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VIDEO: Things You Don’t Know That Led To The Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College Verdict

VIDEO: Things You Don’t Know That Led To The Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College Verdict

“You have a long history of a weak administration which appears to be fearful of the students … and tries to redirect when it can student anger towards something else other than the administration.” That something else in November 2016 was Gibson’s Bakery.

As you probably know by now, the $32 million verdict in favor of Gibson’s Bakery against Oberlin College and former Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo was upheld by a appeals court in Ohio. Details are in my post just after the appellate decision was rendered, Appeals Court Upholds Gibson’s Bakery Massive Verdict Against Oberlin College. We await the likely attempt by the defendants to convince the Ohio Supreme Court to take the case, which is discretionary.

Multiple readers sent me the link to a fair and insightful column by Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman, Colleges Should Pay Heed to Oberlin’s Costly Libel Case: “If colleges still thought there was little risk in taking up their students’ causes, they should reconsider in light of what has happened to Oberlin College.”

Reading that column, I recalled my own analysis in a speech at the James Wilson Institute given in November 2019, explaining the background that a lot of people don’t know. So I thought I’d re-up that post and video, particularly since we have a lot of new readers in the past two-and-one half years since that speech.

So here it is:

VIDEO — Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College: Identity Politics on Trial

On November 1, 2019, I gave a lecture for the James Wilson Institute, titled Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin: Identity Politics on Trial. The lecture was held at the Hillsdale College center in D.C.

JWI delivered a special treat for attendees, Gibson’s Bakery cookies!

photo by WAJ

Fortunately, the video was not yet running so there are no images of me wolfing down the cookies double-handed style.

The cookie order was accompanied by this note from Lorna Gibson (David Gibson’s wife) with some of the other items sold at the store.

photo by waj

photo by waj

The video of the lecture is below. I don’t have a transcript.

I covered my theory of why you cannot understand the reaction to the shoplifting arrests unless you understand the history of social justice warfare at Oberlin College, and weak and complicit involvement of the prior administration. I then walked through various incidents we have covered, particularly The Great Oberlin College Racism Hoax of 2013, that predated the Gibson protests. I also spent a lot of time talking about Oberlin College’s perplexing and offensive demonization of the bakery and the Gibson family, both before and at trial. I discussed some of the evidence in the case, but my job was not to argue for or against the verdict, but to understand it.

The lecture was followed by a question and answer session that covered not only the case, but some of my experiences at Cornell.

Here you go:

[Featured Image: The late David Gibson explaining shoplifting incident][via police body cam video]


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smalltownoklahoman | April 9, 2022 at 9:37 pm

Fingers crossed that if Oberlin does appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court that it will be slapped down there as well followed by a refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

    Anybody know the bond requirement for further appeal?

    There’s nothing for the US Supreme Court to hear. This is entirely a state law case; the Ohio Supreme Court is as high as it can go.

      freddy33 in reply to Milhouse. | April 10, 2022 at 11:39 am

      They can appeal to the US Supreme Court. An example of such an appeal is Gore v BMW which came from the Alabama Supreme Court.

        Milhouse in reply to freddy33. | April 10, 2022 at 3:35 pm

        BMW v Gore, actually, because the Supreme Court names cases appellant v respondent. That case became federal because BMW challenged the validity of the state law allowing such large punitive damages. Ohio’s already capped the damages, so there’s no prospect of that.

          freddy33 in reply to Milhouse. | April 10, 2022 at 3:38 pm

          The reverse is possible, The Ohio cap takes away judicial discretion.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | April 11, 2022 at 1:38 am

          1. There’s nothing in the US constitution that requires the states to give their judiciaries discretion.

          2. The Gibsons have said they’re not appealing the decision to uphold the cap,

      The_Mew_Cat in reply to Milhouse. | April 12, 2022 at 9:47 am

      My understanding is to make a federal appeal, they have to raise a federal question. They can make a first amendment claim, but I doubt it would stick. But you never know? A leftist district court judge who graduated from Oberlin might accept such a claim.

