Well, this is certainly brazen.
As I reported yesterday, Oberlin College got hit with punitive damages of $33M for coordinated attacks by their employees and students on a local bakery. The back story boils down to the fact that this bakery tried to stop three people from shop-lifting some wine. This led to sustained attacks, spurned on by #blacklivesmatters, based on false accusations of racism that caused serious harm to the business.
Fox 8 in Cleveland covers the bases here.
A member of the Gibson family stopped an African American student who was shoplifting in their store. The shoplifter later admitted to the crime.
In demonstrations afterwards, other students labeled the Gibsons as racist and portrayed their action as racially motivated.
The demonstrators demanded the school end a long-standing contract with the bakery to provide baked goods for a cafeteria there, and the college acquiesced, even though the evidence showed that administrators knew the family’s actions were not racially-motivated and after receiving messages from alumni and supporters of the Gibsons insisting the college intervene with the smear tactics of the students.
The $33M in damages award punitively yesterday will likely be reduced to $22M due to how the law works. When added to the original $11M judgement, total damages will return to $33M.
This has Oberlin college poor-mouthing about how such a judgement will hurt their student body and others not directly involved in the activities in question.
“A punitive damages award will impact people that had nothing to do with this process, nothing to do with these events — moneys going from Oberlin College to students who could not otherwise afford an education,” said Oberlin College attorney Rachelle Kuznicki Zidar.
One, they should have thought about that before doing what they did. The fact that a punishment may cause harm to other parties at the school is not an excuse for the punishment to not exist. Oberlin made their bed and now they must be made to lie in it.
Secondly, this is absolute nonsense. Take one guess how big Oberlin’s endowment is.
Total endowed funds as of June 30, 2018 were $887.4 million, as compared to $820.3 million the previous year, an increase of $67.1 million. In comparison, total endowed funds increased by $66.8 million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017, from $753.5 million at June 30, 2016.
Now, I understand that endowments are used as investments to generate returns for operations and some scholarship programs. But the idea that a $33M judgement is going to have any tangible effect on their ability to serve their students is ridiculous. With an endowment of $887.4M that is growing by over $60M a year, there is a lot of money to burn there if needed. They are not spending every dime in investment returns on student operations, which is why the endowment is growing year over year.
The only way students are hurt by this is if Oberlin chooses to hurt them over this. It’s obscene to see this dumpster of a university try to poor-mouth after a just settlement while sitting on almost a billion dollars. The time for worrying about their students was before they took part in the scheme they propagated.
Some of these schools simply don’t deserve to exist anymore. They’ve become useless, cesspools of illiberal thought that simply put their students into massive debt for degrees that aren’t worth the investment in the first place.
Oberlin is going to appeal and are already responding defiantly that this isn’t the end of the story. If there’s any justice in our system, they’ll not be relieved of a single dime of the judgement against them. It’s vital that a lesson is learned here and that an example is made.
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