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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.."

  • dropbox77177dropbox77177 266 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Oberlin's motions for a new trial and judgment notwithstanding the verdict were denied.
    Having considered the parties respective briefs and arguments and applicable precedent, the Court finds that the amount awarded is not manifestly excessive nor does it appear to be influenced by passion or prejudice.
    Google the legal insurrection blog for the decisions.
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  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying 7383 replies24 threads Senior Member
    "Can you provide your source that stated the judge prohibited witnesses that had experienced racial profiling in the bakery from testify at the trial?"

    @peculiarpractice won't be able to do so, simply because such individuals don't exist. Oberlin certainly couldn't produce them.

    The students "felt uncomfortable" as they had heard - from others - that racial profiling existed. That's called hearsay and gossip - not evidence. The judge probably did keep such nonsense out of the courtroom because it has nothing to do with the actual actions of Oberlin which were quite specific not to mention quite damning once you review what they said and did. Of course, "Obie" may well have opted to buy into the gossip and hearsay rather than do a bit of simple fact checking of their own. Perhaps that's what motivated them. In that case, they would be about as stupid as they are malicious.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24079 replies19 threads Senior Member
    If nothing else, it's hard not to give at least some credence to the argument that conducting a trial about a town-gown conflict on town turf gave the town side a big home-court advantage. Oberlin's appeal on the change of venue issue, if nothing else, is totally understandable.

    Trials are held in the jurisdictions were the event occurred unless the defendant can show they cannot receive a fair trial. This trial was held in the county seat, not actually in Oberlin. Students, staff, faculty can become residents of the county and be available for jury duty.

    No students were included in the law suit. No one argued that the students couldn't have held their protest or couldn't have taken their business elsewhere. They had every right to do that. The school couldn't and shouldn't have stopped them. What the school was accused of doing was aiding them - giving them coffee and snacks OFF campus, cancelling the contract with a third party Gibson's did business with, providing photocopy services for the students for an off campus activity. Basically, the school stuck its nose into a private dispute between students and a business owner.

    If the students hated Gibson's so much, they could have just stopped shopping there. There are Chik-fil-A stores on/near a lot of campuses. Some students just don't eat there.
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  • thibaultthibault 181 replies5 threads Junior Member
    @peculiarpractice: clearly you're not informed and not thinking straight.

    Please read, in the Plakas law firm's extremely detailed and clear .pdf linked to above, the thorough documentation of all the evidence that persuaded the jury.

    I'm sorry for you and your child that you both have to endure this nightmare and end up with a degree of greatly diminished value.

    Is it possible for him or her to transfer?
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  • peculiarpracticepeculiarpractice 6 replies0 threads New Member
    @thibault That's a PR piece from an attorney on one side of the case, not an objective, third-party account. An attorney's job is to frame a story in a favorable light to their client. You bought it. In fact, the vast majority of reporting on this story has relied on Legal Insurrection, a self-described conservative blog. To their credit, they've actually been in the courtroom. But this story has been grossly misreported by actual news outlets who have completely failed to do their own reporting, either in the courtroom or in town, then belatedly scrambled for whatever info was available -- Legal Insurrection's, with their bias. (Example: "Oberlin College does not appear ready to reconsider its culture of seeking enemies to destroy." Not exactly neutral.)

    Regarding suppression of evidence, from Academe blog: "Oberlin was wrongly banned by the judge from presenting evidence of racism at Gibson’s Bakery, which if true would have nullified any defamation claim. When Chris Jenkins, an associate dean for academic support and equity, testified, “I personally have had moments in the [Gibson’s] store where I didn’t feel comfortable …” according to Legal Insurrection, “At that the judge cut him off and told the jury to disregard.” The judge wouldn’t allow Oberlin to mention racial comments by Allyn Gibson on Facebook in 2012. According to Legal Insurrection, the judge didn’t want “students or administrators to use the witness stand to debate if Gibson’s was racist or not.” Considering that the alleged racism of Gibson’s Bakery was the basis of the defamation charge, it is bizarre for a judge to make the topic off-limits at the trial. By contrast, the judge openly allowed numerous witnesses to testify that Gibson’s was not racist."

