The Oberlin Review

College Owes Christie’s Victims Compensation

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Regarding The Boston Globe article about the resignation of Organ Department Chair James David Christie from Oberlin and at the College of the Holy Cross:

As the parent of a gifted organist who studied with David Boe, Jack Mitchener, and others at Oberlin, I had several occasions to interact with Christie; the first when we looked at Holy Cross and he gave us the brush off — I saw and heard from many students that “the great man” was domineering, imperious, and narcissistic — all the qualities of a Harvey Weinstein. The fear and dread he instilled in his students was an open secret and obviously contrary to the tenets of a liberal arts institution like Oberlin. I have NO doubt that everyone knew of this alleged predatory behavior for decades at Oberlin as well as at Holy Cross. Shame on those who have allowed this to perpetuate. For decades!

Since Christie was half the department I should demand that half the tuition ($250K at the time) be returned to our family; instead I demand that sum be set aside for an organ scholarship that doesn’t require sexual submission as well.

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One Response to “College Owes Christie’s Victims Compensation”

  1. Arthur Van Dalier on September 18th, 2018 2:26 PM

    I find this submission to be nothing more than “sour grapes.” While I do NOT condone any actions deemed inappropriate by an upstanding moral and ethical code, it should be noted that the whistle blowing students that was the foundation of the Boston Globe article NEVER mention that they were forced into any relationship. More so – they FOLLOWED Christie on to Oberlin for grad studies! At that point , one must ask: whom was using who?It should also be noted that none of these whistle blowers seem to have amassed any type of “major” success story in their career as professional organists. Do they feel they were cheated out on some stardom they felt they deserved?

    While Christie may have indeed been ” domineering, imperious, and narcissistic,” why have we not heard from his truly successful proteges denouncing him? There are more than a few outstanding products of Christie training out there and they are oddly silent. Why? They certainly have nothing to fear now. Christie had a knack for discovering talent and potential…but not even Babe Ruth hit a home run at every at-bat. It appears to this outsider who is not an organist, nor who has ever had a relative or friend as a student of Christie, that we are witnessing one side of a two sided story.

    Is it wrong for relations between student and teacher? ABSOLUTELY! Was Christie wrong if he did indeed commit all these acts? NO QUESTION! But this is another example of Guilty Until Proven Innocent in our current world where social media is prosecutor, judge, and jury. A great artist in the world of Classical Organ has forever been destroyed, and what we have to thank for that is an article published based on the allegations of some (adult) students of apparent consensual relationships.

    I am sorry if the author of this opinion in The Oberlin Review feels his child was “brushed off” by Christie. Could his writing be sour grapes as well?

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