Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College: “The jury held accountable an unhinged progressive activist college …
… that lost concern for the lives of working people in its community” — My column in The Wall Street Journal.
I have a column in The Wall Street Journal regarding a case you *might* have heard of, Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College.
Here’s an excerpt from Oberlin Pays for Smearing the Town Grocer:
On a different campus on a different day, it is unlikely a simple shoplifting case would have gained much attention. But the incident occurred the day after Donald Trump was elected president, in the wake of which Oberlin students appeared ready to build on the school’s history of left-wing activism to exercise their angst. Thus this otherwise unexciting crime became their cause célèbre….
This historic case received scant media attention during the trial. My publication, Legal Insurrection, was the only national outlet to be present for the entire trial, because we felt Gibson Bros. v. Oberlin College was emblematic of tensions in American culture, particularly the “town vs. gown” divide that pits activist colleges against the places that host them.
In this case, Oberlin students and administrators appeared happy to smear a family-run institution in pursuit of a “social justice” agenda. Ignoring the facts, they attempted to destroy a business without concern for the damage they were inflicting on a family and workers in their own community….
The Gibson family showed that, using the legal system, it is possible to fight back and win. The verdict in Gibson Bros. v. Oberlin confirms that colleges and universities aren’t immune from accountability for participating in aggressive activism among their students, especially when that activism is built on lies and smears.
For Oberlin, it didn’t have to end this way. At the height of the controversy, the Gibson family says it asked the school to send a letter to students reiterating what had already become clear: The bakery didn’t engage in racial profiling. Administrators refused. Had the college agreed to refute the baseless claims of racism, it is unlikely that the Gibson family would have pursued the matter in court.
The verdict is in, and it regards more than money. The jury held accountable an unhinged progressive activist college that lost concern for the lives of working people in its community.
[This will be in the print version on Thursday. If anyone gets the print version and could send me a photo/scan, that would be great.]
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