    (Academe Blog is one of the few that hasn't drunk the Legal Insurrection Kool Aid -- see the entry titled "The Dangerous Defamation Judgment Against Oberlin College"; also see also Rolling Stone's article, "How a Small-Town Bakery in Ohio Became a Lightning Rod in the Culture Wars.")

    I have no qualms about the education my child is receiving at Oberlin as a math major, history minor, and I appreciate that Oberlin students are not conformists who view college as a ticket to a lucrative corporate job rather than an opportunity to engage with ideas about justice and ethics. I have three children currently in college, two at small LACs and one at an Ivy; while there is much to be said for the large, prestigious university, the aggressively materialistic mindset of many students there is unfortunate. Oberlin students are just as smart, but on the whole more thoughtful about the world they would like to create (which is not to say that there aren't many, many thoughtful kids at the Ivy). No need to feel sorry for me. I'm blessed with smart kids who will do just fine.
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  • thibaultthibault 181 replies5 threads Junior Member
    edited September 2019
    @peculiarpractice: Thanks for your reply. I'm glad that you're happy with your situation and wish your child the best.

    Re. the libelous and damaging claims against the Gibsons which Oberlin administrators actively promoted, you unfortunately have made several statements above which beg correction.

    A trial at law is our society's method for finding fact - it's our standard of truth. The truth here is incontestable: the Gibsons are not racists. They do not racially profile their shoppers. They do not treat shoppers differently based on skin color or ethnicity or national origin. This is a fact that was established in a trial at law. Oberlin administrators admitted this repeatedly under oath, at trial and in depositions, and do not challenge this central truth.

    To claim otherwise, in the face of Oberlin's admissions and all the thousands of hours and millions of dollars spent in discovering the facts during this trial at law, is beyond irresponsible. It may well be actionable, and I would urge you not to keep repeating a scurrilous lie.

    As to the Plakas firm's FAQ, it is a clear, detailed, extremely professional recitation of the salient and relevant facts. It contains large sections of verbatim testimony, from the trial as well as from depositions, of dozens of witnesses including President Krislov, his Chief of Staff Ferdinand Protzmann, Ms Raimondo, the senior administrator Tita Reed, and many many others.

    In Section 7, pp. 22-26, you will find detailed statements by these officials and many other Oberlin residents that demolishes the base and slanderous charge that there is any evidence of racist behavior or intent on the part of any of the Gibsons.

    Please leave these good people alone.
    Do not compound a grievous harm that has been done them.
    Try to let the town and the university heal.

    Best,
    t
    edited September 2019
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  • thibaultthibault 181 replies5 threads Junior Member
    One more correction: the phrase "the need to have enemies" as a succinct description of the culture promoted by Oberlin's leadership was written in a signed editorial recently by one who's unusually well positioned to speak to that culture and those leaders: former Oberlin President Frederick Starr.
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  • dropbox77177dropbox77177 266 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited September 2019
    Joy Karega, the assistant Oberlin professor who was fired for her anti-Semitic statements on social media, has turned around and sued the college for discrimination based on race. I believe the litigation is still progressing, but will likely be settled.

    Potential claims of race discrimination will be used by Twillie Ambar and Donica Thomas Varner as bargaining chips to the extent that Oberlin comes to its senses and seeks to remove either or both. Anyone who has been in private industry at a high level has seen this movie. It will be another potential black eye for the college if not handled correctly.

    Meanwhile, the problem remains that Oberlin cannot attract full pay families and still maintain its academic reputation. It is not an Ivy institution or an academic peer to LACs like Williams, Amherst and Bowdoin (among a few others), where up to half the families are willing to pay full price.

    I predict that Oberlin will go test optional in the near future in order to mask the deterioration in student quality that is going to happen as it reaches lower into the quality pool to maintain tuition revenue.

    I also predict that they will retain Twillie Ambar and Donica Varner due to optics, despite their evident incompetence. Meredith Raimondo will be sacrificed at some point because she is expendable and is not competent to be Dean of Students.
    edited September 2019
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  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying 7383 replies24 threads Senior Member
    "Regarding suppression of evidence, from Academe blog: "Oberlin was wrongly banned by the judge from presenting evidence of racism at Gibson’s Bakery, which if true would have nullified any defamation claim. When Chris Jenkins, an associate dean for academic support and equity, testified, “I personally have had moments in the [Gibson’s] store where I didn’t feel comfortable …” according to Legal Insurrection, “At that the judge cut him off and told the jury to disregard.” The judge wouldn’t allow Oberlin to mention racial comments by Allyn Gibson on Facebook in 2012. According to Legal Insurrection, the judge didn’t want “students or administrators to use the witness stand to debate if Gibson’s was racist or not.” Considering that the alleged racism of Gibson’s Bakery was the basis of the defamation charge, it is bizarre for a judge to make the topic off-limits at the trial. By contrast, the judge openly allowed numerous witnesses to testify that Gibson’s was not racist."


