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Oberlin College resumes contract with Gibson's


OBERLIN — As students return to Oberlin College for the start of a new semester Jan. 30, so too will the doughnuts from Gibson’s Bakery.

Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov sent a message to students, faculty and staff Monday saying the college would again purchase pastries from Gibson’s Bakery after a two-month buying freeze while the school investigated a shoplifting incident involving three college students in which some fellow students alleged racial profiling.

“Shortly after the incident, the college temporarily suspended its standing baked goods order with Gibson’s in an effort to de-escalate a complicated and very tense situation involving our campus community, our downtown businesses, local residents and law enforcement,” Krislov wrote. “Since the initial incident, the college has communicated actively with all parties in an effort to contribute to a restorative resolution for all involved.”

Krislov said the college decided to resume its order “as a good-faith effort in hopes of a positive resolution for everyone affected.”

The college suspended its standing order in November after the three students were arrested in connection with an alleged robbery and assault. After the arrests, some college students protested the store, saying racial profiling was to blame as all three students were black.

According to police, Jonathan Aladin, 19, allegedly tried to buy a bottle of wine from Gibson’s while concealing two bottles of wine under his shirt. After Allyn Gibson, whose family owns the store and who is white, refused to sell him the wine, he confronted Aladin about the bottles of wine he suspected the student of trying to steal, according to a police report.

As Gibson was trying to call police, Aladin allegedly slapped the phone out of Gibson’s hand, causing it to strike Gibson’s face, police said. Aladin then ran out the door, breaking two bottles of wine on his way out, police reported.

Gibson ran after him, and police said a physical confrontation happened across the street.

When police arrived, they said they saw Gibson on the ground with Aladin and the two other students — Endia Lawrence and Cecelia Whettstone — punching him, the report said.

Lawrence and Whettstone are both facing assault charges and are scheduled for pre-trial 1 p.m. Feb. 1 in Oberlin Municipal Court.

Aladin’s robbery charge, a felony, was dismissed in Oberlin Municipal Court last month by Prosecutor Frank Carlson. The case is headed to the Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

Oberlin Municipal Court Judge Thomas Januzzi refused a plea deal brought by Carlson in which Aladin would plead guilty to a reduced charge of the attempted theft, a misdemeanor. Carlson told the judge that both Aladin and the Gibsons were happy with the deal.

In his rejection of the deal, Januzzi provided a list of reasons, with one of them being that the plea could be viewed as “Gibson’s having little choice but to assent in this proposal under penalty of permanent economic sanction.”

Krislov said in his email that the Gibson family and employees are “committed to providing a safe, fair and respectful treatment of all patrons of their establishment moving forward.

“In all its business relationships, the college expects that its vendors will put into practice these core values, and we hope that this resolution will allow our broader community to envision strategies to resolve conflicts without violence,” Krislov said.

Gibson’s owner, David Gibson, has not responded to numerous attempts seeking comment.

Contact Jodi Weinberger at 329-7245 or Follow her on Twitter @Jodi_Weinberger.

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