Posted Oct 26, 2019 at 16:55. Revised Jan 9, 2021 at 19:36.
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Slander is not included in freedom of speech!
College president Ambar has repeatedly pushed the bogus argument that there are First Amendment free speech issues at play in the Gibsons v. Oberlin College legal matter. The jury held, based on compelling evidence, that the college and Dean Meridith Raimondo were guilty of slander, but…
Libel and slander are NOT included in free speech! Had the trustees set up and enforced policies and procedures defining defamation and slander and defining how to speak in the name of the College, the Gibson mess would not have happened. All that should be necessary policy-wise would be a requirement that no one can present libel or slander as having the endorsement of the College. Individuals can say whatever they want, but no one can be allowed to shove words or ideas down the college’s throat without the College’s consent. So why is freedom of speech being used as a smokescreen to obscure something? It is bungling — or something more serious — like a gullible BOT that has been lied to by trusted subordinates?
Freedom of speech does not license everyone to speak for the college
The Oberlin College General Faculty currently has the power to commit the college to positions, either foolish or wise. This is as it should be, but there is no known requirement for the faculty to formulate official positions in consultation with the administration. Consultation and coordination are not infringements on free speech; they are protectors of it.
The free speech policy should ban publicly engaging in defamatory actions using college communication facilities such as bulletin boards or college email. There needs to be a designated committee or persons to review writings, activities, or publicity that implicitly or explicitly represent themselves as being endorsed by the college. Additionally, the college email template would probably require a disclaimer in its footer, as is done by many law firms. The failure to define a clear policy for authorizing official positions has established a trial lawyer’s paradise.
/s/ JD Nobody, OC ’61.
The purpose of this blog is to tell the other side of the Gibson’s Bakery, OSCA, the Kosher-Halal Co-op, and UAW stories to Oberlin Alumni lest they believe the College’s heavily redacted and whitewashed version of events. Please tell your fellow Obies how our college has damaged its reputation, the worth of our degrees, the Gibsons, the college’s union workers, K-H, and the OSCA Co-op tradition. No pandemic, sleazy PR, or conflating of libel and slander with free speech can divert attention from the BOT’s negligence in these matters. Speak up and insist that the BOT arrest its compulsive, neo-Puritan righteousness, which has already eradicated either THOUSANDS of $36,000 scholarships or 225 Steinway concert grand pianos — just to wreck a tiny bakery, a cooperating union, K-H, and the OSCA Student Co-op!