For years conservatives have been deriding the increased liberalization of America’s college campuses; mocking recent trends like “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” has recently led to some of those same groups purposefully trying to “trigger” their liberal counterparts. 2017 has seen several examples of this campus liberalization, and until last month, Cal Berkeley was the center of these protests. That all changed in late May, when the world was introduced to “Evergreen State College” in Olympia, Washington.
The small liberal arts school of about 4500 students was founded as a “non-traditional” college back in 1967 as a way to even out the distribution of “higher learning” opportunities for students, at the time, students from that part of the state didn’t have many college options, so Evergreen State College was born. The college quickly earned a reputation as being one of the most liberal colleges in America, and in 1970 the school started sanctioning “A Day of Absence.”
“A Day of Absence” traditionally takes place in the Spring, and until this year was a day in which people of color were urged to avoid campus, and instead attend a number of off-campus events meant to promote diversity. “A Day of Absence” was traditionally followed by “A Day of Presence” in which minorities would return to campus the next day, joining their white friends in a series of on-campus lectures and activities.
This year, however, the tables were turned. Rashida Love, Director of the “First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services” office at the “school,” pushed an event in which white people were told they had to leave campus for 2017’s “Day of Absence.” Chloe Marina Manchester, writing for the school newspaper, explained this year’s changes:
“This year, however, it was decided that on Day of Absence, white students, staff and faculty will be invited to leave the campus for the day’s activities. This decision was reached through discussion with POC Greeners who voiced concern over feeling as if they are unwelcome on campus, following the 2016 election.”
While the paragraph is frustrating to some, it isn’t the worst thing in the world, after all, white students and staff were only invited to stay off campus. It’s not like they were forced out by a shouting mob.
Just Kidding, That’s Exactly What Happened
On May 23rd, a group of 50 students surrounded Biology Professor Bret Weinstein, calling him a “white supremacist” and other insults for refusing to participate in this years “Day of Absence.”
Professor Weinstein isn’t some far-right radical, either. Weinstein describes himself as “extremely progressive” and actively supported the candidacy of Bernie Sanders. In the past he was extremely vocal in his support of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and seems to be a perfect fit for such a liberal school. However, he did take issue with this years event; particularly how there was no discussion surrounding the validity of the event, and in an email to Rashida Love he expressed how he feels that this year’s day of absence was an act of oppression and force.
After these protesters surrounded and threatened Weinstein, the protesters barricaded themselves in the “Trans & Queer Unity Lounge” before issuing a set of demands to school President George Bridges.
The weak response from Bridges, as well as other faculty and staff, have led the situation to go on for far too long. Culminating in duel protests last Thursday that ended in violence. Riot police had to break up the protests, and one person was arrested.
The protests were held by “Patriot Prayer,” a Portland based conservative group. And “Antifa,” the violent, left wing, “anti-fascist” group. Antifa was there protesting, what they called, a “white supremacist group.” In response to those claims, “Patriot Prayer” organizer Joey Gibson said:
“I love all people, because they’re human. It doesn’t matter what the color of their skin is. Ok? And I’m sick of hearing about that,” Gibson said. “If we’re white supremacists, why do we have more people of color rolling with us than they do? That’s what I want to understand. All those people dressed in all black, they’re the most whitest (sic) people I’ve ever met in my life.”
The situation has gotten so bad that students attending Friday’s graduation had to go through metal detectors.
In the wake of these protests, the “college” has announced that they still plan on going forward with their re-vamped “Masters in Teaching” programming which emphasizes training teachers to indoctrinate students in left-wing ideology. Program director J. Patrick Naughton wrote in the programs catalog that:
“Our schools are called upon to help children and youth develop physically, emotionally, and cognitively in order to create meaningful lives for themselves and to participate collaboratively and creatively in public life. In our increasingly diverse and complex society, public education must play a key role in nurturing and educating citizens who care about equity and justice for all beings. We focus on preparing teachers ready and willing to take on these responsibilities every day. “
This emphasis on social justice is mandatory, even for teachers who are training to teach subjects like math or science, in the program students will;
“examine and consciously act on differences such as ethnicity, race, class, gender, gender expression, culture, religion, language, ability, and sexual identities.”
Schools are supposed to be a place of higher learning, yet more frequently publicly funded schools are being used to push a political agenda. With luck, Evergreen State College will lose the $24 million dollars in public money currently allocated to them for next year.