OBERLIN — The college did not purchase its daily order of doughnuts and bagels from Gibson’s Bakery on Monday. However, a college spokesman said the decision should not be viewed as a boycott on the store.
“This is something that we did today as we evaluate and review what’s gong on,” said Scott Wargo, director of media relations. “We’ve reached out to Gibson’s to have a conversation and dialogue so we can work together moving forward.”
Wargo said students and faculty simply went without a morning pastry and did not purchase the breakfast foods from another location.
A group of students from the college have called for a boycott on Gibson’s, claiming that racial profiling had a part in the Wednesday arrest of Jonathan Aladin, 19, who was charged with robbery after he was accused of concealing two bottles of wine under his shirt.
Protesters have not been at the store since Friday.
According to a police report, Allyn Gibson, whose family owns Gibson’s Bakery, was attempting to detain Aladin, while Gibson’s father, David Gibson, called the police. The report said Aladin ran outside the store and Allyn Gibson chased him and tried to grab him again.
When police arrived, they said they found Allyn Gibson, who is white, on the ground with Aladin and two women, Endia Lawrence and Cecelia Whettstone, kicking and punching him. The women were charged with assault and released on $1,000 bail. Aladin was charged with robbery and taken to Lorain County Jail, where he was held until his arraignment Friday. He’s been ordered not to enter Gibson’s and is set to appear in Oberlin Municipal Court on Dec. 14 for a preliminary hearing.
All three people charged are Oberlin College students and are black.
In reaction to the protest, which at its peak involved about 300 students, hundreds of supporters formed a “cash mob” for Gibson’s and flooded the store with purchases over the weekend.
Many supporters of the bakery criticized the students for defending an alleged thief, but in a statement handed to The Chronicle-Telegram, a group of students said Gibson’s is “a racist establishment with a long account of racial profiling and discrimination.”
Further, the Oberlin Student Senate passed a resolution “ceasing all support for Gibson’s Bakery, financial and otherwise, after three black college students were arrested following an altercation.”
College President Marvin Krislov and Vice President and Dean of Students Meredith Raimondo responded to the students saying they would “commit every resource to determining the full and true narrative, including exploring whether this is a pattern and not an isolated incident.”
Wargo said the college is dedicated to buying locally, and “we want to have a conversation with Gibson’s,” but as of Monday no one from Gibson’s had responded to the invitation for a discussion.
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