… have gotten those schools into plenty of trouble. Hired to think and act in terms of social justice, some of these people turn out to be bullies who like to lead Children’s Crusades against perceived enemies.
For Oberlin’s demagogue, the enemy was a bakery. Her vicious crusade against its blameless owners ended up costing that school $36 million.
Stanford’s person led a group of law students in shouting down and forcing out of the room a visiting judge.
Stanford’s dean is not only appalled by this inane and ignorant behavior; she has put the demagogue on leave and apologized to the judge. She has also condemned, in a lengthy letter, the idiots who followed the fool’s lead, and she has mandated, for all current law students, a seminar in free speech.
Meanwhile, some conservative judges are planning to boycott all Stanford law grads if they apply for internships in their offices. Some of those applicants from Stanford will of course be conservatives, which is just too damn bad for them.
So … we can expect smart conservative law school applicants to decide not to apply to Stanford.
It’s such a small crime, and the jails are already full, and hell just let em go. The results have been spectacular if you’re a fan of neighborhoods with no stores in them, and the president and trustees at Oberlin, faced with their own neighborhood shoplifting problem, wasted no time expressing the same contempt for archaic law-abiders/merchandise retainers as their model, one-time SF DA Chesa Boudin.
An archaic local bakery, on discovering an Oberlin student shoplifting, viciously accused him of the crime, and then, when he denied it, proved its truth by approaching him and opening his jacket, in which two stolen wine bottles were hidden.
The crude, reactionary nature of the bakery’s response to the theft of its merchandise outraged Oberlin, which, under the organization of one of its deans, so relentlessly harassed the business – tagged as racist – that it practically collapsed.
The business sued Oberlin and won big – a way-angry jury awarded the bakery 44 million in damages, which a judge reduced to 36 mill. Oberlin proceeded to fail to pay, sending the suit to higher courts and failing upwards, and now Ah fuck it ok we’ll pay. Though where in our measly ONE BILLION DOLLAR endowment we’ll find it I don’t know…
Oberlin College packs up its legal baggage and moves on from the Ohio Supreme Court to – I don’t know – the United States Supreme Court …? The European Court of Human Rights …? in a pointless, expensive quest to evade an already-crushing penalty for having bullied a venerable, much-loved local bakery practically out of business. The Ohio Supreme Court rejected Oberlin’s appeal without comment because nu? You did the deed; you never even attempted an apology; you hired the airhead apparatchik dean who made the magic happen. Own it, babe.
But that was 2019. Little Oberlin’s endowment currently stands at $1.09 billion.
A few years ago, Oberlin College did a hell of a lot of damage to a local bakery – falsely accused it of racism, got tons of people to boycott it – and a jury’s decision that it pay the bakery $33 million in compensation doesn’t sit at all well with the school. But the decision has been upheld; the school’s only option at this point is to kick things up to the Ohio Supreme Court… or hey, maybe the US Supreme Court would like to air, for the nation and the world, a billion dollar school’s vicious attack on a local small business.
Let’s wait and see what Oberlin decides to do. Not paying will expose it to yet further penalties, one assumes; so it can’t do nothing forever. I’m figuring an Ohio court at any level will share the outrage of an Ohio jury in regard to the arrant vileness of Oberlin’s behavior. I doubt the Supreme Court would look at the case. And, you know, Oberlin has enough money in its endowment to pay what it owes.
It’d be nice if they concluded something humane and useful for themselves as a result of all of this, but that ain’t gonna happen. Mob rule will prevail.
UD thanks David.
It’s been a long sit-down, but an appeals court has topped off the college v. bakery court case with a flourish: Gibson’s will indeed be served an abundant money feast from Oberlin (background here). So: bitter for Oberlin, sweet for Gibson’s.
The main miscreant in the matter, a VP at the school who sicced a student mob on an innocent local bakery (screamed all over town it was racist, organized a boycott, when all it did was confront a shoplifting Oberlin student), has moved on to generate her own particular form of magic at Oglethorpe. No doubt she is as we speak scanning commercial life in Atlanta to find a cafe against which she can organize a student mob. The obscenity she staged at Oberlin will cost the school thirty mill; here’s hoping Oglethorpe has a large legal payout fund.
At a time when there is so much actual injustice around us — third-rate schools, mass incarceration, immigrants dehumanized — it’s bizarre to see student activists inflamed by sushi or valorizing a shoplifter. This is kneejerk liberalism that backfires and damages its own cause.