JohnSmith100 | April 9, 2022 at 10:07 pm

I still think that Oberlin College administrator coveted Gibson’s real estate, and that they inteneded to drive the Gibsons into bankruptcy, followed by picking up all that property for a song.

No amount of money can compensate for what they did to the Gibson’s.

Dolce Far Niente | April 9, 2022 at 10:08 pm

When I read about weaponized college students and their vicious antics, I am reminded of Pol Pot and his use of teenagers in the brutal destruction of the intellectual class in Cambodia.

    It’s really disturbing how so much of what these people do and talk reflects some really horrible people.

    There was a tweet in the NZ political context recently, attacking the “social damage” done by the opposition party… doing exactly what opposition parties are supposed to do. Can’t question the government, that’s bad for the country.

Those cookies look delicious

    henrybowman in reply to gonzotx. | April 9, 2022 at 11:50 pm

    I tried to order some (against my doctor’s advice) last September during the last round of appeals. The website said:

    Back in stock!
    Butter Cookies Chocolate Fudge (Qty 1 box)
    Out of stock

    Bit of a mixed message there.
    Hope to try one someday.
    (Hope to eat all of them, but I fear my doctor.)

      The_Mew_Cat in reply to henrybowman. | April 12, 2022 at 9:50 am

      You can always put them in the freezer and eat them slowly. That is what I do after I make a cookie run every 2-3 weeks or so to The Upper Crust in Middleburg VA.

    danvillemom in reply to gonzotx. | April 10, 2022 at 12:49 am

    They are….we actually stopped by in 2020 on our midwest road trip.

    I had some shipped to my son amidst the trial. He said they were!

I am looking forward to listening to the long video, which may cover the following.

In late 2015, a group of Black students presented the college with 14 pages of non-negotiable demands, which I read and had brief contact with Krislov about – because I thought they were way out of line and he might have needed some support. In early 2016, he refused to respond and that appeared to be the end of it.

However, my guess is that this may have set the stage for appeasing students, unless it could not be done, as in that earlier situation. IMO that may have contributed to the Gibson’s response by the college and Krislov’s departure soon thereafter. (He had had enough.)

    Olinser in reply to jb4. | April 10, 2022 at 3:31 am

    The professor did indeed cover it in this video (somewhat briefly), and his main takeaway was that the president didn’t refuse to respond. He rejected it on the grounds that they were ‘demands’ instead of the product of ‘engagement’.

    Essentially signaling that they were weak and would absolutely consider bowing to racist student demands, as long as they weren’t actually ‘demands’.

One take away is Gibson’s may well NEVER recover.

    Financially they should come out OK, but I bet their perspective is the old line, “Where do I go to get my reputation back.” They made that clear from the start in their early, no-cash settlement offer, that their reputation is what mattered, not money. What else would you expect from a 130 year old small town business?

    Gosport in reply to maxmillion. | April 9, 2022 at 11:34 pm

    $32 million buys a lot of recovery.

    They may not continue making cookies for the useful idiots of Oberlin College but who really looses in that case?

    Take the money and buy a Dominoes franchise or two.

      The Gibson Family’s net will be much less than $32 Million.

      First, their lawyers will need to be paid, perhaps somewhere between 33% and 50% of the gross.

      Next, the lawyers’ out of pocket expenses will need to be paid for, and

      Finally, the federal and Ohio income tax will have to be paid.

Excellent speech and follow-up questions. This should be the first place to go for anyone who wants to dig into this case. There is no shortage of information here at LI.

Is Gibsons closed?

I went to the site and they aren’t selling anything

“We don’t have any products to show here right now.”

a) Oberlin believes it is a first amendment case.

b) No one else does.

There is no doubt, none at all, that the college was using the students as ideological storm troopers. Listening to the college instructors was listening to a sports coach. They wanted to destroy Gibson’s because it represented America to them…and they hate America.