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Ideology and Facts Collide at Oberlin College

Our political and media cultures are suffering the effects of too many opinion-havers and too few fact-finders. This can make it difficult to figure out what is going on in a story and to distinguish fact from partisan or ideological bias, especially when those biases flatter our own. The recently concluded libel trial involving Oberlin College offered a demonstration of this phenomenon on the part of both the defendants and much of the media covering the case. On June 7, an Ohio jury found that Oberlin College had libelled a local shop, Gibson Bakery and Market, as racist, and awarded the family business hefty damages. The case aroused a great deal of interest in legal, academic, and civil rights communities, which in turn produced a great deal of commentary, much of which was tendentious, speculative, and/or uninformed.

The news coverage of this case was puzzling from the beginning. It was a case that involved college student protests, a liberal arts college with a history of progressive activism, free market economics, free speech, defamation, accusations of racism, and other timely issues. The media used to love stories like these, but now they don’t seem to know what to do with them. Because life is often complicated and the facts don’t readily fit the political narratives on the Left or Right.

On November 9, 2016, three African American Oberlin students—a 19-year-old sophomore named Elijah Aladin and two female classmates, Endia Lawrence and Cecelia Whettstone—tried to buy a bottle of wine using a fake ID and were refused. Allyn Gibson, the owner’s son, then found that Aladin was concealing another two bottles beneath his jacket. As Gibson grappled with Aladin, Lawrence and Whettstone intervened, and a skirmish ensued until the Oberlin police arrived and detained the three students. Lawrence and Whettstone were booked for assault and bailed, while Aladin was taken to the county jail to await arraignment on a felony charge of robbery.

Oberlin College campus immediately erupted into protest. The protesters were convinced that their black colleagues had been racially profiled by a racist white business and its staff and they urged an immediate boycott. The College discontinued a purchasing agreement with the bakery and the student Senate passed a resolution which stated, “the Students of Oberlin College immediately cease all support, financial and otherwise, of Gibson’s Food Market and Bakery.” As business at the bakery began to suffer, the Gibson family responded by filing a legal complaint for libel against Oberlin for its role in supporting and amplifying its students’ defamatory claims.

As a freelancing writer for the Legal Insurrection blog on this case, I was the only national reporter who covered it from beginning to end. For seven weeks, I sat in the courtroom listening to witness testimony and poring over emails and texts and thousands of pages of evidence. I saw what the jury saw.

The Protests

A number of commentators have speculated that the uproar was partly a response to the presidential election result the day before the incident in the bakery. The news coverage at the time (for instance, here and here) seemed to reflect that. Had the incident occurred in August 2016 or February 2017, it is quite possible that I would not be writing this. But the pot was already boiling, and a minor dispute like this one was accelerant on the fire beneath it. As the protests intensified in this feverish atmosphere, conflicting rumor and hearsay about what had occurred on November 9 swept across campus and the media. We are now in a position to be able to separate misinformation from fact.

This is how the police report described the scene they found at the bakery minutes after the shoplifting:

On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, at approximately 4:58pm, officers responded to the area of Gibson’s Bakery in reference to a report of a fight in progress. As officers were responding to the area, dispatch advised that this was involving an alleged theft complaint. Dispatch advised that Allyn Gibson, who is an employee of Gibson’s Bakery, was attempting to apprehend a subject who Allyn had witnessed attempt to steal several items. As officers approached the area, Sgt. Ortiz, and Officer Feuerstein both stated they observed Allyn Gibson lying on his back with several individuals kneeling over him punching and kicking him with several other individuals in the immediate area. Officers attempted to gain control of the situation and were met several times with resistance from several different individuals. After a few minutes officers were finally able to take one female into custody and calm the incident and attempt to figure out what had taken place.

Activists on campus immediately concluded the arrest of the three students was evidence of racial profiling, which suggests an assumption that either the students were falsely accused on account of their race, or that Gibson’s was happy to allow whites to shoplift but drew the line at blacks. I heard versions of these two theories during interviews I conducted with dozens of the student protesters. The day after the incident, about 200-300 students and others gathered outside the bakery. Inflamed with righteous anger, they chanted accusations of racism and distributed flyers that read:


Today we urge you to shop elsewhere in light of a particularly heinous event involving the owners of this establishment and local law enforcement.


A member of our community was assaulted by the owner of this establishment yesterday. A nineteen y/o young man was apprehended and choked by Allyn Gibson of Gibson’s Food Mart & Bakery. The young man, who was accompanied by 2 friends was choked until the 2 forced Allyn to let go. After The [sic] young man was free, Allyn chased him across College St. and into Tappan Square. There, Allyn tackled him and restrained him again until the Oberlin police arrived. The 3 were racially profiled on the scene. They were arrested without being questioned, asked their names, or read their rights. 2 were released shortly after and charged with assault. The young man is being held in Lorain County Jail, charged with robbery. No bail until his arraignment this Friday 8:30 AM, 65 S. Main.

The protests occurred on Thursday, November 10 and Friday, November 11. There were no arrests for disorderly conduct by the protesters, although an Oberlin police officer at the protests described a “mob mentality” in his court testimony. The Oberlin College student Senate passed its resolution on the first night of the protests. In addition to endorsing the boycott, it read:

A Black student was chased and assaulted at Gibson’s after being accused of stealing. Several other students, attempting to prevent the assaulted student from sustaining further injury, were arrested and held by the Oberlin Police Department. In the midst of all this, Gibson’s employees were never detained and were given preferential treatment by police officers.

Gibson’s has a history of racial profiling and discriminatory treatment of students and residents alike.

But, despite the students’ claims and the vehemence of the language with which they were made, police and others testified that there had been no complaints or allegations of racism made against the family business since it opened in 1885. Not one.

Protesting outside Gibson's Oberlin following shoplifting arrest.

Posted by The Chronicle-Telegram on Thursday, November 10, 2016

Locals figured the school had this all wrong. A longtime Oberlin resident, Emily Crawford, who also worked in the school’s communications department, sent an email to her bosses during the protests which was forwarded to senior members of the college’s administration. It read:

I have talked to 15 townie friends who are poc (persons of color) and they are disgusted and embarrassed by the protest. In their view, the kid was breaking the law, period (even if he wasn’t shoplifting, he was underage). To them this is not a race issue at all and they do not believe the Gibsons are racist. They believe the students have picked the wrong target … I find this misdirected rage very disturbing, and it’s only going to widen the gap (between) town and gown.

Later that week, a letter was sent by school President Marvin Krislov and Dean of Students, Meredith Raimondo (later named, along with the college, as co-defendant in the case) to the student body. Here is a part of what it said:

Dear Students,

This has been a difficult few days for our community, not simply because of the events at Gibson’s Bakery, but because of the fears and concerns that many are feeling in response to the outcome of the presidential election. We write foremost to acknowledge the pain and sadness that many of you are experiencing. We want you to know that the administration, faculty, and staff are here to support you as we work through this moment together.

Regarding the incident at Gibson’s, we are deeply troubled because we have heard from students that there is more to the story than what has been generally reported. We will commit every resource to determining the full and true narrative, including exploring whether this is a pattern and not an isolated incident. We are dedicated to a campus and community that treats all faculty, staff and students fairly and without discrimination. We expect that our community businesses and friends share the same values and commitments.

Within a week of the protests, the local police produced a report which listed the age and race of every person arrested in Gibson’s for shoplifting between January 2011 and November 2016. These are the numbers: 40 arrests, 33 of which were college students; 32 were white (80 percent), six were African American (15 percent), and two were Asian (5 percent). According to the 2010 U.S. Census numbers, those figures are consistent with the town’s racial composition: 73 percent white, 14.8 percent African American, and 4 percent Asian. During the trial, a black former employee and a black current employee both vehemently defended Gibson’s against accusations of racism, either in the family’s treatment of customers or staff.

In August 2017, the three accused students, none of whom had any priors, plead out to lesser misdemeanor charges of attempting an underage alcohol purchase, and received no time in jail and a clear record after one year of probation. All three read this statement in court: “I believe the employees of Gibson’s actions were not racially motivated. They were merely trying to prevent an underage sale.”

The Trial

As the protests continued, Gibson’s Bakery & Market’s annual revenue almost halved, from about $900,000 in 2016 (from store sales and their cafeteria deal with Oberlin college) to about $500,000 in 2018. Eight full-time employees were reduced to one, and family members have had to forego their salaries (and still do, pending the receipt of damages) since the protests began. The Gibson family testified that all they wanted was for Oberlin College to send an email to the community affirming that Gibson’s was not racist and to move on. But the school refused and doubled down on its support for the protesters and their defamatory allegations.

The judge ruled all videos of the protest inadmissible, since the administrators could not be held accountable for independent student actions. But the allegations of historical racism and discrimination on the flyer and in the student resolution were deemed legally actionable. The trial therefore concerned the truth or falsity of these accusations and the role Oberlin College had played in disseminating them during and immediately after the protests. Truth is an absolute defense against charges of libel and slander. The plaintiffs’ case, therefore, did not relate to the actions of the students. At issue was whether Oberlin College “aided and abetted” false accusations. Here’s is what Lorain County (OH) Common Pleas Judge John R. Miraldi wrote about this issue in April, just before the trial started:

Under Ohio law, publication constitutes “[a]ny act by which the defamatory matter is communicated to a third party …” As a general rule, all persons who cause or participate in the publication of libelous or slanderous matter are responsible for such publication. Hence, one who requests, procures, or aids or abets, another to publish defamatory matter is liable as well as the publisher.” Cooke v. United Dairy Farmers, Inc.

Here, it is undisputed that Meredith Raimondo presented at least one individual, [local newspaper reporter] Jason Hawk, with a copy of the protest flyer. The remaining evidence surrounding the distribution of the flyer, and the explanations for doing so, are in dispute. But Plaintiffs have presented testimony from individuals who say they observed Raimondo and other Oberlin College employees handing out flyers at the protest. Further, Plaintiffs offered evidence that Defendants permitted the protesters to make copies of the flyer on the Oberlin College Conservatory’s Office’s copy machine during the protests and provided protesters with refreshments and gloves for use during the protests. Weighing all of this evidence in Plaintiffs’ favor, the Court finds there are genuine issues of material fact regarding whether Defendants published the flyer. [emphasis added]

The jury also heard just how nasty the school administrators became over the contested matter of Gibson’s alleged racism. They seemed to have sealed themselves in an ideological bubble and were incapable of entertaining any version of events but their own.

During the trial, Gibson’s attorneys sought to establish the complicity of Raimondo and other school administrators in the November 2016 protests. But they also wanted to explore the degree to which their behavior had been motivated by spite and personal ill will. To this end, they provided the jury with multiple examples of what they described as “personal beliefs overshadowing professional responsibility.”

In an email to co-executives, Ben Jones, the school’s vice president of communications wrote, “I love how these Gibson supporters accuse us of making rash assumption decisions, but are totally blind to their own assumptions.” “Fuck-em,” he concluded. “They’ve made their own bed now.” When Roger Copeland, an Oberlin College professor of theater and dance (he is “emeritus” status now) wrote a letter to the campus newspaper soon after the protests ended, criticizing the school’s treatment of Gibson’s, Jones sent a text message in caps that read, “FUCK ROGER COPELAND.” “Fuck him,” Raimondo agreed in her reply. “I’d say unleash the students if I wasn’t convinced this needs to be put behind us.”

Confronted with evidence of this kind, Raimondo was asked by the plaintiffs’ attorney Lee Plakas if her personal beliefs affected her ability and the ability of her superiors to maintain professional responsibility. “Their position,” she replied, “is to not have a position.”

It slowly became evident that this case was not about free expression and assembly or racial injustice and civil rights. It was about something more banal. A cowardly college administration picked on a small and vulnerable business in an attempt to fend off accusations of racism it was facing from its own students.

In December 2015, the Oberlin College’s black student union published a strident 14-page paper that included 58 demands which they insisted had to be satisfied in order to address the school’s systemic racism. In the introduction, they wrote, “… you include Black and other students of color in the institution and mark them with the words ‘equity, inclusion and diversity,’ when in fact this institution functions on the premises of imperialism, white supremacy, capitalism, ableism, and a cissexist heteropatriarchy.” Apparently, they were unhappy that the college administration had dismissed their demands in late 2015, but the issue was revived by the shoplifting protest a year later.

In court, 64-year-old David Gibson, the principal owner of the bakery and food mart business, told the jury: “I look at this now and realize they wanted me to drop charges this time, and set up a system [under which] we would call the college [instead of police] for first-time offenders.” He added that, “[The school administration] had been accused of being racists by students in the previous year, and I think they used us to deflect from that problem they had. I believe they were using us as a target so that their racial problems with their students would go away.”

The jury agreed and awarded Gibson’s $11.2 million in compensatory damages for defamation and libel, $33 million in punitive damages because Oberlin College behaved with malice and ignored the truth, and an additional unknown sum to cover Gibson’s legal costs. Under Ohio law, punitive damages are capped at double the awarded compensatory damages. There are exceptions, but it is likely that $33 million will be reduced to $22.4 million or less.

There has been speculation that the verdict will be swiftly overturned on appeal. We shall have to wait and see. But civil tort law is not like criminal law. In order for an appeals court to accept the case, it would need to be convinced that the judge made egregious errors of basic law and/or that the jury ignored evidence in order to arrive at its verdict. From my seat in the courtroom for seven weeks, I didn’t see either.

Amid ongoing legal wrangling about the settlement, the school is guarded about its legal plans for now. William Jacobson has speculated that Oberlin College could get the payout reduced to about $10 million. However, a leaked email sent by current school president Carmen Twillie Ambar on June 14 to the Oberlin College community suggests the school is in this for the long haul:

Dear Members of the Oberlin Community,

By now many of you will have heard about the latest development in the Gibson’s Bakery lawsuit, a jury’s declaration of punitive damages against Oberlin. Let me be absolutely clear: This is not the final outcome. This is, in fact, just one step along the way of what may turn out to be a lengthy and complex legal process. I want to assure you that none of this will sway us from our core values. It will not distract, deter, or materially harm our educational mission, for today’s students or for generations to come.

The Implications

Will this cause schools to re-assess their rules regarding students protest on campus? It is possible, but this protest occurred off-campus, and the issue was not the protest itself, but the school’s official participation. There may also be implications for libel law in the era of social media, a theme that received a lot of attention during the case. But most libel cases involve public figures (film actors or politicians) and big media (news organizations and book publishers), and this involved neither. In fact, it was a private figure (Gibson) and an unorthodox publisher (Oberlin College). The idiosyncrasies of this case make it a poor precedent from which to draw generalizations.

When I spoke to some Oberlin College alums about this last year, a former administration official said:

Yes, the liberal bent at schools like Oberlin has them thinking a certain way … The difference now is that they don’t encourage discussion and disagreement, they want everyone to be on the same side and that is disheartening. It is about marketing because their enrollment is down.

What has happened in the Gibson case is that the school doesn’t know what to do with its minority students. A freshman from an east coast big city might come to Oberlin and find there is little for a social justice warrior to do in a small town like this, so they get frustrated. And make issues like this shoplifting thing bigger than it should be, and the school follows along.

All schools like Oberlin are going through this, because there are too many schools and not enough enrollment for them, and high tuition prices to deal with. Learning becomes secondary at times to keeping the students happy. This is the dangerous line they are straddling now, and the political climate is adding to it way too much.

Oberlin College used to be a leading institution of racial justice and civil rights (MLK spoke there in 1957). It was the first school to admit women and African Americans, was an important player during the 1960s protest movement, and a hotbed of free thought. But it also used to call itself “somewhere in the middle of nowhere,” and it no longer is. Social media and IT have made the world a smaller place. Meanwhile, the gap in the value of degrees from big and small schools has been narrowing, so why incur a $70K debt when you can get a similarly valued degree for half that.

Oberlin is a radical college filled with young students, but the county in which it sits is older and more conservative. The citizens there have lost their manufacturing jobs and saw the value of their homes fall off a cliff in 2008. This has bred a degree of resentment towards the elite colleges in their midst that cost $70K to attend (the price without grants) and now presume to imperil local businesses with ideological vendettas. This is part of what explains this case’s swingeing $44 million award.

During the trial, Gibson’s attorneys repeatedly asked the defendants to admit that Gibson’s isn’t racist, and they refused. Had they done so at the first time of asking, before this ever reached the courtroom, they would have spared everyone, not least themselves, a great deal of unnecessary pain. But they couldn’t bring themselves to do it, despite abundant evidence that they were wrong. And, in court, they were unable to explain why.

Oberlin College’s response to the verdict suggests that they are in no mood to learn anything from this pointless ordeal. They cannot come to terms with what has happened because they remain stubbornly committed to an ideological version of events. Things at Oberlin College will not improve until the administration comes to terms with reality.


Daniel McGraw is a freelance journalist and author in Lakewood, Ohio. You can follow him on Twitter @danmcgraw1

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  1. TarsTarkas says

    Oberlin College should not be liable for the damages. Raimondo and the individual bureaucrats as well as the student protesters should be held personally liable. Otherwise it’s a wasted lesson, because the SJW’s are effectively playing with house money. Oberlin’s endowment is such they could absorb even the full amount without a hiccup, pleas of poverty notwithstanding. Personal pain is what these assholes need to feel.

