Matchups 19:25, 13 March 2006 (UTC) (Note: I'm an alum)

I would agree with the anon user above and say that you should not say "considered by many" in an encyclopedia unless it is a very common viewpoint (eg. "Shakespeare is considered by many to be the greatest playwright of all time") and could easily be backed by some references (eg. voted the top playwright by the libarian association of america). It's just way too vague - I would argue that I could add similar lines to virtually every college's article. Rm999 02:09, 15 March 2006 (UTC)

It's not just this article. Wikipedia has many articles with the phrase "considered by many," many of which go on say " be (one of) the best..." Still, I agree that the article could be improved by replacing those words with something more encyclopdic, such as "Considered as one of the best liberal arts colleges based on its having the largest library, the most graduates going on to receive PhDs, and its frequent high position in the annual US News and World Report ranking." Perhaps the next step is to get references for these statements. (from Matchups--sorry, I forgot the tildes)

I just found that there is an official Wikipedia style guide saying to avoid 'weasel' terms such as "considered by many" and 'peacock' terms such as "one of the best." So I will see what I can do to make it more encyclopedic. Matchups 04:09, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

I never attended Oberlin (and in fact attended Miami University) however I am very fond of Oberlin. Among the smaller liberal arts schools, it's one of the best. Those in academia and knowledgeable about higher education hold this school in very high regard. Props to you Oberlin.

Expand tag[edit]

I'm restoring the expand tag on this article that I removed a few hours ago. User WAvegetarian indicates that it is still needed. --Lockley 05:06, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

There is certainly more to say about it, but I don't think I said that it is still needed. I just noticed that not much had been added since the tag was first applied. —WAvegetarianCONTRIBUTIONSTALK EMAIL•20:22, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Oberlin's IP Range[edit]

Watch edits from as this is the Oberlin network. I'm not saying they are all bad edits—I'm currently editing from Oberlin—but that we should pay special attention to them as they are self edits. —WAvegetarianTALKCONTRIBSEMAIL 02:31, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

The Notes superscripts[edit]

I recently added the "endowment" information in the infobox and the corresponding note. However, I just noticed that the superscript link to Notes section (after the endowment amount) shows up as [2] instead of [1] as it should be. Does anyone know how to fix this? I don't have the Wiki editing knowledge to do so. If you do, please fix it. Thanks.

More generally, the numbering of footnotes in the article and the numbering in the notes section is not in sync. This is due, at least in part, to notes 3 and 4 about excos, which are direct external links. I am unsure how to resolve this problem, but I am sure someone can. 09:30, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

School Colors[edit]

While the article lists the school colors as Crimson and Gold (specifically Athletic Gold) it mentions that maroon/burgundy is a substitute. In an effort to create uniformity among the school's athletics, the decision was made that the official Yeoman Athletics colors would be maroon/bugundy & athletic gold. This being a problem as the colors were mismatched across the teams on campus. For instance the Football Team wore a more scarlett colored maroon with Old Gold (or Notre Dame Gold), where as the Men's Lacrosse Team featured a deeper maroon/burgundy and Gold (or Athletic Gold). Another instance is the Basketball temas which had the deeper maroon/burgundy combined with Old Gold. However with the departure of AD Vin Lananna, who spear-headed the plan, it has yet to be put into affect, at least that I have seen. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by USER NAME OR IP (talkcontribs).

I wonder what the Oberlin College Archives has on the historical origins and modern use of the "official" school colors. Perhaps someone on campus can visit them with this topic in mind. --Jthurn 17:14, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

This topic does not merit two-thirds of the opening paragraph. Robert Loring (talk) 02:57, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

Notable Obies[edit]

I moved this section, as well as the discussions of Yvette Clarke and Wendell Willkie to the Talk:List of Oberlin College alumni page, as part of splitting off that new article.

