Lawsuit accuses Oberlin of slandering local bakery as racist

The owners of an Ohio bakery are accusing Oberlin College and its dean of slander, saying administrators called the store a “racist establishment” and took steps to destroy their livelihood.

According to the Associated Press, the dispute began in November 2016, when a shopkeeper at Gibson’s Bakery was assaulted by three black men he believed were attempting to steal wine, although the young men later claimed they were attempting to purchase the alcohol using fake identification.

The three were arrested and pleaded guilty to attempted theft and aggravated trespassing in August, admitting as part of their plea agreement that their actions were wrong and that the store had no racist intentions.

[RELATED: Oberlin promises ‘safe spaces’ for illegal immigrant students]

The arrests resulted in demonstrations by Black Lives Matter outside the store the following day, as reported by Legal Insurrection, and the Oberlin Student Senate passed a resolution claiming the shopkeeper, Allyn Gibson, had "a history of racial profiling and discriminatory treatment.”

Consequently, the store suffered financially, but when asked to give evidence of Gibson’s alleged racist actions, students were unable to give hard facts.

"Racism can't always be proven on an Excel sheet," remarked Kameron Dunbar, an Oberlin junior and vice chair of the Student Senate.

[RELATED: Oberlin students claims bad grades are getting in the way of activism]

Others disagreed, however, including retired Oberlin professor Roger Copeland, who claimed he’s “never seen evidence” of racial profiling, pointing out that “it's always hearsay.”

"I can understand why people were looking for some outlet for their frustration, but it's just counterproductive to bend that anger towards a small family business that to my knowledge is not guilty of the sort of racial profiling that people accuse it of," Copeland elaborated.

Notably, bakery owner David Gibson has since filed a lawsuit against the school and Meredith Raimondo, vice president and dean of students, for slander, claiming that faculty members encouraged students to participate in demonstrations against the store, and even provided supplies for the protests while suspending classes.

According to the lawsuit, Oberlin not only paid for the defense attorney of one of the men involved in the case, but even hired a lim

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Prof Academic rigor reinforces power and privilege

The leader of Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education recently declared that academic “rigor” reinforces “white male heterosexual privilege.”

Donna Riley, who previously taught engineering at Smith College for 13 years, published an article in the most recent issue of the journal Engineering Education, arguing that academic rigor is a “dirty deed” that upholds “white male heterosexual privilege.”

Defining rigor as “the aspirational quality academics apply to disciplinary standards of quality,” Riley asserts that “rigor is used to maintain disciplinary boundaries, with exclusionary implications for marginalized groups and marginalized ways of knowing.”

[RELATED: Prof slams OkCupid for privileging ‘white, heterosexual’ men]

“One of rigor’s purposes is, to put it bluntly, a thinly veiled assertion of white male (hetero)sexuality,” she writes, explaining that rigor “has a historical lineage of being about hardness, stiffness, and erectness; its sexual connotations—and links to masculinity in particular—are undeniable.”

Hence, Riley remarks that “My visceral reaction in many conversations where I have seen rigor asserted has been to tell parties involved (regardless of gender) to whip them out and measure them already.”

Riley also argues that academic rigor can be used to exclude women and minorities, saying, “Rigor may be a defining tool, revealing how structural forces of power and privilege operate to exclude men of color and women, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people, first-generation and low-income students, and non-traditionally aged students.”

[RELATED: Grad student: Gaming culture privileges ‘hypermasculine’ men]

She claims that rigor can “reinforce gender, race, and class hierarchies in engineering, and maintain invisibility of queer, disabled, low-income, and other marginalized engineering students,” adding that “decades of ethnographic research document a climate of microaggressions and cultures of whiteness and masculinity in engineering.”

She evens contends that “scientific knowledge itself is gendered, raced, and colonizing,” asserting that in the field of engineering, there is an “inherent masculinist, white, and global North bias...all under a guise of neut

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Rutgers punishes prof for anti-Semitic social media posts

Rutgers University has announced that it will take disciplinary action against a professor who made several aggressively anti-Semitic social media posts.

In a statement issued Friday, Rutgers President Robert Barchi and Chancellor Deba Dutta confirmed that Michael Chikindas will no longer teach required university courses, and will also be removed as Director of the Center for Digestive Health.

In addition, the professor will have to undergo cultural sensitivity training, and may face further disciplinary measures in accordance with the university’s collective bargaining agreement with the faculty union.

[RELATED: Rutgers disavows prof’s overtly anti-Semitic Facebook posts]

As reported by Israellycool, Chikindas had posted and shared a series of aggressively anti-Semitic social media posts, including one saying “These jewish [sic] motherf*****s do not control me” in response to an article called “The Globalists: Who Control Us!”

Another post depicted American soldiers holding up a chair with an Israeli on it, who proceeds to declare, “I am God’s chosen people, you filthy goyim,” while one of the soldiers asks, “And we’re supposed to die for this guy?”

According to NJ Advance Media, however, Chikindas denies that some of the anti-Semitic material was posted by him personally, claiming that his Facebook was hacked.

"As a result of my account being hacked, I cannot say with confidence that everything on my page was shared by me: There is a good chance for some things being placed on my page by those who hacked my account," Chikindas said, though he did acknowledge responsibility for some of the posts.

"The pictures I shared from other Facebook pages were not removed by the Facebook mediators which made me think they are not violating any rules while raising a question of possible racist nature of Zionism,” the professor explained.

[RELATED: Rutgers prez stands up for profs accused of anti-Semitism]

After investigating the matter, though, Barchi and Dutta concluded that “the fears and concerns expressed to us and many university leaders are both justified and understandable,” necessitating action to rebuild “trust” with students.

“While the university is and should always be a place that challenges students to grapple with complex and even controversial ideas, this situation

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Disruptive protesters should be celebrated admin says

The Director of LGBTQI Life at Vanderbilt University recently argued that student protesters should be “celebrated,” even if they stage sit-ins or disrupt university functions.

In an essay for Inside Higher Ed last week, Chris Purcell argues that college administrators should celebrate, reward, and support all student activists, asserting that “no matter the issue or side of the political or philosophical spectrum, it is the commonly understood role of administrators to work with students to support activism.”

[RELATED: Prof urges colleagues to promote ‘progressive politics’ in class]

Student activism falls into two categories, Purcell writes: “burner” and “builder” activism.

Burner activism, he explains, seeks to “burn down” oppressive structures, such as by “taking over the offices of campus leaders, shutting down streets, [and] holding sit-ins.”

Builder activism, on the other hand, seeks to “build new structures that work differently (often more inclusively) for one particular group of students,” and can include creating new student groups or demanding that the school become more equitable.

Purcell argues that both forms of activism “are essential for forward progress,” and “should be celebrated and supported.”

[RELATED: Cal State ‘activism labs’ teach students new protest tactics]

Further, he argues that there may be times when it is useful for administrators to encourage students to engage in “burner activism,” like holding sit-ins or occupying the offices of other college administrators.

“[W]hen oppressive structures stand in the way of creating equitable campus environments, it may be useful to solely encourage burning strategies for students to get the job done,” Purcell writes. That way, “administrators can be ready to pursue building strategies when the figurative ashes are clear.”

Purcell, writing in a publication whose target audience is college professors and administrators, concludes by noting that support for student activism is much needed.

“It is our job to encourage this quest for justice, even if it challenges our power and our comfort,” he concludes.

[RELATED: Study: Social justice activism is ‘rife’ with ‘oppression’]

Purcell is the Director o

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