The Oberlin Review

Oberlin, Gibson’s Should Forgive and Forget

Booker C. Peek, Professor Emeritus of Africana Studies

November 15, 2019

 Legally, there will be one winner and one loser in the lawsuit filed by Gibson’s Bakery against Oberlin College. But on all other levels — reputation, emotional, historical — Gibson’s, the College, and the City of Oberlin will suffer from the devastating effects for generations to come. Are there no prayers or people capable of getting the two sides and their reinforced, high-powered lawyers to settle their differences privately? The answer some may give is “no.” The bridge for a settlement has crumbled. As the dispute heads to an appellate court, to hope for a miracle is similar to asking that a long-anticipated Super Bowl game not be played and opting instead for a coin-flip to determine the winner. A...

College’s Appeal in Gibson’s Case Misguided, Avoidable

David Marwil OC ’70

November 8, 2019

 I urge the College to refrain from appealing the Gibson’s case. Instead, Oberlin must turn inward and reflect on what led to this unfortunate state of affairs in the first place. The behavior of the College, by which I mean students and administrators alike, revolves around the false premise that Gibson’s was a racist institution. The College’s actions towards Gibson’s were arrogant and mean-spirited throughout. My sense is that Gibson’s would not have filed suit if the College had treated them well, even if they had already suffered some losses. My experience as a physician is that, in most cases, patients do not sue unless they are disgruntled, even if the physician makes a mistake. Certainly, Gibson’s had...

Koppel’s Gibson’s Coverage Provides Biased Perspective

Booker C. Peek, Professor Emeritus of Africana Studies

November 8, 2019

 Ted Koppel struck out with the bases loaded this past Sunday on CBS News’ “Sunday Morning.” The segment focused on the nearly $50 million lawsuit filed by Gibson’s Bakery against Oberlin College; Koppel’s question was, “What is the fair price for a family’s good name?” Koppel was easily one of America’s most respected, and perhaps most admired, TV journalists over the past 40 years because his approach to find the truth was undergirded by the fiercest resolve to be fair and balanced — until now. Informally known as “Grandpa Gibson,” Allyn Gibson, who is around 90 years old, should not have to pass away being forever remembered as a racist. Nor should his son, David, have to spend any time fig...

Slocum Invites Students to Azariah’s Meet and Greet

Linda Slocum, Vice President, Oberlin City Council

November 1, 2019

 As the Nov. 5 City Council election approaches, I’d like to hear from Oberlin College students and give them a chance to meet me. I’ll be in Azariah’s Café on Friday, Nov. 1 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 3 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Monday, Nov. 4 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. I’m councilmember Linda Slocum and have served as vice-president of Oberlin City Council for the past four years. I’m running, along with 11 other candidates, for a third term. The College community is an integral part of this small city. Stop by the table today, tomorrow, Sunday, or Monday in Azariah’s Café to share your thoughts!

Vote Slocum for City Council

Bryan Burgess, President, Oberlin City Council

November 1, 2019

 I encourage voters in Oberlin to vote for Linda Slocum for Oberlin City Council this November. Linda’s tenure on the Council, like many others who have held the position, could be scored based on her accomplishments, her advocacy, and her work ethic. Yet, she would be the first to downplay any of those distinctions. Linda is a uniter and a team builder. Her core strength is seeking consensus among her colleagues. City Council brings together seven unique individuals to make group decisions, and Linda’s key role has been to facilitate compromise. Linda’s voice on the Council is one of experience and wisdom. Join me in voting for Linda Slocum on Nov. 5.

Oberlin Finds Great Candidates in English, Price

Kathleen Abromeit, Public Services Librarian

November 1, 2019

 Today I have chosen to write in support of Ray English and Mary Price for Oberlin City Council. Oberlin has been fortunate for many years with a wonderful City Council, and I commend those who are currently serving. Ray and Mary are in the mold of leaders who in the past have unselfishly, and with vision, made important decisions to improve our community. Ray English is committed to social justice, environmental sustainability, and community development. He exhibits a remarkable balance of attention to detail and practicality as he navigates conflict resolution, mediation, and community dialogue. He is also a recognized leader in the Citizens’ Climate Lobby working diligently on issues of environmental issues at the n...

