Evergreen State College closes after threat made during a time of strife
June 2, 2017 8:23 PM   Subscribe

"The threat comes a week after hundreds of Evergreen students began protesting. The campus has experienced mounting racial tension that puts students of color at risk, the student group Expose Evergreen wrote in a news release last week."

Evergreen faculty has since released a solidarity statement aligning themselves with the protesters in which they also state they intend to pursue a disciplinary investigation against Bret Weinstein, a professor there who disagreed with the changes made to the college's Day of Absence event this year.
posted by whorl (56 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: On reflection, let's wait a bit on this for more solid information and analysis so that we're not just "Everyone Take Sides; Now, Ready, Set, Fight!" in the heat of the moment, and can hopefully have a more interesting and thoughtful discussion -- taz



 
"Fewer than 20 staff have signed so far." There's hope for humanity yet.
posted by micketymoc at 8:34 PM on June 2, 2017 [6 favorites]


FFS. There's an actual fascist running the country and you're going after Prof. Weinstein.

His statement regarding the situation seems perfectly reasonable. Shame that the administration is unwilling to take a principled position on the issue.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:38 PM on June 2, 2017 [8 favorites]


Weinstein took his case to the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Caller. I guess he didn't actually to to Breitbart or the Daily Stormer, but that's a pretty provocative move if you intend to keep teaching at Evergreen State.
posted by msalt at 8:45 PM on June 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


I still can't figure out what's happened. It doesn't help that the link with a description of what seems to have sparked all of this calls the Day of Absence "anti-white day." WTF?

> FFS. There's an actual fascist running the country and you're going after Prof. Weinstein.

This is a terrible argument, whatever it is it is arguing against. Unless someone is...worse that Trump et al. they should get slack? Or something?
posted by rtha at 8:48 PM on June 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


Weinstein took his case to the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Caller. I guess he didn't actually to to Breitbart or the Daily Stormer, but that's a pretty provocative move if you intend to keep teaching at Evergreen State.

The WSJ is just like a neo-nazi website, now?

How about the NYT?

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.

posted by leotrotsky at 8:54 PM on June 2, 2017 [12 favorites]


FWIW, the conservative media seems to have latched onto this with all the good faith and solid reasoning we've come to expect from them, but I don't think that the kids at Evergreen are exactly saints in this either.

There's always been an authoritarian strand in college activism, and I think we see it manifesting itself here in this case. It's unfortunate, because I don't disagree with their ideas, but their execution here kinda sucked, and made them look like jerks trying to shut down debate through force. It's a bad look.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:58 PM on June 2, 2017 [10 favorites]


So do we know who was threatening who and why?

I feel like people are drawing the conclusion that one of the angry students was threatening Weinstein, but I have heard nothitng that suggests that's the case.

Weinstein's original complaint seemed completely reasonable disagreement from someone who's mostly a fellow-traveller... but now he's been adopted as a darling of the right. If he's a willing participant in that it doesn't speak well of him. But maybe it's the only place he had to go :\

Also it sounded like maybe the protests at the college were originally about more than Weinstein, but now the whole thing has become about him specifically?
posted by edheil at 8:58 PM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


I still can't figure out what's happened. It doesn't help that the link with a description of what seems to have sparked all of this calls the Day of Absence "anti-white day." WTF?

The Day of Absence is an annual tradition where people of color are absent. This year, Evergreen asked white students and faculty to stay home instead. The point is that the marginalized groups should not need to further marginalize themselves to be heard.

It's provocative and discomforting and it's sparked all sorts of polarized anger on campus which was then magnified onto the polarized national stage.
posted by SakuraK at 8:59 PM on June 2, 2017 [6 favorites]


polarized anger that led to:

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 — “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.

Following the protest, college police, ordered by Evergreen’s president to stand down, told Mr. Weinstein they couldn’t guarantee his safety on campus. In the end, Mr. Weinstein held his biology class in a public park. Meantime, photographs and names of his students were circulated online. “Fire Bret” graffiti showed up on campus buildings.


I mean, even given the reporter's slant, that's some bullshit. And a remarkable degree of cowardice by the administration.