    • IronSI says

      Oberlin, although it has a large endowment, ($887m as of 2018) cannot actually afford this.Their endowment gives them plenty of money to pay all the financial costs associated with this, but the hit to the schools reputation is going to be what matters. Enrollment is already down, but the notoriety of this will attract no one to the school. Conservatives will not go near it and and leftists will consider the area dangerous due to the Gibson bakery. Alumni will be less likely to donate. The school ran a $5m deficit in 2017, I expect it will only get worse. I would look to Evergreen State and Missouri State for the impact such a controversy can have on enrollment. I think that although Oberlin has a lot of money, they will be slower to bounce back in enrollment rates due to not being a state university.

      • bill53 says

        Then they declare bankruptcy. What amazes me I believe Gibson’s wasn’t looking for a settlement this big. If the school considered being contrite, maybe Gibson’s could reduce their settlement.

        • Jack B. Nimble says


          I’m always amazed that support for ‘free speech’ evaporates when the speaker says something that the listener disagrees with. The cure for bad speech is more and better speech, not using defamation law as a cudgel against the speaker’s 1st amendment rights.

          The size of the award probably reflects the degree of animus of townspeople against the college, not the strength of the case or degree of damage. Also, the judge allowed irrelevant testimony that created sympathy for the Gibson family and dis-allowed testimony about racial comments made by Allyn Gibson on Facebook. Here’s more:

          “The Dangerous Defamation Judgment Against Oberlin College BY JOHN K. WILSON

          ……why did the jury rule against Oberlin? The primary reason is that Oberlin students behaved disgracefully, only to be exceeded by the incredibly stupid and repulsive actions and comments by Oberlin administrators. Protesters demanded a boycott over a case where the Oberlin students were clearly guilty (and later pleaded guilty) and there was no evidence of racial discrimination. They made accusations of past racism, but never presented any convincing evidence publicly. Oberlin’s administrators were even worse. They… sent each other very dumb messages that alienated the judge and jury….

          As conservative legal scholar William Jacobson wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “The jury held accountable an unhinged progressive activist college that lost concern for the lives of working people in its community.” That certainly is what the jury did. But it’s not what the law allows. The law of defamation doesn’t let the government seize millions upon millions of dollars simply because a college is rich or unhinged or progressive or out of touch……There are many reasons why the jury’s verdict should be overturned on appeal.

          First, It is not defamation to call someone racist because it is a statement of opinion. And the statement about “ a LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING and DISCRIMINATION” is also a statement of opinion about a long period of time, but still opinion. If merely calling someone bigoted is considered defamatory if a jury disagrees, then a vast number of people could be subject to libel suits for their political speech…..

          Second, 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…..

          Third, Gibson’s Bakery sued Oberlin on the theory that it was aiding and abetting defamation…..Allowing aiding and abetting defamation would be an incredibly repressive expansion of libel law. For example, under aiding and abetting defamation, someone alleging libel by a newspaper could sue not only the article author and the publisher, but also any retail outlet that sold a few copies of the paper. Allowing “aiding and abetting defamation” would be enormously destructive to freedom of the press in America.

          The basis for that “aiding and abetting defamation” charge was incredibly weak. As Legal Insurrection reported, “There was testimony during the trial that Raimondo handed out at least one of the flyers and that the college facilitated the posting of the student resolution on campus.” Handing out a flyer to someone who asks what the protest is about is not aiding and abetting anything……

          Oberlin lost this case in a classic example of town vs. gown. But being pissed off at the local college is not a valid legal doctrine for taking millions of dollars. The judge even allowed the testimony of 90-year-old Allyn W. Gibson, with a walker and a neck brace, who recounted how six months after the protests he heard a banging on his window, saw a car in the parking lot, and then fell down and broke his neck…..None of this has any connection to a defamation claim against Oberlin, but it certainly created sympathy among the jurors for the bakery and anger at Oberlin.

          The trial also created the expectation that Oberlin was guilty of defamation because they failed to denounce the students……David Gibson testified, “Without [Oberlin College] coming out and offering a message that we were not racist, it was going to go on forever. They caused this thing, and they needed to step up and do the right thing.”….Gibson’s Bakery promoted the idea that Oberlin was secretly controlling the students as part of a bizarre plot against the bakery (their initial complaint contended that “Oberlin College Covets Gibson’s Well-Situated Land”)…..”

 emphasis added

          • Kauf Buch says

            TO JBN
            “Free speech” my popo: as a supporter of Elizabeth Warren and her “I’m calling for something truly transformational: Universal free public college and cancellation of student loan debt” totalitarianism, YOU HAVE ZERO CREDIBILITY on this matter.

          • Jimmy C says

            You turn the article sideways to make a case for what was never under discussion. Classic means of turning the victim into the perpetrator. It has been noted in other articles Oberlin College has spent decades disassociating itself from the town and the culture of the county, treating locals with condescension. If the jury felt animus toward Oberlin College then it was an animus that Oberlin fostered.

            Second – the libel isn’t about speech – its about Oberlin College enabling and abetting the destruction of a small business. Never seeking facts the college allowed, and in the case of the Dean of Students – joined in efforts to have the baker put out of business, depriving not just the owners but their employees of their livelihood.

            Your cited article is simply unfounded speculation meant to defend Oberlin from their own ill considered actions.

            The arrested students, the police and the employees of color that worked at the bakery testified that Gibson’s has never been racists. Police notice a “mob mentality” in the protesters.

            Mobs make bad decisions. Colleges who allow mobs to influence their decision or even engage in that same mob mentality must live with the consequences of their emotional and irrational choices.

          • derek says

            Libel is not free speech. It is spreading of untruths with the goal to do harm. The jurours got it right.

          • Chuck Stephens says

            I love it, to buttress your premise you use an article from a hard core lefty PC author who is the beneficiary of this kind of nonsense currently residing on College campuses. I also like how he quoted Chris Jenkins, who like Ms.Raimondo and Tita Reed are all beneficiaries and products of the Diversity inclusion scam that is taking over University administrations across the Country. The facts of the case are very clear and the Judge in the case, if anything, cut Oberlin a break on many points, he also cut Ms.Raimondo a big break by limiting HER personal liability. I wouldn’t have been so generous. Oberlin has had many chances to admit their errors and work to CORRECT their opportunities. However, like a good little lefty institution, bathed in the one sided focus of the liberaly elite, they double down on their intolerance and hold the fort. If Alinsky has taught them anything, it’s never admit you’re wrong, point you’re finger at the other guy and project, project, project…

          • Fuzzy Headed Mang says

            Jack B. Nimble: Libel and defamation are not free speech. Free speech has limits, for example, if somebody began a campaign to insist the Fuzzy Headed Mang’s house be vandalized or she be shunned by all because she’s the President of a company building an oil pipeline and oil pipelines are evil….. this would be a campaign motivated by ideology or personal malice, esp. if the Mang is not the President of an oil company, but the manager of a gas station.

          • Grant says

            @ JBN

            “First, It is not defamation to call someone racist because it is a statement of opinion. And the statement about “ a LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING and DISCRIMINATION” is also a statement of opinion about a long period of time, but still opinion. If merely calling someone bigoted is considered defamatory if a jury disagrees, then a vast number of people could be subject to libel suits for their political speech…..”

            What? Of course it is. It may be one’s opinion that another is a pedophile but you better be able to prove it.

          • OrangeCommander says

            I do agree that the outcome of this case is potentially dangerous to freedom of speech. However, I’m having trouble with the claim that: “And the statement about “ a LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING and DISCRIMINATION” is also a statement of opinion about a long period of time, but still opinion.” What exactly does count as libel/slander then? They also didn’t state that it was their opinion, they stated it as fact. That is a difference.

            Also, I imagine the judge shut that witness down the second he said that he “felt” a certain way. Eyewitnesses are supposed to relay what other people did or said and how that impacted their actions. I can feel uncomfortable in a situation where no one else is actively doing anything to make me so, and therefore is completely irrelevant.

          • Jen Werner says

            Free speech has limits. Vicious lies that do damage are not protected.
            As the article makes clear, the flyers stated “This is a RACIST establishment with a LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING AND DISCRIMINATION….”
            That’s not a mere opinion, that’s a bald statement of accusation. There is literally no data supporting that false, damaging claim and in fact the data showed the reverse to be true. Hence the jury’s finding.

            You mention that feelings of racism are opinions, and they are (as opposed to claims of racist actions like profiling and discrimination that were proven false against the bakery). Your claim that the judge prevented the college from presenting ‘evidence’ of racism is also backwards- a person from the college claiming- after the fact- that they had moments in the bakery when they somehow didn’t “feel comfortable” IS unsubstantiated and unsupported OPINION, not evidence and had no place in that trial.

            Your copy paste of hooey isn’t persuasive because that author ignores the facts to push an agenda. At least one college administrator gave the flyer to the news media to publicize the false accusations further. By any definition, even the strictly legal one, that IS aiding and abetting.

            I think the judgement won’t be reversed and although the damages may be scaled back to the legal limit, I expect the favorable outcome for justice as well as for law and order to stand. I expect the bozos running the “college” will double down; hopefully their enrollment and alumni contributions will (continue to) drop like a rock so the price they pay is overwhelming and permanent.

          • Racism is an action. Were any denied service or entry to purchase goods? “Feeling uncomfortable” is typical thought policing from the left. You guys are better at it than the sin sniffing, thought policing Puritans!

            You guys thought disagreeing with Obama’s policies were “racist” in 2012. It was a perpetual political accusation for disagreement on big government solutions.

          • Paladin13 says

            So, if someone said you molest children or beat your wife or girlfriend, and it’s false, you would deem it a “statement of opinion” would you Mr. Nimble? And if someone aided and abetted that false accusation and you lost your job, your livelihood and your life’s savings, you’d be okay with that, because it’s just a statement of opinion? The First Amendment does not protect libel or slander, despite what SCOTUS Justice William O’Douglas believed. This business was ruined because of an out of control college and its officials. Tough, maybe other institutions of indoctrination, I mean learning, will take heed of this judgment.

          • Howdy says

            Attempting to destroy someones livelihood is not “free speech”.

          • Jeff Campbell says

            You have no idea what you are talking about. Just flat out clueless.

          • Geofiz says

            “Second, Oberlin was wrongly banned by the judge from presenting evidence of racism at Gibson’s Bakery”

            This statement is not true according to Legal Insurrection. Actually what happened was Oberlin has several students that planned to testify but withdrew them after the testimony of fo Chris Jenkins, Associate Dean for Academic Support and Equity. He stated: “I personally have had moments in the [Gibson’s] store where I didn’t feel comfortable … “ At that the judge cut him off and told the jury to disregard. Jenkins was soon off the stand after that.

            Racism involves actions (ex. refusing business) Feelings are not evidence of racism. No evidence of actionable racist acts (like refusing service) was presented by Oberlin. That would have been allowed.

          • Stephanie says

            “First, It is not defamation to call someone racist because it is a statement of opinion… If merely calling someone bigoted is considered defamatory if a jury disagrees, then a vast number of people could be subject to libel suits for their political speech…”

            This is an astonishing admission that the term “racism” is used predominantly as a political cudgel rather than a statement aimed at describing anything real.

            I can’t imagine the lack of self-awareness that would lead someone to unironically write this statement or present it as an argument. Of course calling someone racist who is not racist is defamatory. Anyone who so diminishes the potency of the accusation of racism and engages in such vicious and blatant defamation certainly deserves to face social and legal repercussions.

            The faulty thinking underlying this quote should be a wake-up call that the word “racism” is being misused for political purposes and progressives should do some soul-searching.

          • Greg Kells says

            You are conflating the accusation of racism or bigotry with the statement that was deemed libelous. Gibson’s was accused of having a record of racial profiling and discrimination, not of simply being racist, but of violating civil rights laws. Discrimination by a business (including racial profiling) is a civil rights violation. Gibson’s has NO record at all of any such violation or accusations. That was a false statement. The court didn’t allow pointless testimony about a single black college employee feeling “uncomfortable” in the store because it had no relevance. Even if it’s true it established nothing that would support the statement that Gibson’s has any history of racial discrimination. Neither would a single Gibson family member’s tasteless Facebook posts. It’s not a civil rights violation to say dumb things on the internet, or you’d be in big trouble. On a side not, libel is not protected speech and Gibson’s is not the government. This isn’t a free speech issue at all.

          • C. Ben-David says

            Nonsense. Considerable financial damage was deliberately done to a legal enterprise based on false evidence and persistent harassment.

            It was equivalent to someone shouting fire in a crowded theatre resulting in harm done to its occupants.

          • Geary Johansen says

            @ Jack B. Nimble

            I found your arguments compelling, observant and incisive- making a strong evidentiary case for your position. However, I believe you also might be wrong. Much is made of ‘yelling fire in a crowded theatre’, but the constraints on free speech inherent to a system of laws which allow for civil damages in relation to defamatory speech, either through libel or slander, recognise that whilst speech is not violence, it may, in a commercial sense, cause real harm to the plaintiff. One possible reason for the enactment of these laws, was perhaps to help society transition from a social framework which ran on honour codes, with young men being cut down for the slightest offence through duelling. But make no mistake, the reason why so many public figures and politicians chose to forego legal restitution through limits on defamatory speech, was because of social constraints, rather than legal ones. Simply put, they didn’t sue because it would have made them laughing stocks- in a society that valued liberty and freedom from tyranny above all else, the strongly worded rhetorical counter-argument was quickly seen as an admirable alternative to either suing or duelling.

            Interestingly, there are historical parallels in Britain, in relation to the ‘stiff upper lip’. Foreign commentators in the Elizabethan court, noted that the English were an overly-emotional bunch, prone to crying in the street for all manner of nonsensical reasons, professing to sentimentality and gushing feelings over food, love, music and the arts. The reasons why all that changed were quite deliberate, in a Europe plagued by war, a successions of states seeking hegemony and in which England was decidedly playing catch up in the formation of Colonial Empires, a change in national character was required. Hence, the institution of a succession of national heroes exhibiting cool emotional detachment, the ability to thrive under pressure and stoicism in the face of annihilation, ultimately culminating in Nelson.

            But back to free speech and defamation. On your first point, clearly defamatory statements of opinion are still defamatory. On your second, Gibson’s clearly demonstrated that they were not racist both in that a black former employee and the local police provided evidence to that effect. Unlike trial by media, courts of law are allowed to exclude posts on social media, on the basis that they are prejudicial, especially when out of context, and out of character. If they were racist then one would presume the college would have stopped using them years ago, bastions of illiberalism that they are (given their history of de-platforming).

            Your third point is well-taken and requires a far more nuanced response. At the heart of question of defamation, is whether defamation should be treated like any other form of criminal damages, in relation to civil proceedings. The mere existence of of libel and slander laws proves that it does- and is also why historically most press organisations instituted the right to reply- why else allow for a facility which can be so harmful to a good narrative, unless it protects the publisher from libel action. I believe there might be some case law that bears on this position both in that review sites have been held libel for damages for reviews that are subjectively true, and that state ‘Ag Gag’ legislation has not been stuck down as unconstitutional.

            But in relation to whether Oberlin should be held liable for the actions, and speech, of its students the situation is convoluted. First the evidence that Oberlin aided in the defamation is clear, but flimsy- the process of handing out a flyer may be slender, but it still exists, especially given that the College failed to restrict what was clearly defamatory speech. Unfortunately, Colleges do have a have a responsibility to police the speech and actions of their students, both in that the relationship between College and student is an ongoing contractual obligation between two parties in which one party might be held liable for the actions of the other given knowledge of bad act on the part of the other party, and because the relationship between College and the student is one of mentoring, in which the College has a positive duty to improve the knowledge and behaviour of the student.

            Think about it this way, Colleges still reserve the right to expel students for the use of drugs, in jurisdictions that the law states that said drugs are illegal, which is itself an embargo against criminal activity on the part of the student, why should defamatory speech be any different? One a more odious level, Colleges, until recently, had a clear interest in siding with the accused, over the accuser, in alleged rape and sexual assault cases, because of potential defamation suits. The fact that the accused was often a another student is irrelevant in legal terms, as is the observation that Colleges were acting to preserve the reputation of the institution, the reason for actively supressing and attempting to arbitrate rape and sexual assault cases, was to limit legal liability. Failing to prevent the spread of defamation in these cases, exposed the institution to liability.

            Now, one thing that shades this argument is the strong history of free speech on college campuses. The problem was that protests on College campuses throughout the years have never been challenged on the basis of whether they are defamatory (although if you have any cases then please link, would love to see some). Again, this is a social constraint, not a legal one- governments and elected officials would look bloody ridiculous trying to sue students on the basis of defamation. But here’s the real sting in the tail, why did Oberlin College not more actively support the actions of their student body in it’s defamation, when they had everything to gain in terms of PR, student support and preserving their own reputation, if the assertions of the student body were true? But they knew it was untrue, and having sought legal advice they failed to act. And in failing to prevent their students from the commissioning of a crime, although not technically a crime from the standpoint of it being a civil case, they have opened themselves up to a world of reputation damage and legal liability. Lawyers often tend to operate on the basis of reasoning that operates from the assumption of social convention, when technically they should operate more on the basis of legal reasoning. This is why so much of the law, in relation to overturning legal precedence relates not to technicalities, but in challenging the assumptions made in previous court decisions. In this, Oberlin received bad advice.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            @Geary Johansen

            Your reply was lengthy and somewhat tedious. but two phrases stood out:

            ‘………..Colleges do have a have a responsibility to police the speech and actions of their students…..the College has a positive duty to improve the knowledge and behaviour of the student.’

