Saturday, June 03, 2017

Education, Free Speech, and Bret Weinstein at Evergreen State College

On the unbelievable events this week at Evergreen State College: When the Left Turns on Its Own (New York Times).
Bret Weinstein is a biology professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., who supported Bernie Sanders, admiringly retweets Glenn Greenwald and was an outspoken supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. 
You could be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Weinstein, who identifies himself as “deeply progressive,” is just the kind of teacher that students at one of the most left-wing colleges in the country would admire. Instead, he has become a victim of an increasingly widespread campaign by leftist students against anyone who dares challenge ideological orthodoxy on campus. 
This professor’s crime? He had the gall to challenge a day of racial segregation. 
A bit of background: The “Day of Absence” is an Evergreen tradition that stretches back to the 1970s. As Mr. Weinstein explained on Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal, “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, the script was flipped: “White students, staff and faculty will be invited to leave campus for the day’s activities,” reported the student newspaper on the change. The decision was made after students of color “voiced concern over feeling as if they are unwelcome on campus, following the 2016 election.” 
Mr. Weinstein thought this was wrong. The biology professor said as much in a letter to Rashida Love, the school’s Director of First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services. “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,” he wrote, “and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away.” The first instance, he argued, “is a forceful call to consciousness.” The second “is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.” In other words, what purported to be a request for white students and professors to leave campus was something more than that. It was an act of moral bullying — to stay on campus as a white person would mean to be tarred as a racist....
For expressing his view, Mr. Weinstein was confronted outside his classroom last week by a group of some 50 students insisting he was a racist. The video of that exchange [now removed from Youtube] — “You’re supporting white supremacy” is one of the more milquetoast quotes — must be seen to be believed. It will make anyone who believes in the liberalizing promise of higher education quickly lose heart. When a calm Mr. Weinstein tries to explain that his only agenda is “the truth,” the students chortle.
The letter that Professor Weinstein sent to Rashida Love (via email):

A video of the exchange with the students can be found here:

Professor Weinstein tries to have a rational discussion with the students, who curse him and refuse to listen to him. They demand that he resign. "Hey hey, ho ho, Bret Weinstein has got to go!"

Interview with Professor Weinstein on the Tucker Carlson show (Fox News):

A much longer interview with him on the Rubin Report (May 30, 2017):

Professor Weinstein's twitter account:

More information and a somewhat different point of view can be found in an article by Jonathan Haidt at Heterodox Academy: "The blasphemy case Against Bret Weinstein, and its four lessons for professors."

Professor Weinstein's account of what happened can be found in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) - The Campus Mob Came for Me—and You, Professor, Could Be Next.

Evergreen State College Continues Descent Into Madness (June 2, 2017): "The student takeover at Evergreen State College has gotten so out of control that lawmakers in Washington State are now talking about defunding the school."

The article from Campus Reform linked by Legal Insurrection:
State lawmakers in Washington are fed up with the antics of Evergreen State College, and plan to introduce legislation Thursday to privatize the left-leaning institution. 
As Campus Reform initially reported, hundreds of students marched through campus last week demanding the resignation of Professor Bret Weinstein, who had questioned the school’s decision to ask white people to leave campus for a day of diversity programming in an all-staff email. 
In previous years, non-white students and faculty members voluntarily left campus to attend diversity workshops while their white counterparts conducted their own programming on-campus, but this year the format was flipped in response to complaints that non-white students feel unwelcome on campus in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. 
Despite the protesters’ profanity-laced denunciations of him, school President George Bridges praised their “passion and courage” while capitulating to demands that they be excused from homework assignments for the duration of their demonstration. 
The bill, spearheaded by Republican State Representative Matt Manweller, will be introduced alongside a letter to the state Human Rights Commission requesting an investigation into potential civil rights violations on campus surrounding the incident. 
Manweller and his colleagues are also discussing the possibility of revoking $24,000,000 in annual funding to Evergreen State College, but pledge that all students on campus will remain eligible for full financial aid from the state, should the bill become law. 
"These students and their administration are trying to undo the Civil Rights Movement. They are trying to re-institute a Jim Crow approach to education that Americans rejected over 50 years ago,” Manweller said in an exclusive interview with Campus Reform. “We must never go back to a segregated society—whether it be drinking fountains, buses, or school buildings." 
Manweller made clear that he places the blame for Evergreen’s current situation squarely on the shoulders of administrators, arguing that they created the conditions for controversy through their unquestioning embrace of social justice and failure to condemn the excesses of student protesters. 
“It is incredibly frightening that the administration at Evergreen would tacitly support Brown-shirt tactics we have not seen since 1930s Germany. That they would allow students to threaten professors and other students based on their race is simply horrifying,” Manweller continued. “The administration bears direct responsibility for this situation. They hired the professors who have elevated the pseudo-science of ‘social justice’ to a religious movement. Now all dissent is crushed by threats of violence or actual violence." 
Manweller told Campus Reform that he is optimistic about the bill’s prospects, asserting that the internal contradictions of the leftist movement on campus will be its eventual undoing.

“Like all radical movements in history, this movement is also starting to turn on itself and eat its own,” he said. “Professor Weinstein is a liberal professor who teaches liberal values. Now those students have turned on him like they have on so many other professors around the country.”

1 comment:

  1. I have found the extreme left to be actually very "racist" in a peculiar way, as is shown in the article. Of course, it makes no rational sense what-so-ever. Personally, I have always been horrified at any kind of exceptionalism (Indo-European, Christian, American, etc.) since I was a child way back in the 1950s. I find the far left to be as exceptionalistic as the far right. It's my way or the highway. There is only one, true "religion." (cough, cough) Most of them do not think -- they yell over the person trying to speak to them so they do not have to hear. I Despise them as much as I do the alt-right. They do no good what-so-ever in spite of claiming that they are "social justice warriors." They are the worst sort of joke in the amount of stupidity which they display, as they did here.