The sad part is that both sides would probably benefit from a thoughtful moderated conversation on the topic. I imagine Mr. Weinstein and the students both have some blindspots on this issue. Instead, a faculty member was driven from campus for expressing a reasonable opinion. That's disgraceful, and plays right into the hands of the assholes looking to paint college campuses as anti free speech zones.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:07 PM on June 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


Here's whatI've found:

As SakuraK says, they're reversing the long-running Day of Absence, asking People of Pallor to leave instead this year. Weinstein objected, and in his letter basically says "This is wrong, you can't make me leave, and nobody else should either, but if you want I'll teach a workshop on the evolutionary and scientific basis of race." (!)

So he stays, and a group of students finds him and starts yelling at him. He calls the police. There's some kind of ruckus (couldn't find details, but students say the police officer used "excessive force.")

Thing is, his brother Eric Weinstein is a big shot at Thiel Capital, Peter Thiel's VC firm and tweets this: My brother. Biology Professor @BretWeinstein. In the crosshairs of a lying mob. You SJWs just targeted the wrong guy. The Left eats its own.

Prof. Weinstein goes on Fox News (Tucker Carlson's show, not the Daily Caller, sorry) and speaks to the WSJ's editorial board. it blows up on right-wing media generally. The students' demand for discipline argues that Weinstein exposed them to danger by exposing them to the right-wing media circus and the crazies they bring.

Today, an anonymous person called and said
"Yes, I’m on my way to Evergreen University now with a .44 Magnum. I am gonna execute as many people on that campus as I can get a hold of. You have that? What’s going on there? You communist, scumbag town. I’m going to murder as many people on that campus as I can. Just keep your eyes open, you scumbag.”
posted by msalt at 9:11 PM on June 2, 2017 [6 favorites]


There has to be a huge presumption of good faith around free speech defenses on campus these days (IMO).

I felt that Weinstein risked that when he called white faculty and students being "invited to leave campus" (the reverse of the the usual tradition) an "act of oppression" in an open letter. Really, dude?
posted by pantarei70 at 9:12 PM on June 2, 2017 [8 favorites]


Another thing is, he's making a big deal about free speech except then he calls the cops on students exercising their free speech by disagreeing with his stance, and escalating the disagreement by inviting conservatives nationwide to join his side.

His brother's comment (on social media) about "You picked the wrong guy" is pretty damned close to a threat.
posted by msalt at 9:17 PM on June 2, 2017 [7 favorites]


Thanks for clarifying who was the target of the threats, msalt. I had not heard that up till now.
posted by edheil at 9:20 PM on June 2, 2017


I heard about this from someone at my Finnish meetup on Thursday who's a professor at the college. She as extraordinarily cross at a fellow professor, (presumably this Weinstein) for going on Fox News and misrepresenting the situation. She was also very scared at the threats and worried for the safety of her students.

To be blunt, the outcome of this guy's actions were a right wing terrorist threat against the school that cancels classes for two days and put his students in danger. I frankly don't much care if he's an idiot or racist. He's sided with right wing terrorists against his own students.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:21 PM on June 2, 2017 [7 favorites]


How about the NYT?

Iraq war promoting and climate change denier publisher, that NYT?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:23 PM on June 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


Seriously? I was going to say something about finding better sources, but leotrotsky did a better job.

This is the most realistic and simple depiction that I've seen. (As long as you don't read the comments. Wish I could find a clean source.)

Evergreen is an insular campus, both physically and intellectually. Things get blown way out of proportion very quickly. It is not a place of magical gay space communism on the best of days.

I've read the original Day of Absence proposal, and the response. He was right. And really, there aren't enough off-campus venues or available transportation in the area to accomodate the idea of having all white people go to special class somewhere else for a day without months of preparation.

Unfortunately, that happened about the same time as a campus police incident that involved students of color. Which is a whole nother can of worms that I'm not qualified to judge.

I went to Evergreen, I still live in the area, and I haven't heard anyone say anything bad about Professor Weinstein. Quite the reverse.

Here's a current piece with decent background links from the local paper.
posted by monopas at 9:23 PM on June 2, 2017 [11 favorites]


"the outcome of this guy's actions were a right wing terrorist threat against..."

Isn't that the outcome of the action of anyone wanting to open an abortion clinic? Isn't that the outcome of someone who wants to open a Mosque in rural Texas? Isn't that the outcome of someone who wants to enforce grazing laws on federal lands?