            So if a group of students (say, College Republicans) wants to invite as speaker a known provocateur like C. Owens, M. Yiannopoulos or B. Shapiro, should the college police this invitation and maybe cancel it on the grounds that there may be adverse consequences? Like, say, a counter-protest? Or suppose the college requests–as part of its ‘positive duty’ of mentorship–that the CRs invite a more mainstream conservative speaker instead? Are you OK with that?

            Look, I was an undergraduate when the doctrine of ‘in loco parentis’ was passing out of fashion. [ ] Especially in the US, where the voting age was lowered to 18 in the early 1970s, the tendency on campus and in law has been to treat students as independent adults fully responsible for their own actions.

          • Yikes. You could be just as wrong with way fewer words.

          • Geofiz says



            The Oberlin case is much stronger than you might think.

            1) There is a clear difference between defamatory speech and free speech, particularly when private citizens and/or businesses are involved. Defamatory tort law is very well-established and there have been numerous cases documenting the difference between free speech and defamation. The is abundant literature on the web concerning defamation tort law. I urge everyone to study it before commenting on this case.

            2) There are two key conditions to prove defamation.

            a. Actual damages have to have occurred

            b. It has to be proved that the defendant acted knowingly or negligently. In other words, the defendant either knew the allegations were false or could have easily determined the allegations were false. Acting knowingly makes the case much stronger.

            So, let’s look at the evidence.

            1) The clear goal of the demonstrations was to financially harm Gibson’s and there is clear evidence of that harm in reduced revenue. Financially harming Gibson’s was the stated goal of the protestors.

            2) The defendants pleaded guilty in the case and admitted that there was no racism involved in the actions of Gibson’s employees. No other racist acts were alleged by the defendant. Feeling “uncomfortable” does not prove racist actions and the judge was correct not to allow this testimony. That may work in a gender studies class but it does not work in the courtroom. No appeals judge will disagree with his ruling on this. And it was Oberlin, not the judge, who backed off from likely presenting similar testimony by students. What is key here is that the defendant acted knowingly by continuing to encourage the students and refusing to admit to Gibson that there were no racist actions even after the testimony of the shoplifters.

            3) The most importantly issue which you address in your fifth paragraph is the culpability of Oberlin. The evidence here is far more compelling than Raimondo handing out a single flier.

            a. E-mails and texts written by high-level Oberlin administrators demonstrate that Oberlin took a clear position that Gibson’s was racist, despite the evidence.
            b. Suggestions by Raimondo to “unleash the students” clearly demonstrated that she felt Oberlin had control.
            c. Raimondo sent out several emails in which she said that she “supported the students” to Oberlin administrators, faculty and staff.
            d. Students were given refreshments and excused from class work to participate in the demonstrations.
            e. Despite what Raimondo claimed during cross-examination, numerous witnesses claimed that she was on the bullhorn “orchestrating the protests”. These witnesses stated that she was on a bullhorn speaking to students for around 30 minutes. Raimondo claimed that this was not accurate but the defense did not call any witnesses to refute these statements Instead, Raimondo simply stated that their testimony was “not accurate”.
            f. Raimondo had no witnesses to dispute allegations that she sent people out door-to-door in the community to ask of Gibson’s was racist. In fact, all Raimondo could do was allege that multiple witness either lied, misremembered or were mistaken about their testimony. In the absence of direct testimony from supporting witnesses, her remarks were clearly greeted with skepticism from the jury. Everyone is wrong and I am right is not a very good legal defense.
            g. Oberlin stopped ordering food from Gibson’s, even after the shoplifters admitted that no racism was involved.
            h. Oberlin claims to this day that they never pressed Gibson to drop the charges against the shoplifter. However, Raimondo’s emails demonstrate the opposite is true. Referring to the shoplifters, her email states” Gibson’s food contract with the school would have resumed “had the Gibson’s been willing to support a resolution outside of the legal system.”
            i. Jason Hawk, the reporter at the scene, wrote that Raimondo handed him the flyer alleging racism. When he wrote about that in the local paper. Oberlin’s media advisor, Scott Wargo, called the reporter and demanded he retract the story.
            j. Raimondo attempted to keep the press from taking pictures of the demonstrators.
            k. The flyer alleging racist acts by the Gibson’s was printed and duplicated on Oberlin equipment.
            l. Student giving tours to prospective new students told the new students not to shop at Gibson’s as it is racist. As guides, the Oberlin student guides were acting as employees of the university.
            m. Making the case that Gibson’s was worth $35,000 after Gibson’s had demonstrated losses of several hundred thousand dollars was patently absurd and did the defense more harm than good.
            n. Oberlin was given numerous of opportunities to correct the record pre-litigation.
            o. This far from a complete list of the evidence against Oberlin. I urge everyone who want to study this case in more detail read ALL of the Legal Insurrection posts on this case

            Gibson’s had a very strong case and Oberlin is likely being advised by their attorneys to seek an out-of-court confidential settlement. That would be the best outcome for them. They are very unlikely to win on appeal, with the possible exception of getting the punitive damages reduced. An appeal does not mean retrying the case. Rather, to win on appeal, Oberlin has to prove that the judge erred in his conduct of the proceedings. This is going to prove to be a very high bar for Oberlin, as they persisted actively supporting the narrative that Gibson’s was racist long after the allegations of racism were convincingly refuted. Raimondo’s actions in this case, along with the emails and texts of other senior administrators, convincingly make the case for Gibson’s. The fact that Gibson’s is not a political or public entity, further strengthens the case.

            Oberlin’s real crime is their arrogance. They made a “business decision” to support the student protestors. Oberlin competes with larger,better, far-cheaper academic institutions by marketing their progressive values and the resulting college experience. The problem is that they knowingly used a false narrative to promote this philosophy. In so doing they irrevocably damaged a small business. And they never thought that they would get caught.

          • Geofiz says


            1) In your response to my post let me repeat: In a court of law “feelings” are not evidence of racism. Actions are!!!

            2) It was Oberlin not the judge, who decided not to call the student witnesses. I clearly agree that they would have testified about their “feelings” similar to that testimony which was disallowed.

            3) However, it is not defamation if it is true! If the Oberlin students could provide clear evidence of actual racist actions, the defense attorney would have been stupid not to allow them to testify. The judge would have had to allow that testimony.

            4) Legal Insurrection clearly leans right. But their posts have largely been factual, not editorial. No major mainstream media outlet, including CNN, WP and the NYT have published any substantial disagreements with the Legal Insurrection posts.

          • JVW says

            My favorite part of your comment is how you quote some “associate dean for academic support and equity” to agree with the bogus assessment that Gibson’s Bakery has a history of racial animus. It’s like asking one of the Hatfields if a member of the McCoy family is a jerk, then trying to pass his biased opinion off as settled fact.

            But where I really think you have swung and missed is when you quote a blog post by an author who doesn’t appear to have spent one day at the trial, yet you expect us to trust his knee-jerk reaction to the coverage he has read in the media over that of someone who was at the trial for the entire seven weeks. No thanks.

          • Geofiz says

            @ Geary #2

            I forgot a few key pieces of other testimony.

            p. Raimondo stated that she only handed out a single flyer. However, multiple witnesses stated that she and other Oberlin employees handed out multiple flyers.

            q. The judge stated that based on testimony there genuine issues of material fact regarding whether the defendants (Oberlin) published the flyer. In others words, Oberlin personnel, not students may have authored the flyer.

            At the end of the day Raimondo (and Oberlin) left the witness stand with no credibility. Oberlin is still maintaining that they were the victim of an unfair jury opinion and that they are being held liable for student speech. The evidence does not support this. There statement claiming victimhood may serve them well with their student supporters, but it weakens their credibility on appeal.

            One other thing I find of note. Even very liberal media outlets such as the Huffington Post have shied away from defending Oberlin. I could not find any evidence that the story was even covered in Vox.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            JBN:– “….So if a group of students (say, College Republicans) wants to invite as speaker a known provocateur… should the college police this invitation and maybe cancel it….? Or suppose the college requests–as part of its ‘positive duty’ of mentorship–that the CRs invite a more mainstream conservative speaker instead? Are you OK with that?….”

            GJ:– “….No, but they would have a duty to hold their students responsible for the actions, in terms of criminal activity and defamatory speech. The restriction lies with upon the person responsible for defamation or criminality, not the person who ‘provokes’ it….a College is responsible for the actions of its students in the same way that an employer is responsible for their employees, or a bar is responsible for the activities of their customers…..”

            Your position is problematic in several ways:

            A bar IS responsible for the actions of their employees, which can include under-age sales or selling alcohol to an obviously-drunk customer who leaves and has an accident. This is the ‘aid/abet’ theory, which I agree with in this instance because there is no constitutional issue involved. But a bar is NOT directly responsible for the actions of their customers. That legal theory would lead to endless lawsuits.

            Expecting a college to discipline or monitor the off-campus activities of students [or faculty, for that matter] is wildly unrealistic. Colleges can and should take off-campus actions into account when hiring faculty or admitting students, like Harvard did when they rescinded the acceptance of Kyle Kashuv. But once persons are on campus, they have a right to privacy–for example, college authorities have to give adequate notice before entering a dormitory room. Unless there are health or safety issues involved, colleges should not be monitoring or censoring email, internet activity, etc. For example, students–not colleges–are held responsible for the illegal downloading of digital media.

            Finally, the plaintiffs in the Gibson case used the fact that Oberlin had an anti-harassment [AKA speech code] provision in their code of student conduct and that therefore Oberlin was negligent in not enforcing their code of conduct OFF CAMPUS. But these codes have no legal force off campus, and the AcademeBlog article I linked to suggested that colleges will begin to repeal their speech codes to remove this source of potential liability. This may be a good thing [I think it is], but if there are no codes of student conduct, colleges will be on shaky ground when they attempt to discipline students for on-campus infractions. The police and courts will have to handle everything.

            Bottom Line: If I were a [private] college administrator today, I would pursue a liability-minimizing strategy and ban student orgs [including fraternities], student publications, student-initiated speaker series and all on-campus political activity. Public higher ed can’t do that, of course, but the point is that risk-inflation leads to greater bureaucracy and regulation, which is something that conservatives are supposed to oppose.

          • Taylor says

            Uncomfortable with reality are we? What socialist isn’t? That’s why they screw themselves up into false ideality.

          • hunter says

            As the author of the essay mentions, and you prove so we’ll, lefties generally miss the point of the case.

          • YourNutz says

            When did theft and assault become free speech!!!?

          • Tom says

            Thank you! You provide an excellent example ofc selective morality for the readers. I only wish that your comments were made as satire instead of self delusional commentaru. Did you miss this :
            ‘When Roger Copeland, an Oberlin College professor of theater and dance (he is “emeritus” status now) wrote a letter to the campus newspaper soon after the protests ended, criticizing the school’s treatment of Gibson’s, Jones sent a text message in caps that read, “FUCK ROGER COPELAND.” “Fuck him,” Raimondo agreed in her reply. “I’d say unleash the students if I wasn’t convinced this needs to be put behind us.”’

          • Zalmar52 says

            You seem quite confused.

            How is this a “free speech” issue?
            That is not the question before the jury….nor does the 1st Amendment protect libelous speech as “free speech”.

            As for the question of whether or not the voicing of an ‘opinion’ qualifies as libel, you miss a critical distinction: “If the expression of opinion is based on undisclosed or implied facts (as would be true in this case), support of a (libel) action depends on the understanding of the recipient of the statement…. So if the recipient reasonably believes the truth of an undisclosed or implied defamatory fact about the subject of a statement, the speaker is liable.” This obviously would again be the case here.

            You suggest that “The size of the award probably reflects the degree of animus of townspeople against the college.” Perhaps. And perhaps more accurately it reflects the degree of outrage he jury felt about the repulsive and arrogant nature of the college’s continued (ongoing) response to the Gibson’s incident, i.e.: “Fuck him, I’d say unleash the students if I wasn’t convinced this needs to be put behind us.” If we wish to speak of animus, it’d be difficult to find a more hard-core example.

            [It would also be difficult to find a more indicting indication that yes, the college believed they did, in fact, control the students — leashing or unleashing the mob as it pleased the Emperor]

            You note that “the basis for that “aiding and abetting defamation” charge was incredibly weak”, but you evidently are unfamiliar with the actual standard which must be cleared to warrant charges of defamation. Specifically, the plaintiff must establish 1) that “the statement was published by the defendant, meaning it was spoken or distributed to at least one other person other than the plaintiff”… 2) that the statement “provides enough information that the plaintiff is identifiable”…. 3) that he statement “harmed the plaintiff’s reputation in some way”….and 4) that “the defendant was at least negligent in publishing the statement.” There is no doubt that all 4 of these conditions existed.

            As the author noted, “Truth is an absolute defense against charges of libel and slander.”

            And finally, no, the trial did not “create the expectation that Oberlin was guilty of defamation because they failed to denounce the students.” In fact, if Oberlin had simply kept their collectively, self-righteous mouths shut….if they had not aided and abetted the publication of the flyers, or handed them out in the Bakery, if they had not effectively joined the protest — if they had done none of those things, there would have been no libel suit (against the college). It was their participation in the defamation which made them guilty of defamation.

            However, as referenced above, IF the College had agreed to publish a statement indicating that Gibson was NOT guilty of racist behavior, the suit probably never would have been brought. But no, as we would expect, Oberlin, having drunk its own KoolAid and inhaled its own vapors inside that Social Justicey Balloon it inhabits — no way would it ever apologize or acknowledge that it was just plain, flat-out wrong. It still doesn’t.

            Oberlin, as Emperor, remains pridefully certain — they glitter as they walk.

          • Cary says

            I think its dangerous ground to debate whether or not the actions of Gibsons is racist in the courtroom. The question is, were their actions as it relates to this instance racist? I’m not sure what comments were made on facebook, but these days the definition of racism is pretty broad. A short search on YouTube should show you that the line is not clear. I can imagine a judge not wanting to go down that hole.

        • I read about a year ago in Higher Ed that Oberlin was opening up its Music conservatory to non music major students in order to increase enrollment. That’s a sort of big deal in that world. Their music program has kept them on the credibility map for a while as a competitor.

          I find it all quite sad what happened to a school who once boasted abolitionist president Charles Finney when such views were a sacrifice not a money maker. .

          • Francisco d'Anconio says

            Of course they will be opening up enrollment. As Bluto said when Larry Kroeger and Kent Dorfman were up for admission to Delta Tau Chi at Faber College, “we need the dues”.

          • Jack B. Nimble says

            Some commentators haven’t done their homework on this case.

            @G– ‘…..Immediate firing of the dean, president, and university council….’

            The current president of Oberlin has only been on the job since 2017:
            Marvin Krislov was president 2007–2017
            Carmen Twillie Ambar is president 2017–present

            Firing someone who wasn’t even at Oberlin in 2016–that’s conservative logic at its finest!

            @Jen Werner– ‘……. hopefully their enrollment and alumni contributions will (continue to) drop like a rock….’

            The number of students who applied to Oberlin in 2018 was the 4th largest total in their history, and the number of students enrolled as freshmen in 2018 was the largest total ever [tied with 2014]. These numbers are for the College of Arts & Sciences, but the numbers for the separate Music Conservatory are similar. Source:

            @Heike– ‘………the students pay $75,000 a year to go to this school. And yet they still shoplift from honest local businesses…….’

            I don’t condone shoplifting, but the mistake here is to assume that all students are paying $300,000 for four years of education. In reality, many Oberlin students get partial or full scholarships from that–you know–huge endowment. The legal judgment including fees and costs is enough to fund almost 200 4-year scholarships for impoverished students, not that I expect many people who read Quillette to care about that.

            @Geofiz– “Second, Oberlin was wrongly banned by the judge from presenting evidence of racism at Gibson’s Bakery”….This statement is not true according to Legal Insurrection.

            You are treating Legal Insurrection like it is some sort of neutral legal arbiter. As they say on their own website: “Legal Insurrection now is one of the most widely cited and influential conservative websites, with hundreds of thousands of visitors per month. Our work has been highlighted by top conservative radio personalities, such as Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin….

            Here’s what McGraw said in an earlier post:

            “….Oberlin College had multiple students they planned on calling but used none of them. Reason? The students would have likely kept insisting from the witness stand that Gibson’s is racist (I know that from my conversations on campus with students that is still how most feel), but the judge would not have allowed that……….You can now see why the lawyers for Oberlin College kept the students off the stand. Because if they did as the judge instructed, and kept their testimony to whether the college helped to defame the business or not, they might have had nothing to say……”

            Did the students have evidence of racist behavior by the store owner or staff? We will never know because they didn’t testify. McGraw certainly doesn’t know–notice his use of phrases such as ‘likely’ and ‘might have had’.

            Bottom Line: Neither John Wilson nor I is defending the Oberlin administration from charges of elitism, arrogance, etc. I personally think that annual salaries of $500,000 for the president and for the CFO at Oberlin are obscene, but that information–while prejudicial–should have no bearing on the legal matter.

            If you read the above article carefully, the only substantive charge is that Oberlin ‘permitted’ students to make copies of their flyer on a copy machine belonging to the Music Conservatory. In my academic experience, department and college offices have small armies of student workers who routine make photocopies without direct supervision by faculty or staff. Yes, they sometimes make personal copies on those machines without permission. The charge brought in the original lawsuit that Oberlin was using the students as a cats paw to drive Gibsons out of business is ridiculous.

          • MMS says

            @Lydia – “such views a sacrifice not a money maker” – Brilliant in just a handful of words you said it all.

          • Jack B. Nimble says


            “I think its dangerous ground to debate whether or not the actions of Gibsons is racist in the courtroom. ….I can imagine a judge not wanting to go down that hole.”