    Surprised that @peculiarpractice is quoting LI given that they have apparently been passing out "Kool-Aid" but . . .whatever. . . .

    So here is the explanation: The Gibson's weren't on trial for "racism". Oberlin was on trial for underwriting untruthful statements that harmed the Gibson's business. Specifically, the statement that the bakery was a racist establishment with a history of discrimination and profiling. Someone's level of "discomfort" is NOT an establishment that the bakery has such a history. THAT is why the jury was instructed to disregard the statement. It wasn't factual. On the other hand, the witnesses FOR the Gibsons had specific instances demonstrating no profiling. Such testimony simply put to bed the silly gossipy stuff that certain students at Obie were spreading about. Gossip is not credible testimony.
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  • thibaultthibault 181 replies5 threads Junior Member
    edited September 2019
    Can people please stop slandering the Gibson family?

    Exodus says, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

    The Gibsons are not wicked people bent on furthering some evil plan for racial hegemony.
    Why are you attacking them?
    Why is this so hard to understand?
    edited September 2019
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  • SamBeaverSamBeaver 3 replies0 threads New Member
    Isn't it time to end this topic? The plaintiffs have won; the judgement will or won't stand; a settlement will or won't be reached. The jury made determinations that may, or may not, be the actual truth -- all they can do is the best job they can with the available evidence, but no human is omniscient. Maybe come back once more when the judgment is final and a sum has been paid, or perhaps a settlement reached? And in the mean time, move on?

    There appear to be a handful of individuals on here who want nothing more than the end of Oberlin College as an institution, on the basis of one particular set of actions by a small handful of administrators that ended in a lost lawsuit. Those individuals are not the institution. Individuals come and go; the institution can still remain. Just about every college and university has held positions that others have disagreed with, sometimes vehemently, but I have not seen on other boards such a deliberate focused attack by three or four individuals working in tandem with the specific aim of convincing students to stop attending. It is just odd.

    One needs after a while to question their motivations. If we were on Yelp, I'd think they worked for a rival college. It really begins to feel as if a few close friends of the plaintiffs are driving this discussion for no purpose other than vindictiveness. It doesn't help anyone to belabor the point.

    I hope they will stop to consider what could happen to the town of Oberlin, and the various friends and neighbors of the plaintiffs, if the college did disappear. Their judgement, even if it stands in its entirety, will not stretch far enough to save all the remaining neighborhood businesses, restaurants, etc., which would likely shut down if the college did.

    Fortunately for them, I don't see that happening. This case really has VERY little impact on the daily lives of anyone at the college. There are plenty of other issues that do, and the students are busy discussing them. Perhaps this board could move on to those issues, if they want to discuss college problems that can actually lend themselves to a solution if discussed and debated by reasonable, rational people.
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  • thibaultthibault 181 replies5 threads Junior Member
    @SamBeaver - No one wants Oberlin to succeed more than I do.

    As I stated above, I would very much like to see Oberlin's world-class conservatory + liberal arts program not only survive but thrive. There are (were) very few like it. It's a bad situation if we have fewer choices, and we already have precious few in this area.

    But what has been displayed by Oberlin's leadership is truly extraordinary, and cannot be simply swept under the rug or thrown down the memory hole.

    Their treatment of this family has been atrocious. Their contempt for the principles of a liberal education - a commitment to logic and evidence, a refusal to rush to judgment, a fair-minded weighing of multiple points of view, and above all, a moral commitment to being a good neighbor and a good citizen - is evidence of serious decay. It will cost them tens of millions, along with a cost to their reputation that is incalculable.

    If Oberlin were just another little directional state u headed by incompetents with the usual assortment of one-off, nutcase junior professors, no one would care.