Those that make terrorist threats should be held accountable. And yes, those that incite such threats perhaps should be held accountable as well. But I would say that a neo-nazi is the one who incites such threats. Merely appearing on Fox News and explaining a situation that is happening does not hold you morally culpable for the deranged viewers who take it upon themselves to engage in terroristic threats.

If you are engaging in activism (as the students were), isn't it your desire to gain attention to your cause? If your activism doesn't withstand scrutiny, perhaps it wasn't the wisest activism and you should re-think your approach.
posted by el io at 9:28 PM on June 2, 2017 [6 favorites]


> The Day of Absence is an annual tradition where people of color are absent.

Yes, this I understand. I don't understand what the prof's actions or statements or whichever were, or what they have to do with the threats, if anything. I don't understand how linking to a site that describes the Day of Absence as "anti-white day" is helpful. The who-what-when-where is pretty unclear from the links in the OP.

> There's always been an authoritarian strand in college activism,

Hey, there're fascists in the power, so why go after college kids.
posted by rtha at 9:28 PM on June 2, 2017


He says he didn't call the cops.

I normally laugh at Fox-type attacks on campus lefties but I find the students' behavior to be pretty awful, and if a group of people started cursing me in that manner, I would be more than a little afraid for my safety.

Protest is one thing; screaming curses at someone in the hallway and demanding they resign because they DISAGREE with a letter he wrote, and telling him they don't want him to speak is insulting.

And if he is truthful about his motivations, that it's one thing to leave campus and another to be asked to leave, which is how the student paper reported it, then I stand by him. I'm more than a little concerned that he appeared on Fox but who knows what the rest of the media did in response, if he approached them.
posted by etaoin at 9:36 PM on June 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


The who-what-when-where is pretty unclear from the links in the OP.

It's a confusing situation with people saying completely contradictory things about the supposed facts and some of the links aren't great, though the first link seems to have a decent summary. Personally I think this kind of event almost always makes for a much better FPP after a week or two when the context and facts are clearer, and there is some interesting analysis and well-researched writing to base a post on, rather than the heat and light you get in the moment.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:37 PM on June 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


The Day of Absence is an annual tradition where people of color are absent. This year, Evergreen asked white students and faculty to stay home instead. The point is that the marginalized groups should not need to further marginalize themselves to be heard.

Why not just stop the racial segregation? How could any thinking person in America in the year 2017 think that would turn out well?
posted by John Cohen at 9:38 PM on June 2, 2017 [9 favorites]


To be blunt, the outcome of this guy's actions were a right wing terrorist threat against the school that cancels classes for two days and put his students in danger. I frankly don't much care if he's an idiot or racist. He's sided with right wing terrorists against his own students.

There's no way you can blame Weinstein for the crazy threat maker (whose identity and political motivations are unknown at this time). And he's clearly neither an idiot nor a racist. I kind of wish he hadn't lowered himself to going on Fox News, because its going to reduce his credibility, but I also believe he was 100% right. Stuff like this is the reason the term "SJW" exists as a pejorative.
posted by Brain Sturgeon at 9:42 PM on June 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


How about the NYT?

OK, now you're just being disingenuous. I should have made clear that by "going to the WSJ," I mean that he wrote an incendiary editorial for the infamously right-wing WSJ editorial page.

So you quote "the NYT." In case the tone of the quote doesn't make it clear, that's a snide editorial by a conservative NYT editorial writer (Bari Weiss), who founded a group at Columbia to protest liberal (pro-Palestinian) professors. Attacking student political correctness is her pet issue. And the New York Times hired her away from -- wait for it -- the Wall Street Journal's editorial page.

Even Tablet -- a daily Jewish online paper that she used to write for -- described her work at the Journal this way, in an article bragging about her hiring at the NYT: she "wrote frequently about topics like political correctness and campus culture"
posted by msalt at 9:47 PM on June 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


I don't think I'd take particularly kindly to being asked to leave/skip class (outside of the people asking also intending to be absent as well) period.
posted by Puddle at 9:52 PM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is the third incident of right-wing terrorism in the Pacific Northwest this week. There are actual no shit Nazi's planning to march on Seattle and Portland in the next. So if I sound a little on edge, I am. And I have a right to be.