            As McGraw said in legalinsurrection [article titled ‘Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College trial — Judge keeps out politics, but Town v. Gown frames the case’] the judge “did not want to students or administrators to use the witness stand to debate if Gibson’s was racist or not….” so he disallowed all testimony to that effect. The problematic facebook posts by clerk Allyn Gibson were not allowed as evidence. These posts have been described as ‘Exhibit #3′ in the court proceedings; the elder Gibsons did not disavow the existence of these posts but said that Allyn Gibson was not authorized to speak for the business. Yet their attorney claimed that Oberlin students were authorized to speak for Oberlin when they told prospective students about the allegations of racism against the bakery.

            Although I disagree with some of McGraw’s conclusions, I think that he is correct when he says that the overriding issue in the lawsuit was “Town versus Gown.” Gibsons’ attorney Lee Plakas admitted that the jury wanted to send a message to Oberlin College:

            “I think they sent two messages,” he said. “The first is that truth still matters and as I said, that recklessly aimed words are as destructive as a recklessly aimed bullet and there’s consequences for that, there has to be.

            “And the second message that I think the jury wanted to send was that they’re hoping this is a national tipping point and that it sends a message to administrators in higher education to remind them that what they’re running is not a nursery school, it’s a college.”


            American juries have long used trials to “send them a message” rather than try the case based on evidence. Before the American Revolution, juries would often fail to convict colonists accused of breaking unjust British laws. Less nobly, post-Reconstruction southern juries often failed to convict white persons accused of crimes against Blacks, sending a message to northern critics of segregation. The David-vs.-Goliath scenario often works well in these instances, with jurors in civil cases often awarding big judgments against faceless chemical, pharmaceutical and tobacco companies, for example.

            I agree with you that charges of racism can be problematic in a jury trial, but that just means that the “send them a message” approach cuts both ways. For example, jurors in the OJ Simpson murder trial probably wanted to “Send a message” to the public that the Los Angeles Police Dept. was racist. What makes the Oberlin case different was that charges of racism were at the heart of the defamation issue–they weren’t a distraction as in the OJ case.

            BTW, more information on Oberlin’s rebuttal to the charges can be found here:


        • My hope is simple – I hope that Gibson’s agrees to a significant reduction in the cost of the settlement in exchange for several things:

          1) All legal expenses reimbursed.
          2) A statement that Gibson’s was never racist and admitting the college lied.
          3) Immediate firing of the dean, president, and university council who led the college down this terrible path.
          4) Training for the students and faculty on how to behave properly in the future – if you are caught shoplifting you will go to jail AND get expelled.

          Say, knock $10 million off the settlement.

          • Leif says

            A response to Jack B. Nimble’s 22 June post (above).

            ‘Did the students have evidence of racist behavior by the store owner or staff? We will never know because they didn’t testify.’

            Because the defense [Oberlin] listed the students as possible witnesses but didn’t call them, we can draw two inferences. First, the defense lawyers concluded the student witness testimony would not help the defense. Second, if the students provided convincing evidence of racism, the defense would win even if the students came across as angry and unreasonable.

            If gambler holds an ace, he will play it.

      • dff fff says

        Warren is barking up the wrong tree with her wealth tax on individuals.

        Looks like University endowments is where all he money is at.

        A nice 5% year tax on endowments could pay for her free college for all garbage.

      • Francisco d'Anconio says

        A conservative hasn’t gone to Oberlin in decades. This is a school where you can take a course in Pipe Bomb Construction for Trans People and Other Marginalized People.

        • Bruce Wolman says

          Speaking of libel and defamation, you just committed them. Does Quillette publishing your comment mean it aided & abetted your libel & defamation? I hope you and others here are not trying to put Oberlin out of business, not that I personally care. No lessons ever learned it seems.

      • Scarlett Awbrey says

        IronSI. Nice post but a big error. It was the University of MIssouri (Mizzou) not Missouri State that had the racial controversy a few years ago. They are very different schools. I live in MSU’s hometown of Springfield. Your main point is correct, however, as MSU has benefited in terms of enrollment from Mizzou’s troubles. Many young people in Missouri simply don’t want to attend Mizzou because of its surrender to political correctness. They know they can get as good, likely even better, education at MSU than at Mizzou. Scarlett Basset

      • Will Raper says

        Then this judgement just may wake some ignorant progressives up.

      • Indeed. In pandering to the students they sought to save the school, and likely, probably destroyed it.

        Why would anyone send their kid there?

      • Mike Fuhrman says

        I think that you mean the University of Missouri at Columbia and not Missouri State in Springfield.

      • Robert J Schundler says

        I think both the college, and the board should be held responsible ….. I also think the college should be required to make a statement at the beginning of each term that the college was acting in a racist manner and the bakery was completely innocent!

      • Arturo Sanchez says

        The best case scenario for Oberlin is that it incurs lots of legal bills, another trial, more bad publicity, and further declining enrollment. The worst is that it incurs all the above plus tens of millions in fines and punitive damages. Either way, the college is a loser.
        Hopefully, it will enlighten the administration and broaden their viewpoint beyond their very narrow and non-inclusive doctrine.

      • And I’m no economist or whatever, but it sounds like countless future scandals like this one are inevitable, given their attitude and how predictable this dogmatic leftist delusion has become, and it won’t take many more cases and verdicts to leave the institution flat broke or worse. If the left insists on destroying Biden because old white man and Trump wins again, this will happen even faster.

      • Tom says

        Exactly. Missouri went through the same race-inspired nonsense and is still in recovery. While Oberlin’s largely on its own, neither school should get ANY government aid. Let the brats pay their own freight.

      • rickburgoon says

        Nope. The charters of all endowments prohibit their use for damages such as these. It comes from tuition.
        Way it works

    • E. Olson says

      I usually agree with your comments TarsTarkas, but in this case I believe you are wrong because nobody in the Oberlin administration did anything to mitigate or avoid this controversy. The whole thing would have gone away if Oberlin has simply apologized to Gibson, but they have refused and as a result they need to be liable for damages. I do hope that Raimondo faces major personal loss for her role in this, but unfortunately she can easily avoid it by declaring personal bankruptcy if the school abandons her, which they don’t appear willing to do.

    • Heike says

      The financial aspect that’s not mentioned is that the students pay $75,000 a year to go to this school. And yet they still shoplift from honest local businesses.

      Monstrous levels of entitlement there. Screw you, people who work for a living. We’re going to make your lives worse so that we can steal from you. And when we get caught we accuse you of wrongdoing.

      • GregS says


        That is what struck me too. Why does a student at an expensive college need to steal two bottles of wine? But on second though , they first tried to pay thought, so the pivotal element in the theft was age, not economics. The kids were not trying to get something for free, they were merely trying to get something that state law barred them from buying.

        The more important point, the one that speak harshly to the student’s behavior, was their violence – for which they should have been expelled.

        • Jen Werner says

          The students tried to pay for one bottle while attempting to steal two more bottles. The theft attempt is separate from the illegal underage purchase attempt.
          Those kids WERE trying to get something for free, by stealing that property from the bakery. They all should have spent time in jail, and yes all three should have been expelled.

        • Caligula says

          An Oberlin student apparently wrote an article with the title “culture of theft oberlin” which asserts that over 80% of those arrested for shoplifting in the town of Oberlin are Oberlin students, and many of these are allegedly done for convenience (why wait in line to pay?) and dismissed as inconsequential if the item is inexpensive.

          Of course, any small town with a prestigious college is going to have a town-gown divide, but, there seems to be an underlying issue here in which all too many Oberlin students do shoplift. This attempted theft follows that pattern, as these students surely had options other than shopfifting. Such as, finding someone old enough to legally buy the alcohol for them. Or (if they were somewhat more enterprising) conducting a science experiment with grape juice and yeast.

          Shoplifting is not a trivial problem for merchants, as the merchant loses not just the profit that might have been earned from the sale but also the cost to acquire the item. And, a culture that accepts shoplifting imposes costs on businesses for additional security if the business is not to suffer ruinous losses.

          Shoplifting is a non-violent crime, but not necessarily a trivial one. Especially if it’s pervasive due to a culture that refuses to condemn it. No doubt few Oberlin students pay the “sticker price”; nonetheless, in the aggregate they are hardly needy. Criminal law does permit mitigation for necessity (e.g., stealing a boat if that’s the only way to avoid drowning). Although even then it will require restitution for any losses.

          The students who did the shoplifting at least seem to understand this, at least after they were caught and brought to trial. It was not they crying “racism!” and agitating to shut down the bakery.

          • Bruce Wolman says

            Hard to disagree with you, but in a national culture where major fraud, grand theft, corruption & libel are as American as apple pie – just look at our current POTUS – it is hard to see how striving college kids are going to view shoplifting as morally wrong.

        • TimDetroit says

          My understanding is:

          One student tried to buy one bottle of wine with a fake ID, which was rejected by the Gibson’s employee.

          The employee noticed that the same student (or one of his two companions) had two more bottles of wine under his sweatshirt. That’s when the employee said he was calling the police, and the three students took off running, and the employee pursued.

          It’s common in many shoplifting cases where one person tries to make a small purchase as a diversion, while others shoplift.

      • Martin Lawford says

        Heike, all three of the students caught shoplifting wine were under the legal drinking age in Ohio and Gibson’s rejected the fake ID one of them offered. So it wasn’t just the wish to save a few bucks by stealing wine but mainly the fact that they were too young to buy it legally.

        • Grant says

          @ Martin
          Yes but 40 arrests for shoplifting there in 5 years? Is that high for a store like that. IDK

    • Robert Prevost says

      There is no point in going after the individuals because they rarely have sufficient assets to pay a judgement. No attorney would take a contingency fee case against a defendant who has nothing. Is it the case that the individuals were “playing with house money”? Do they still have their jobs?

    • Kauf Buch says

      Oberlin College should be liable for the damages. It was, to my understanding, much more active/involved in the “agitation” than described in the article. The bakery is merely doing what is traditionally routine (for good reason) under our system: go for the deepest pockets.

      What I personally find most delicious: This is the only language – short of bestowing the violence upon them which they have so frequently and generously afforded us – the Left understands.

    • Richard Mills says

      Not only does Oberlin have “deep pockets” but their radical marxist professors have poisoned the minds of the young people attending their indoctrination sessions. Concepts like: “The southern strategy”, “western patriarchal oppression” “rape culture” (unless you’re talking about democrats), “Americans performing genocide on the American Indian” are all Leftist lies.

      Instead of preparing these kids to take on the world and make it a better place, since they live in the most supportive, safe, just, prosperous country that has ever existed—these “professors” have lied to them.

      And with President Trump packing the courts with Constructionist judges—let the law suits and pay pack begin.

    • Fuzzy Headed Mang says

      Unfortunately, then the bakery would not receive any money at all. The witch hunt was aided and abetted by the University, which can afford to pay.

      • Agreed – which is why alums have to stop giving to these institutions and funding this hate & maliciousness.

    • johno says

      They took their actions acting as school officers. The school made no effort to curb their actions. Therefore, the school is liable for what the individuals did, because those people were acting in their official capacity.

    • Tony Warren says

      The issue is that the corporate person is Oberlin College, they are therefore legally responsible for the damages. Oberlin College however is free to sue Raimondo and the students individually in an attempt to extract costs.

      But the reality is, that Oberlin has taught its administrators and its students to ignore the truth and to go forth in the opposite of knowledge, ignorance.

      What would better serve Oberlin is if they shut down every one of their faculties that promulgate the idiotic ideas of the postmodern academic left. This bankrupt philosophy is what is wanting and it seriously is time that places like Oberlin simply tossed the entire experiment out and started again.

    • hunter says

      Oberlin, and much of academia, have allowed and embraced sjw ideology. The school and it’s officers and organs were in on this bit of modern day lynchmobocracy. Joint and several liability is not just for lefties trying to silence those they hate.
      It is also a matter of justice.
      Make them pay.

    • Stephen Pierson says

      It is stupefying that the defendants would not admit Gibson isn’t racist, despite the facts, and it is appalling that faculty can casually dismiss a colleague’s viewpoint on such a crucial matter with a big FUCK YOU. We seem to be approaching a point where ideology is the criterion for holding a position in higher ed. Educators need not apply.

    • Cary D Cotterman says

      “Oberlin College’s response to the verdict suggests that they are in no mood to learn anything from this pointless ordeal.”

      SJWs are incapable of learning anything other than to double down on their idiotic, evil actions.

    • BannedTownie says

      The school is absolutely responsible, it owns over 90% of the city itself, including the main park, and.. it maintains a secret “No Trespassing” list which will get an individual charged with illegal trespassing for walking in a park over things as minor as skateboarding; the list is also heavily biased to place “townies” a name the college loves to throw at people who actually live there vs students and out of state faculty.

  2. codadmin says

    But what are the victims of the fascist left going to do about it?

    It’s only going to get worse.

  3. bumble bee says

    Glad to see the business get compensation and I hope the full amount stays on appeal.

    It is this behavior from the students, the school, administration, and all the SJW throughout the country that has turned me away from liberalism. There is no way I can support even in theory anyone or group on the left. You have forever lost me, and I am sure many others.

    Everything about this stinks to high heaven and I hope people lose their jobs, and students who partook in any of this are reevaluated as to their ability to attend not only Oberlin but any form or higher learning. What even made me just as sick was the degrading letter Crawford in the Communications department sent that pretty much states that the slack-jawed yokels never had a problem with the business.

    How revolting our country has become, how insipid has our “higher” education system become, and how imbecilic all the SJW throughout the country have rung the death knell for any meaningful societal change. I hope the left is handed their asses in any and all future elections be they presidential all the way down to the local dog catcher.

    • BillyJoe says

      This incident involved SJWs, not the entire left side of politics. I’m not sure why this incident or even the cumulative incidents involving all SJWs all over the USA would swing your pendulum from the left over to the right. Keep your fight where it belongs, against the SJWs who are harming everyone, including the minorities they are supposed to be helping

      • Saw file says

        Are you telling that to they’re faces….publicly…. on campus?

      • Simone says

        This incident involved SJWs, not the entire left side of politics.

        Let’s be honest here: the SJWs are tolerated if not encouraged by “the left” (minus a tiny minority).
        I do agree that it won’t turn people conservative, but it will (as the OP said, you read the “I’m right wing now” into it) make sure they won’t support the left – since it will, for the foreseeable future at least, always give more power to the SJWs.

      • Kauf Buch says

        TO BillyJoe
        Your sentence, “This incident involved SJWs, not the entire left side of politics.” reminds me of the description of differences among muslims:
        “A radical muslim wants to cut your head off; a moderate muslim wants a radical muslim to cut your head off.”

        IN OTHER WORDS: your apologia for the “passive” Leftists – those who enable and rationalize the radical Leftists – is disgusting.

      • BillyJoe, So don’t blame the “enablers and fundraisers” for the left that make it all possible”? Lol.

  4. jellybelly says

    Combat the rising tide of social justice ideological terrorism by defunding colleges for non-stem degrees before the destructive poison seeps into even more facets of life. Put the money into vocational schools and public schools instead for a decade or so.

    • onthecontrary says

      As a conservative college professor in the arts, I deeply resent your generalization that non-STEM fields are “destructive poison.” Losing the Arts and the Humanities would cost our country untold damages in both the short and the long-term.

      I do agree that social justice can go too far. It is especially likely at the biggest schools in liberal areas and small liberal arts colleges. But you don’t deal with a problem like this by shutting down debate. You deal with it by arguing persuasively against the black/white lack of logic being used by protestors.

      • Peter from Oz says

        I agree with you, onthecontrary. We conservatives just have to act to stop the madness. It’s simple really. Evry time a lefty tries to make a political action a moral one we have to point out what is going on and substitute our political outcome for theirs. It may mean that on occasion we wil have to ban a few nastier lefties.
        For example in this case, it is not clear whether the students involved in the shoplifting and assault were actually expelled from the college. They should have been.
        The right needs to start to ask these questions. Students who disrupt the speech of others are not merely engaging in speech themselves, but are dminishing the rights of others. Such students should therefore be expelled from college for such behaviour. That won’t hapopen unless the right gets tough and insists upon it.

      • jellybelly says

        College professors like yourself should use that defensiveness and combat the proliferation of grievance studies, gender studies, decolonization workshops and the accompanying religious fervour and militancy amongst your colleagues that indoctrinates students because that destructive ideology has spread into politics, journalism and workplaces. Show no fear like Roger Copeland but don’t stop at one letter, push back and don’t let up. Otherwise I have little sympathy for you and your resentment because you are resenting the wrong people.

      • Simone says

        But you don’t deal with a problem like this by shutting down debate.

        Defunding isn’t shutting down debate, it’s taking away the tax funding for the opponent. If anything, it creates a level playing field where they need to make a compelling argument.

        Granted, not everyone in non-STEM fields is insane, but they harbor a noticeable number of crazy people, and most of the rest fails to speak up – whether that is because of silent agreement or cowardice is up for debate.

        When they return to sanity, return their funding. Until then, any dollar given to them is a dollar invested in poison.

      • GregS says


        Why would “defunding colleges for non-stem degrees” result in “Losing the Arts and the Humanities”? The arts need a new model. Borrowing $120K from the government to study art and the humanities is a failing proposition. There are excellent alternatives outside a college framework. A wonderful example of this is a non-profit organization called The Loft in Minneapolis where aspiring writers of all ages can take writing classes without the additional financial baggage of a college administration.

