The harm caused by radiator installation at Oberlin College

October 20, 2021 • 9:20 am

This has been reported by the right-wing media, of course, but I’d prefer to go to the source itself: the student newspaper of one of the wokest colleges in America: Oberlin College in Ohio. You may remember that Oberlin tried to destroy Gibson’s Bakery because the bakery’s owners called the cops on some students for shoplifting. Gibson’s won a huge judgement against the College—over $30 million including attorney’s fees. But the case, which began in 2016, is still going on, and even has its own Wikipedia page (Oberlin had to post bond for the judgement, but hasn’t paid up).

Today, however, we have an Oberlin student living in a dorm named Baldwin Cottage, of which two floors are devoted to people with particular genders and sexual preferences. As the letter writer notes in an op-ed published in The Oberlin Review (click on screenshot):

Baldwin Cottage is the home of the Women and Trans Collective. The College website describes the dorm as “a close-knit community that provides women and transgendered persons with a safe space for discussion, communal living, and personal development.” Cisgender men are not allowed to live on the second and third floors, and many residents choose not to invite cisgender men to that space.

This means that some cisgender men, at the residents’ invitation, can be on the second and third floors. And thereby lies the issue:

The trouble begn when John Mantos, the area coordinator for Multicultural and Identity-Based Communities, emailed the residents of Baldwin Cottage that there was an imminent installation of radiators before winter began. From the op-ed:

“I am reaching out to you to give you an update on the radiator project,” Matos wrote. “Starting tomorrow (Friday, 10/8) the contractors will be entering rooms between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to install the radiators. This will mean that they will be in your room for a period of time to complete the work.”

I had not been contacted about any sort of radiator installation before this email, so right away the word “update” stood out to me as untrue. I grew concerned reading the second line, which informed me that I had less than 24 hours to prepare for the arrival of the installation crew, and I was further perturbed by the ambiguous “for a period of time.”

In general, I am very averse to people entering my personal space. This anxiety was compounded by the fact that the crew would be strangers, and they were more than likely to be cisgender men.

Would Fray-Witzer be happier if the crew were women or transgender men? Peter doesn’t say, but goes on for a full page kvetching about the lack of warning, the fact that the Cisgender Radiator Men returned the next day to check the installation, how harmed he was, and so on. The author would have preferred this:

I was angry, scared, and confused. 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?

The accusation of misbehavior by Oberlin and the harm done to Fray-Witzer goes on and on. One more excerpt:

I couldn’t help but think that, though there were other dorms affected by the installation, Baldwin Cottage was one of the worst places for it to occur. There are myriad reasons to want to be housed in Baldwin Cottage, but many people — myself included — choose to live there for an added degree of privacy and a feeling of safety and protection. A significant portion of students choose to live in Baldwin because they are victims of sexual assault or abuse, have suffered past invasions of privacy, or have some other reason to fear cisgender men.

You can read the rest for yourself. All I can say is that I sympathize with those residents who have experienced sexual assault and abuse, but those people have to live in the real world, and that world is full of cisgender men, even including some who install radiators. If the students can’t tolerate an hour’s worth of work by such men in their dorm room—Peter left for class and they were gone when he returned (I’m not sure of the right pronoun here)—then they need therapy.  After all, if they feel unsafe from a radiator crew, they can surely leave for an hour.  What kind of adults will these students grow up to be if they’re afraid of the whole world and get no therapy to deal with that?

61 thoughts on “The harm caused by radiator installation at Oberlin College

  1. So a trans or “non-binary” person is upset that men entering the dorms to install radiators leaves them “angry, scared, and confused” and finds this unacceptable.

    Meanwhile, if women object to male-bodied people having a right to enter single-sex spaces such as restrooms or showers, that makes them “phobic” and “hateful”?

    1. Exactly! It’s maddening that in woke ideology, there is nothing but derision and hostility to women complaining of a self-designated trans woman brandishing a penis in a women’s locker room or spa. But cisgender, fully clothed men doing a legitimate job are deemed terrifying.

  2. It’s hard to imagine what planet these children are from. Today I have a plumber coming at 10:30 or so to install a faucet. Maybe do a couple of other small things. Friday a tile guy is coming to work on some tile in a bathroom. It is called life and it continues just like breathing. The dorm is no more his space than the house I have a mortgage on. They must be installing a new heat system in the building? He should be glad for heat.

