Oberlin College has made my blog a few times, as its convergence, takeover by Leftist ideologues, causes it to behave in ever more insane ways.
Most recently, Oberlin harassed a baker who dared to get some of the students arrested for shoplifting, as well as physically assaulting the shopkeeper. Although the kids initially denied it, eventually they plead guilty to the charges, but not before Oberin’s admin launched a hate-filled campaign against the bakery–supporting the violent criminal students (who fill the pockets of admin via the student loan scam) rather than getting rid of people who clearly aren’t there for the education.
In addition to calling the baker RACIST, the school even organized dangerous protests outside the bakery. The baker, naturally, thought this was too much, and decided to take them to court for the school’s racism and instigation of violence:
“..sued Oberlin and dean of students Meredith Raimondo for slander. The lawsuit accuses college staffers of encouraging protests against the bakery by cancelling classes, distributing flyers, and supplying demonstrators with free food and drink. It claims that in a protest, Raimondo used a bullhorn and distributed flyers that said the bakery is a “RACIST establishment with a LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING and DISCRIMINATION.”
The school of course denied everything, even though there was plenty of video, eyewitness testimony, and other physical evidence. Why would they bother with such a denial? Because admin are used to resolving such things in the kangaroo campus court system, where they can “legally” destroy evidence and throw out cases for lack of evidence. They never lose in that system.
Trouble is, the baker isn’t subject to that system, and so took them to the “real” court system, where admin couldn’t just threaten the judge and jury into doing whatever they want. How’d that work out for Oberlin?
I’ve lost track of how many times a supremely confident college admin gets completely toasted once they’re put in a system they don’t completely control. Of course, admin doesn’t have that much skin in the game, as the college, not the actual human beings performing the acts, will pay the fines. At worst, the administrators involved will cry all the way home to their lakefront properties.
The article I’m quoting from is one of the few that actually thinks this verdict against the oppression of Oberlin is a bad thing, and there is potential for things to get even worse for Oberlin:
An Ohio jury has awarded Gibson’s Bakery $11 million in damages in its libel suit against Oberlin College. This week, that same jury could award punitive damages that would increase the total amount of damages to more than $30 million.
If this seems excessive, keep in mind Oberlin has basically destroyed this bakery. There will never be an apology from Oberlin or otherwise an admission of error. That arranging and inciting the protests in no way helped education is besides the point, as far as Oberlin is occurred.
In fact, the jury today awarded an additional $33 million in punitive damages. Forbes is against that, too, but based on Oberlin’s behavior, I see the jury’s point.
But why is a verdict discouraging getting involved in racist activity a “threat” to colleges nationwide? Be prepared to laugh:
However, Oberlin’s most important defense is far more meritorious. (I should disclose here that I am an Oberlin alum.) The college should not be held legally responsible for statements made by students or faculty who are not speaking for the college as a whole.
I agree with the part about students and faculty but a dean was involved. Faculty cancelled classes to make the riots/protests larger…but admin didn’t penalize faculty for doing so. Admin allowed resolutions to pass, without challenge, calling the bakers RACIST.
Bottom line, the ideologues running the school absolutely were using the power of the school to destroy a bakery. It’s a shame the ideologues won’t be held responsible for it, however.
The student senate is not controlled by the college and allowing the senate to post its resolution on college property is not tantamount to an official endorsement of that resolution.
Again, I agree, but…the school could have come out on the side of truth. Because our schools regularly shut down and remove signs saying things they don’t agree with, I think it’s fair to consider signs on campus not taken down to be delivering messages the school approves. They shouldn’t have it both ways, and the jury agreed.
Gibson’s attorneys also made much of the fact that some Oberlin administrators attended the protests. But, of course, Oberlin would want to have a presence at the protests to ensure both student safety and that students were respecting the law. This verdict tells colleges that if they send administrators to watch out for student safety they can be sued for millions of dollars.
This is a nice spin, and if “student safety” were why admin was there, the author would have a point. Too bad about the evidence showing the dean was encouraging the protest. Honest, if our schools could get out of the racism business and focus on education, this stuff would be a non-issue.
Despite the author’s admitted bias, he does concede Oberlin did wrong:
None of this is to say that Oberlin or its students acted well. All three of the students at the center of the controversy pled guilty and conceded at their sentencing hearing that they were not racially profiled. The protests against Gibson’s were organized before there was any reasonable opportunity to ascertain the facts and were an ill-advised rush to judgment.
What entity organized the protest? Who endorsed the cancelling of classes? Who endorsed the libelous signage and flyers? Who provided refreshments at the protest? If it wasn’t Oberlin, and the jury sure believed it was, then who?
A great quote from the dean with the bullhorn:
Meredith Raimondo, The Oberlin Vice President and Dean of students, texted other administrators about a faculty member who was critical of how the college handled the situation, writing, “(Expletive) him, I’d say unleash the students if I wasn’t convinced this needs to be put behind us.”
Considering admin’s typical respect and professional treatment of faculty here, I’m hard pressed to hold this particular faculty responsible for the college’s behavior, though I expect the dean will (expletive) him at some point. The faculty who marched in lockstep with administrative desires? Well, maybe they believe in this gook, or maybe they simply feared the dean…there’s an implicit threat in the above that I expect would be expressed more explicitly in mandatory faculty meetings held about this affair. My own eyeballs have seen similar, after all.
The gentle reader should note carefully the lack of the word “former” in giving the long, long, title of the dean here. Could it be fear she might “unleash the students” that’s prevented her removal? That would be speculation on my part…but it once again provides evidence that the students didn’t magically appear at the bakery. Moreover, faculty are right to fear the dean’s unleashing of students upon them.
But to punish a college for not reining in its students, administrators, and faculty even when they are not speaking on the college’s behalf represents an extraordinary threat to academic freedom and to freedom of speech.
Seeing as colleges regularly rein in anyone on campus who expresses thoughts not approved of by admin (or as the dean so eloquently puts it, “(expletive) him”), then, yes, they need to take responsibility when they express libelous or otherwise damaging things.
Again, the whole issue could be avoided if schools got out of the racism business…that won’t happen on converged campuses, however.
The jury pool, in this case, is from a community that is significantly more conservative than the college is.
Of course, most every campus is run by ideologues who don’t remotely accept (or tolerate) the beliefs of the taxpayers supporting them. Perhaps we should consider how that happened, and change it?
Alas, Forbes doesn’t allow comments, so there’s no way to judge how wrong most people consider this article. As I endure what I hope to be my last round of experimental chemo, I have no choice but to wonder if I’m alone in thinking Forbes is a bit off the mark here.