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Oberlin student miffed at male maintenance workers entering ‘Women & Trans Collective’

An Oberlin College student is highly perturbed that “cisgender male” maintenance workers were permitted to install radiators in a dorm reserved for “women and transgendered persons”

In the op-ed pages of The Oberlin Review, Peter Fray-Witzer says Baldwin Cottage got an email about the radiators from Coordinator for Multicultural and Identity-Based Communities Josh Matos on October 7: “Contractors will be entering rooms between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to install the radiators.”

Fray-Witzer says he was unaware of any pending installations, but even worse — the maintenance crews were “more than likely to be cisgender men” who would be invading his “personal space” at that of his dorm mates.

The Women and Trans Collective inhabits Baldwin Cottage, where cisgender men are not permitted on the second and third floors. Further, “many residents choose not to invite cisgender men to that space.”

“Why didn’t the College complete the installation over the summer, when the building was empty? Why couldn’t they tell us precisely when the workers would be there? Why were they only notifying us the day before the installation was due to begin?” Fray-Witzer wonders.

Apparently, Oberlin has an obligation to make students feel “comfortable and safe.”

ALERT: Check out our new Campus Cancel Culture Database!

It sure seems Fray-Witzer has never scheduled any sort of home maintenance or delivery:

I waited apprehensively. The workers began installing in common spaces, and I could see immediately that they were all men. It was clear that the College had not made a special request that male workers not be allowed onto the upper floors of Baldwin. Predicting when they would reach my room was pure guesswork. I was trying to anticipate whether I would be in class when they arrived, or if I’d have to welcome strangers into my room only to be ejected to allow them space to work.

When the insistent knock eventually came, I scrambled to get my mask on and repeatedly shouted, “Coming!” through the door. Four or five construction workers stood outside, accompanied by someone who I could only assume — by his neat polo and clipboard — to be an emissary of the College. We stared at each other for a moment before I moved aside to allow the workers to enter. The emissary began issuing platitudes that the work wouldn’t take long and encouraged me to prop open my door. I asked meekly if I could actually not have a radiator installed in my dorm. I knew the answer was no before I had even said it, but hey — worth a shot.

Can those in special affinity dorms now demand which college employees are permitted inside? Can residents of an all-black dorm demand white maintenance workers as persona non grata? Can a gay or lesbian dorm deny entrance to straight workers?

The total cost of attendance at Oberlin is over $78,000 per year.

Read the op-ed.

MORE: A racist dorm room policy is being advocated … by liberal students?

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.