    1. It is called life and it continues just like breathing.

      You heartless oxygen oppressor! No wonder it tries to kill you with every breath you take.

      1. when the Editors of the [Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy] were sued by the families of those who had died as a result of taking the entry on the planet Traal literally (it said “Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts often make a very good meal for visiting tourists: instead of “Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts often make a very good meal of visiting tourists”), they claimed that the first version of the sentence was the more aesthetically pleasing, summoned a qualified poet to testify under oath that beauty was truth, truth beauty and hoped thereby to prove that the guilty party in this case was Life itself for failing to be either beautiful or true. The judges concurred, and in a moving speech held that Life itself was in contempt of court, and duly confiscated it from all those there present.

        ~~ Douglas Adams

  3. “Woke ” insanity continues to metastasize throughout the academic world. Jonathan Turley is reporting on his blog that Professor Romps of Berkeley is resigning from his position as director of the BASC in protest against his university’s irrational hostility to Professor Abbot, who has already been shamefully mistreated by MIT. Who could possibly argue that this pernicious trend shows any sign of abating?

  4. Speaking as a former college administrator, I think Peter raises some legitimate questions that have nothing to do with gender issues. First, his question as to why the work wasn’t one over the summer needs to be answered. Second, why only 24 hours notice to the residents? I’d like to see both of these addressed by the administrators involved in planning and executing the radiator replacement plan.

    1. Maybe it had something to do with when the equipment was available. If you haven’t noticed there are dozens of ships sitting in the water at ports waiting to offload. Tell us administrator – is there something in the contract that tells kids they get more notice before someone comes into a room?

    2. Speaking as someone who has dealt with slumlords, I think Peter is out to lunch and if these people lived in the real world and rented from a real landlord, they should be thrilled about the landlord replacing the crappy old radiator, and appreciative that they got 24 hours notice. Perhaps in all the diversity, universities have lost of sight of seeking a diversity in class background, instead of a rainbow of spoiled brats whose parents can pay full tuition.

      1. I suppose it varies by state – mine requires 48 hours notice. When I was young and living in a pretty sketchy half-basement apartment I called my landlord to let him know there was a leak in the ceiling, he didn’t answer so I left a message and went to work. When I got home, I saw that he had been there (he never called back), he’d taken all my linens out to catch the drywall dust from where he cut the ceiling and did a shoddy patch up job with no attempt to clean up. Plus, my now-dirty linens were all strewn about. For a teenager living alone, it was unnerving. The above scenario seems leagues less so.

    3. Those are reasonable questions. But, as with my question wondering why my cable guy can’t give me anything tighter than a four-hour window, and then misses that, those seem to be the types of questions whose answers shall not be vouchsafed to us in this life. Let’s not make a Federal case out of college Maintenance.

    4. Yes, I get less than 24 hours notice when management enters my flat to do inspections. True, they could have given more warning, and I suspect installation wasn’t practical during the summer, but Peter has a right to get answers to that. Nevertheless, he didn’t object when the cisgender men entered his room, and my point was not about a possible cockup in scheduling, but about the extreme fragility of today’s college students as demonstrated by this one. A legitmate question for me is, “Why isn’t Peter getting therapy?”

      1. We had dorm mates who marched to a different drummer in the 60’s. Do not know if there are more now or just that the internet is a huge force multiplying megaphone driving wider awareness. My grandchildren’s’ college friends seem to be no more or less strange than i recall my own acquaintances from college.

    5. Various completely normal possibilities. One being that the people doing this work are doing stuff all year ’round, and they simply cannot get to this task until now. Like road crews paving a highway during tourist season or during peak hours of the day. They are going as fast as they can.
      Also they don’t necessarily have a way to plan so far ahead to notify the residents much more in advance, since previous jobs took as long as they took, and they don’t know when they will get to this particular one until maybe a day before.

      Finally, I can expect that other residents on different floors were also given pretty short notice, but they took it in stride b/c that is how this work is. Its like when the cable guy comes whenever they come. You just roll your eyes and live with it. The workers are there to fix plumbing. They are plumbing people, not therapists.

    6. Have you tried to get a contractor to do work for you lately?

      You grab them when they have time to come. I often have them call me as they are driving over: Hey, got time now, you ready?

