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Oberlin Doesn't Have to Pay $36M, at Least for Now

August 11, 2022

Oberlin College doesn't have to pay a bakery $36 million, for now, under an Ohio Supreme Court decision issued Tuesday, reported.

The case started in 2016, when Allyn Gibson caught three Black Oberlin students stealing wine from Gibson's Bakery, which is located near the college. The students claimed racism. The fallout led to student protests, elevated by then dean of students, Meredith Raimondo, who handed out fliers protesting the bakery, and Oberlin's student government, which passed a resolution accusing the bakery of a history of racial discrimination.

In 2017, the bakery sued Oberlin, claiming the college had hurt its reputation.

In April, an Ohio appeals court upheld a verdict against the college.

The judge who initially heard the case had settled on a verdict of $25 million, plus $6 million for Gibson's lawyers. That amount has increased to $36 million with interest.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruling was only a few lines and contained no legal reasoning.

Oberlin has maintained that while it is pursuing further appeals, it should not have to pay.

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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