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Oberlin ex-Pres. "Oberlin needs an intervention. STOP. Pay up, apologize to the Gibsons, reflect.."

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Replies to: Oberlin ex-Pres. "Oberlin needs an intervention. STOP. Pay up, apologize to the Gibsons, reflect.."

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22642 replies15 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Their estates would step into their places as plaintiffs. All that would/could be lost is any additional testimony, but the estate and attorneys would be able to use all testimoney already on the record. I can't imagine there is much else to cover. There aren't really a lot of facts in dispute, just whether the college is liable for the actions and the value of the businesses, what the law allows for damages.
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  • GnocchiBGnocchiB 2078 replies230 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    David Gibson posted a video on FB indicating that he is dying of pancreatic cancer, that Oberlin knows this (and even blocked mention of it in court), and that the college is delaying payment ad continuing to pursue the case because they think they can hold out until David and his 91 year old father pass away.
    Wow. Even if this doesn't factor in to Oberlin's strategy (b/c they will end up paying the estates), it's more bad optics for Oberlin.
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  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying 6618 replies22 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^ Appeals process wouldn't call for additional testimony since the case isn't being re-litigated. No lawyer here, but having a hard time imagining a situation where a judge would send it back down with orders for a new trial absent some major screwup by the original judge. You don't get to have a new trial just because you don't like the outcome from the old one.
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  • willowglenwillowglen 14 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Raimondo’s bond and expenses are being covered likely because the school has made a determination she was acting within the scope of her employment. Not every institution would make the same decision on these facts. When a judgment is enforceable with all legal processes exhausted, Raimondo and the college will be jointly and severally liable for the judgment. One would think the school intends to cover her liability.
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4006 replies27 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    In theory, though not especially likely, an appellate court could find that there were substantial errors in admissibility of evidence, jury instructions or some other deficiency which could warrant reversal and remand for new trial -- in which case, the absence of the sympathetic plaintiff could play a role in a how a new jury might consider the evidence. On excluding evidence of the senior Mr. Gibson's illness, any good lawyer would work to exclude evidence of a plaintiff's illness under the evidentiary rule which says that, even if particular evidence might have some probative value, its appeal to emotion or other prejudice could outweigh that probative value of the evidence and so should be excluded.
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  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying 6618 replies22 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^ From what Oberlin has said in its press releases, they seem to be counting on such findings at the appellate level.
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  • thibaultthibault 117 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 9
    Legal tactics aside, this behavior by OC is vile. It makes their moral preening and virtue-signaling all the more obnoxious.

    If OC's leadership truly had a commitment to "values" - as normal people understand that term, ie, basic respect for others and simple human decency - they would settle with the Gibsons, apologize for their misdeeds and the harm they've caused, and set about cleaning their house.

    But to pursue the matter at this point - given the younger Gibson's serious illness and the permanent neck injury to the elder Gibson which resulted from harassment by activist thugs - only redounds to Oberlin's shame.
    edited August 9
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4006 replies27 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Oh how sad, I didn't realize it was the younger Gibson with cancer, how difficult for the family.
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  • thibaultthibault 117 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    The Plakas law firm's FAQ document has been updated and extended, with new passages.
    https://www.lawlion.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/UPDATED-FAQs-re-Gibsons-Bakery-v.-Oberlin-College.pdf

    The new portions include the following:

    p. 26: (NEW) Has Oberlin College engaged in bullying tactics or attempted to stifle those who voiced opinions critical of the college’s actions?

    Key passage:
    "The trial and pre-trial records reflect a strategy by which the College was intolerant of anyone critical of the college." Plakas quotes the infamous f-bomb memos between Dean Raimondo and VP of Communications Ben Jones in which they each curse Roger Copeland, Emeritus Professor of Theater and Dance at Oberlin and which ends with Raimondo vowing to "unleash the students" against the Gibsons. Then Plakas adds this new information to the FAQ on p. 27:

    "In addition to the tactics noted throughout these FAQs, Oberlin College engaged in other actions and behaviors that some would characterize as bullying. For example, Oberlin College and Dean Raimondo attorneys took thirty-two (32) depositions, with numerous witnesses subjected to multiple days of questioning. This includes:
    • 90-year-old Grandpa Gibson, who was subjected to five (5) days of questioning that lasted nearly nineteen (19) hours;
    • 65-year-old Dave Gibson, who was subjected to three (3) days of questioning lasting twenty (20) hours;
    • Lorna Gibson, a non-party and Dave’s wife, who was subjected to two (2) days of questioning lasting nearly ten (10) hours;
    • 85-year-old Roy Ebihara, a friend of the Gibson family, was subjected to questioning for two (2) days;
    • 84-year-old Bob Piron, a former Oberlin College professor and friend of the Gibson family, was subjected to questioning for two (2) days;
    • Jason Hawk, a non-party and reporter for the local newspaper, was subjected to questioning for two (2) days lasting over ten (10) hours, with the vast majority of questioning by Defendants; and
    • Trey James, a Gibson’s Bakery employee, was subjected to questioning for two (2) days lasting over eleven (11) hours.