In court, one of the College’s attorneys, Rachelle Zidar, argued that the College and [the dean of students] did not seek to injure [Gibson’s Bakery] but rather the pause [in their business relationship] was meant to diffuse tensions that had built within the student body.
Pending an appeal, that’s their only move.
This is one angry jury; they just added $33 million in damages. See this post for details.
Why are they so angry? I’m gonna go ahead and guess.
- Most people really hate bullies.
- The jury perceives itself to be defending not just a family but a way of life, and the reputation of its community (which, by the way, voted for Hillary Clinton). These are things they take very seriously.
- Oberlin has throughout this fiasco handled things with the delicacy, kindness, and rationality of Donald Trump. In the way of Trump, it has basically, and repeatedly, dismissed the jury as losers. The jury did not take this well.
Oberlin at this point desperately needs an outside public relations firm. But apparently it is too clueless even to realize that.
UD thanks tp.
Quite true, and this Tablet writer captures the real scandal at Oberlin, which is similar to the real scandal at Florida Atlantic University, and at the University of Colorado: How do hiring committees at American universities end up appointing vicious ideologues? What sort of hiring committee says We want to expose our students to sadists and knaves, and this is a sadist and a knave? How can we account for the regular emergence among the American professoriate of liars and moral idiots?
UD thinks the outcome only seldom has to do with what you might call fanatic affinity. It seems unlikely to her that there are other people on hiring committees who think the Sandy Hook massacre was a government-created charade intended to destroy our gun rights, or that the people killed on 9/11 deserved it, or that the 9/11 plotters were Jews. It seems far more likely to UD that colleges and universities end up with cretinous conspiracy theorists because their hiring committees, for some jobs, are lazy. They don’t read applicants’ writing (including blogs) with any care, or, if they do read, they don’t understand what they are reading.
At some universities, no one much cares who teaches the soft stuff – ethnic studies, communications, composition. Internal standards in these sorts of fields may be as low as they are in the courses designed for football and basketball players. Indeed, some of these are the fields into which the jocks are herded – especially communications. No one should be surprised when actually examining what some of these people write uncovers the political grotesque.
But what are you going to do? FAU and Colorado are big jock schools; it’s as important to them as it is to Auburn and the University of North Carolina to keep the course scam going one way or another. They’re not exactly going to start scrutinizing content and instructor.
As for Oberlin — damned if I know.
… makes the same point I make at the beginning of my Teaching Company talk on how to write well. She headlines her post WE ARE ALL WRITERS NOW. Excerpts:
… [W]ith more than 200m people on Facebook and even more with home internet access, we are all writing more than we would have ten years ago. Those who would never write letters (too slow and anachronistic) or postcards (too twee) now send missives with abandon, from long thoughtful memos to brief and clever quips about evening plans. And if we subscribe to the theory that the most effective way to improve one’s writing is by practicing—by writing more, and ideally for an audience—then our writing skills must be getting better.
… My friends and I write more than we used to, often more than we talk. We correspond with each other and to colleagues, school teachers, utility companies. We send e-mails to our local newspaper reporters about their stories; we write to magazine editors to tell them what we think. And most of us do labour to write well: an e-mail to a potential romantic partner is laboriously revised and edited (no more waiting by the phone); a tweet to a prospective employer is painstakingly honed until its 140 characters convey an appropriate tone with the necessary information. A response to our supervisor’s clever status update on Facebook is written carefully, so to keep the repartee going. Concision and wit are privileged in these new forms. Who would not welcome shorter, funnier prose?
… [T]he quality of many blogs is high, indistinguishable in eloquence and intellect from many traditionally published works.
Our new forms of writing—blogs, Facebook, Twitter—all have precedents, analogue analogues: a notebook, a postcard, a jotting on the back of an envelope. They are exceedingly accessible. That it is easier to cultivate a wide audience for tossed off thoughts has meant a superfluity of mundane musings, to be sure. But it has also generated a democracy of ideas and quite a few rising stars, whose work we might never have been exposed to were we limited to conventional publishing channels…
They could have apologized long long ago
Or filed no appeals and settled it (doh!)