Added Michelle Malkin. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:07, 18 November 2009 (UTC)

Quality of Oberlin[edit]

Perhaps the discussion on subjective comments about quality can be addressed by using words like "highly selective liberal arts college." The Princeton Review ranks the selectivity of colleges from 60 (not selective or non-reporting) to 100 (highly selective). Oberlin's selectivity is rated at 99.

Actually, it's a 96, which is still impressive, putting it on par with most peer institutions... ranking, for instance, just below Cornell University (97), an Ivy League institution

Notable Oberlin architecture[edit]

As a student currently attending, I can't help but notice numerous buildings around campus that are designed by noteworthy architects. Quite a few buildings surrouding Tappan Square are the Cass Gilbert's work, while Hall Auditorium is designed by Wallace Harrison, the architect who worked on the United Nations HQ. This is a subject I believe is worth mention. Any thoughts? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Leizmonk (talkcontribs) 20:30, June 6, 2006

Don't forget that the Con, King, and Warner were designed by Minoru Yamasaki. —alxndr (t) 06:33, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

My favorite buildings were the "Richardsonian Gothic" buildings--Peters Hall, for instance. These are very complicated 19th century Victorian buildings with towers, spiral staircases, observatories, and even hidden rooms. 1970 alum Steve Eardley —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:15, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

I'd agree that the architecture of campus is worth noting, both for its distinctiveness and the value it adds to things like the art history program. I'm not really qualified to weigh in on which buildings matter and why, but there was a History professor a number of years ago who published a book on the architecture of the town. At least some of the info from that book is found on this website: Squalk25

Dascomb Naming Issue[edit]

It is my memory that Dascomb is named for Mary Dascomb the first head of the Female College. However not being at Oberlin anymore I can't verify who is on the plaque in the dorm. Dalassa 13:47, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Absolutely true. See this article from the college archives. I don't have the time right right now to do a good rewrite on the main page, but maybe in a few days if nobody beats me to it (& I hope they do). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Matchups (talkcontribs) 16:46, June 18, 2006 (UTC)
I've made the change myself based on the archive link you provided. Dalassa 22:57, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Please note that the present Dascomb Hall is not to be confused with the first hall named for Marianne Dascomb, Dascomb Cottage.--Jthurn 17:28, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

True. Also note, however, that there is a plaque within Dascomb Hall commemorating Marianne Dascomb and Dascomb Cottage. Jorgath 13:40, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Yvette Clarke and Wendell Willkie[edit]

Discussion moved to the Talk:List of Oberlin College alumni page, as part of splitting off that new article.

Dye's "departure"[edit]

Retirement suggests stopping work or peacefully moving on to another profession. When she resigned as president there was a buzz on campus about whether she might try to stay on as she is a full tenured history professor.[1] It certainly wasn't, and still isn't, expected on campus that she will leave academia. On that point, she did not say she was retiring or getting out of academia, rather that it was "the right time for [her] to leave."[2] Hard copies of this were also distributed to students and parents. This decision and announcement came right after her heavy handed dealing with deans resulted in much criticism and the controversial resignation of a well liked dean. There was also the small issue of the vote of no confidence. Shortly before the announcement a letter was circulated and signed by dozens of tenured faculty calling for her resignation. The Oberlin Review has yet to use the word "resignation" in a headline, but has called it that in the body and leads of their articles. [3][4][5].

If this isn't a resignation than I don't know what is.—WAvegetarian(talk) 21:30, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

I know that the word 'retirement' is being used by various senior administrators and college spokespeople, although not all the time (sometimes they just talk about her 'leaving'). I agree that the timing of her announcement was tied to various growing pressures on campus, but it's interesting to note that, by preempting the reported no-confidence vote and framing everything as her own decision, she basically prevented 'resignation' being the most-correct label. Also, retirement doesn't mean she won't be back in academia - Michael Jordan retired from basketball, then unretired; no one believes Bill Parcells when he says he's retiring, but the writers call it a retirement. Semantic fun indeed... Squalk25 17:26, 6 March 2007 (UTC)Squalk25

Oberlin Steel[edit]