    pp. 50-51: (NEW) Was there evidence that any high-ranking college representatives did not respect the process or decision of the criminal justice system that accepted the students’ guilty pleas or the civil justice system that found in favor of Gibsons?

    Key passage: "... Dean Raimondo, when questioned by Gibsons’ Attorney Lee Plakas, admitted that she was aware of the three students’ public admissions of crimes and statements through real-time text messages from an Assistant Dean who was at the Lorain County Courthouse. ... In those text messages, the Assistant Dean recognized the students would be eligible for expungement in a year, after which the College could “rain fire and brimstone” down upon Gibson’s Bakery. Raimondo thanked her:
    [TEXT MESSAGES]
    Assistant Dean to Dean Raimondo: "This is the most egregious process. Alan is here and Dave will make a statement. After a year, I hope we rain fire and brimstone on that store."
    Dean Raimondo: "Thank you for being [at the Courthouse] with [the Oberlin student shoplifter]."
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  • thibaultthibault 117 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Midwest Mom, it gets worse. The elder Gibson, the 91 year-old grandpa, broke his neck in a fall while trying to ascertain the source of banging and pounding noises outside his apartment in the early hours of the morning. This occurred during the time when Oberlin "activists" were harassing the Gibsons. Those noises were caused by two thugs who stalked his home after midnight, pulling up in a car and shining bright lights into his window.

    The elder Gibson now wears a neck brace and and will continue to wear that brace for the rest of his life.

    What Oberlin has done and continues to do to this family is despicable.
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4006 replies27 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I had read about the elder Gibson's fall when he was checking on noises outside his home late at night. Just awful. We looked at Oberlin for both my kids, and there is much to celebrate about the school. But the administration's framing this issue in terms of infringement of student speech exclusively while refusing to acknowledge the role administrators played, is just wrong-headed. I'm a lawyer with a background in commercial litigation -- I would have thought that outside counsel would have recommended settling long before trial in light of the risks to the school's reputation and the potential harm to the relationship between the community and the College. And, even if the College declined that advice, once the College lost at trial, outside counsel should have insisted the administrators keep quiet except to issue general statements about pursuing appellate review in light of the difficult issues raised at trial. Full stop, nothing more.

    I had read Oberlin's planning document developed in response to the financial challenges after the budget deficit a year or two ago. Besides recommending cutting Con enrollment and increasing College enrollment, that document also recommended developing/expanding academic programs which would appeal to more of a cross section of students (for ex., those interested in finance/business careers) as well as improving career services. As long as this "we're the victim on the altar of free speech" continues, it will be difficult to expand the College's appeal to that cross section of students.
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  • thibaultthibault 117 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Perhaps the leadership, in rejecting the expansion/broadening strategy, is opting for an all-in, hard SJW niche-focused strategy.

    If so, then I'd estimate that they'll have to focus their marketing and messaging to appeal to bicoastal, high net worth lefty kids of the Lena Dunham variety and say goodbye to normal kids of moderate incomes who care more about exploring ideas than about posturing and preening.

    Perhaps this niche strategy - "if 90% of the public hates us but 10% adore us, we're happy" - will succeed. Maybe. The 90/10 approach worked for Chrysler ... until it didn't.
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  • monydadmonydad 7817 replies158 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 14
    It's a good academic shool, one of the highest PhD-producing LACs.
    The administration and some subset of the student body may be somewhat out there, but that does not absolutely dictate what goes on there academically, nor does it define the totality of the student body. All this stuff will have some effect, but IMO some portion of intelligent applicants who otherwise like what is offered to them there are probably capable of not painting everybody there with the same brush. The school has serious academics, and most students there are there to learn.

    IMO.
    edited August 14
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  • CorinthianCorinthian 1787 replies62 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @monydad Parents and prospective students care about the reputation of the college outside of the world of academia. Oberlin has taken a big hit there and by refusing to settle and pay the verdict, the administration is drawing this ugly spectacle out and keeping it in the news. If there is a second trial, does that really help Oberlin's reputation? The same emails and text messages will come into evidence again and be reported in the news again. Oberlin needs to do as the former president says and pay up, apologize and reflect. Only then can Oberlin repair its reputation.
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12711 replies234 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Anecdotally, I live in Ohio and am obviously somewhat interested in college topics, and this thread right here is the only reminder of the controversy that I've had in many months.