They could have let up on destroying the shop
But no one and nothing could make them stop
And now the school weathers yet more horrid news
Insurance won’t pay so they’re going to sue
Yes, more crushing payout for many more years
All because Oberlin stopped up its ears
As long as fools like the people who used to run Hamline University are around, we will need to keep worrying about assholes like DeSantis running the country. Places like Hamline write his The Woke are Destroying Us scripts for him.
The now-deposed prez of that school – taking a page from the idiots at Oberlin – reflexively attacked a professor for showing students images of Mohammed. A theocrat in the class squawked; the school verbally attacked/fired/ruined the career of the prof; the rest of us, who understand democracy, rose up as one and made all the idiots go away; and now it’s all over but the school-crushing legal settlements (Oberlin’s attack on an innocent party cost it thirty six mill).
The AAUP really went after them. Good.
Let’s start with delight: One of UD‘s heroes, Steven Pinker, has started a defense of free speech group among faculty there. Everyone’s got an eye on Stanford and Oberlin and multiple other stagers of politically coercive campus melodrama, and all self-respecting centers of free inquiry need to take an explicit stand against these enemies of freedom. UD’s beloved University of Chicago is a pioneer here; Harvard and other schools follow UC in strong unmitigated statements, rules, and organizations deployed to resist right and left ideologues – some of whom, grotesquely, were hired by these same universities – who are always trying to shut/shout down free thought and free expression. Harvard’s Council on Academic Freedom (which includes econ prof Jason Furman, whose Cambridge house UD knows well, because for years it was owned by her buddy Peter Galbraith) rightly anticipates, and readies itself to fight, mindless and destructive fanaticism.
On the disgust front, there’s yet another greedy egomaniac who can’t think of anything to do with three hundred million dollars other than give it to an institution worth significantly more than fifty billion dollars in order to get his name on a building and get some tax benefits. Vomit.
Not to mention.
… via a hijabi who took offense at an image of Muhammed shown in the classroom. The professor was immediately fired; the school is now, in its public comments, backtracking like a bat outa hell but it’s too late. They won’t have to pay the prof (who is, correctly, suing) as much as Oberlin had to pay that bakery, but the same cretinous reflexive bullshit did in both schools and as Joan Baez plaintively asked so many years ago when will they ever learn?
Although UD‘s fascinated by Autonomies, a dystopian Israeli film, she’ll never watch it. She’s triggered by images of female slave cultures. But what’s amazing about this imagination of an Israel that devolved into bloody secular/religious civil war thirty years ago and is now entirely balkanized between a strict haredi sect territory in and around Jerusalem, and a modern territory in and around Tel Aviv, is that at least one important Israeli intellectual says dystopia shmystopia! It’s a great idea and let’s get going on it!
The series is very clever, with bracing realism (a smuggler makes an excellent living smuggling porn and pork into Haredi Autonomy), but what it’s really about, if you ask ol’ UD, is the horror of surrender to theocracy. Israel has only itself to blame for decades of cynical accommodation to massed ignorant fools who think every offense against liberty and dignity they commit comes stamped with God’s Approval; no wonder Israel’s artist class now depicts the tragicomic walls within walls within walls within walls location that place has become. You don’t reason with the lord’s anointed; they don’t do reason; they’re pre-reason; they’re non-reason; they’re anti-reason. Let them ride roughshod over your democracy and hey look ma no democracy.
[Israeli media conglomerate] Keshet is also in the early planning stages of an English-language adaptation of the format, set in the United States and using America’s own blue state-red state divide as a substitute for the original Israeli plot.
Oh really? Oh reallllllyyyy? So let me tell you something, Buster. Happy to have you do that; plan away. But the overlay ain’t working for me.
Let’s see. Half of America is dirt poor (the other half is unimaginably rich); no one there has any occupational skills and anyway everyone refuses to work because keening over religious texts will feed their children. So their children are starving. They don’t believe in the germ theory of disease so coronavirus is killing everyone over sixty. Anyone interested in their territory is making a play for it since except for a small group of secular mercenaries no one fights. Daily street riots rage between teenyweeny ultraorthodox sects headed by senile warring rabbis. Women are totally absent from the world. There aren’t any. No one knows where they are; where they went. There aren’t any.
This is totally cool drama-wise for sure. I just don’t think we can manage it. I’m seeing plenty of yahoos waving Confederate flags, yes. Absolutely someone’s breaking into a gender theory class at Oberlin waving an AK-47. I’m not saying our blue-red state divide is without dramatic potential. I’m saying we just totally do not measure up.