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WOBC prank should be reminder to students to stay vigilant

IAN FEATHER // APRIL 13, 2018 

On April Fool’s Day, the team at WOBC’s Live From Studio B (LFSB) released a long Facebook post that informed fans that the studio session planned for that afternoon would be their very last. According to the post, this sudden development was due to certain administrative offices being moved from Carnegie and Cox into Wilder, meaning that loud music would interfere with the functions of these new residents of Wilder and thus necessitate the immediate demise of LFSB.  

 

For a few shrewd students, this supposed news was immediately recognized for what it really was: an April Fool’s Prank. Yet for many others, including myself, such a tragic turn of events seemed all too believable, especially in light of the ongoing budget fiasco and similar encroachments into Wilder that have already happened.

 

As President Ambar conveyed in her February speech to students about the financial situation of the College, future budget cuts will primarily be the result of rigorous program reviews that will evaluate the relative costs and benefits of different aspects of the College. While this review process will not focus solely on monetary costs and benefits, the ultimate goal of the process, to save money, dictates that financial considerations will ultimately play a major role. If this is the case, it’s possible, even likely, that certain programs that don’t explicitly generate revenue—programs that many students value highly—will be on the chopping block.

 

Furthermore, the administration has already begun to encroach upon Wilder, which is officially a Student Union space. Last year, the Office of the Dean of Students, without prior consultation of the Student Union Board, decided to take Wilder 109, formerly a prominent meeting space for student organizations, and instead integrate it into their existing, adjacent office space. Admittedly, this may seem fairly inconsequential, as there are many other available meeting rooms in Wilder and the Office of the Dean of Students is likely using Wilder 109 for appropriate purposes. Yet such an administrative takeover could be setting a dangerous precedent for future decisions regarding supposedly student-controlled spaces across campus. If the Office of the Dean of Students didn’t feel the need to consult with anyone before repurposing something that very explicitly belonged to the Student Union, what’s to stop Campus Dining Services from deciding to take control of the Cat in the Cream in order to turn it into a for-profit coffee shop?

 

My intention in writing this piece was not to be an alarmist; my goal was to show that the LFSB April Fools prank was not as far removed from plausible reality as one might imagine. As of now, we can fortunately breathe a sigh of collective relief: as the LFSB team made abundantly clear after receiving responses from Oberlin students, parents, and national platforms like Audiotree alike, the announcement was just a prank. But let’s pretend that it wasn’t. Would we as students have had any recourse in such a situation? And even if we did, would we collectively try to stop such a tragedy from occurring?

Contact staff writer Ian Feather at ifeather@oberlin.edu.