I moved the line "Oberlin College is also home to Oberlin Steel, one of the premier college steel drum bands in the United States." From the introduction to the section on music, where it more appropriately belongs. PubliusVarrus 19:00, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Marvin Krislov[edit]

Should Marvin Krislov be listed as the president now? He was named as the president recently, but will not take office until July 1st. ( 16:12, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

No, he doesn't take office until July 1st, so he is still the U. Mich. vp until then. We don't change the current president listed for United States on Nov. 3. She is still the acting president until July. —WAvegetarian (talk) 05:28, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Katharine Wright[edit]

I have removed the following text from the article. Wright has no WP article and should not be included as a "most notable" alumna. But perhaps the material belongs somewhere else.

Katharine Wright, sister to Orville and Wilbur Wright and head of their household since the age of 15, also graduated from Oberlin in 1898 and later served as a trustee. After Orville's death in 1929, he donated over $300,000 to Oberlin college, after which the physics building on campus was renamed after the Wright brothers.

Matchups 12:36, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Looking for a Public Domain photo[edit]

For the article on Shields Green and maybe for Lewis Sheridan Leary I'm looking for a public domain photo of their "gravestone" (they are not buried there) that's in Martin Luther King Jr Park, on Vine Street in Oberlin.

The details, and a copyrighted photo can be found on. [6].

Anybody interested in making a quick snap-shot, donating it to the public domain, and posting it in the Shields Green article?

Smallbones 15:32, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm going to be back in Oberlin next Saturday and can take the photo. Please send me an email as a reminder if you don't see one posted up by the end of next weekend.—WAvegetarian (talk) 07:11, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks - more on your talk page. Smallbones 08:25, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Peacock terms[edit]

Added WP:PEACOCK. Please check this article against the specific examples and general idea of Wikipedia:Avoid_peacock_terms#Words_and_phrases_to_watch_for.
Some examples:

  • "The Allen Memorial Art Museum is one of the top handful of college or university art collections in the nation"
  • "Student unrest following what was widely perceived as the heavy-handed arrests of protesters on the lawn of then-President S. Frederick Starr's home"
  • " Studying alongside such gifted individuals adds to the diversity of the school, as they do not quite fit the mold of the typical liberal arts student."
  • " Oberlin is also notable for its unique art rental program."
  • "Oberlin is also famous for Safer Sex Night and the Drag Ball ..."
  • -- The whole section "Notable alumni" is IMHO a little "iffy".
  • "Students often laugh at the portrayed image of the campus"

-- Wikipedia is not a recruiting brochure -- WP:NOT
IMHO this article is not nearly as bad as many with "PEACOCK" problems, but still should be improved. -- Writtenonsand (talk) 21:23, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Many of these examples are not peacock terms; in the "Student unrest" example, "widely perceived" might be weasel words, but are not peacock; similarly for "often laugh." "Heavy handed" might be POV, except that the article isn't saying that the arrests were, just that they were perceived that way, so I think that's okay. The most recent edit to the page removed a few peacock terms, plus one which I thought was okay--"highly selective" is verifiable (see elsewhere on this page); someone needs to actually add the reference that so many of these posters seem to be familiar with. At some point, I will read through the enire article and see if I feel it's ready for the peacock tag to be removed. Matchups (talk) 02:15, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
I just went through and rewrote some parts that had peacock problems - does it look okay now?--Quaere (talk) 20:16, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
I just went through it again. I saw no further peacock terms. Jorgath (talk) 12:56, 20 March 2008 (UTC)


i also add oberlin college was indeed founded by congregationalists, but these congregationalist viewpoints on slavery are not historically clear and these asserted congregationalist viewpoints on slavery should be duly referenced when presented on wikipedia. wellington, ohio located ten miles due south of oberlin is historically recognized as being at one end of the underground railroad. the abolitionist john brown lived in hudson/kent, (Four Dead in O H I O) approximately sixty miles due east of oberlin. john brown recruited John Anthony Copeland, Jr. from oberlin before his raid on harpers ferry, virginia (now west virginia). i'm under the impression that oberlin college did not allow african-americans to attend oberlin college until after the civil war, therefore John Anthony Copeland, Jr. may not have been a student at oberlin college. unfortunately, ohioans in oberlin and wellington returned runaway slaves IAW the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 (see Oberlin-Wellington Rescue) before the american civil war.