        An additional benefit is that the organization depends solely on its own marketing, so that it tailors its curriculum a particular avenue of study rather than a general student population. It’s students tend to be much older too, so there is less a risk of the general craziness of youth.

      • Lydia says

        “Losing the Arts and the Humanities would cost our country untold damages in both the short and the long-term.”

        Already has.

      • Albigensian says

        Arguably education itself has never been cheaper or more accessible; it’s educational credentials that have become insanely costly. Those who wish to become educated in the humanities can find nearly endless resources online with which to do so, as well as online discussion groups.

        It does require some motivation to do this, as compared with taking an on-campus course. But then again, taking an on-campus course requires some research as well, lest one discover that the purported “humanities” course one has signed up for has been reporposed more for political indoctrination than for instruction in its ostensible subject.

        Perhaps it is too early to dismiss humanities in the academy as so hopelessly corrupted as to be beyond redemption as there is undoubtedly at least some valuable work being done there. Nonetheless, it is this largely political corruption of academic humanities departments which seems responsible for the sharp decline in student interest in these fields, and which thus threatens the continued existence of many academic degree programs.

        Finally, perhaps it’s worth noting that few famous artists learned their craft by getting an art degree, few musicians, songwriters or composers learned their crafts in higher ed., even fewer novelists learned to write in an MFA program, etc. etc. It’s not as if much work in the humanities is not done outside the academy, or as if the humanities would or could not survive without academia.

      • Robin says


        While I agree that the academic fields within the Liberal Arts and Humanities are useful to society unfortunately the people hired to teach them are indeed destructive poison.

        You also describe yourself as a “conservative” so that must grant you a free pass to the decline of the Academy. Your anonymous 6 sentence missive on Quillette may put you far ahead of your peers but from observation I think most of you are utterly craven and self-serving. If I were looking for courageous people, the last place I would go to is the ivory tower.

        You studied humanity and the Humanities your entire life? The ‘problem’ is in your face but you can’t see the forest because there are too many trees in the way! It’s pretty clear to a lot of us that the Maoists who have taken over universities don’t give a damn about “persuasive argument”. Rather we see violent protest, doxxing, deplatforming, physical intimidation, destruction of income, outright lies, fabrication, etc. This is ideological capture and a “we just need to talk” attitude isn’t going to work.

        Civil discourse is only possible in an environment where the rules of civility are enforced. There is a reason why there exists a Sargent At Arms in every Parliament around the world. So why is this happening? Because so many people have granted these young adults immunity from consequences. Not just by the Administration and Faculty of the institutions but by society at large.

        There are three battles being fought here.

        The institutions vs. the public at large. They are publicly chartered and heavily subsidized by the general public. They have obligations and failing those they need to be punished by the public. They need reminders that they exist within society and serve that society or face consequences.

        The internal battles within the institutions themselves. Governing the relations between administration, faculty and students. This is your war Professor! One you have already lost I might add… google what happened to Bret Weinstein at Evergreen… and he was a hyper-left Bernie supporter.

        Students vs. the general public. If they want to riot in the streets then bring on the riot police! They can further their education in another one of our publicly funded institutions.

        I really do like Socrates and the Socratic method. Just remember, even he was bound and held accountable by Athens.

      • hunter says

        Prof. onthecontrary,
        The modern academy is remarkably resistant to allowing open dialog, much less convincing debate.
        Look at the cynical pride in the Oberlin response to the judgement. Look up John Cook Uni in Queensland Australia and their attack on tenured Prof Peter Rid. Look at how the Uni has basically rejected the judgement against them, in the face of the law, the ruling and the judge.

      • E. Olson says

        Thanks for the link James – the question I have is what sort of employer would want to hire students who have gone into major debt to take such courses?

        • Denny Sinnoh says

          The “It’s Never Aliens” course sounds like a decent science ed seminar, likely the only rational one in the list.

        • Andrew Raymond Weiss says

          Smart employers looking for smart new employees: Oberlin students do well on the job market: 90% are employed within two years of graduation (national average is 83%) and, after 6 years, their median income is $40,800 (national median is $33,028.) And not one of them majored in Business or Engineering.

        • Geordie says

          Woke corporations’ HR departments (actually, HR in general); most of the public sector; most of the NGO sector; the whole burgeoning race- and gender-hustling sector.

          Grievance studies graduates have bright futures.

      • Andrew P says

        Caution – Those are the “seminar courses”, which are not representative of the whole college catalog. I gather those are the courses students take for fun.

      • Robin says

        Thanks James!

        Am I the only one wondering what you learn in the Erotic City class??

  5. Morgan Foster says

    I certainly hope the oligarchs of America are helping out with this and other civil actions against private colleges such as Oberlin.

    It’s time for them to put their conservative money where their conservative mouths are, instead of donating money for new buildings.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      The “oligarchs” are most certainly helping out. There has been a systematic campaign in place for many years to privatize higher education and cut funding so that colleges are forced to focus only on profitable activities. There is a war against tenure and academic freedom that has completely unsettled the traditional university system.

      Conservatives are most certainly winning this fight. I look forward to our least-educated, most debt-ridden generation of wage-slaves in history in the years to come.

      • Cedric says


        “There is a war against tenure…”

        Oh no! You mean there will be fewer law professors showing up to class in ratty Grateful Dead t-shirts and sweatpants with no lesson plan? What are we going to do???

        In case you think I’m being hyperbolic, you should know the above description comes from my own law school experience. My contracts professor was a tenured, self-proclaimed socialist who NEVER showed up for his posted office hours and couldn’t have cared less about providing a valuable education.

        (Funny side note: he did force all his students to purchase the newest edition of the contracts textbook he authored and for which he received royalties. I say funny, because for a socialist, it was a cartoonishly capitalist thing to do.)

      • Kencathedrus says

        @Nakatomi Plaza: I agree with you and as a college professor I have witnessed this first-hand. But it’s also the reason why I’m totally against identity politics. They’ve been appropriated by the elite to control discourse and hire and fire who they want in the name of ‘diversity’. It’s also a convenient way to control thought and speech, while virtue-signaling how you’ve ‘confronted racism and bigotry’. It’s totally perverse and corrosive to society because it creates distrust and antagonism between ‘groups’ that have simply been made up on the spot. In the long run, the ones who will end up being hurt the most are those that identity politics pretends to protect.

        This is already making the news in the Netherlands;

        This initiative has caused national backlash among both men and women who are complaining that this is totally discriminatory and actually demeaning to women. Some people are now joking about changing gender to get a place now that it’s legal to self-identity in the Netherlands.

        • Geofiz says


          You truly do not understand. The “oligarchs” of the 21st century are on the left, not the right. They run tech companies and contribute heavily to Democratic candidates. But they have little to do with what is happening in higher education. The conservatives are not winning. In fact, they have already lost. It is the classic liberals who are currently losing Many conservative and classic liberal professors have to publish here under pseudonyms or they get fired. The problems is not the professors or even the students. It is the administration.
          You state: “There is a war against tenure and academic freedom that has completely unsettled the traditional university system” And you are correct! But conservatives are hardly the enemy here.

          Back in the dark ages when I was a professor, faculty ran the schools. The “faculty senates were not always smooth-running institutions, but the goal of educating students was always foremost in their thoughts. Tenure mattered!!! Now schools are completely and totally run by administrations. According to the liberal NY Times administrative spending in colleges has quadrupled over the past 35 years. They note that this is the real reason that college expenses have greatly increased.

          From 2012-2018 administrative spending in the Univ of California system increased 28%. An average “diversity dean” in the Univ California system makes over $400K. This cost is borne by students in the form of greatly increased fees and reduced quality of education.
          In 1979, when I was a faculty member, nearly all courses were taught by tenure track professors. This is no longer true. Today, non-tenure track positions account for 70% of all instructional appointments.

          These “contingent professors” are paid starvation wages with no benefits. Some are actually homeless. In the 1983-1984 school year. University of Texas – Dallas found itself without a sedimentologist. I was working full time as a research scientist with ARCO at the time so the department chairman asked me if I would teach courses at night for them. We agreed that I would be paid $3500 per course. We both thought it was a great deal. He got me cheap and I was pretty much doing this for fun as I already had a well paying full-time job. THIRTY-FIVE years later, the average payment per course for contingent professors is $2500. You can make more money mowing lawns.

          Contingent professors are absolutely dependent on both the administration and student evaluations for continued employment. So, they dumb down the courses to keep the student happy and they keep their mouths shut so as not to anger the administration. Academic freedom….Are you kidding?

          The administrators who run the show are dominated by the left. Samuel Abrams noted that progressives outnumber conservatives in university administrations by 12 to 1 at Sarah Lawrence College.

          It used to be that tenure was a guarantee that a professor could voice unpopular opinions. Not anymore! Even Jon Haidt (The Righteous Mind) was hauled before the Star Chamber. Samuel Abrams at Sarah Lawrence was nearly fired for publishing the findings I detailed above. Numerous tenured professors, nearly all of whom are liberal, have been fired or disciplined for their beliefs, Eric Weinstein and Heather Heyring at Evergreen, Noah Carl at Cambridge, Robert Sullivan at Harvard Law, Amy Wax at University of Pennsylvania, and Nicholas Christakis at Yale are only a few. All of these professors were disciplined or fired by far-left university administrations. With the exception of Amy Wax, all are liberals.

          I still maintain contacts with many geology and geophysics faculty members. They are almost all classic liberals. AFAIAA none voted for Trump. All of them are scared sh*tless of the administration. They keep their heads down, do their research, teach their classes and try not to say or do anything that could be seen as a remotely controversial. I imagine that it is a bit like life in North Korea.

          We conservatives like to talk about the students as “snowflakes” but they are the big losers here. You can see it in the increased in mental illness in the student populations and lack of maturity. Jean Twenge noted in her book “The iGeneration”, that 18 is the new 15. Sadly, like everything else, this is a political issue. It should not be. You should be just as concerned as I am about the metamorphosis of educational institutions into expensive day-care centers and the dumbing down of the educational system as administrators take over and brilliant professors (right or left) are replaced by adjunct slave labor.

          Those of us on the right are joining with classic liberals to try to fix this (ex. Heterodox Academy) You should consider doing the same thing instead of blaming the right for all of the ills in the universe.

          Note: I have removed the references because this document was put under permanent moderation. I understand hat website references need to be checked to exclude malicious sites. But the references I used are the NY Times, Inside Higher Education, and the American Association of University Professors website. None are conservative sites

          • Geofiz, I have heard the same over and over from retired faculty as you related above. It’s an untenable situation without government money. But since Obama took over student loans, that’s becoming a problem, too. Students are basically government serfs. And for what? Ex, A Masters in Education for 30,000 teaches only so much actual substantive content that could be covered in a 3 week prof dev seminar. Who wants that expense along with a bachelors to make 40,000 year?

            I am finding Gen Z a bit more wise in approach about the loan situation. Trouble could be on the horizon for highly paid too Admin heavy schools.

          • Geofiz says


            You raise two interesting points.

            1)If you look at where many of the PC issues have been, you see, that they have been at small, very expensive liberal arts colleges like Oberlin and Middlebury. The exception is the Univ. of California system. Most students that attend these institutions have parents that can pay the full price, but enrollments are dropping as even the parents get sticker shock. Hopefully, that will continue.

            2) Eighteen year-olds, particularly today, are not usually financially astute. They go to a college because they like it and having a loan to them means”free”. Reality only sinks in when they graduate. It has been student loans that have enabled this huge increase in fees.

            As such colleges have had no incentive to reduce administrative cost, particularly as they can reduce costs by replacing tenured faculty with slave-labor adjuncts. Free college, proposed by many Democrats, would be an absolute disaster for the educational system as it would result in further huge increases in administrative bloat.

            Most businesses, when faced with economic hard times, cut administrative staff and keep their technical, and sales personnel as those are the people that make them money. Colleges have done just the opposite, cutting tenured professors as they have increased administrative staff. I do not see any way, short of legislation that can change the course that these colleges are on. The logic is that administrative staff keep students happy and keeping the students happy is more important than educating them. For those of us who have been involved in the system, It is quite sad.

            Fortunately STEM is still fighting against the tide. But I do not know for how long.

          • I have kids in college now. I raised them to have jobs at 15, and expected a lot of chores and work from them at home. They never especially resented that upbringing. It is just the way things were, and how I was brought up.

            Going to college the first thing they noted was none of their peers know how to change a tire, or wash the dishes properly. None have had jobs. Many can’t drive. All three kids have noted how shockingly incompetent their peers are.

            Frankly I believe the mental illness we are seeing is a result of that incompetence, that lack of preparation for life. The university steps in and tries to compensate, at enormous cost, but fails miserably. And they do little to help prepare them any further. In many cases it is a lost cause – these kids are so used to being babied they know no other way.

            let’s face it, shoplifting is a crime historically committed by three types of people 1) children who didn’t know better. 2) professional thieves 3) homeless people. What category would you place the Oberlin shoplifters in?


          • Stephanie says

            Geofiz, thank you for the insight. What a downer! I’ve been hoping a geology faculty position in the US would be less crushing than in the Commonwealth. Do you know if this is the case even in red states?

          • Geofiz says


            You asked:

            Do you know if this is the case even in red states?

            Broadly speaking, things are better in red states and worse on the coasts. Some Republican legislatures have passed laws require free speech within their public universities. But at a more granular level, it is all over the page. Univ of Chicago has received strong praise from both sides of the political spectrum for its strong stand on free speech. The most restrictive, according to FIRE is Alabama A&M, a historically black college in Huntsville AL You can go to the FIRE website to see the ratings on free speech for most universities and colleges.

            I won’t put the website in because the post will be put under moderation, but Google FIRE colleges

          • Kencathedrus says

            @Geofiz: I’ve been working in Higher Education for 20 years and it’s exactly as you describe. Experiencing all that first hand made me a staunch conservative.

          • Charlie says

            Excellent comments. The reality is that a lack of responsibility enables people to stay emotionally children. The long summer vacations were designed so undergrads could return and work on the family farm and bring in the harvest. We now have degrees without intellectual rigour and people staying in education until their mid 20s or later without the experience of hard rigorous work. Left wing thoughts appeals to people who lack the experience of practical hard work. Those who undertake hard difficult work in dangerous conditions just want good pay; not cultural Marxist lectures. A year working on construction sites, trawlers, oil rigs, mines, quarries and forests would benefit these people. There is nothing like being bawled out by a foreman in public to ring one down to earth with a bump.
            When I mean hard work, I mean a full day of hard manual work, such as digging ditches, mucking out animals, lifting hay/straw bales, etc, etc.

            These undergrads were above the age of eighteen years. In WW1 and WW2 there were eighteen year olds and younger leading men into combat.

            Universities have become forms of employment for mediocre emotionally immature brittle middle class brats with a sense of entitlement.

            Shakespeare left school by the age of eighteen and Dickens at the age of twelve. How many humanities graduates have done more for human civilisation? Education is training the mind, not spending time in educational establishments . One does not measure fitness by time spent in gym but by accomplishment. Modern day humanities education appears to corrode sagacity.

      • Charlie says

        Shakespeare, Austen, Bronte Sisters, Dickens, GK Elliot, Kipling, Nelson, Wellington, Churchill, G Orwell, Newcomen, Darby, Brindley, Watt, Boulton, Smeaton , Telford , JR Mitchell, Sydney Camm, Chadwick – Lancaster, John D Rockefeller, A Lincoln to name but a few did not go to university. Perhaps modern day university, especially the humanities corrodes peoples sagacity ?

  6. GrumpyBear says

    “the facts don’t readily fit the political narratives on the Left or Right”

    I must have missed something. I kept expecting some details that would conflict with what I read on National Review, Daily Wire, etc… There were none.

    Actually, I think the facts as outlined by Mr. McGraw are perfectly in line with the political narrative of the Right: the Left is race-obsessed, immune to facts, and lacks the courage to acknowledge anything that isn’t in line with their world view.

    • Nakatomi Plaza says

      I was feeling a little irony-depleted today, so thanks. Your issue is that the left is rigid, uncritical, and devoid of courage, and your evidence is a rigid, uncritical, and pathetically unimaginative definition of the left? Perfect. We’ll all be extra careful not to challenge your “world view.” Something tells me it would shatter like glass if you were asked to think critically for even a moment.

      • Saw file says

        Ahhh… Noodle Plaza: expressing ‘feel’s’
        How refreshing.

    • @Grumpybear,

      I had the same question ready to ask. There seems to be a pattern for Quillette writers —they have to write something similar in every article to try and convince people not to accuse them of being on the right. Every time I see it, I look for how these so called “right wing” folks get it wrong but rarely is that laid out. Wonder why?

      I have read about 2/3 of the articles at Legal Insurrection and have yet to see any conservative publication veer off the facts of the case whether Powerline, Spectator, Michelle Malkin (Oberlin Alum) etc.

      The problem the left has is the facts are glaringly damning. they went after a small family business who simply wanted Oberlin to retract publicly calling them racist. But Oberlin had to ruin them financially. Including laying off Gibson black employees due to all the business they lost! A black college employee (nurse) is good friends with Gibson’s wife and went to comfort her during the protest. She is now gone from the college. As is the security guy. Lots of people harmed. For what?

  7. Curle says

    I’m still absorbing the thought of 33 student arrests for shoplifting at one store over 5 years. I was laboring under the misimpression that shoplifting wasn’t so prevalent among our putative best and brightest students. Silly me.

