After a jury awarded Gibson’s Bakery and its owners $11 million in compensatory damages, and $33 million in punitive damages (which likely will be reduced to $22 million under a state law capping damages at 2X compensatory damages), the college and its administrators are unapologetic and vowing to fight.

The President of Oberlin College, Carmen Twillie Ambar, just sent this blast email (h/t commenter rhhardin):

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.

We will take the time we need to thoughtfully consider the course that is in Oberlin’s best interests. I will update the community as we make these decisions. I am confident that when we resolve this matter, it will look substantially different than it looks today.

We are disappointed in the jury’s decisions and the fragmentary and sometimes distorted public discussion of this case. But we respect the integrity of the jury, and we value our relationship with the town and region that are our home. We will learn from this lawsuit as we build a stronger relationship with our neighbors.

This has been a remarkable year for the college and conservatory. There is unprecedented unity around an ambitious new vision for Oberlin. The work of fulfilling that vision is already underway. Long after this lawsuit has receded from memory, that work will shape Oberlin’s future. I appreciate the contributions so many of you have made, your perspective at this important time, and the commitment you have shown to what matters most for Oberlin.


Carmen Twillie Ambar

This stands in contrast to the conciliatory tone taken by Oberlin College in arguing no punitive damages were needed:

“You have spoken,” said Oberlin College attorney Rachelle Kuznicki Zidar to the jury. “You have sent a profound message. We have heard you, and believe me, colleges across the country have heard you,” She also looked at the Gibson family and said, “The college doesn’t hate you.”

In a move I’ve never seen by a college or university, Oberlin College has moved its Twitter account to “protected”:

[Update 5:15 p.m. – Oberlin College has removed the protection of its account]

This comes after Oberlin College several days ago blocked journalist Andy Ngo:

[Featured Image: Via YouTube]


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