Oberlin Students Protest Plan to Cut Employees

February 21, 2020

Oberlin College students protested on campus this week to voice opposition to an administration plan to outsource the jobs of more than 100 dining and custodial employees as a cost-cutting measure.

The students also wanted to show support for the estimated 108 affected employees, many of whom have worked at the college for decades, The Chronicle-Telegram reported.

Carmen Twillie Ambar, president of the private liberal arts college in Ohio, said the move would save the institution $2 million in salary and benefits.

She explained in a letter posted on the college's website that employee compensation makes up 63 percent of the college's budget and noted a three-to-one ratio of students to employees. Ambar said Oberlin administrators have taken a number of steps to cut costs -- including by changing health-care and retirement benefits, reducing the size of administrative staff, and relying less on visiting faculty -- but the college still "faced unprecedented financial and demographic challenges, including an unsustainable structural deficit."

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