Saturday, May 27, 2017

US: Students demand College sacks Professor for refusing to leave because he is White

(Olympia) Evergreen State College in Washington state is a small liberal arts college and currently it is hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. It seems that once a year they host a “Day of Absence” where students and faculty members of colour meet off campus to hold solidarity-building activities.

But this year this all changed. On the April 12 Day of Absence, minority students and faculty remained on campus, while whites were asked to leave. Liberal biology professor Bret Weinstein took issue with this change and wrote a letter to his fellow staff members in which to express his displeasure with this new diktat:
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 underappreciated roles . . . and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away. The first is a forceful call to consciousness which is, of course, crippling to the logic of oppression. The second is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself. You may take this letter as a formal protest of this year’s structure, and you may assume I will be on campus on the Day of Absence.
For his refusal to bow down to acute racism, professor Weinstein has earned the wrath of the college student body demanding he resign for being a… racist. After he tried to explain himself, the cry-baby students accosted Weinstein outside his classroom and then, when the college police were called, 200 students occupied and barricaded the campus library, explaining their actions with this press release:
“The students, fearful for their lives, began retreating towards the library and ultimately ended up in the Trans & Queer Center/Unity Lounge, trying to stay safe,” Mr. Vincent said in a Facebook post Tuesday. “The white students were then delegated to spread out throughout the library floor and watch for police potentially surrounding the building.”
Later that day students escorted college administrators (anybody know what the black guy at the end of the video on the last link is wearing on his head?) into President George Bridges' office where they were kept until they heard the group’s demands:
  • Changes to the student conduct code must have democratic student consent
  • Students AR and Lawrence, who are facing disciplinary measures from other protests, have all charges against them dropped
  • Evergreen Police Officer Tim O’Dell be suspended for his behaviour toward protesters earlier this week
  • The immediate Firing of Andrea Seabert Olsen, the Assistant to the VP of Student Conduct
  • Disarming Evergreen Police, with no expansions of police facilities or powers on campus
  • Sensitivity and cultural competency training for all faculty and staff
  • The creation of an Equity Center
  • The coordinator of Trans & Queer Center be hired in a permanent full time position
  • The creation of a permanent position dedicated to supporting undocumented students
  • And Bret Weinstein be suspended without pay
Immediately following the Wednesday occupation, President Bridges sent the student body an email stating that Evergreen would revise the Student Conduct Code in which to “serve students better” and implement annual anti-bias training for all faculty and staff. He has stood the campus Police down and he finished off by saying no students would be punished for their involvement in the demonstrations, even before an investigation into the matter.

Well, Weinstein has now been told by the Chief of Police it’s not safe for him to be on campus. The College has confirmed the police department advised Weinstein it “might be best to stay off campus for a day or so.”