A Good Start
A Good Start by James Howard Kunstler
Campus Wokesters with boundary problems got “woke” for real on Thursday when an Ohio jury laid an additional $33-million for punitive damages on top of $11-million in compensatory damages already awarded against Oberlin College for running a “social justice” campaign to ruin the business of a four-generation small-town bakery that followed the shoplifting arrest of three black Oberlin College students there in 2016.
The precipitating incident happened the day after the presidential election when the Oberlin College campus suffered a collective emotional breakdown over the election results. Gibson’s Bakery and Food Mart, on the Oberlin town square, also sells wine and deli products and has been a fixture in downtown Oberlin for generations. The three students first tried to buy wine with fake ID and, failing to do that, attempted to walk out with two bottles. They were followed outside by one of the Bakery family members, Allyn Gibson. A fight ensued. Police arrested the kids. The college’s attempt to steer the case out of the court system failed. The three students eventually pleaded guilty in August 2017 to theft and aggravated trespassing, and were required by their plea agreements to declare that they had behaved wrongfully and that the bakery was not a racist establishment.
In the event, Oberlin College Dean of students, Meredith Raimondo, had organized students, faculty, and staff to mount days of demonstrations outside Gibson’s Bakery, accusing it of racism and systematic profiling of black students. At times, Ms. Raimondo appeared to lead the demonstration with a bullhorn, and handed out leaflets labeling Gibson’s as “racist.” The college also dropped its business arrangement with Gibson’s, which had supplied the college with donuts and bagels for decades. Gibson’s then sued both Oberlin College, and Ms. Raimondo in particular, for libel and for attempting to ruin its business.