Posted Feb 11, 2021 at 20:10. Revised May 7, 2021 at 12:32.
Contents — Oberlin And Gibson’s Bakery Revisited
Hi, Carmen, JD Nobody here. JD is flattered that you have been secretly visiting Oberlinchaos.com and are taking many of JD’s ideas to heart. We recognize that you will in no way give us any credit for our efforts, but that is okay. What really matters is that the correct decisions be made.
JD is currently in coronavirus lockdown here at ChaosFarm and is having no problem with being isolated. It is a great chance to review where OberlinChaos has been and visit issues raised by the coronavirus outbreak. The ChaosFarm south pasture is greening up nicely and has daffodils budding in the distance.
The new era being launched by the coronavirus outbreak’s economic disruption is in its infancy, and there will be no going back to the way things were in February 2020. Anyone who thinks life at Oberlin College in future years will return to “normal” is very naive. The disruptions that are now in everyone’s face are the massive subprime lending for cars/trucks, student loans, and unsound stock buybacks.
Dealing with this will require some form of partial jubilee and considerable inflation. The massive money printing by the Federal Reserve Bank guarantees considerable inflation at some point. Is Oberlin’s strategic planning, if any, for this new environment a continuation of the College’s chaotic idiocy in the Gibson situation?
Visiting Gibson’s Bakery, 2/11/21
JD was in Oberlin today and stopped at Gibson’s Bakery to buy one of their goodies. Both the bakery and town were deserted since it was supper time. Only an Oberlin City Councilperson passed me on the street. She was not bubbling over with enthusiasm.
JD asked the Gibson clerk if there had been any developments in the litigation with the college and received a response worthy of the Hogan’s Heroes TV sitcom’s Sgt. Schultz. “I know nothing!”
The three-judge Appellate Court panel heard the case in Oct. 2020, and no decision has been published as of 4/28/2021. This is strange because the term of a judge on the panel expired earlier this week. That means that the panel should have decided the case while all three involved judges were still on the court. JD will leave it to great legal minds to decipher what will happen from this date forward.
[4/28/2021: Comment received today from a law professor “Bizarre that appeal decision taking so long. Not sure if that’s a good or bad sign, or neither. Also wonder if they added a third judge to the panel now that one wasn’t reelected.” ed.]
JD observed earlier that Dean Meredith Raimondo would be slaughtered for her role in the Gibson mess once sufficient time had passed. The College has announced that she is “stepping down” from her position as Dean to go on sabbatical and return as a tenured professor. It might be worth it to pay her $500K or more to disappear.
JD suspects that this announcement is a cesspool of euphemisms because the BOT works in wondrous ways to perform its perfidies. Perhaps Shakespeare said it best when he penned the words, “A rose by any other name would smell…”
Revisiting Gibson’s Bakery, 3/29/20
It is now clear that we have seen the end of two eras in the last four years. The first era began with President Trump’s election and the resultant outbreak of irrationality directed at Gibson’s Bakery. This earlier era’s death has stretched over several years and has been brought to a conclusion by the second era, which was kicked off by the coronavirus quarantine. There is no going back from the current mess for the College or the world. This new era is a major and permanent change.
There should be no surprise in the financial chaos that has ensued over the last several weeks. However, no one expected it to come as fast as it has or come as the result of an epidemiological event. It is unlikely that the BOT has had any reasonable contingency plans for the events of the last few weeks. The fact that the events moved as fast as they have is not an excuse for not having thought about the ongoing problems developing in the financial world and how they would affect Oberlin.
JD has posted extensively elsewhere on this blog about the breach of fiduciary duty and dereliction of duty by both the BOT and Administration toward the Gibsons. We find it appalling that that situation could have happened, considering that the former and current presidents of the College are both people who went to law school. One would think that they would have learned that slander and libel are not a good thing and that basing a legal defense against them on inadmissible hearsay evidence is not wise.
The College would have known from the pretrial discovery process that the College had given the Gibson’s an arsenal of devastating evidence to use against the College. Common sense would indicate that the College’s best approach at that point, as it would have been at each earlier point along the way, would have been to seek a settlement and accommodation with the Gibsons. This did not happen in constructive ways, apparently because some blindly bullheaded idealists were determined to believe the slander and gossip about the Gibsons.
The idealists fought the “evil” Gibsons in court with virtually no admissible evidence against the Gibsons and no regard for the litigation’s cost to the College. Current financial and medical developments guarantee that the College will have substantially reduced resources for performing its mission even without the Gibson expenses. These new reductions are on top of the already planned One Oberlin project reductions.
What is happening with the Endowment?
Still not recognizing the legal and public relations folly of continuing a losing war with the Gibsons, the College has chosen to appeal the Gibson’s v Oberlin College court decision. Trying to convert the College’s managerial incompetence into a freedom of speech issue is a masterpiece of brazenness. No matter that the whole mess with the Gibsons was avoidable and was caused by the College’s inability to exercise any common sense by having a policy in place defining who has the authority to speak officially for the College.
COVID-19 distracts from dereliction of duty
The College must not have given Meredith Raimondo competent legal advice. Despite the president and general counsel being lawyers and available for counsel, Meredith was knowingly and inexcusably allowed to walk into a booby trap. BTW, this is not a whitewash of Meredith’s poorly thought-out actions — it is just a recognition that she was probably set up by people she trusted.
The College needs a scapegoat for their Gibson’s Bakery stupidity, but the time has not yet come to slaughter Meredith. She needs to be carefully nurtured for this role until her benefactors need her. If she is slaughtered before the Gibson litigation is out of the way, the College might be admitting guilt.
There is nothing like gambling with somebody else’s money, so those with dishonest idealist agendas have license spending somebody else’s money on a double or nothing appeal to the 9th District Court of Appeals in Akron. In the unlikely event the College wins most of the appeal, the victory will clean some of the egg off the faces of those whose dereliction of duty allowed the situation to happen in the first place. With the egg scrubbed off, it will be easier for the culprits to find new jobs elsewhere.
Who is the puppet?
The public relations campaign designed to whitewash the current situation for the alumni is pathetic. It is unclear if President Ambar has badly misrepresented the Gibson situation to the BOT or if she is just caught in a bind by having to follow foolish orders from the BOT.
President Ambar is a gifted and glib street lawyer who would be the ideal lawyer for defending a client having neither the law nor the facts on his side. It appears that she views every situation as an adversarial proceeding in which she is a trial lawyer and every audience is a jury. This is an inferior strategy for dealing with both the Gibson mess and the bigger existential financial mess that is now unfolding in Oberlin.
Kipling might understand Oberlin today…
It was not part of their blood,
It came to them very late
With long arrears to make good,
When the English began to hate.
They were not easily moved,
They were icy-willing to wait
Till every count should be proved,
Ere the English began to hate.
Their voices were even and low,
Their eyes were level and straight.
There was neither sign nor show,
When the English began to hate.
It was not preached to the crowd,
It was not taught by the State.
No man spoke it aloud,
When the English began to hate.
It was not suddenly bred,
It will not swiftly abate,
Through the chill years ahead,
When Time shall count from the date
That the English began to hate.