The college was founded by Presbyterians, according to the town's web site and to Encyclopedia Britannica. Radagast3 (talk) 03:33, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

oberlin college resides centrally within the municipality of oberlin, and there is a political and justice rift between townies (principally african-americans like John Anthony Copeland, Jr.) and obies (students of white and jewish privilege. chelsey clinton visted the oberlin college campus in 1999). oberlin college is an american sanctuary of progressive activism, but wikipedia editors are reminded to cite sources appropriately. obie grads are a special breed and certainly worthy of touting their horns, and most obies despise nancy dye. παράδοξος (talk) 06:34, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Requestion for citation on "highly selective"[edit]

That a college is highly selective in one way or another is unsurprising. This claim either needs substance, a citation, or to be removed.

Note that it is improper to remove a request for citation without explanation, as was done by an anonymous with no other edits at:

Sorry, I missed the earlier discussion on the same subject, as noted by Matchups, in the history. If someone will please put in a citation, that would probably work well for me, and the other editor who called it a "peacock phrase".

I was the one who removed the request for a citation because I feel like you're being an online ass. Take a look at any other liberal arts college wikipedia; There is no request for a citation or a citation in the first sentence where it states "highly selective." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:32, 16 April 2008 (UTC) (talk) 11:58, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

I removed "highly selective" from the lead since this conveys no actual information (how high? what is high and what isn't high? who says it is high? etc.) and is a peacock word for academic boosterism. Madcoverboy (talk) 19:18, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Notable Faculty[edit]

Should a section be added for notable faculty, past and present (e.g., Clarence Ward, David Orr)? Tevi (talk) 18:46, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Conspicuous by Its Absence[edit]

I don't see the phrase "gay rights" anywhere. Is this the same Oberlin...little town in Ohio?

Speck22 (talk) 21:02, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

moving unsourced list to talk[edit]

I am depositing a long list of unsourced supposed mentions in pop culture below that was previously listed in the trivia section. Please do not move any of it back without adding proper citations using reliable sources. Toddst1 (talk) 21:06, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

  • In Toni Morrison's debut novel The Bluest Eye, she described a town "which boasted an affinity with Oberlin, the underground railroad station, just thirteen miles away."
  • In Morrison's novel Beloved, and in the 1998 movie, Kimberly Elise's character Denver exclaims, "She says I might go to Oberlin!" as Oberlin was the first college to admit African-American students.
  • In Marilynne Robinson's novel Gilead, the narrator remembers that his grandfather's peers "had been to Lane and Oberlin, and they knew their Hebrew and their Greek and their Locke and their Milton."
  • Oberlin was mentioned in the popular 2004 American movie Eurotrip as the school that the main character attends at the end of the film. It is a joke referring the fact that the plot of the movie has the main character trying to find a girl in Berlin, Germany only to be united with her at the college in Ohio, which sounds like "Oh Berlin." Humorously, the campus portrayed in the movie bears little resemblance to the actual Oberlin campus, including a lake that is conspicuously absent in real life.
  • An episode of the popular television sit-com, Dharma & Greg, mentions Oberlin as a prospective college choice for the yet to be born grandchild of Dharma's hippie parents.

The character J.D. Lutz from the American television comedy 30 Rock went to Oberlin.

