And Championing Racial Double Standards Can Be Expensive As Well As Wrong: Ask Oberlin

Oberlin College deliberately set out to  destroy a local bakery for insisting that laws apply to black college students.  Now, in the case of Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College, a jury has awarded 11 million dollars in damages to the bakery owners, and punitive damages might up the award to over 30 million.

Good. Very good. Spectacularly good.

Ethics Alarms first wrote about this awful story here. A precis:

On November 9, 2016—probably not coincidentally the day after Donald Trump was elected, throwing ultra-liberal schools like Oberlin into a ludicrously extended period of irrational fear and loathing—Jonathan Aladin, Endia Lawrence and Cecelia Whettstone were caught stealing bottles of wine from Gibson’s Bakery, a small family-owned establishment with a contract with Oberlin . As they have been duly trained by our culture, the students played the race card, initially claiming the shop had racially profiled them, and that their only misdeed was presenting  fake IDs. When that wasn’t working, the three admitted their guilt and also signed statements that the store was innocent of any race-related bias. It also appears that the students punched and kicked the shopkeeper. … (Here is the police incident report.) 

The day after the arrests, hundreds of students protested outside the bakery, and Oberlin’s student senate published a resolution saying Gibson’s had “a history of racial profiling and discriminatory treatment.” The Oberlin police conducted an investigation into the arrests and found “a complete lack of evidence of racism.” Over a five-year period, the bakery had pursued charges against 40 shoplifters, and only six were African-American.

…The owner met with then-Oberlin President Marvin Krislov and Tita Reed, assistant to the president, and they  pressured him to drop criminal charges against the three students and any future student-thieves who were first time offenders. When he did not agree, the complaint alleges, the school made good on its threat and dropped its decade’s long contract with the bakery. …  Meredith Raimondo, vice president and dean of students, joined students and members of the school faculty in campus demonstrations against the bakery, distributing a flyer that accused Gibson’s Bakery of being a “RACIST establishment with a LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING and DISCRIMINATION.”  A boycott of the business was organized, and according to the complaint, facilitated by the school. College tour guides reportedly informed prospective students that Gibson’s is racist. …

The Ethics Alarms post listed the probable factors at work:

A left-besotted institution that is beholden to ideology and political cant, and when reality and the cant are incompatible, cant wins…

Anti-white racism being regarded as good racism, as opposed to the other kind…

Cowardly and principle-free college administrators who lack the integrity to tell black students when they are wrong and confused (and since when did trying to rob a local business and beating up the owner not get a college student expelled?)…

A school  abusing its influence and power to bully a local business….

Legal Insurrection has done an excellent and thorough job of covering the story (as the mainstream news media has not). One of the defense lawyers, Lee Plakas, called the verdict “a national tipping point, ” saying,

“What the jury saw is that teaching students and having them learn how to be upstanding members of the community is what colleges are supposed to do, not appease some students who they are afraid of. People around the country should learn from this, that you can use the legal system to right the wrongs, even if the one doing the wrong is some huge institution who thinks they can do anything they want.”

It can’t be a tipping point if nobody knows about it outside of Ohio.

Here are the links to Legal Insurrection’s coverage:


16 thoughts on “And Championing Racial Double Standards Can Be Expensive As Well As Wrong: Ask Oberlin

  1. Unbelievable the Gibson family had to suffer through all that. They are to be commended for defending their good reputation and refusing to back down in the face of overwhelming odds. I hope they can restore their bakery business to its prior success. Their attorneys also did an incredible job, and the jury should be praised for their commitment to justice.

    Reading through some of the coverage from Legal Insurrection, I learned that Oberlin’s expert witness—who incidentally was paid $65,000—claimed that this well-established fifth-generation business was worth only $35,000 at the time the protests started. Wow! I know Oberlin’s attorneys are obligated to make the best case they can on their client’s behalf, but $35,000 feels like a dismissive and insulting valuation. Evidently the jury thought so, too.

    • Only thirty-five thousand? For a fifth-generation business? If that’s true, I’ll take three from this so-called expert, I could use latchkey businesses. The taxes alone were probably more.

      If you want equality, that means you are equally accountable for your misdeeds. I don’t get why they WANT to be treated like children or slaves who “don’t understand” how consequences work? What were the punishments for theft of anything more expensive than a loaf of bread that far back? College-age are legally adults, I assume they don’t want to be sent to daycare and kept apart from sexual relations if they want to be treated as children. Theft is no less theft if it was a white student or a Klingon beating the owner.

