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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Road Trip to Oberlin

Life goes on after the Gibson’s Bakery town–gown fiasco last year.

By Michael Cook

We are two hours removed from Pittsburgh as we roll into the small town of Oberlin, Ohio. It’s a gray day in early January. There’s a chill in the air, and few people are about. Students at the college make up half the population here, and most of them are away for winter break. As I look upon this quiet scene, I find myself thinking about the North Star.

In the years leading up to the Civil War, slaves fleeing the South for Canada used the North Star as their beacon and guide. The town of Oberlin served as an important stop along the Underground Railroad.

I am thinking, also, about Jason Molina, who graduated from Oberlin College in 1996. The songwriter was so captivated by the North Star that he used the image repeatedly in his lyrics. Molina died at an early age, but not before creating an extensive and admirable body of work. For my money, Molina’s song catalog may well be the most worthwhile thing to emerge from Oberlin College in the past 25 years.

I interrupt my reveries to ease into a parking space alongside Tappan Square. It’s a bit early to check into the Hotel at Oberlin — the college’s new, ultra-green, and LEED-certified hostelry — which is situated just down the block, facing the square. In a sense, everything in Oberlin faces Tappan Square. This is where town and gown converge, and where woke culture routinely confronts Western civilization.

The first stop on our itinerary is Gibson’s Bakery, the sixth-generation family-owned business that sued Oberlin College for defamation and other torts and was awarded damages (including attorney fees) in excess of $30 million. Throughout the litigation, the college maintained a stubbornly imperious posture, and now, with the interest clock running, it has hired additional attorneys to file an appeal of the judgment. The president of the college, Carmen Twilley Ambar, insists that the trial verdict is merely “one step” in what “may turn out to be a lengthy and complex legal process.”

Read more at The American Spectator >>

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