  • In the October 18, 2000 episode of The West Wing, Congressional candidate Tom Jordan is described as a graduate of Oberlin College. The character attended an all-white fraternity. However, Oberlin College has not allowed its students to join fraternities since its founding in 1833.
  • The character Tim Haspel from Showtime's The L Word left Los Angeles to coach the swim team at Oberlin.
  • In the "D-Girl" episode of The Sopranos, Meadow mentions Oberlin as the college that Anthony Jr.'s English teacher graduated from.
  • In Philip Roth's novel Exit Ghost, he writes of an acquaintance, whose children, at his insistence, all attend Wellesley, "Imagine, four daughters and not a single one of them saying, 'But I'd rather go to Barnard, I'd rather go to Oberlin."
  • Oberlin Conservatory of Music is the setting for the feature film "Ivory" (2009).
  • In "Carnal Knowledge," the February 2, 2009 episode of the hit CW show "Gossip Girl," Blair says with snotty resentment, "Turns out I can still apply to Oberlin..." after she is expelled from her prestigious Upper East Side private school, destroying her chances at her dream school, Yale.
  • In John Katz's Death by Station, private investigator Kit Deleeuw is interviewing a high school student who tells him, "I am going to Oberlin next Fall."
  • In Breaking Bad episode "...And The Bag's in the River" Krazy 8 says he was going to go into music and tryout at Oberlin.
  • In Katherine Paterson's "Lyddie", the protagonist comes to a conclusion at the end of the novel and states "I'm off to Ohio. There is a college there that will take a woman just like a man."
  • In Stephen King's first published novel, Carrie, it is revealed that troublemaker Chris Hargensen has been accepted to Oberlin, possibly as a result of "yanking some pretty long strings."
  • In the television show Gary Unmarried, Sasha says that she went to Oberlin, adding that "[she] doesn't think we had a sports team."
  • In the television show The Daily Show, Jon Stewart refers to Oberlin students as "bi-curious twinks."
  • Rich Orloff's play Vietnam 101: The War on Campus depicts the turmoil that occurred on the Oberlin Campus in the 1960s and 1970s as a result of the Vietnam War.[1]
  • In the 2009 film Adventureland, the plot begins as the main character graduates from Oberlin College.[2]
  • In the 2004 comedy Eurotrip, the movie ends with two of the main characters attending Oberlin College.[3]

File:Oberlin quaterback.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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FERPA and 2013 bias incidents[edit]

An unregistered editor has repeatedly inserted information into this article discussing FERPA and its role in preventing or making unlawful the university releasing student information related to the bias incidents that "occurred" (I think that one or more have at this point been identified as hoaxes). While this law may have played a role in the information released or not released, we need reliable sources that clearly document that fact. Without such sources, it's pure speculation by Wikipedia editors whether this law played a role and what role it played in Oberlin's decisions and actions. This is particularly problematic given how often and how easily many people, including higher education professionals who should know better, misunderstand and misapply FERPA. In other words, this issue is complicated enough without Wikipedia editors trying to insert their own speculations and guesses. If you'd like this material to remain in this article, find reliable sources that supports it. ElKevbo (talk) 21:32, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Story about Oberlin College slam poet[edit]

In news unfortunately.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 13:04, 24 September 2014 (UTC) Just noting, however, I found no other sources to confirm this, so it may be a hoax?--Tomwsulcer (talk) 13:07, 24 September 2014 (UTC) Oberlin University not college, never mind this.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 13:09, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

More importantly, it's a satirical news site. Fitnr 15:33, 25 September 2014 (UTC)

Political Activism section[edit]

There is information in this section I think is worth taking out or moving that has nothing to do with student activism, but are rather comments about college speakers likely invited by the administration, and how the college is ranked on a list of college according to acceptability for students of different genders." The following "paragraph", is not cited:

"Oberlin is also known for its liberal attitude toward sexuality and gender expression. Oberlin was ranked among the 20 friendliest campuses for LGBT students in The Advocate's College Guide for LGBT Students.[62] Several different student groups exist to support the interests of LGBT students and their allies. External evaluations have determined that conservative viewpoints are often disallowed from public expression on campus."

Best. Wwiikkeeppeeddiiaa (talk) 04:12, 23 May 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ The plays of Rich Orloff - Vietnam 101: The War On Campus
  2. ^
  3. ^