So before you jump to defend this guys actions, I want you to step back and think long and hard about who it benefits and why you happen to be listening to one voice who has had far more then his share of attention rather than the thousands of students who just want to feel safe on their campus.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:52 PM on June 2, 2017 [7 favorites]


The Day of Absence is an annual tradition where people of color are absent. This year, Evergreen asked white students and faculty to stay home instead. The point is that the marginalized groups should not need to further marginalize themselves to be heard.

It's provocative and discomforting and it's sparked all sorts of polarized anger on campus which was then magnified onto the polarized national stage.


And it's Evergreen where no one has the ability to be slightly fucking reasonable about anything.

Probably the professor was morally/ intellectually in the wrong to some degree in terms of social norms but he's a tenured professor and they do what they want. It's not like 100% of POC observed the Day of Absence. A lot of them thought it was stupid too and ignored it. Meanwhile the students are completely out of line and are definitely legally and administratively in the wrong for accosting him like that. I'm sure it was fun and a rush and they got caught up in it but it was wrong and they are old enough to know better. They probably should all be expelled for their actions but that's a harsh punishment these days in the US with loans etc. so I doubt they will be. If I were the administrator I'd suspend them for a good long while and have a lot of conditions on their return. You don't get to be an aggressive, threatening asshole on campus for any reason.

As for the professor going on the news to pressure the administration- see above about tenure. Dick move? Yes. But admin was really fucking stupid to let it go this far. They know this guy, they should have seen this coming. Also I bet he got paid to appear.
posted by fshgrl at 9:58 PM on June 2, 2017 [5 favorites]


Isn't that the outcome of the action of anyone wanting to open an abortion clinic? Isn't that the outcome of someone who wants to open a Mosque in rural Texas? Isn't that the outcome of someone who wants to enforce grazing laws on federal lands?

That is a dishonest comparison. This man, and I'm willing to submit that it was unwittingly, participated in a nationwide propaganda effort targeting a small local school that it is reasonable to assume resulted in a terrorist threat that closed the school. This is different from taking an action that terrorists are opposed to and would target you with violence to stop.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:59 PM on June 2, 2017


Weinstein comes off as a troll by going on Tucker Carlson's show. He teaches at ultra-liberal Evergreen State, for heaven's sakes. He's supposed to be a teacher. He's teaching young adults. Maybe act like an adult?
posted by My Dad at 10:03 PM on June 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


To be blunt, the outcome of this guy's actions were a right wing terrorist threat against the school that cancels classes for two days and put his students in danger. I frankly don't much care if he's an idiot or racist.

That's a terrible metric to use — it puts the power entirely in the hands of terrorists. Literally the worst people possible to empower, but that's what you do if you're letting their reaction to a series of events determine who the good guys and bad guys are.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:05 PM on June 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


Also, what the hell is with the double standard where people if left wing activists demand a little too much then everyone "oh those awful enemies of freedom" but then white nationalists calling for literal genocide march and the destruction of every freedom for a vast portion of America in the street and people are all handwringing over whether we're being too mean by saying with no legal force that they shouldn't be doing that?
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:05 PM on June 2, 2017 [6 favorites]


That's a terrible metric to use — it puts the power entirely in the hands of terrorists. Literally the worst people possible to empower, but that's what you do if you're letting their reaction to a series of events determine who the good guys and bad guys are.

It would be if he was taking his action in defiance of terrorists. But he went out there and puts in a place where a lot of crazy people with guns were going to hear him, with an organization that very regularly lies and twists the truth to generate right wing hysteria.
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:08 PM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile the students are completely out of line and are definitely legally and administratively in the wrong for accosting him like that.

So you defend his right to be provocative -- offering to teach "the evolutionary and scientific basis of race" FFS -- as "free speech," but when students speak out against his actions, you think "the students are completely out of line and are definitely legally and administratively in the wrong for accosting him like that. .. They should probably be expelled..."

Free speech works both ways. He can be a dick, and students can yell at him. The only thing wrong in all of this was the right-wing death threat, which came after he went off campus and started complaining about the students all over right-wing media.
posted by msalt at 10:09 PM on June 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


Weinstein comes off as a troll by going on Tucker Carlson's show. He teaches at ultra-liberal Evergreen State, for heaven's sakes. He's supposed to be a teacher. He's teaching young adults. Maybe act like an adult?