    • Andrew P says

      6-7 shoplifting arrests per year for a business across the street from the college isn’t all that much. I would have expected more.

      • Curle says

        Maybe not. But, I’ve aged out of the new reality. In my day the worst the cops dealt with in my small rural college town appeared to be, in the main, college pranks gone awry. Hitchhikers in togas. Fraternities stealing the front door of another fraternity. Noise complaints. There must have been at least one sexual assault, but I don’t recall hearing about it.

      • Lydia says

        In some of the docs over at LI, other businesses in the vacinity were interviewed. One said her business suffers about 10 grand a year due to shoplifting. A horror if you know anything about small retail businesses.

        Why is it people don’t see a bigger issue here? Do they want only cookie-cutter franchises that can better absorb costs associated with theft?

        I would think the college would make it clear that a shoplifting conviction would mean expulsion. But no. It’s quite the opposite. It’s expected from privilege students going to an elite private college.

      • Shamrock says

        “6-7 shoplifting arrests per year for a business across the street from the college isn’t all that much.”

        Maybe they’re not very good at catching all the shoplifters.

  8. Robert Fisher says

    I wonder if this isn’t the point where our more zealous progressive activists start to look ridiculous in the eyes of many ordinary people. I sometimes envision a future reboot of MASH in which Frank Burns will be a social justice warrior castigating Hawkeye and Trapper for abusing their white privilege and seeing racist plots everywhere. I recall reading that it’s when they start laughing at you that you’ve had it.

  9. Farris says

    Forget the award, the verdict demonstrates as is commonly known most Social Justice Warrior actions are predicated on lies.

  10. Geary Johansen says

    Great story- investigative journalism at it’s very best.

    Ultimately, I believe that this is where the resentment-driven ideology of intersectional feminism breaks down- because fundamentally, the system of laws and tort within each individual nation in the West, represents the embedded wisdom of the best thinking of every era- a study in incrementalism. This doesn’t mean the system doesn’t have flaws, the laws passed by every generation can also reflect the worst thinking of the time, which (hopefully) get removed or overwritten over time.

    As a recent Quillette article underlined, juries can act to polarise towards either an unduly harsh or an unduly lenient set of verdicts. Many American sectors of industry fled the US, not because of the regulatory constraints of the EPA, but because of the huge volume of plaintiffs lawsuits, and the legal costs which resulted, from having to fend off a legion of litigators. And, of course, the legal cost of starting up a business, as well as the regulatory costs imposed by legislators, are a major reason why the US small business sector has atrophied down to 2% of total US employment, whilst the UK, Canada and South Korea have thriving self-employed and small business sectors, with the UK boasting a total somewhere between 5-7%. And lets not forget that jobs in an economy, create more jobs, as workers spend the money they earn from these small businesses in the broader economy. Don’t get me wrong- this is not important from the point of view of GDP or government revenue- but it is a vital source of jobs in an era when employment itself is becoming increasingly unreliable.

    Recently, an article in the UK was featured on GMB, in which a white applicant to the Cheshire Police had successfully sued the constabulary for discrimination. His argument was that he was objectively one of the best candidates for the jobs (one of his interviewer actually made the mistake of commenting what a refreshing pleasure it was to see such a well-prepared candidate), but was denied employment due to positive discrimination. In a move reminiscent of so much we see in education today, the test standards or test scores required to gain consideration for a post had effectively been lowered to make the job more accessible to the already small number of candidates from marginalised groups who wanted to join such a fascist organisation as the British Police, and as a result the highest quality applicants suffered. The judge in the case stated, roughly, that UK law allowed for positive action, but not positive discrimination.

    The real danger of leftist dogma though, it’s unforgivable sin, is that it incorrectly diagnoses power as the basic unit of currency in human relations and commerce. It’s not- Trust is the basic building block of our civilisation, with power merely a useful by-product. Now, at it’s most basic level, trust only requires the presumption of competency. But, as individuals barter their existing trust levels into opportunities, whether personal of business, a whole host of additional presumptions begin to come into play- the requirements of good faith, reciprocity and sticking to ones word. The successful individual builds networks of friends and contacts, that makes them powerhouses of solutions, when problems arise.

    Fundamentally, this is what is at stake with the activism of the regressive left- trust in our fellow man. By setting black against white, woman against man, gay against straight and liberal against conservative, they are undermining the ability of any organisation or business to operate efficiently and effectively. It’s worth noting, that Google is in the process of litigating lawsuits from white and Asian males at the same time as they are dealing with litigation from marginalised groups. A recent internal memo from Microsoft, bemoaned the fact that managers were incentivised to promote diversity candidates, at the expense of more qualified and able white and Asian men. This destroys the basic principle of meritocracy.

    What liberals always fail to understand is that the history of civil rights in the US and other countries is based on far more basic human drives than equality. African Americans didn’t achieve equality under the law because it was equal, but because it was fair. Women didn’t gain the right to vote or participate on an equal footing in employment because it was equal, but because it was fair. Although Jonathan Haidt has proved that liberals and conservatives tend to view the world differently in terms of fairness, with conservatives emphasising proportionality and liberals wanting equality, other tests have come up with different results when drilling down beneath the conceptual world of moral foundations, and to the layer that governs personal interactions.

    In a recent set of tests in Scandinavia (please link if you have the details), sets of two participants were asked to complete five maths questions each, with a reward given for each correct answer and then divide the sum of the rewards between each other, however they liked. A liberal might assume if the first participant scored 5/5 and the second 3/5 respectively, that they would divide the money with 5/8 going to the first, and 3/8 to the second- but this is not the case. Because humans are hardwired to reward success and punish failure. One presumes that this is because of the deeply rooted human desire to be part of a functional, effective and successful social group, or why UK and US males who self-report with high levels of personal happiness, report being valued for an important job, as the primary source of happiness in their lives. It’s because the desire to thrive under conditions of fairness is a fundamental part of what we value as human beings.

    This is what the administrators at Oberlin College failed to recognise. With their conditioned belief system of intersectional feminism, telling them to support the oppressed and throw down to oppressors, they thought that the jurors would naturally side with individuals from marginalised groups as a human corrective to the wrongs of individual circumstances. They were wrong. Because people intuitively gravitate to what is fair, regardless of the human lottery of birth or circumstance. Rawls may well have been right, in his arguments about what type of world many people would want to be born into- the provision of public education being a prime example of this noble, if tarnished, urge- but if he ever hoped that people would ever want or need these conditions to persist, once the race begins, he would be almost entirely wrong. That’s why socialism always fails- because as humans we need fairness, however unforgiving it is at times, to thrive.

      • Geofiz says


        This comment:

        The real danger of leftist dogma though, it’s unforgivable sin, is that it incorrectly diagnoses power as the basic unit of currency in human relations and commerce. It’s not- Trust is the basic building block of our civilisation, with power merely a useful by-product…

        It is the basis of your essay and is particularly perceptive.

        Thank you.

    • @Geary, Excellent comment

      “Fundamentally, this is what is at stake with the activism of the regressive left- trust in our fellow man.”

      This is a big one that is rarely discussed. Prospering communities are fueled by basic trust. Adam Smith made this very clear long ago.

    • Chuck Stephens says

      Great points, however, why would the left ever give up the activity of pitting one group against another? It is through that process that they acquire their power. The concept of meritocracy is like kryptonite to a person on the left, it would mean more work, more focus and more dedication to ones goal(Like those crazy Asians trying to get into Harvard). It’s much easier to point fingers, project and demand your rung on the ladder, without doing all that hard work. Just get those Diversity Scam artists like Raimondo and Reed working for you and you’ll get whatever you want…

  11. Geary Johansen says

    Oh no! They’ve demonetised Triggernometry on YouTube- it’s one of the best issues-based content creators in the UK!!! 🙁

    • Avid Reader says

      @ GJ oh no…they’re great those guys! Just discovered them. LEnjoying reading your posts by the way.

  12. The post world war economic order and social consensus is breaking up and crumbling.

    The deregulation of economic systems and the boundaries between them has sent the locus of industrial activity out of the old west and into Asia, while stripping the old Euro-American working class of its place and function. Expansion of tertiary services as replacement infrastructure has been the almost exclusive preserve of the tertiary trained middle classes, who got out of ‘the restructure’ practically scott free.

    Privatization of nation state infrastructure and services and the withdrawal of transnational capital from the tax system corrodes and eventually cripples the capacity of the state to deliver infrastructure, services or ameliorate the social effects of corporate decision making. US physical infrastructure is decaying and even the military has to ‘economize’.

    Deregulation of social structures, the behaviour within them and the privatization of accountability for it, deplatformed their socialization templates and enabled their replacement by publicrelationsmarketspeak and increasingly orthodox, authoritarian, oracular and declammatory postmodernist conformism. And the privatization that accompanies social deregulation strips away moral and social accountability in favour of individual egoism and sectional interests in ways similar to the privatization of the common weal elsewhere.

    The rollout of Indulgence Capitalism int the 1960s, where ordinary needs and wants were no longer sufficient to maintain adequate economic growth and had to be replaced by fantasy, desire and the need to satiate it immediately, decapitated disciplined templates in favour of indulgent fantasizing.

    Indulgence seemed initially to be cool and ’empowering’ as populations were ‘released’ from the ‘repressions’ of the past, but life without boundaries rapidly ceased to be so cool as personal autonomy software gets systematically removed and replaced with buttons that cause buy responses when pushed, whether it be bottled water or trans-sexualism…

    What is important to note here is that there is no such thing as ‘progress’ outside the institutional platforms of Indulgence Capitalism, whether they be the corporate or humanist ascendancies.They are all regime apparatchiks. Notions of ‘Left’ and ‘Right’ become obfuscatory ideological archaisms that maintain the status quo. They all maintain the same indulgent, deregulatory and privatization agendas. And now that the regime is starting to crumble, all of them find themselves existentially threatened by forces that increasingly they do not control in the way they once did. And everyone else is to blame, naturally.

    El Presidente Trump pulls levers and nothing much happens. because US power and prestige have waned to the point of being indecisive. The humanist ascendancy becomes increasingly desperate to complete even the most tendentious elements of its deregulatory agenda and cannot afford challenges to its authority, because in reality, it is as wobblesomely tenuous now as its great power sponsor….

    Outside the islands of tertiary education like Oberlin College and the tertiary cities like New York and Los Angeles; in the rust belts left by economics without national borders and GFC style financial ‘wizardry’ without moral borders, there is now a slight majority who just aren’t prepared to take it lying down anymore…and just won’t accept that race theory trumps shameless theft from and assault of perfectly decent and law abiding citizens and small local business owners.

    That consciousness is encapsulated by attitudes in the township of Oberlin towards its academic island of spoilt and entitled little adolescent princes and princesses, who think that the world owes them and that ordinary old fashioned Americans like the Gibson family are fair game for their ideological fantasizing.

    It is not that race and its historical legacy doesn’t matter so much as it has become the plaything of children who don’t realize that back in the ’70s, their own indulgent deregulatory and privatization agendas immediately stripped out and paralysed black communities and Martin Luther King’s Christian socialization templates that kept body and soul in one piece, as their economic base was shipped off to China, leaving them to the hood, guns and drugs, while the Oberlin College parent’s generation skipped off to nice jobs in New York.

    ‘Racism’ is reduced to a crude weapon of social and ideological conformity to keep the status quo in place.

  13. 50 years ago, 18 year olds arrived as students. Now that market oriented thinking has engulfed our values, including at the academy, 18 year olds are customers. The administrators are following the maxim ‘the customer is always right ‘ to ensure the survival of their institutions — and their jobs

    • Geary Johansen says

      @ Interguru

      Great point. The Alice Dreger case is a good example of this. In effect, universities have been squeezed by corporatisation on one side, and the fact that ‘woke’ liberalism has become a brand in itself, on the other. If you watch ‘The Good Fight’, the blue brand has a lot more clout.

  14. sub says

    the evidence against these disgusting fascist pig administrators seems overwhelming. agreed, they should be sued personally in whatever way possible. let them feel personal pain. protesting in support of these thugs is spitting in the face of the actual (1960s) civil rights movement.

  15. Pingback: Ideology and Facts Collide at Oberlin College | TrumpsMinutemen

  16. E. Olson says

    Excellent article – this is what true journalism should be. One of the problems this case illustrates is the disconnect between ultra liberal colleges such a Oberlin and the communities they reside in. Historically such schools were started to serve the needs of the local area and also attracted most of their students, faculty, and staff from the local area. In the days before cheap and fast transportation, most people were forced to stay close to home for education and occupational needs, but today we can go wherever we want, and schools such as Oberlin are now increasingly recruiting students, faculty, and staff from a much wider geographic region in the name of diversity. And who would wish to go to a progressive/Leftist school with a reputation for activism such as Oberlin as a student, faculty member, or administrator? The answer of course is Leftists who not only have no personal connection to the local area, but also see the local community as a bunch of deplorable racist, homophobic, sexist, Bible thumpers who probably voted for Trump. So of course they would have no sympathy or empathy for local people like the Gibsons or their employees, and would of happily jump to the conclusion that such a incident fits their narrative of the locals as terrible people who are jealous of the genius and financial resources of the Oberlin college community. Unfortunately, this disconnect is unlikely to get better, so such incidents are likely to become more common.

  17. Andrew P says

    I’m sure Oberlin will litigate this case for years, and if it ultimately loses, a big donor like Soros will make them whole. That is why they are in no mood to settle.

  18. If the Future is Female Get Me Outta Here says

    This reminds me of the salient line (perhaps partly paraphrased) from the Evergreen debacle: Whiteness is the most evil thing that ever breathed…

    This would justify stealing from Gibson’s. They are white, and therefore “evil.”

    In Brooklyn, there have been several incidents like this, all of them irrational:

    1) A cafe owner was accused of handing out Halloween candy to white children, but not to black children. The owner’s explanation that the kid behind the counter was new to the country and had not been prepared for handing out Halloween candy merely exacerbated the situation. Protesters made business impossible to sustain. Commenters on the Bed-Stuy Facebook Group also argue that only black kids from the neighborhood should be employed in these businesses because it is a “black neighborhood.” In other words, hiring your nephew from Syria instead of a black kid is “racist.”

    2) A (white) business owner in Crown Heights makes a cheeky Wild West reference to gang-related bullet holes in the walls of her cafe. Protesters get the place shut down (perhaps this was temporary) because the humor doesn’t take into account their “pain.”

    3) Restaurant tells black persons trying to enter that they are closing and not taking any more customers for the night. This is somehow interpreted as “racist” even though the business hours are clearly posted at the door. Nearby college (where I work, and where activist posters grace the walls — there is even an SJW Activist summer school course that TEACHES students to pursue this revolution) assists with spreading the word that the owners of the restaurant are “racist.”

    Recently, a Facebook “friend” filed a complaint against an “Iranian” cab driver for saying that some neighborhoods in Brooklyn are bad, and that it “depends on the people.” She claims to have screamed at the guy for being “racist.” However, look up the crime rate in this predominantly black neighborhood and find that it is rated “HIGH.” Ask the locals which direction to take and they will all tell you (black locals) “Don’t go THAT way” I overhear local residents talking about gang activity on certain streets. I have seen the first gunfire of my entire life while walking to work in broad daylight. Someone was stabbed in front of our apartment, murdered around the corner, and I narrowly missed walking into a shooting two blocks away — the gas station owner shot the attempted robbers — he used to be a prison warden.

    And here’s the new “leftist” narrative: To speak the truth is “racist.” We are not allowed to say that blacks commit more crime on average than other races. It is “racist.” This is analogous to stating that men and women are different.

    The greatest irony, regarding this, is that in response to Trump they’re going around with Orwell’s 1984 in their backpacks.

    • Lydia says

      “In other words, hiring your nephew from Syria instead of a black kid is “racist.””

      what they may want to ask is how a Syrian refugee could afford to start a business. The answer is guaranteed low interest gov loans for immigrants. This has been a huge problem since the 70s and the government was buying Vietnamese people brand new state of the art fishing boats to compete with families who had been fishing for a century but refixing their old boats for decades. American citizens do not qualify for the government largesse. And the problem is most people have no clue this exists.

      It’s one reason why so many Indians here are buying convenience stores and small hotels like crazy. We simply cannot compete with their government leg up.

      • Fuzzy Headed Mang says

        These people also work very very hard. Wherever Indians and Vietnamese and basically most other Asians settle in the world, they do well. You assume that low interest loans are the reason immigrants can start a business, I would like to see stats on that.

      • If the Future is Female Get Me Outta Here says

        @Lydia Indeed, that hardly sounds fair. For all my “white privilege” is worth I could never afford to start a business, especially with a loan I could never pay off. And if this is the case with that cafe, they’re in hot water now, deep in debt for having a family member run things in their absence perhaps because they couldn’t afford to hire anyone. (I don’t know where they were from, to be honest, but they weren’t native born).

        That said, just try to defend curbing immigration, even if your support is aimed at ensuring that those who were born here are gainfully employed. That’s “racist” too! It’s come one, come all, everyone is welcome — unless you live in a black neighborhood — oops I forgot — they can’t be racist…

      • Geofiz says

        This is complete and total bulls*t. Asian immigrants do not get government loans. They are successful because they outwork most Americans. Some Asian groups have business associations where they will identify future entrepreneurs and give them debt and/or equity funding. That is how capitalism works. But most do it on their own.