    I'll be interested to see app #s and accept rate and such this year vs last. I'm not sure it's having the impact on applicants and donors that you guys think it is.

    I guess we'll see.
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  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying 6618 replies22 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Not surprised that Oberlin is keeping a low profile within the state of OH. They attract so few in-staters to begin with that the nonsensical "free-speech" campaign would produce little more than a bit of eye-rolling from the state appellate and supreme courts (where this case is likely to remain). It certainly wouldn't increase overall enrollments. Much better to focus on positive stuff like repairing relations with the local community and around the state, and this is precisely what Pres. Ambar has been doing.

    Enrollments, not to mention alumnae giving, from OUTSIDE the state of OH is another matter. Oberlin's own actions there suggest this issue is a bit more than a "nothingburger" to them. Even if they ultimately succeed in stabilizing enrollments and cash flow (and those two items weren't headed in the right direction to begin with, aside from any legal woes), this issue has taken and will continue to take up considerable time and money that would have otherwise been spent improving Oberlin's rep. as an LAC destination of choice. This case is a negative for them any way you look at it.
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12711 replies234 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @JBFlying Not surprised that Oberlin is keeping a low profile within the state of OH.
    ? This is the internet we're currently communicating on, and with which I generally read my news - guessing that's true for most people. There's no "within the state of Ohio" low profile they can keep.
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  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying 6618 replies22 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 15
    @OHMomof2: perhaps I misunderstood what you meant when you referred to living in the state of OH and not really getting any news about Oberlin's legal troubles other than this website. If you have ready access to the internet, you should have noticed the online articles about the judgement, the adjustment of the judgement, and Oberlin's "free speech" marketing campaign. Those all began in mid-June, about two months ago, and continued through the first week of July. (Other social media sites have discussed for a longer period of time). You must have meant "these many weeks" (not "these many months") about lack of news since then? That's understandable, since the standard legal stuff like post-trial arguments, posting a surety bond and so forth simply aren't very interesting to most journalists - or prospective families. Judgements are what make headlines, and the last set of headlines were about getting a significant financial hit. Any family looking to invest tens of thousands each year on their kid's education is as capable as the rest of us in finding those stories.

    While it's always possible that Oberlin ends up on the positive side of the probability distribution of outcomes from this ordeal, the odds are greater that they won't. Families looking at Oberlin have a notable reason to take a pass, simply because stuff like financial aid and academic programs are at risk. That's what happens when one-half to three-fourths of your unrestricted funds are tied up in legal stuff
    edited August 15
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  • thibaultthibault 117 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    #95 OHMomof2
    Unfortunately we don't have complete data from Oberlin regarding trends in acceptance and yield rates, but what's been reported publicly about the 2017 and 2018 cycles would indicate that the trend is not Oberlin's friend. While other LAcs are becoming more selective and seeing SAT averages climb, Oberlin is becoming less selective, showing mediocre average SAT scores, and frankly embarrassingly low yield rates.
    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/04/18/amid-budget-deficits-and-unfavorable-demographics-oberlin-pushes-do-more-less

    Oberlin's yield rate is extremely low relative to other top LACs - and this already low rate is declining. Likewise, Oberlin's acceptance rate is very high - and it's increasing. Average SAT scores are nowhere near the scores for students admitted to the top LACs. Quote from the above Inside Higher Ed article:

    " ... in 2018, [Oberlin] admitted 39 percent of applicants. As recently as 2016, its acceptance rate stood at just 29 percent.

    "By way of comparison, Amherst College admitted just 13 percent of applicants in 2017. Middlebury last year admitted about 19 percent. Carleton College in Minnesota admitted about 20 percent, an admissions official said. ...

    "Oberlin's yield, in both the conservatory and the college of liberal arts, has shrunk: the conservatory enrolled 42 percent of admitted students in 2009. Last year, that dropped to 33 percent. In the college of liberal arts, yield dropped from 32 percent to 29 percent. ..."
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  • thibaultthibault 117 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    It's not hard to connect the dots here. Oberlin is going downhill.
    Financial troubles + hefty new legal judgment against Oberlin + declining yield rates + stagnant SAT scores = Decline.

    Oberlin is in crisis. The only question is whether this is a crisis of effectiveness, or a crisis of survival.
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