I'd argue he's teaching them a hell of a lot.

I'm a scientist, an honest to god ecologist who works every day on fixing broken ecosystems. I have devoted my entire career to making the planet better. If I had to be stranded on a desert island for a month with a group of good old boy climate change deniers or a group of young American environmental activists for a I'd choose the climate change deniers any. day. Because they are 100% less likely to be assholes in person.

There is a culture in the US that if you support "causes" you can be as big of a dick as you want and as stupid as a piece of cheese and we're supposed to give you a pass. I'm not really into that and honestly most scientists are with me, because we are fact based, not emotion based and are not big followers of movements. I'm not surprised it was an evolutionary biologist who is embroigled in this.

Having a symbolic day of absence is a neat idea but it's OBVIOUSLY voluntary. If they'd taken him up on his offer of a lecture and advertised it - yay. But accosting and threatening a man at work is Not Allowed in society today. And I hope those kids are learning something, because they don't seem very fucking smart.
posted by fshgrl at 10:17 PM on June 2, 2017 [5 favorites]


Also, what the hell is with the double standard where people if left wing activists demand a little too much then everyone "oh those awful enemies of freedom" but then white nationalists calling for literal genocide march and the destruction of every freedom for a vast portion of America in the street and people are all handwringing over whether we're being too mean by saying with no legal force that they shouldn't be doing that?

Well, for one, we tend to expect better of the former group and thus hold them to a higher standard, and for two, in the example at Evergreen the "going too far" basically involved coercing others. I agree with the NYT op-ed "It was an act of moral bullying — to stay on campus as a white person would mean to be tarred as a racist", whereas simply marching does not involve forcing others to do anything.
posted by Brain Sturgeon at 10:18 PM on June 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


Equating that cowardly phone call to the train attack in Portland and the Quinault hit and run is an insult to the people who died.

In this instance, the students are the scary ones. They are the stereotype that continues to keep SJW an insult. Rationality has never been a strong trait in the Evergreen student body.

Some general context (this is my opinion and observation, completely subjective):

Evergreen is a state school. The price tag is low compared to any similar private college. The alternative class structure and no-grades are attractive and exciting. Thus they take almost anyone, and the mix of students is extremely varied. It is rougher around the edges than comparable schools because of this.

Because Evergreen has amazing flexibility and possibility for instructors (plus the possibility of tenure because state school, if that hasn't changed), and is in a nice and relatively inexpensive location, people want to teach there. So competition for positions is real and the hiring process isn't easy. The teachers are hired by all of the teachers in their own departments. There is some crossover between departments, but it is complicated.

So, bunch of students coming from public schools are suddenly given an astonishing amount of freedom and responsibility in a very protected place. Professors who sometimes forget that ideas are not always practical or even reasonable, and that other professors might disagree even with the ideas. And a college admin who is not up to the challenge.

FWIW, none of the professors I knew personally from my time there signed that statement.
posted by monopas at 10:19 PM on June 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


He can be a dick, and students can yell at him.

They cannot because he is a professor at a university and they are students there. They signed a code of conduct. Free speech has fuck all to do with it. And they did more than yell at him, they crowded him. If you did that to an exec at your job how would it end?

If they are not smart enough to understand the implications of that then maybe they don't belong at university. Actually, they clearly don't belong at university.
posted by fshgrl at 10:19 PM on June 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


So you defend his right to be provocative -- offering to teach "the evolutionary and scientific basis of race" FFS -- as "free speech,"

No, I did not say this. Don't put words in other people's mouths. Being emotional about a topic is no excuse for lying.
posted by fshgrl at 10:25 PM on June 2, 2017 [5 favorites]


So you defend his right to be provocative -- offering to teach "the evolutionary and scientific basis of race" FFS -- as "free speech,"

His original email says "a public presentation and discussion of race through a scientific / evolutionary lens", which has a much more neutral connotation than what you stated above. Was "the evolutionary and scientific basis of race" from somewhere else or were you paraphrasing?
posted by Brain Sturgeon at 10:36 PM on June 2, 2017 [9 favorites]


fshgrl: No, I did not say this. Don't put words in other people's mouths. Being emotional about a topic is no excuse for lying.

