That’s fine. But this year the students decided instead to ask white faculty, staff, and students to leave the campus instead, with white professors and students urged not to go to their classes. And apparently those who didn’t comply with this forcible segregation were demonized.
One was professor Bret Weinstein, who teaches evolutionary biology (!). Weinstein wrote the following email to Rashida Love, Director of First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services, protesting the difference between a “forceful call to consciousness” (previous events) and “a show of force and an act of oppression in and of itself” (telling white people to leave campus). He said he’d refuse to leave campus, and that one’s right to speak on campus “must never be based on skin color.” Finally, he offered to give a talk on “race through a scientific/evolutionary lens” (that would have been another no-no!). Here’s his email, copied to the school’s faculty and staff:
You can guess what happened next. The students began harassing Weinstein and then demanded he be fired. The 15-minute video below show students confronting him after they marched to his class.
The authoritarianism of the students and their insistence that Weinstein is a racist are reminiscent of the Yale students confronting Nicholas Christakis after his wife questioned the students’ criticism of Halloween costumes. Like Christakis, Weinstein is calm and rational while the students get angrier and angrier, finally screaming and cursing at him. (That’s what they do when they can’t answer his arguments.) Shame upon these students! One even says, “You’re useless; get the fuck out of here. Fuck you!” They also call him an “asshole” and ask him to resign, finally lapsing into chanting. Most of the students appear to be white.
I urge you to watch this to see how immature and entitled Regressive Leftist students can (and these are highly qualified students—one might even call them “privileged”):
The students (apparently also upset by other cited instances of racism) then made a number of demands to the college, and college President George Bridges capitulated to most of them (vowing a “full investigation” of Weinstein and others) in a statement beginning this way:
I’m George Bridges, I use he/him pronouns.
That says about all you need to know.
In the meantime, The Olympian reported that “After Wednesday’s protest, Weinstein was told by Evergreen’s police chief that it was not safe for him to be on campus, according to a King 5 TV report. As a result, Weinstein held a class in a downtown Olympia park on Thursday.” I suspect his career at Evergreen is finished. Even if he’s not fired, he’ll be demonized and hated forever—for writing a passionate but reasoned email.
I am horrified not only by the students’ behavior, but by the racism that’s become acceptable when exercised by nonwhite students. I thank my lucky stars that my teaching career took place at a University that tries to stop this kind of nonsense, and not at a place like Evergreen State. It must be like teaching during the Cultural Revolution in China.
In the meantime, over at Heterodox Academy, Jon Haidt’s written an analysis of EvergreenGate, and concludes like this:
There are several lessons that American professors can draw from these three events:
1) Never object to a diversity policy publicly. It is no longer permitted. You may voice concerns in a private conversation, but if you do it in a public way, you are inviting a visit from a mob or punishment from an administrator.
2) Do not assume that being politically progressive will protect you (as Weinstein and the Christakises found out). Whatever your politics, you are eventually going to say or do something that will be interpreted incorrectly and ungenerously. Your intentions don’t matter (as Dean Spellman found out at CMC.) This is especially true if your university offers students training in the detection of microaggressions.
3) If a mob comes for you, there is a good chance that the president of your university will side with the mob and validate its narrative (as the presidents at Yale and Evergreen have done, although the presidents at Middlebury and Claremont McKenna did not).
4) If a mob comes for you, the great majority of its members will be non-violent. However, given the new standard operating procedure (which I described in a recent Chronicle article entitled “Intimidation is the New Normal”) you must assume that one or more of its members is willing to use violence against you, and you can assume that many members of the mob believe that violence against you is morally justifiable.
I still wonder what will happen when students like those shown above leave college. They’ll either have to come to terms with people who oppose them and can’t be shouted down, or they’ll wind up running the country, in which case we’ll all be screwed. (I, however, will probably be dead.)
h/t: Mizrob, Eli, and others