      It seems there was notification of the project to be done (I could be wrong there) but just not exact timing. Which is perfectly understandable; but they probably should have told the residents that the work would be done on a short notice basis (or might be).

    7. Yeah, I can commiserate with the second complaint. Sounds like a snafu and the administration should’ve come clean on the accidental/unintended short notice.

      As for the summer thing, I expect the explanation is easy and mundane – the school probably does a lot of their winterizing jobs in the Fall, just as they probably do their AC work in the Spring. Keep your resources liquid until it’s time to need them.

    8. There was probably a letter two weeks previously that he glanced over and promptly forgot about. I do that sort of thing all the time.

      Not doing it during the summer is a bit harder to explain away, although it might babe that they did an inspection of the heating in the Summer and found then it would need replacing. Unfortunately, the lead time in getting it all organised probably meant this was the earliest it could be done.

      Or, like my old college, they use the accommodation for conference visitors during the summer and they make more money out of conference visitors.

  5. “I was angry, scared, and confused.”
    Perhaps you can sue your parents for sending you off to university at five years of [emotional] age. WTF were they thinking?

  6. Sounds like the residents need a higher standard of care, maybe padded walls and straight jackets so they can be protected from self injury. You have to commend Oberlin for getting them off the streets, and letting them make intersectional bird houses for 4 years, probably at a lower cost than a psychiatric commitment.

    The beautiful thing is after the Left invents more and more phobias, here you actually have an instance of actual phobia. Its almost as if everything these activists say is psychological projection, when they aren’t simply making things up.

  7. I couldn’t believe this when I read it. However, the answer is clear: No repairs done by unless done by trans workers. But seriously, this person has no clue how the world works, and is totally unprepared for life after college. Unfortunately, Oberlin is unlikely to be an institution that will help them in the way they need it.

    1. I think the answer is that no repairs should be done, all offending radiators should be removed, along with anything in heating, plumbing or electrical that has offensive names like ballcock, stopcock, or male connectors.

  8. Sadly, our universities and colleges are swaddling students as if they are babies. We should not be surprised if—ten years hence—we live amidst an entire generation that doesn’t know how to do anything but cower in their homes.

    1. Worse than babies. My parents did not protect me from strangers coming into the house and upsetting my little self in my fear-of-strangers phase. They even let them pick me up and shot photos of me screaming in protest and fear. They also touched my genitals while changing me without getting written permission, and I seem to have disliked that too, judging from photos.

  9. So, after noodling on this a bit, I’ve got a couple of thoughts. I think I’m usually likely to be more sympathetic than the regular reader here to complaints from the woke youths. This, however, reeks of a class and privilege issue. Google tells me a year at Oberlin runs about 60K, so most of these kids are doing pretty alright, I’d wager, in the wealth department. Having to share space with blue collar workers (you know, the unwashed masses) seems to be what is actually putting them off, considering they don’t know the gender makeup of the crew. That their delicate day would be disturbed by something as menial as radiator replacement is just too much for them. Doesn’t the college realize the help should never be seen???

    1. If you recall the lyrics to their song “Who can it be now?” this all seems very appropriate…..

      Who can it be knocking at my door?
      Go ‘way, don’t come ’round here no more

  10. Not impressed with trying to hang the need for an intersectional cloister on sexual trauma either. I cannot imagine an argument for a whites-only dorm because many of the residents had been victims of sexual trauma at the hands of Black men or something. I’m not sure how the fact that random cis male X subjects you to sexual trauma means that you can now live in a cloister removed from all cis males in the world. It all just sounds like a rationalization for segregation and discrimination, especially since they are making the same arguments that the White Supremacists made in the South to support racial segregation.

    1. Yeah, remember when Liam Neeson got all the flak for admitting–with shame–that he had reacted to a friend’s rape by going looking for any black man, hoping to kill him? That was indeed a horrible thing, which he clearly recognized, and for which he was criticized even in his confession in which he recognized the insanity and unacceptable nature of the thoughts. Yet, here (at Oberlin), it’s okay to vilify nearly half the world’s population (i.e. cis-gendered men) as sources of fear and danger because of something done by some particular individual who shares their rough gender and sexuality.

  11. Well, I can understand the concern here: It’s a well-established #ScienceFact that Cisgender Radiator Men, left alone unchaperoned with gay and transgender students, will try to recruit them away from college into the pipe-fitting trade.

