A bakery in Ohio is suing Oberlin college after the college took action against them in the wake of false racism claims. The outrageous claims stem from an incident inside of their store where Allyn Gibson was assaulted as three students of the Oberlin college were caught attempting to steal goods from the establishment. Gibson Food Mart and Bakery filed the lawsuit on the seventh of November.
Jonathan Aladin was one of those students, as he was caught trying to smuggle two bottles of wine out of the Gibson family store. When Allyn Gibson tried to detain Aladin, he took off running and she followed in hot pursuit. The police arrived and hauled Aladin off to jail and charged the Oberlin student with robbery.
Students of the school who believed this was an incident of racial profiling and that Aladin was targeted because of his race held a protest outside of the store in the days following the incident. Oberlin College deans, faculty and staff were in attendance at the protest, which was aimed at stopping customers from patronizing the bakery.
Then, on the fourteenth of November in 2016, Oberlin college announced that it would no longer do business with the Bakery. The protests lasted for days until huge numbers of people turned out to support Gibson Food Mart and Bakery.
Oberlin College also demanded that the Gibson family contact the school when students from Oberlin were caught stealing, and not to alert authorities. This ridiculous demand by the college was included in the suit. Furthermore, the college also stated it would be open to resuming business with the Bakery if they agreed not to press charges on the criminal students whom they caught stealing.
Supporters flooded the store to make purchases in support of the family owned and operated business. Those who showed up believed the Gibson’s family store was unfairly accused of racism because they stopped a criminal from stealing booze from the store. Some drove from 50 miles away to show their support. Many motorcycles lined the front of the stores parking when a biker club showed up to show their support by buying up donuts.
The suit is asking for over $50,000 in damages from Oberlin College. Charges include “tortious interference with business relationships, tortious interference with contracts, deceptive trade practices, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent hiring retention and supervision and trespass.” The suit names Oberlin College as well as Meredith Raimondo who is a Dean of Students at the college. The suit was filed in Lorrain County Common Pleas Court.
The college may have had a more sinister motive for fueling the outrage, withholding their business and condoning the protests. Oberlin college may be motivated by their desire to control a parking lot next to the bakery. David Gibson holds controlling interest in the company which owns the lot. If the family bakery failed, this asset may have come up for grabs to the delight of Oberlin College.
Meredith Raimando is currently entangled in another lawsuit regarding her position on the nominating committee of the American Studies Association, for her role in facilitating an anti-Israel boycott back in 2013.
Since the incident the Aladin, the wine bandit, has plead guilty to the charges against him. This plea further illustrates that the Gibson Family was justified in their actions. The reaction of the school and their ridiculous demands are signs of their incompetence. Colleges around the country have been criticized for classifying perpetrators of crime as victims. This has exasperated social issues and excused criminal behavior.
As of January, the college has resumed business with the Bakery but tensions remain. The suit is still moving forward. This may have a positive impact if the Gibson family is successful in their libel suit. It could serve as a real warning to colleges who manufacture outrage and make false claims against businesses. As of now, Oberlin College is denying the accusations in their entirety, and plans to defend itself against all of them in court.
The motive of the college to stage these protests is still unclear. One thing is certain, stopping shoplifters from stealing wine from your establishment is not racist, it is a good business practice. Furthermore, the Oberlin Colleges’ attempt to coerce the Gibson family store into not turning in criminal students is unethical and only serves to further condone criminal behavior.