        I will give you a great example. A draftsman who who worked for me for several years came here after the fall of South Vietnam with absolutely nothing. He got a minimum wage job coloring maps for a company I worked for. On that minimum wage he saved enough money to buy AutoCad, then a $3500 expense, and taught himself how to use it in his spare time. He quit his job and started a company to do computer drafting. He later got into web design. I was one of his first customers. Now he is highly successful

        The success of legal Asian immigrants gives the lie to the white supremacy narrative of the left and to the lie that capitalism only benefits the wealthy You should be applauding it!!!!!

  19. Stephen Hoffman says

    Curie’s pt was my big takeaway:

    I’m still absorbing the thought of 33 student arrests for shoplifting at one store over 5 years. I was laboring under the misimpression that shoplifting wasn’t so prevalent among our putative best and brightest students. Silly me.

    Mr McGraw should next investigate how Oberlin and other similarly situated liberal institutions deal with gown against town crime? As aggressively as they police drunken hookups as sexual assaults? Why did college administrators want to cut a deal for future shoplifting referrals to them rather than calling the police? Amazing. For $70k/yr students. Of course they do not want to expel or suspend them – think of the lost revenue.

  20. Etiamsi omnes says

    In my country there are a lot fewer purple people. The crime rate is much lesser too.

    • Kencathedrus says

      @Sun God: It’s very obvious what you are attempting to do, and quite dishonest. Go away and stop poisoning the well.

  21. Lydia says

    Does anyone else find it disconcerting that elite private college students were kicking a bakery employee while he lies on the pavement after attempting to steal from the small business? What does that tell us about “privilege”? Anything?

  22. Barney Doran says

    First make Oberlin apologize publicly, profusely, loudly and contritely in the great #MeToo/ SWJ tradition. Then make this Raimondo person do the same and then fire her. Next fuck this Ben Jones and then fire him (VP of Communications!! Are you kidding me?) Last, do not send your child to this shithole unless you are a rich, card-carrying communist. Don’t worry, Oberlin, there are plenty of those in this country.

  23. rc48 says

    One wonders how much of the shoplifting is alcohol which the shoplifters would be happy to pay for if it was legal.

    • David of Kirkland says

      All laws that restrict liberty result in crime and reduce intended “bad” actions only slightly, if at all, while increasing actual bad actions. Like getting a fellow older student to buy alcohol, which itself creates a serious felony of distributing alcohol to minors, corrupting minors, and still with underage drinking taking place.

      • DOK

        Do you actually the nonsense you spout or are you just after attention?

  24. R Henry says

    Oberlin Pres: “We will commit every resource to determining the full and true narrative, including exploring whether this is a pattern and not an isolated incident.”

    Incorrect response. This is the role of local law enforcement.

  25. Everett Ross says

    Oberlin is indeed a big deal, but just wait until the Coverdale students win their suit against WaPo! What will the Left do if colleges and the media both have to put facts before political correctness?

    • David of Kirkland says

      The rush to judgment by people who pretend that judging others isn’t good needs good people to fight back.

  26. Everett says

    Oberlin is indeed a big deal, but just wait until the Coverdale students win their suit against WaPo! What will the Left do if colleges and the media both have to put facts before political correctness?

    • Islamaphooey says

      Covington. And I hope you are correct about the outcome.

  27. Pingback: “Our political and media cultures are suffering the effects of too … | Dr. Roy Schestowitz (罗伊)

  28. Francisco d'Anconio says

    Dan did a great job or journalism here. We got the whole story. Everyone else showed up, found what they were looking for and wrote their preconceived pieces accordingly. Were those pieces true? No, but they were accurate, to paraphrase Sally Field in Absence of Malice.

  29. Pingback: Ideology and Facts Collide at Oberlin College | Big Sky Headlines

  30. barry1817 says

    got to love the jury’s decision, and for this school to say it isn’t over. I hope that there is a clause for interest to accrue until the payment is made.

    And if the school goes under because of their actions, no loss, but probably a benefit for the country. One less liberal bastion that hates this country, promotes the hate, fails to educate and weakens our society.

  31. I would like to ask an obvious question – what was Oberlin College’s stake in all this?

    Students committed crimes off-campus against private individuals. Why were administrators ever even involved in the protest?

    If I were on the jury I would keep asking this question – why is Oberlin even involved? What was the dean doing at the protest? Why were they making copies for the protestors? Are their students “special” and deserve not to be punished for crimes?

    That is really where things went off the rails. Administrators at Oberlin forced the college into the middle of all this.

    Even if faculty showed up to the protest, they should have stayed out of leadership and organizing. And certainly made clear they were there in a private capacity. The problem is Oberlin insisted on official support and encouragement to the protestors. It is because of that official role, a role they insisted on taking, they are in the position they are in now.

  32. jaydee says


    You raise a very good point. The assault on Gibson’s has been repeatedly characterized as a “mob frenzy” and a case of “SJWs run amok”, but from the offset it seemed clear to me, at least, that the Oberlin admins viewed the situation as a convenient kind of field training exercise for future activists. They needed a clear-cut victory in order to establish a “teachable moment” and, fortunately, they were denied that. Hopefully the legal precedent this sets will forestall similar “training” at other universities.

  33. Zach says

    “unleash the students on him…” for daring to speak out against their wrongdoing. This one text speaks volumes.

  34. MattK says

    No jail time even though they were beating on a guy lying on the ground. Talk about privilege.

    • Jack B. Nimble says


      Here’s what happened at Gibson’s:

      The male student (Jonathan Aladin) attempted to shoplift 2 bottles of wine and buy 1 bottle with a fake ID. He was challenged by the clerk Allyn Gibson [NOTE: this is the grandson of 90-year old Allyn Gibson, the one in the neck brace] and ordered to remain in the store. Gibson attempted to restrain Aladin and took his picture with a cellphone. Aladin batted the phone away, which struck Gibson in the face.

      Gibson tried to grab Aladin who yelled “Don’t touch me,” broke Gibson’s hold and left the store with two female students (Endia Lawrence, and Cecelia Whettstone). The 2 wine bottles were dropped on the store floor. Gibson pursued the students and allegedly put Aladin in a chokehold. The other students were allegedly trying to free Aladin from Gibson’s chokehold when the police arrived.

      According to the local paper, ‘…..In a 911 call from student Anna Gelver, who later identifies herself to police as a resident assistant at the college, she says a Gibson’s employee [A. Gibson] “is beating up this kid [Aladin] for no reason….They’re wrestling on the street and this kid is trying to get away,” Gelver said on the call. “He’s [Gibson] chasing him down Tappan [Square] and trying to tackle him.”…..’

      The police chose to believe Gibson and not the witnesses including Gelver. No security camera footage exists of the events inside and outside the store, so it is basically the students’ word against the store clerk’s word,

      Bottom Line: most large chain stores prohibit their security personnel from laying their hands on, or pursuing, a suspected shoplifter. By the admission of Allyn Gibson’s father, he did grab and pursue Aladin even though no merchandise ever left the store.


      • E. Olson says

        JBN – wow – so the owner of the store with a number of black employees that has been a fixture in the community for 150 years just chases black customers across the street and wrestles them for no reason – sounds like a clear case of racism in a racist town to me. Damn deplorables – Oberlin college is too good for them. Thanks for straightening this whole thing out of us.

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @E. Olson

          Just to clarify matters, there are 3 generations of Gibsons involved:

          Allyn “grandpa” Gibson–part-owner but not involved in the case, until he showed up in court in a neck brace [see above]

          David Gibson–part-owner but apparently wasn’t working the sales counter during the incident. He did show up and talk to the police shortly thereafter.

          Allyn Gibson–chased and allegedly tackled the shoplifter. Alleged to have posted racial-themed material on Facebook but the judge wouldn’t allow it to be brought up at trial. He is son of David and grandson of Allyn Gibson.

          No one is claiming, AFAIK, that there was no shoplifting involved. However, store clerks have to use ‘reasonable’ methods to detail a suspected shoplifter. If Allyn Gibson did tackle J. Aladin on the street and place him in a choke hold, most persons would consider that unreasonable force:

          ‘….store owners and their employees generally are allowed to detain an individual when they have probable cause to suspect shoplifting. However, any such detention of a suspected shoplifter must be reasonable in length and manner….Whether a detention is considered unreasonable is determined on a case by case basis, but there are factors that can nudge the detention into unreasonable territory quickly……the use of excessive force would be considered unreasonable under many states’ laws….’


          • Geofiz says

            When the cops arrived on the scene they found Allyn Gibson on the ground geting the sh*t kicked out of him by the three shoplifters. No evidence or allegations that Gibson initiated the conflict was ever presented at the trial of the shoplifters. among other charges, they plead guilty to misdemeanor assault. The fact that Aladin (one of the shoplifters) initiated the conflict was never in dispute

            According to the WP:

            Gibson told the students not to leave the store as he pulled out his cell phone to call the police. The students ignored him and started to walk out when Gibson took a photo. Aladin then slapped Gibson’s hand, causing the phone to hit his face. Aladin dropped the two wine bottles. Allyn Gibson grabbed Aladin and there was an altercation. Aladin then ran out of the store, with Allyn Gibson in hot pursuit.

            When Oberlin police arrived at the scene, they found Gibson outside on the ground with Aladin on top of him and the three students hitting him. Aladin, Lawrence, and Whettstone were all arrested. Aladin was initially charged with robbery, which is a second-degree felony, while Whettstone and Lawrence were both charged with first-degree misdemeanor assault. After negotiations, the charges were reduced.

            Allegations that Gibson placed Aladin in a chokehold were never made in court by the defendants. The shoplifters, not Gibson, were charged with assault.

            Just because an Oberlin student or employee makes something up does not make it true. Facts may not matter in the classroom but they do matter in a court of law.

          • Sean Michael Bearly says

            @ Jack B. Nimble: “If Allyn Gibson did tackle J. Aladin on the street and place him in a choke hold, most persons would consider that unreasonable force.”

            I would actually call that “detaining” the suspect. Unreasonable force might be punching him after he was detained. At any rate, that was for the court to decide. The fact that Gibson chased, captured and held Aladin after the latter stole from the store does not make him a racist or even a mean person.

      • Morgan Foster says

        @Jack B. Nimble

        “Bottom Line: most large chain stores prohibit their security personnel from laying their hands on, or pursuing, a suspected shoplifter.”

        More and more police departments are declining to arrest shoplifters because local prosecutors are declining prosecution.

        Pretty soon, we’ll all be able to shoplift with impunity. Is this a great country or what?

        • E. Olson says

          Morgan – you have to understand, the police are also busy NOT enforcing vagrancy laws, public urination/defection laws, drug laws, immigration laws, gun possession laws, and fare jumping laws so they just don’t have time to devote to minor crimes such as shoplifting, car theft, or vandalism.

          • Morgan Foster says

            @E. Olson

            Throughout all of human history, there has never been a better place and time to be a thief.

      • Geary Johansen says

        @ Jack B. Nimble

        A choke hold is not illegal, only bad policy from a policing point of view, because it has some risk of causing harm.

        Most stores prohibit their personnel from pursuing shoplifters because of the legal liability they would face from a legion of fraudsters employing ambulance-chasing lawyers, any safety considerations are secondary at best- but do include the risk of being sued by your employee, for unintended injury.

        • Jack B. Nimble says

          @G J

          The quoted text from ‘findlaw’ says that whether detention of a shoplifting suspect is reasonable has to be determined on a case by case basis. If A. Gibson did as as alleged [grabbed, pursued, tackled and choked J. Aladin], I suspect that most persons would find that unreasonable. Aladin didn’t have a weapon nor did he threaten violence, as far as I know.

          Why didn’t Aladin file a counter lawsuit? Possibly because the police were threatening him with a felony robbery charge–even though small-value shoplifting is generally treated as a misdemeanor in Ohio:

          “…..If charges are filed, the offense charged is Theft (there is no crime in Ohio called “shoplifting”). Theft is generally defined as exerting control over another’s property without their consent. A charge of Theft may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the stolen merchandise…..Typically, shoplifting in Ohio is categorized as a first degree misdemeanor…”

          • Morgan Foster says

            @Jack B. Nimble

            ” If A. Gibson did as as alleged [grabbed, pursued, tackled and choked J. Aladin], I suspect that most persons would find that unreasonable.”

            In the days before there was anything like the judicial system we have now, people dealt with thieves by chasing them into the street and beating them bloody. It was their only recourse, and they very often had the help of local bystanders who, like the shop owner, had a profound dislike for thieves.

            As we now enter a time when police departments and prosecutors decline to punish thieves, I think we will see a greater inclination on the part of “most persons”, i.e., bystanders, to join in to beat and kick a thief into senselessness.

            In the absence of government law enforcement, people not only have a right to take the law into their own hands, but an obligation to do so, for their own safety and the safety of their community.

          • ga gamba says

            Aladin didn’t have a weapon nor did he threaten violence, as far as I know.

            OK. Yet, you also wrote, “Aladin batted the phone away, which struck Gibson in the face.”

            Can you foresee where this comment is headed? You had the opportunity to deconflict that in your noggin, experience a eureka moment, and arrive at a credible explanation. Why you deprived yourself such an epiphany… well, you alone can tell us. Animus toward business owners, maybe? Envy of the successful? Dislike of bakeries? Allegiance to criminals?

            Anyway, perhaps it was Aladin’s genie magic that caused the phone to be “battled” from Gibson’s hand and into his face? Excluding that, and we ought to because genies don’t exist and things spontaneously flying through the air don’t happen, how do you explain the actions that caused the mobile to leave Gibson’s hand, fly through the air, and strike his face? Take us through the steps one, two, three, and so on.

            I think once you work that out, this is the accurate account: Aladin didn’t have a weapon but he did strike Gibson.

            Possibly because the police were threatening him with a felony robbery charge–even though small-value shoplifting is generally treated as a misdemeanor in Ohio

            Yes, there is shoplifting, which in Ohio is called theft. The difference between misdemeanor and felony theft is the item’s value. In Ohio, it’s petty theft when the item’s value is less than $1000.

            Robbery differs from theft not because of value, but because the use of force or the threat of it.

            In Ohio: Robbery (Section 2911.02): It’s a second degree felony to have a deadly weapon or inflict, attempt to inflict, or threaten to inflict physical harm on another while committing or attempting to commit a theft offense, or fleeing after the offense.

            Let’s identify the pertinent part. “inflict, attempt to inflict, or threaten to inflict physical harm on another while committing or attempting to commit a theft offense, or fleeing after the offense.”

            Golly, even fleeing makes it a felony.

            So, the felony charge was not due to value, but due to several actions of violence as well as flight chosen by Aladin. His own stupidity elevated petty theft to at least the second-degree felony of robbery. He may have faced first-degree felony robbery charges had the beating of Gibson been sufficient to “inflict, or attempt to inflict, serious physical harm on another.”

            To reiterate for your benefit: batting the mobile out of Gibson’s hand was the first use of harmful physical force. Fleeing after the offence also occurred. Other harmful physical force actions occurred soon after. So, this transformed mere petty theft (shoplifting) to more serious robbery. How this distinction evaded you is worth examining. Faulty source material? Poor reading comprehension? Attempt to deceive the reader? Care to explain?

            Aladin is lucky the felony charge wasn’t pursued. Perhaps magic exists after all.

  35. Bab says

    The verdict will be appealed, probably successfully, at least on the quantum. Its beyond clear that the quantum was simply ridiculous; there’s no way that the Gibson’s true damages were anything like the millions of dollars that the jury awarded.

    The university isn’t presumptively responsible for the actions of its students. There is a question as to whether, by offering minor logistical support such as letting them use the photocopiers or making them sandwiches, the university is effectively taking responsibility for the things that they say. I am sceptical, myself. However it is probably true that in this instance the university could have done a better job of putting more daylight between its own actions and those of the students.

    The official pronouncements by the college were clearly not defamatory. Its simply not defamatory to say that you are “deeply concerned”. There was one facebook post by the school’s Africana studies department that crossed the line, but that was largely it. The one material claim against a school employee was the allegation that Raimondo handed the reporter the flier that had been published by the students.

    I sympathise with any small business in a college town that has to deal with the histrionic claims of young people who were clearly upset about the 2016 presidential election. But the fact is that the bulk of their losses were caused by the student boycott quite independently of what the college did. The irony of so many comments above is that they consider the boycott of Gibsons illegitimate and unlawful but then go on to say that all prospective college students should boycott Oberlin.

    • Geary Johansen says

      @ Bab

      I agree that Oberlin will appeal the verdict, but disagree with you on virtually every other point. I won’t bother to offer counter-arguments- the article itself offers numerous instances of Oberlin’s egregious conduct. What will likely happen though, is as Oberlin seeks to mitigate their own reputional damage, by refuting the verdict of the jury, they will inevitably see their reputation harmed even further by their own intransigence. Liberal colleges which too boldly proclaim their ‘woke’ credentials, have suffered in terms of enrolment in the past, and will suffer even more so in the future. This becomes especially relevant when one considers that newer enrolment classes are picking courses and institutions more likely to result in well-paid jobs, having taken the lesson from their older contemporaries.

      The phrase ‘Get Woke, Go Broke’ is gaining greater parlance, given that colleges, digital media and even mainstream media companies like CNN, are coming to terms with the fact the overwhelming majority of people in Western countries have views and political sympathies that are completely at odds with the 2% of Twitter users that post 90% of the content. This ‘woke’ bias has even begun to threaten the internal integrity and freedom from government interference of the Tech Giants. Many American might agree that structural disparities exist, but most would class the reasons for these disparities as perverse rather than pernicious and over 80% of Americans would reject the oppressor/oppression narrative peddled by the intersectional feminists out of hand, and as an insult to the most liberal, least oppressive societies in the history of the world. This is why amongst modern women, the percentage self-identifying as feminist has shrunk to single digit figures in most Western countries- especially given that modern feminism cites cultural sensitivity as a reason for not championing the cause of women who live in far more appalling, less privileged conditions throughout the world.