With all due respect to your self-description as "fact based, not emotion based" I believe you are the one being emotional here. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But on inspection, you're right that you didn't even use free speech as a justification (though implicitly, since he keeps repeating it). Your justification for his behavior was "he's a tenured professor and they do what they want."
posted by msalt at 10:40 PM on June 2, 2017


It's an explanation not a justification. Look it up.
posted by fshgrl at 10:43 PM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


Well, for one, we tend to expect better of the former group and thus hold them to a higher standard, and for two, in the example at Evergreen the "going too far" basically involved coercing others. I agree with the NYT op-ed "It was an act of moral bullying — to stay on campus as a white person would mean to be tarred as a racist", whereas simply marching does not involve forcing others to do anything.

Well I'm going to hold people who think people who complain about "SJWs" being "thin-skinned" to a higher standard with bravery. Because acting all oppressed and coerced because someone called your raced is far, far more thin skinned than any SJW I've ever seen. I've sometimes said racist things. I've sometimes been called racist. It's not some horrid soul destroying threat. Pretending like it is is an act of supreme cowardice.

They cannot because he is a professor at a university and they are students there. Free speech has fuck all to do with it. And they did more than yell at him, they crowded and physically intimidated him.

Are you sure this is an accurate account of the situation? Or just this one guys point of view amplified by a media that thrives on conflict and controversy. Because like I said, I heard about this from a professor at Evergreen who cautioned me that this man was misrepresenting the situation and the school to the media and that the media reports on the details were not very accurate. And given that the article I read slamming the students characterized the administration talking with the student organizations to try and settle the situation as some sort of capitulation, I'm not getting the impression that the media is being terribly responsible in telling an accurate story here.

And even if they were irresponsible... Jesus, it's a bunch of scared kids. People who are apparently rightfully fearful for their lives right now. There's gotta be a better way to handle it than turn it into a national controversy that increases the danger to school and students. Snarky cartoons strawmanning people you disagree with are not exactly a great example of that.
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:44 PM on June 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


Brain Sturgeon: Your quote is right, I stand corrected. Of course what that lecture would look like in practice, we'll never know.

In the context of his letter, though, I still think his offer is at best extremely condescending. To my eye, it comes off like "You all are so worried about race, let me tell you how there's no scientific basis for it, so you're all getting het up over nothing." (Unless he was going to go full Charles Murray on them, which can't be ruled out as a possibility.)

He already teaches at Evergreen State. He knew exactly what kind of reaction his letter and stance would get. My guess is he wants out of teaching and will soon right a book for big conservative $$.
posted by msalt at 10:45 PM on June 2, 2017


Evergreen students are very, very prone to melodrama (I say this fondly--I love their zany antics and have had a long association with people there), but if this guy didn't want melodrama he made a whole series of shitty decisions. Everyone involved is annoying, but you'd have to be a complete asshole not to realize that the only actual culprit here is the person who threatened to commit mass murder.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:48 PM on June 2, 2017 [6 favorites]


(and to preempt: I'm not at all equating the students' actions with those of the prof. I'm not getting into apportioning and comparing. They all annoy me.)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 10:49 PM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of the right wing anger has been fuelled by the videos of the protests that were leaked, which to be fair do paint rather a scary picture of belligerent incoherence.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 10:50 PM on June 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


Well I'm going to hold people who think people who complain about "SJWs" being "thin-skinned" to a higher standard with bravery. Because acting all oppressed and coerced because someone called your raced is far, far more thin skinned than any SJW I've ever seen. I've sometimes said racist things. I've sometimes been called racist. It's not some horrid soul destroying threat. Pretending like it is is an act of supreme cowardice.

Being branded a racist could easily ruin the life of a college kid. I don't think it's fair or kind to force some "scared kid" to choose between standing up for what they know is right and not becoming a social outcast. That said, there were some students who showed up to the class Weinstein had to hold in a public park since he was told he wasn't safe on campus. I think those kids were very brave indeed.
posted by Brain Sturgeon at 10:55 PM on June 2, 2017 [5 favorites]


I think a lot of the right wing anger has been fuelled by the videos yt of the protests that were leaked, which to be fair do paint rather a scary picture of belligerent incoherence.

