Over on the home page, Tiana Lowe tells the tale of the campus craziness at the Evergreen State College of Washington. I’d encourage you to read the entire piece, but the basics are just as absurd as we’ve come to expect. Radical activists wanted to turn the school’s traditional “Day of Absence” (a day where black students leave campus) into effectively a day of exclusion, demanding that white students and professors leave instead. Bret Weinstein, a progressive biology professor, wrote a polite and thoughtful letter objecting, and the response? Well, the response was insane. Here’s Tiana describing what happened next:
Within days, vitriolic student mobs took over Weinstein’s classroom, screaming at him, calling him a racist, and demanding his resignation. When videos of the mobs made it to YouTube, the protesters demanded that the videos be taken down. Rather than ignoring the disruption and demands of students — including “the immediate disarming of police services” and “mandatory sensitivity and cultural competency training for faculty, staff, administrators, and student employees” — Evergreen’s president, George Bridges, actively enabled them, excusing protesters from homework, instituting said mandatory sensitivity training for all college employees, creating a new equity center, and launching “an extensive forensic investigation” to “seek criminal charges” against whoever posted the videos to YouTube. While local police chief Stacy Brown told Weinstein to remain off campus as law enforcement could not guarantee his safety, Bridges lauded the protesters’ “passion and courage.”
By the way, if you want to read the full list of the mob’s demands, here they are:
We demand for the coordinator of the Trans & Queer Center to be permanently hired full time. Currently, they are temporarily hired and their contract ends in June.
We demand the creation of a permanent position that will support undocumented students. This position will have a budget that will create scholarships, housing, and protections.
We demand that the video created for Day of Absence and Day of Presence that was stolen by white supremacists and edited to expose and ridicule the students and staff be taken down by the administration this Friday.
We demand Bret Weinstein be suspended immediately without pay but all students receive full credit.
We demand an official statement on each of these demands from George Bridges that is divided up into 10 sections on this Friday May 26th, 2017.
We demand that no changes to The Student Code of Conduct be made without democratic student consent.
We demand that Officer Timothy O’Dell be fired and suspended without pay while an investigation takes place.
We demand the immediate firing of Andrea Seabert Olsen, the Assistant to the VP for Student Conduct, from all Evergreen State College positions.
We demand the immediate disarming of Police Services and no expansion of police facilities or services at any point in the future.
We demand mandatory sensitivity and cultural competency training for faculty, staff, administrators, and student employees.
We demand the creation of an Equity Center
We demand for the coordinator of the Trans & Queer Center to be permanently hired full time.
We demand the creation of a position that will support undocumented students.
Not to be outdone, a coalition of dozens of faculty and staff have signed their own letter, and it’s one of the most craven academic documents I’ve ever read. It begins:
We acknowledge that all of us who have power within the institution share responsibility for the racist actions of others. Furthermore, those of us who are white bear a particularly large share of that responsibility.
We acknowledge that we have a great deal of work to do in order to honor and live up to the demands made by student leaders during last week’s protests.
And lest you have any doubt about where these folks stand on the First Amendment, they commit themselves to:
Demonstrate accountability by pursuing a disciplinary investigation against Bret Weinstein according to guidelines in the Social Contract and Faculty Handbook. 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.
This is legally indefensible, of course, and morally repugnant. There is no effort to engage with Weinstein’s ideas and no acknowledgment of the threats that have driven him off campus. Weinstein has shown unusual courage in continuing to speak out against threats and intimidation, but how long can he endure? How long can any reasonable person persevere in the face of similar threats and demands? Evergreen has reportedly faced serious threats of violence after the media covered Weinstein’s story, but Weinstein is in no way responsible for these threats. Will his radical colleagues apply this standard to their ideological friends? Do they hold them responsible for the threats that drove Weinstein off campus? Of course not.
Instead, this is exactly how even “peaceful” professors and protesters actively collaborate with the violent fringe. Rather than unequivocally standing up for the fundamental liberties of a colleague while condemning all threats of violence, they blame him for the misdeeds of others, ignore the misconduct of their allies, and then urge their university to violate the law. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Unless and until campus administrators have the courage to use the law to protect liberty, they’ll reward violence, increase campus volatility, and set the stage for a truly ugly (and perhaps deadly) incident.