Oberlin's cultural rot went far beyond SJW politics into a 'culture of theft'
In the wake the landmark $44-million verdict against Oberlin College for defaming a five-generation family business, information is coming to light about the behavior of students and administrators at that once respectable institution that is simply appalling. As throughout the entire story, Legal Insurrection is owed a huge thank-you for its deep dive into the evidence.
As revealed in a tweet from L.I., a 2017 article in a student publication at Oberlin, The Grape, discussed the predominance (over 80%!) of Oberlin students in shoplifting arrests in that small Ohio city.
Culture of corruption - large percentage of shoplifting arrests were Oberlin College students (82.5%), what student mag called the Oberlin College "Culture of Theft" (mag not admitted in evidence, stats were)https://t.co/2nCQ0UQbi4 pic.twitter.com/YQhmAPR1ez— Legal Insurrection (@LegInsurrection) June 15, 2019
Let me restate this.
Oberlin students acted as predators on the larger community. The pervasiveness of the student culture that regarded shopkeepers as prey is indicated by the admission of the author that he himself had stolen from the people he interviewed. These students, whose yearly costs of attending Oberlin (>$70K) far exceed the average income of the surrounding community (<$55K), care not a whit about the people who work long and hard to serve them — all the time pretending that they are interested in "social justice."
Aerial view of Oberlin campus (YouTube screen grab).
I suppose they have learned that capitalism (or even property itself) is theft, that the "bourgeoisie" (like the Gibson family) are exploiters, and that they are entitled to "liberate" property from them.
For its part, Oberlin doesn't seem to have regarded this predatory behavior as anything to apologize for to the larger community being victimized by its students. As a number of people have noted, the college blamed Gibson's for the problem in a court filing. Via the New York Times:
Oberlin tried to distance itself from the protesters in court papers, saying it should not be held responsible for their actions. It blamed the store for bringing its problems on itself.
"Gibson bakery's archaic chase-and-detain policy regarding suspected shoplifters was the catalyst for the protests," the college said. "The guilt or innocence of the students is irrelevant to both the root cause of the protests and this litigation."
The language "archaic chase-and-detain" means that Oberlin's position is that Gibson's and other merchants should just accept their role as prey and take it.
As revealed in another tweet from L.I., Oberlin wanted its students to be granted something akin to extraterritoriality, exempt from law enforcement action in the town of Oberlin, subject only to whatever discipline, or lack thereof, Oberlin College determined to be appropriate:
David Gibson: Oberlin College wanted bakery to drop charges against students to get business back, and set up special procedure for student shoplifters at Gibson's Bakery -- call college not police https://t.co/zbXWenYSDf pic.twitter.com/ZviRF36cVe— Legal Insurrection (@LegInsurrection) June 15, 2019
Of course, if the "archaic chase-and-detain" approach is not used, there may be no way to identify the individuals who were thieves. For Oberlin, that doesn't seem to matter.
No wonder the jury exceeded the guidelines for punitive damages. This is utterly appalling — a cancer on social order.