For years, Evergreen State College in Washington has observed the “Day of Absence” – a day where black students leave campus and white students discuss diversity.
This year, it was suggested that minority students remain on campus for diversity events and white students and faculty leave campus. Biology professor Bret Weinstein voiced his opposition to this change by way of a polite email to Rashida Love, the faculty member responsible for organizing the event.
“You may take this letter as a formal protest of this year’s structure, and you may assume I will be on campus on the Day of Absence,” wrote Weinstein on March 15th. “I would encourage others to put phenotype aside and reject this new formation… On a college campus, one’s right to speak – or to be – must never be based on skin color.”
Weinstein added that he would be happy to organize an event that approaches race “through a scientific/evolutionary lens,” where “everyone would be equally welcome and encouraged to attend.” Weinstein told Fox News that the event’s new format encouraged white people “to go away” and was “an act of oppression.”
It wasn’t long before a mob of screaming students stormed into Weinstein’s classroom and demanded his resignation. Some faculty members were reportedly held hostage by students and Evergreen President George Bridges wasn’t even allowed to use the bathroom without an escort.
The students created a list of wild demands including:
• Removal of YouTube footage of the protest that was “stolen by white supremacists and edited to expose and ridicule the students and staff”
• Mandatory sensitivity and cultural competency training for all faculty and student employees
• The immediate disarming of police services
• Full time employment for the coordinator of the Trans & Queer Center
• Creation of a full-time position to support undocumented students
• Termination of Weinstein’s employment (without pay), but with all students receiving full credit for his courses
Far from punishing these students for acting out of hand, Bridges excused them from homework and capitulated to their demands by establishing a new “equity center,” mandating “sensitivity training” for all employees, and launching a forensic investigation to pursue criminal charges against whomever posted videos of the protests on YouTube. He applauded the students for their “passion and courage.”
More than 50 faculty and staff have signed a letter that in essence blames Weinstein for the misdeeds of others and condones the behavior of the protestors. “Weinstein has endangered faculty, staff, and students, making them targets of white supremacist backlash by promulgating misinformation in public emails, on national television, in news outlets, and on social media,” argues the letter.
Professor Weinstein was told to stay off campus because local police couldn’t guarantee his safety.
On May 30th, President Bridges released a statement in which he confirmed that Professor Weinstein remains a member of the school’s faculty.
Republican State Rep. Matt Manweller has called for an investigation to see if Evergreen has violated civil rights. “I think that when a public university sends a message either directly or indirectly that you’re not welcome on campus based on your skin color, you have crossed the line.”
I agree with Republican State Senator Phil Fortunato, who has introduced a bill that would phase out state funding for Evergreen:
“What I see is an institution dedicated to indoctrinating kids into being perpetual victims. We saw videos of students disrupting classrooms, bullying administration, blocking police, and intimidating those around them and the response from the college president was to thank them for it. It is unbelievable.”
Author’s Note: Unfortunately, the Evergreen incident isn’t a rare case. This is a continuation of the sort of sentiment exemplified by the students and staff at WKU who are trying to get the school to offer free tuition to minorities.
Until campus officials work up the courage to use the law to protect liberty, they will continue to reward the violence and volatility that is growing at a shocking rate on many college campuses.