    Jesus, this is some reverse-“Lavender Scare” stuff.

    1. This is as ridiculous in its way as the right-wing moral panic over public libraries’ holding drag-queen reading hours.

      Either way, nobody’s gonna catch cooties, okay?

  12. I started university in 1974. There were plenty of students who were angry, scared and confused then. If you were, you needed to suck it up. I don’t praise “sink or swim”- which was our experience. I think it is better that colleges have mental health facilites and/or connections with community services. What disturbs me about these stories is how very proud many students sound about being fragile, how very much this is is part of their identity and connects them with their peer group. It has become a point of pride in some of these places to announce how easily rattled one is, and how other students and the admin ought to twist themselves into pretzels in order not to upset others with ordinary life and speech. It’s irrational and not how we as a culture define “the best and brightest.” Can we swing the pendulum back in the other direction- establish that we admire toughness and courage and strength. But no returning to sink-or-swim. And that those young people who struggle can find the guidance they need to become strong and competent. This politicized helplessness is a social contagion and it is a good thing to keep calling it out.

    1. And, do these people expect the rest of the world to bend to their preferences? If so, good damned luck making your way in the world. University is supposed to be where you figure out how to think and stand on your own two feet.

      I love how the Woke children attending universities want to proscribe ahead of time what they can be exposed to (some may have legitimate mental health issues — but like you said: Provide services).

      And my reaction is: Why are you (or your parents, more likely) paying 10s of thousands of dollars per semester when you already think you know exactly what you need to know? Why bother? You already know everything, right? What a waste of money.

  13. But students who might be “the best and brightest” is not the aim of Oberlin’s 60k education. After all, that very phrase reeks of dread meritocracy, core of the heteropatriarchal system of oppression. Rather,
    Oberlin is aiming to turn out the fragilest and neediest. After graduation from their studies in Critical
    Intersectional Theory (held, no doubt, in carefully segregated safe spaces), they will be expected to join college DEI offices, cultural organizations, NGOs, HR departments, and other administrative bodies, in order to change the world to suit their requirements.

  14. This goes right along with wanting to prevent speech they don’t like.

    They could just be gone when the work is being done. This seems very simple.

    Like the speech they don’t like: Don’t go to the lecture; change the channel. This all seems simple to me. But if you are an authoritarian Wokeist, you feel the need to prevent others from consuming content you don’t like.

    1. Wrongthink opinions constitute harm to the wokeist personally, and must be punished, as I. Kendi suggested in his call for a constitutional amendment to make his dogma the supreme law of the land, and gives power to punish those who persist in their wrong opinions. Silence, is, after all, violence- confess now and maybe, just maybe, we won’t shoot you.

      I’ll say it once and then be done (for now): These people are proof that higher academia has become a place one goes to become incurably ignorant, and proof that the Dunning Kreuger effect kicks in doubly when one receives an advanced degree in such BS.

  15. When I first read about this, I figured it was satire. Or hoped it was.
    It is just so wrong in so many ways. as others have pointed out here.
    The peasants are imagined to be so scary and brutish, even though no claim was made that those doing the work were anything but professional and polite.
    I think we all noticed the word “safe” being used multiple times in the article. Misused, really. If anyone is unsafe in or near Oberlin, it is the working class people who have to interact with the students. When Oberlin students are caught committing crimes, then physically attacks their working class accuser, the school devotes it’s vast resources to destroy the slackjawed locals.
    And the hypocrisy of LGBT activists continually amazes me. The “Rainbow dildo butt monkey” is appropriate for children. Trans rugby players pose no danger to female opponents half their size. It just goes on.

    I saw an interesting incident at a Chappell protest today. The LGBT people were protesting angrily, and a person showed up with a “We like Dave” sign. The enraged protesters grabbed his sign, broke it, then handed the stick back to him. They immediately started screaming that he has a weapon, which was of course the stick they just handed him. From what I saw, the guy made not one threatening move or remark, before or after they ripped the sign out of his hands. One of the protesters then got right in his face shaking a tambourine and yelling “repent mother fucker” over and over again.

  16. I suggest a solution: before the 46,XY individuals enter the building to install the radiators, a diversity officer instructs them to declare that they identify as females today. Problem solved.

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