    But Oberlin's tradition of excellence and its golden musical education are unique. If it goes down - as increasingly looks possible - that will be a real loss to the nation and to future students.
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  • ivycoverivycover 135 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited September 2019
    @thibault

    It would have been good if the institution could have been previously parsed from the administrative usurpers and radical alumni that seized its control for their own political agenda but that day is past.

    edited September 2019
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  • willowglenwillowglen 15 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Look, I know I am a former Division 1 scholarship and nationally competitive athlete with an intense mentality (Duke), and I couldn't last 5 minutes at an effete place like Oberlin (in that sense, diversity is good), but really SamBeaver, move past this issue? There is a great way to move past this. Oberlin should drop their appeals, come to a settlement (expensive at this point), and dedicate themselves to being decent and good neighbors, which is not the case now. Isn't this the way to move past the issue. Complain as you might, jury verdicts are significant, and smarter people would have avoided the possibility of one. And everyone keeping track of the trial via Legal Insurrection were clearly aware of the possibility of big verdict against Oberlin - yes - the facts were very negative as to Oberlin. So to suggest that we move past this without Oberlin acceding to their culpability is laughable.
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  • SamBeaverSamBeaver 3 replies0 threads New Member
    edited September 2019
    I am not suggesting that the Gibsons (nor the Oberlin College administration), can easily move past this case. I am suggesting that people stop endlessly rehashing it HERE. If you are a member of the Gibson family, or among their close friends, then it would be understandable -- but nobody has made such a connection public.

    This board, I thought, was to be a place for people to discuss student life, admissions, and academics at the college, not to endlessly rehash political agendas. I am surprised no moderator has stepped in to shut it down.

    The use of the word "effete" to refer to Oberlin makes it clear that you have a strong political bias against the institution. I assume you would have this same bias even if Oberlin had won its case. Therefore, I am also assuming there is no more to be gained from continuing this discussion.
    edited September 2019
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  • Sue22Sue22 6741 replies118 threads Senior Member
    edited September 2019
    @SamBeaver,

    IMO, this incident and its aftermath are directly relevant to admissions and at least tangentially to student life and academics. When a school could stand to lose close to 5% of its endowment (currently more like 3% after the reduction) due to what many people see as poor leadership, particularly in light of a few years of weaker than previous admissions, that could well have an impact on financial aid, but also faculty hiring and student services. While I think the concerns expressed in this thread over the effect of the Gibson’s incident on ability of Oberlin grads to find employment are overblown, the fact that anyone is worried about it could have an effect on application numbers and yield.

    Aside from a couple of posters I see very little schadenfreude over Oberlin’s woes. Many people involved in this discussion are connected to Oberlin in one way or another.
    edited September 2019
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  • peculiarpracticepeculiarpractice 6 replies0 threads New Member
    Kudos to the student journalists of The Oberlin Review for recognizing a problematic aspect of the way this story has been portrayed in the media and responding with sound investigative reporting. Their article, "Property Records Reveal Gibson Family Holdings," corrects the false narrative of Gibsons-as-David vs. Oberlin-as-Goliath. The Gibsons are not underdog victims who rely on a small bakery for their livelihood defiantly battling a big-bully college, but millionaire-landowner competitors in the local real estate market who doubtless wield considerable influence in town.
    https://oberlinreview.org/19286/news/property-records-reveal-gibson-family-holdings/
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  • Sue22Sue22 6741 replies118 threads Senior Member
    According to the article the two Gibsons own $1.7 million in properties in Oberlin plus an interest in Off Street Parking for which they paid $170,000. Less than a million in properties per family (the records are for both David Gibson and his father) does not exactly put them in tycoon territory. $900K in residential rentals, with presumably at least part of the other 800K from the bakery. Not struggling, but certainly not on par with Oberlin in terms of financial resources.
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  • CorinthianCorinthian 1807 replies62 threads Senior Member
    For what it's worth on the David/Goliath narrative, the newspaper for the Socialist Workers Party sides with the Gibsons. "Showing its disdain for working people in the area, Oberlin College claimed it couldn’t get a fair trial because media coverage of the dispute 'would necessarily poison any Lorain County jury pool.' ” https://themilitant.com/2019/09/14/gibsons-bakery-scores-another-victory-against-oberlin-attacks/
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