      Maybe Oberlin will learn. but it will probably take even larger cases to teach the bodies with larger endowments. (I think it more likely the Alumni will start defecting instead of replenishing the coffers…) Equal opportunity shouldn’t be a blank check for actions your grandmother probably would not approve of. Mine was a tartar.

    • There is no way a company turning a profit while employing 12 people in addition to the 3 families of owners is worth $35,000. It is a shame damages can’t be applied to whoever it was who certified under oath that $35,000 was an honest valuation of the company.

      It is like the joke of the witness being sworn into court. When asked “Will you tell the truth and the whole truth?” The witness answers “Why do I have to tell the truth? No one else here is”.

    • OB

      Faculties and staffs at colleges have been pushing the boundaries for years. I believe it was faculty at Kent State that promoted the demonstrations by students that wound up becoming cannon fodder. No it was not intentional but people like Phillip Berrigan and faculty who fancy themselves as activists are merely cowards that use impressiomable kids to serve as human shields.

      Ordinarily these faculty cloak their activism in their lectures. They absolve themselves of any responsibility by claiming academic freedom.

      I am pleased that Gibsons stood strong and won. It may change the calculus of woke administrators.

      I was fortunate during my early employment at a community college that tbe administrators were not afraid to challenge frivolous demands of students. I was sued by a student in a correctional setting because I acquired used books from the bookstore for distribution rather than new ones. The student felt he was being cheated because his Pell grant paid for books. The problem was the total tuition, fees, books and supplies was far higher than his Pell Award. The college created the equivalent of an institutional scholarship by writing off the difference. That program was always under fire from the community. I reorganized it so all direct costs of education were covered with a modest surplus that was used to fund other campus based costs. Had I not reorganized it that program would have died out long before Joe Biden and Clinton killed it 1995 with that Omnibus crime bill. Incidently, one of our students in that program went on to Towson State and then on to Hollywood. His name was Charles Dutton.

      • Chris, I commend you for staying in academia. In retrospect, too many of us baby boomers ran away from academia (to make decent livings for ourselves and our families) and left it to the nut jobs. So we probably bear some responsibility for the academy being destroyed by its more recent and current stewards.

        In the spring of 1970 when Kent State blew up, the students at my college wanted final exams cancelled. The faculty and administration held firm and exams were held as scheduled. Of course, at the time, the school was run by lots of really neat adults, not us eighteen to twenty-two year-old students. So depressing the inmates are now running the asylum. As I’ve noted here before, one of the most profound tragedies to have occurred during my lifetime.

        • I taught seventh and eighth grades for a year, then high school English for a year and a half before concluding I couldn’t punish my kids for the benefit of other people’s kids and headed off to law school.

          • OB, I was lucky. My few years in academia were spent teaching at Central Texas College/Fort Hood Campus. The only 2 civilians in my classes were a young lady who was on-staff and a military wife who wanted to pursue a degree in psychology.

            • I started teaching Economics at Fort Ritchie which is adjacent to Camp David. The military folks made my introduction to teaching enjoyable. As the years went on and I was assigned more day classes with 18 and 19 year olds or what I term 13th graders who thought Econ was memorizing names, dates and lists. It got to the point that none had any desire to connect the concepts to the real world . The only place I felt my teaching was making a difference was at the correctional complex.
              Regular campus students seemed to only care about their grade. After 12 years of teaching I told the division chair I had had enough and I wanted to focus my energies on my entrepreneurial clients in the business incubator.

              • I enjoyed my time in the class room with the kids but dealing with (the few) obnoxious parents was bad, as was being around other high school teachers who are a pretty sad and demoralizing group. I doubt there’s any place more depressing than a high school faculty lounge. I also realized I wasn’t the special kind of teacher who could be dynamic and inspiring for forty or so years. It got old too fast. I also had the benefit of working for administrators who backed me. These were Catholic schools, in the 1970s.

  2. Wow! That was a lot of reading, but very informative. Somewhat akin to reading a long novel where the bad guys do nasty things and prosper for chapter after chapter, but in the end get their just deserts.

    It’s good to see that, at least in this instance, we remain a nation rooted in law and that justice can still be had.

    Thanks for posting the links to all those articles.

    • The thanks really goes to Legal Insurrection. Websites and blogs now do so much of the reporting we once could rely on journalists to do, back when they at least tried to be responsible and objective.

      • Still, I appreciate your taking the time to do all those links.

        They’ve garnered another subscriber, at least for now.

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