In Council Race, Voters Should Consider Climate Policies

John D. Elder, OC ’53, Vice President, Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy

November 1, 2019

 Of the dozen fine Oberlinians running for City Council, I urge you to vote for those who have been clear about their support for preserving the entire $2.8 million Renewable Energy Credits money for its intended purpose — the Sustainable Reserve Fund — where it can now be used to fulfill the goals of the City’s Climate Action Plan and provide significant long-term benefit to our low and moderate-income residents. I am very glad that all 12 candidates have positive views about the use of the REC dollars, as reported in the questionnaire responses on the Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy Facebook page (@oberlinCSSE). However, I want to highlight the six who voted or said they would have voted to put all t...

Building Consensus, Transparency Among Slocum’s Strengths

David Snyder, Oberlin Resident

November 1, 2019

 I am pleased to write this letter asking you to vote for Linda Slocum for Oberlin City Council on Nov. 5. Here is why Linda deserves re-election: Linda Slocum brings experience and community-oriented thinking to City Council. Serving her second term as the council’s vice president, Linda has focused on making local government more effective, efficient, and transparent. Linda has also worked to build consensus among council members by solving problems and not pursuing her own agenda at the expense of others.  When she is re-elected, Linda will continue to be a consensus-builder, stressing collaboration on the challenges and opportunities the city faces....

Oberlin City Council Candidates Differ on Climate Actions

John Elder, OC ’53, Vice President, Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy

October 21, 2019

The dozen candidates vying for Oberlin City Council in the Nov. 5 election offer their differing views on the city’s Sustainable Reserve Fund and its Climate Action Plan goals in a Voters’ Guide published Tuesday, Oct. 15 by Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy. Present Council member Heather Adelman, who worked on the recent rewrite of the CAP, said, “The next frontier for the City is to look at space heating and how we can move away from natural gas.” Also running for re-election is council member Kristin L. Peterson, who stated, “What concerns me most about the plan is the possible disagreements in the community about the best way to address the plan and its goals.” Longtime council member Ronnie...

Oberlin College’s History Still Deeply Relevant

Del Spurlock, OC ’63

September 27, 2019

 Congratulations, Oberlin, on your remarkable history as a town and institution. I believe that Editor-in-Chief Nathan Carpenter’s “hope to fully understand our present-day challenges” should remain a driving force of his series (“Oberlin’s Early History Rooted in Religious Convictions,” The Oberlin Review, Sept. 20, 2019). Oberlin’s last 100 years provide a testament to the sources of your generation’s acute challenges now and in the years ahead. And Henry Churchill King, Oberlin’s longest serving president — and a former Review editor — will prove to be the prophet of the age.  On Sept. 27, 1919, King, the internationally-honored mathematician, ethicist, theologian, orator, and founding mem...

EICD Act An Essential First Step In Climate Fight

Ray English, Director of Libraries Emeritus

September 20, 2019

 Many thanks to the Review for Alexa Stevens’ fine article and your good editorial about the Global Climate Strike (“Sunrise Strikes for Brighter Future” and “Oberlin Climate Strike Engages International Emergency,”, Sept. 13, 2019 ). Your editorial is absolutely right in stating that climate change is “a quickly-approaching emergency” and that “this is a fight of and for our lives.” It’s very heartening to see a worldwide movement of young people raising awareness of this issue and it’s exciting to see such engagement here in Oberlin. I’m looking forward to seeing what I hope will be massive global participation in the strike, accompanied by widespread media coverage.  I encourage everyone ...

Community Healing More Important Now Than Ever

Booker C. Peek, Emeritus Professor of Africana Studies

September 20, 2019

 Almost two years ago, in 2017, I wrote you pleading for Oberlin College to seek an out-of-court settlement with the Gibson family (“Gibson’s Links Black People to Anti-Semitism,” The Oberlin Review, Dec. 1, 2017). But nothing seemed to take place until it was announced in April that efforts had failed and that the case was going to trial this past May. It did, and the jury ruled in favor of the Gibson family. Last week, I wrote again hoping that Oberlin College would appeal the local jury’s decision to award millions of dollars to the Gibson family (“College Should Respect Any Future Appeal Decision,” The Oberlin Review, Sept. 13, 2019). But after receiving more information, I urge the College to tr...

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