June 08, 2019

Oberlin College loses to Baker

Timothy Birdnow

Finally - some sanity prevails in the Social Justice jungle.

From Legal Insurrection:

Meredith Raimondo was held liable on the libel and interference with business relations, but not intentional infliction of emotional distress. By stipulation, the college is responsible for any amounts awarded against her, so she will not pay anything out of pocket.

We followed this case from the start of the protests, through the lawsuit process, and now trial. Here’s my statement:

The verdict sends a strong message that colleges and universities cannot simply wind up and set loose student social justice warriors and then wash their hands of the consequences. In this case, a wholly innocent 5th-generation bakery was falsely accused of being racist and having a history racial profiling after stopping three black Oberlin College students from shoplifting. The students eventually pleaded guilty, but not before large protests and boycotts intended to destroy the bakery and defame the owners. The jury appears to have accepted that Oberlin College facilitated the wrongful conduct against the bakery.

The actual damages awarded amount to 11 million, but there could be punitive damages as high as 33 million awarded to the bakery.

Universities cannot simply declare Jihad against people or institutions and not expect to be held to account. They take responsibility for their students in other avenues, going so far as to punish students for behavior off campus and even comments on social media, but they don't want to accept responsibility for crusades ginned up by professors or professional agitators on campus. It's time we start making these leftist mobsters pay the price.

Oberlin College had this to say in a blast e-mail:

We are disappointed with the verdict and regret that the jury did not agree with the clear evidence our team presented.

Neither Oberlin College nor Dean Meredith Raimondo defamed a local business or its owners, and they never endorsed statements made by others. Rather, the College and Dr. Raimondo worked to ensure that students’ freedom of speech was protected and that the student demonstrations were safe and lawful, and they attempted to help the plaintiffs repair any harm caused by the student protests.

As we have stated, colleges cannot be held liable for the independent actions of their students. Institutions of higher education are obligated to protect freedom of speech on their campuses and respect their students’ decision to peacefully exercise their First Amendment rights. Oberlin College acted in accordance with these obligations.

While we are disappointed with the outcome, Oberlin College wishes to thank the members of the jury for their attention and dedication during this lengthy trial. They contributed a great deal of time and effort to this case, and we appreciate their commitment.

Our team will review the jury’s verdict and determine how to move forward.

Donica Thomas Varner
Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary

End

So, they promote free speech to the point of closing down a business, but aren't liable?  Seems like they want to have it both ways. 

UPDATE: Oberlin claims their
insurance won't cover the judgment.

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