      Hopefully, once 2020 comes and liberals have to face up the prospect of four more years with Domald Trump in office, they will finally face up to the fact that paying lip-service to intersectionality in some cynical attempt to use race, gender and sexuality as a proxy for political beliefs is ultimately doomed to failure. Maybe then they can get back to the far more laudable goal of championing the economically disadvantaged, regardless of race, sex or sexuality.

      • tarstarkas says

        No, the liberals will not face up to facts. They are too cowardly to do so. They have invested too much of the reputation and energy being woke. If Trump is reelected in 2020 they will just say ‘in four years he’ll be gone if we can’t get him out sooner’ and expect to things to get back to normal. And if Pompeo or Nunes or some other fearless Republican gets elected President in 2024, they will again scream ‘collusion! We wuz robbed again!’ and repeat the same BS we’ve been enduring since November 2016. Only accepting results if you win is childish. Only accepting results if you win when you’re an adult is dangerous to the edifice of representative government.

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  37. Tom C says

    I graduated from Oberlin College, and my son graduated not long ago from Oberlin’s Conservatory. We both are more conservative politically than the typical Oberlin student (and faculty member, and senior staff member), and we both loved our time there. Oberlin gave us an excellent education.
    I am very sad this has happened. Some of the comments on this article offer points well taken, and others are just vituperation. There are no winners here, not even the Gibsons. Everybody has lost.

    • E. Olson says

      Tom C – you are correct, but all it would have taken for this to go away would have been a early and clear statement from Oberlin administration to students and staff about “innocent until proven guilty” to reduce or eliminate the unjust protests, and a clear statement of apology to Gibson’s when it became clear that the Oberlin students were guilty of having illegal ID, shoplifting, and assault. Unfortunately there appear to be no adults in the room of Oberlin college administration.

  38. Tricycle says

    That’s probably the most striking and thought-provoking part of the article :

    “The citizens there have lost their manufacturing jobs and saw the value of their homes fall off a cliff in 2008. This has bred a degree of resentment towards the elite colleges in their midst that cost $70K to attend (the price without grants) and now presume to imperil local businesses with ideological vendettas. This is part of what explains this case’s swingeing $44 million award.”

    • William Abbott says

      I looked online. Oberlin College’s endowment in 2018 was $877 million. The college’s administration is unwise to be arrogant, but I guess they can afford it.

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  40. Frank F. says

    “Inflamed with righteous anger”

    Either another qualifier here needed, “inflamed with students’ perceived righteous anger,” or get rid of “righteous” altogether. There was nothing “righeous” about it… at all,.

    • Yes, I noticed that and squirmed at that too. That was a bad mistake in the writing of what was otherwise a pretty good piece.

  41. Ray Andrews says

    Let’s have Diversity: Someone found Wokopolis, the City of Social Justice, and let’s see how things turn out there. They say that Portland is almost Wokopolis already, let’s make it official. Justice will be dispensed by Twitter mobs and by gangs roving the streets, rather comparable to the sharia police in Saudi. And let’s convert some city, probably Baltimore, to Negropolis, the city where Black Lives Matter and every last single person is black. Black citizens will tell black politicians how they want the 100.00% black police force to respond to crime. Somehow tho, if things don’t work out, it will be whitey’s fault, we know that already. Seattle could become Junkietown. Dearborn should be encouraged to declare itself an emirate. Really, let’s experiment.

  42. Geary Johansen says

    @ Jack B. Nimble

    No, but they would have a duty to hold their students responsible for the actions, in terms of criminal activity and defamatory speech. The restriction lies with upon the person responsible for defamation or criminality, not the person who ‘provokes’ it.

    I am sympathetic to your argument in relation to ‘in loco parentis’, but a College is responsible for the actions of its students in the same way that an employer is responsible for their employees, or a bar is responsible for the activities of their customers- much can and will be tolerated, but evidence of clear criminal or civil liability needs to acted upon.

    • Kencathedrus says

      @Geary Johansen: ‘…but a College is responsible for the actions of its students in the same way that an employer is responsible for their employees…’

      Colleges see students as customers and thus have a ‘customer is always right’ attitude. Not only that, there is a high level of cowardice in college administration systems mixed with absolute contempt for lecturers and professors. I worked in one college that actively asked students to inform on their teachers. I would often come in to work and some administrator would come up to me and report to me what students were saying about me behind my back, or ask why I failed a certain student. Students knew that the administration was completely on their side and the unscrupulous ones took full advantage of that. The intelligent students knew what was going on and it frustrated them no-end. Some even quit to study elsewhere.

      What happened was that I could no longer trust my students; even though many of them were excellent people, there were always one or two looking to find ways to hurt me. Without exception these were always mentally unstable women: the angry bossy one, the one who self-cut, the one who had it in for me because I rejected her advances, the old one who resented a younger male teaching her. It was also only the female administrators and faculty that encouraged and perpetuated this culture of informing (thankfully not all the female faculty and staff were like this). The moment I was told by my manager that I exhibited too much ‘male confidence’, I saw the writing on the wall. I wouldn’t have been fired (I had tenure), but I was basically being told I was not welcome there.

      That year, much to my surprise, I was voted ‘Teacher of the Year’ by my students. I was surprised and touched, because I’d been made to believe that my students hated me. Even so, I quit my job soon after. I was too bitter to stay there and a jaded teacher is of no use to his or her students.

      Four years later, I’m now teaching at a small conservative college in the South, and I love it there. It’s poor and underfunded, but the quality of the faculty and staff, and the level of teaching is so much higher there. I get about a third less pay than I used to, but I’m enjoying it too much to care. I can teach the classics again without having to pay lip service to slave narratives and white oppression. I have so much less stress and am able to trust my students again. They are the nicest and most well-behaved students I have ever come across. Many of them come from a Christian background and have been brought up to be polite and generous. I hadn’t expected that at all. Before I taught there I was warned by my more liberal friends that I would hate the South and that it would be full of intolerance, racism and bigotry. However, I found that to be case more in the liberal college I taught at where students were exposed to the soft bigotry of low expectations.

      I apologize for ‘making it about me’ in this post, but I believe the kind of mentality I was confronted with is linked to that found in Oberlin College. Some college professors and administrators have developed an overly-strong maternal instinct towards some of their students and have now become surrogate ‘lawn-mower’ parents. Every obstacle they face is seen as white villainy or oppression of some kind (a rude word, a bad grade, an insensitive remark is viewed as a micro-aggression). The result of all this is that a lot of colleges now seem to listen to only the most easily offended (and verbal) students rather than to the most reasonable ones. Working in that college made me feel like a fraud (students were getting into debt for a crap education), which is ultimately why I left.

      • Geofiz says

        Excellent comment.

        And it brings up an important point. We all talk about the usual suspects: Harvard, Yale , Middlebury, Oberlin Evergreen, etc. when we talk about PC . But there are quite a few “2nd tier colleges, attended largely by students from working class families that are doing quite well . I have hired out of Texas A&M Corpus Christi ( A branch campus of the larger Texas A&M) and have been very pleased with the results.

        On other comment. My son went to a military academy and is career Army. I have visited him many times on base and have met many young soldiers. They largely come from lower middle class families and are the same age as the Oberlin students.

        But they are actually grown-ups. They don’t whine when told to do something or when their feelings are not “validated”. Contrary to what you may think, many do their jobs with very little micromanaging. They are far more mature than their better educated, more financially secure, more privileged counterparts at schools like Oberlin who look down their noses at the soldiers.

        The lower tier universities and the military draw form the same pool of individuals. It is worth giving some thought as to the implications the observations both of Kencathedrus and I..

      • Geofiz says


        Your story IMO, is quite compelling. Have you ever thought about writing a full-fledged article for publication either here or for Heterodox Academy about your experiences?

      • Rev. Wazoo! says

        “Working in that college made me feel like a fraud (students were getting into debt for a crap education), which is ultimately why I left.”

        The fraud is much more to the point than an apparent overweening solicitousness – or even fear of them -of students’ opinions. That fraud is at the heart of the bait-and-switch of selling students, their parents and taxpayers the promise of an education then instead indoctrinating students to be used as disposable pawns to advance the empire building administrators and their grievance studies faculty allies. These last are also often part-time Diversicrats with an eye to increasing that sinecure revenue stream.

        Why teach full time, including the boring intro classes, try to get published, mark papers etc (especially in the lower-paid junior ranks) when you could teach only a plum course or two and draw handsome pay for little work as a Diversicrat? Maybe one day you can ditch the “teaching” totally and get a full-time sinecure while still proudly proclaiming yourself “an educator,” as administrators bogusly claim.

        This alliance abuses students by using them to attack other faculty and staff so as to keep them silent and fearful while the alliance siphons off yet more funds to themselves. The transparency of this is remarkable; the demands they teach their students to make of the university are little more than a shopping list of hiring more administrators and grievance study profs.

        They are accustomed to being a law unto themselves with their own administrative review panels and even kangaroo courts to enforce their dictums and punish any who challenge them.

        This time they used these tactics on a family outside their rigged system and found themselves confronted with a real justice system which, warts and all, seeks to establish the truth of the events rather than the pseudo-one they established and routinely employ for their own benefit. They still seem mystified that thier typical tactics of reputational harm and character assassination didn’t work without their own rigged sytem to lend them credence.

        Meanwhile, as you rightly point ot, the students thus exploited for this naked crony-careerism are cheated of the education they were sold on credit. The alliance doesn’t care as the students will be gone is a couple years and new naive marks are arriving every autumn to be used for further empire building.

      • Geary Johansen says

        @ Kencathedrrus

        Don’t apologise, mate. Your story is deeply moving and a great comment- it mirrors exactly some of the stuff I’ve seen on YouTube, with Jonathan Haidt- the contact numbers for students in bathrooms, to report their professors, was particularly chilling.

        Still, it could be worse. You could live in a country where police officers spend their time putting up flyers in public places, asking citizens to report on each other for offensive speech…

  43. Geary Johansen says

    @ Jack B. Nimble

    Let’s put it this way. If as a boss or business owner, my employees get into an argument over shared parking with an adjacent business, I have no reason to intervene because my authority over them ends when they leave the premises. But if they start blockading the business in there own time, with their cars, then I better act pretty sharpish- because I will get sued and I will lose.

  44. Watching the boy cry like a baby when he was arrested was amusing, ‘nothing like this ever happened to me, can I call my mum?’ he wailed while assuming the victim role like it was his second nature. The female accomplice sat in the car mute and fuming. One of the greater body cam videos on the Tube.

    Anyway, I am just appalled that the dean and everyone from the administration who orchestrated this race hoax didn’t resign immediately after the verdict.

  45. GeorgeQTyrebyter says

    Over and over and over, black kids use the “racism” code word to evade responsibility. They use it to damage servers, white kids, anyone other than themselves. Many black kids are playing the dine-n-dash game, and when called on this, they claim racism. In a recent case, a server at a fast-food restaurant was told not to serve black kids, and she was called a racist, fired, and otherwise slandered. It turns out that there were MULTIPLE complaints of dine-n-dash against the black perps.

    When will blacks stop crying “racism” all the day long?

    • E. Olson says

      George – I guess you aren’t aware that blacks are owed free dinners as reparations for the legacy of slavery.

  46. Cazzieoh says

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at Oberlin’s 1965 commencement, not in 1957.

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  48. Kurt Heinlein says

    Perfect example of the Biblical Proverb; “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” According to the Bible ‘pride’ was the original sin!.

  49. The first sentence defines the problem: “too many opinion-havers and too few fact-finders.’

    We all must commit ourselves to the truth. Sometimes this leads us to difficult ends, but, if we are honest, we learn from those results. It helps us grow as adults, and it can help us forgive others for youthful mistakes.

    What else is there?

  50. Jett Rucker says

    I wonder if, in view of subsequent events, the Gibsons might have ignored the theft of two bottles of wine and chalked its cost up to “college relations,” or “race relations,” or … Ultimately, closing their store, or discontinuing liquor sales might have permitted them to continue in their enterprise.

    The cost of doing business, in today’s political/racial atmosphere.Selling wine has gotten to be a rough business, some places. In fact, just selling.

    • @Jett Rucker,

      If they had ignored the theft, it would have encouraged other students to do the same. They could also have become liable if the police found they turned a blind eye to underaged students aquiring alcohol (In my opinion we should lower the age to 18 when it comes to beer and wine, and keep 21 for all other liquors, it would help prevent these kinds of situations).

  51. Very good article! It’s the sum of most articles I’ve seen, but more in depth. I don’t see where there will be any basis for reduction in monetary punishment. Oberlin has trashed a 135 yr old family business and they show no remorse. Shame.

  52. The irony of this happening at Oberlin though is just delicious. ‘Can’t help it – my Schadenfreude overflows.

  53. Calvin says

    Oberlin was clearly in the wrong. Glad to see they got hit with a huge financial penalty. However, it’s obviously their goal to draw this out as long as possible (their lawyers are already paid for) hoping that Gibson’s either gives in or goes under.

    It’s amusing that the people claiming this is a “dangerous” precedent ignore the obvious: don’t lie about someone and you won’t get sued.

  54. “I feel uncomfortable, therefore the other person is a racist.”

    This is where this whole thing gets so delicious. Why did the person feel uncomfortable? Because his ideas and thoughts weren’t validated? Because she didn’t feel “safe”? Because grown ups weren’t pandering to his endless need to be “seen” and “heard”? Because they treated her like the stranger she is? I went to high school in Finland and teachers weren’t to be questioned. They taught us things and we listened, rarely did we get any real positive feedback, other than high grades – if we earned them. I visited a university in 2017 in Chicago, thinking about enrolling, and I noticed how the teachers were all talking to the students in soft voices, nodding and smiling. At first I couldn’t wrap my brain around what I saw. I had never seen a teacher behave in such a manner. They were like the preschool teachers I met three times a week when I dropped off and picked my kids up. And it all makes sense now, all these student protests and the nonsense that goes with it. Univeristy and college teachers have become preschool teachers and we see the results all around us. Young people feel uncomfortable around grown ups who don’t act like preschool teachers. It’s time to worry.

  55. jmg says

    Fascinating article, well done! The smart admissions departments realize that only chaos is in store for them unless they take corrective actions to shift the nature of their student body. One of the smartest and most rewarding things they could do, is pull more from rural america…

  56. scubajim says

    I saw an excellent video on this whole issue by Leonard French (Lawfull Masses with Leonard French) It is just over 2 hours long. He goes over the whole filing. The other one that is also great is by a Canadian Lawyer Viva Frei Real Lawyer’s Full Explanation of Gibson’s Bakery vs Oberlin College. I am NOT an lawyer, but I found these 2 you tube videos very informative. This article was fantastic also.

  57. Interesting. I have long been of the opinion that these kind of colleges are producing students who are not fit for human purpose as they find themselves running for safe spaces as they are unable to cope with integration into social reality as they see everything in terms of power struggles and have been taught to interpret everything in terms of codified and unconscious manifestations of racism, sexism, homophobia, trans-phobia etc.

    In this story one can see that the college itself is no longer able to integrate with the real world community around it and has become its own institutional bedroom or safe space. One has to ask if such institutions are fit for purpose and ask whether they are responsibly educating students or actually damaging them? Power’s struggles (if you accept them in general principle) are ubiquitous and endless. This gives students a paranoid and very depressing view of the world and their place in it. The result appears to be that neither the students or the institution itself, are now able to cope with and integrate into the real world.

    • @Simon Hodges

      What is also intersting is that the students themselves and the academic institutions are the ones who actively create power struggles where none exist. A bakery can only become an enemy where there is no real enemy, but the ideology demands there must be one. They are essentially battling against shadows of their own creation having read too many books on critical theory. Don Quixote comes to mind.

  58. Asenath Waite says

    I was extremely close to attending Oberlin and had always thought that I probably should have. Now it seems like maybe I made the right choice not to after all. Although maybe it would still have been OK in the late ’90s.

  59. Geofiz says

    The plaintiffs (Gibson’s) have published an FAQ in response to that published by Oberlin. I tis long but definitely worth reading. They cite testimony by show emails from Oberlin staff that directly contradicts statements in Oberlin’s FAQs.

    In other words Oberlin is still lying and it can be proved


    • ga gamba says

      @Geofiz, thanks for posting that. The lawyers’ 58-page FAQ,, is an excellent read.

      They cite testimony by show emails from Oberlin staff that directly contradicts statements in Oberlin’s FAQs.

      Indeed. Now Oberlin is attempting to spin the issue as free speech, yet during the protest VP Raimondo and Julio Reyes, the Assistant Director of the College’s Multicultural Resource Center, repeatedly tried to interfere with a reporter’s recording of the demonstration and the College’s former Director of Security taking photos of the events. Raimondo was holding a “half stack of paper ream” of flyers in her hands, of of which was given to the reporter, and the others to student demonstrators to pass out to the public. Reyers, also holding a stack, used the same flyer to block photos being taken of the public event.

      Several witnesses testified that Raimondo was often on the megaphone “orchestrating” in public the students’ protests. Further, her office even bought winter gloves for the students to wear whilst passing out the defamatory flyers accusing Gibson’s of racism. The university repeatedly allowed the students to photocopy those same flyers free of charge.

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