Know anyone at Evergreen State? I have some thoughts, but want to know more.

WANTED: MORE INFORMATION!

Did anyone else see this article from the Wall Street Journal last night: “The Campus Mob Came for Me, and You, Professor, Could Be Next?”  Some flava:

Racially charged, anarchic protests have engulfed Evergreen State College, a small, public liberal-arts institution where I have taught since 2003. In a widely disseminated video of the first recent protest on May 23, an angry mob of about 50 students disrupted my class, called me a racist, and demanded that I resign. My “racist” offense? I had challenged coercive segregation by race. Specifically, I had objected to a planned “Day of Absence” in which white people were asked to leave campus on April 12.

 Day of Absence is a tradition at Evergreen. In previous years students and faculty of color organized a day on which they met off campus—a symbolic act based on the Douglas Turner Ward play in which all the black residents of a Southern town fail to show up one morning. This year, however, the formula was reversed. “White students, staff and faculty will be invited to leave the campus for the day’s activities,” the student newspaper reported, adding that the decision was reached after people of color “voiced concern over feeling as if they are unwelcome on campus, following the 2016 election.”

In March I objected in an email to all staff and faculty. “There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and under-appreciated roles . . . and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away,” I wrote. “On a college campus, one’s right to speak—or to be—must never be based on skin color.”

My email was published by the student newspaper, and Day of Absence came and went almost without incident. The protest of my class emerged seemingly out of the blue more than a month later. Evergreen has slipped into madness. You don’t need the news to tell you that—the protesters’ own videos will do. But those clips reveal neither the path that led to this psychosis, nor the cautionary nature of the tale for other campuses.

I have some thoughts, but I would love to hear from people with knowledge about what is going on at Evergreen State College this year.  Aside from the whole notion of white people not having enough access to campus space (which is officially NOT A THING),  His account of persecution doesn’t seem to add up:  first he says it’s “psychosis” among the students (so it’s a bottom-up problem?), then later in the op-ed he blames a new president (more of a top-down leadership issue?) for “reducing professorial autonomy, increasing the size of his administration, and breaking apart Evergreen’s full-time programs. But the faculty, which plays a central role in the college’s governance, would never have agreed to these changes.”

How did the new president make his evil scheme happen, when the author then admits that “most of my colleagues” went along with the new program–those colleagues he said just a few paragraphs earlier “would never have agreed to these changes.”  The author also gets hip-deep into WSJ buzzword territory, blaming the new president for “arming the [dun-dun-DUN] postmoderns.”  (With what are they armed?  Rhetorical brickbats, or howitzers, or weaponized smallpox? Real guns & ammo?  Is that how they got “most of [his] colleagues” to vote their militant postmodern way?)  The rosetta stone to all of this is this document, which looks pretty anodyne but maybe I’m just a postmodern relativist Foucaultian-type.

The bottom line is that the vicious attacks at Middlebury College are too old to flog any longer even on the editorial page of the WSJ, so the always-vigilant Wall Street Journal editorial board is on the lookout for ideological persecution on the nation’s most precious college campuses.  If you know anyone there, or if you ARE anyone at Evergreen State, please email me at my Colorado State University email (or my blog email address–your choice) and fill me in.  If I figure out something else to say, I’ll say it tomorrow, or sometime this week.  Laters!

 

5 thoughts on “Know anyone at Evergreen State? I have some thoughts, but want to know more.

  1. I am curious if anyone at Evergreen State had addenda or corrections to the detailed account of events that appeared in *Inside Higher Education*. Is it correct that the campus police told Professor Weinstein that for his own safety he should avoid campus? Were students indeed demanding that he be fired for the positions he has taken?

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