And as they are edited to presumably show the absolute worst behavior of the student activists, then it is appropriate to make an apples to apples to comparison with the worst of those opposed to the student activists. Tell me, do any of those examples come close to:

"Yes, I’m on my way to Evergreen University now with a .44 Magnum. I am gonna execute as many people on that campus as I can get a hold of. You have that? What’s going on there? You communist, scumbag town. I’m going to murder as many people on that campus as I can. Just keep your eyes open, you scumbag.”

?
posted by Zalzidrax at 10:56 PM on June 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


How would mixed couples feel about one of them being asked to leave?

How would their kids feel?

If you're leaving mixed couples and their kids frightened and dispirited, you need to figure out a better way.
posted by jamjam at 10:58 PM on June 2, 2017 [5 favorites]


>Tell me, do any of those examples come close to:

"Yes, I’m on my way to Evergreen University now with a .44 Magnum. I am gonna execute as many people on that campus as I can get a hold of. You have that? What’s going on there? You communist, scumbag town. I’m going to murder as many people on that campus as I can. Just keep your eyes open, you scumbag.”
Did anyone here attempt to equate the protestors' actions with that terrorist threat?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:02 PM on June 2, 2017 [3 favorites]


Someone called to let the police know they'd be shooting up a campus? I listened to that, and either that person is mentally deranged or they are just trying to create drama. Though I'm hopeful in leaning towards the latter, though I guess it could also be both.

Also students are seemingly demanding the removal of only one of the videos floating around:

“We demand that the video created for Day of Absence and Day of Presence that was stolen by white supremacists and edited to expose and ridicule the students and staff be taken down by the administration by this Friday.”

Next steps:
Based on conversations with the Attorney General’s office, the most likely course of action requires an investigation. We commit to launching an extensive forensic investigation of the theft of this video and to determining who stole it from the student. If that investigation yields a suspect, we will seek criminal charges against the individual in consultation with the Attorney General.


via
posted by whorl at 11:11 PM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


Did anyone here attempt to equate the protestors' actions with that terrorist threat?

As I said, if you are judging the student body by the worst actions of the protesters, it is only fair to judge those opposed to the protesters by their worst actions.

If you are judging the left by their worst actions while judging the right by their most reasonable, then that is dishonesty and bias.

And look, I know maybe terrorism is so bad that it should go without saying that you condemn it, so you focus on the stuff that is arguable, but can we at least get a little sympathy for all the students who have to be far braver than they ought just to go back to school on Monday because the right wing media stirred up a hornets nest of white nationalist terrorists?

Seriously I am utterly ashamed of Metafilter that there has been pretty much zero comments in this thread empathizing with all the students who have to return to class under threat of terrorism this Monday who only want to go to class and be safe and be treated as equal members of society.
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:17 PM on June 2, 2017 [4 favorites]


Stuff like this is the reason the term "SJW" exists as a pejorative.

No. No, it really isn't. Whatever you think of the situation (and, from my point of view, the students have not covered themselves with glory here), the term "SJW" exists as a pejorative because white supremacists and their fellow-travelers need insults to throw at people who challenge them. When you find yourself arguing as though an explicitly propagandist term is justified by the behavior of some members of the group being attacked, you should probably take about three steps back and reevaluate.

(Yes, yes I have had to deal with attacks from people further left than me and childish about it. Never once have I felt the urge to call them "SJWs" or accuse them of "virtue signaling" or whatever, because I am not such a fool as to adopt the insults used by people who hate my side.)
posted by praemunire at 11:19 PM on June 2, 2017 [8 favorites]


As I said, if you are judging the student body by the worst actions of the protesters, it is only fair to judge those opposed to the protesters by their worst actions.

Really? Even if they're literally different people? Yikes.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:26 PM on June 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


Okay, well, I'll leave it up to you, praemunire, to come up with a good shorthand for "people ostensibly on your side who've stepped off the deep-end into crazy, counterproductive, nonsense-land", then spread it around the common parlance so that it's easily recognized and understood.
posted by Brain Sturgeon at 11:27 PM on June 2, 2017 [2 favorites]



Really? Even if they're literally different people? Yikes.


Can you explain what you mean? Every one of those 50 people protesting are different people. From what I've seen at protests, likely only a couple of them were being aggressive and confrontational and swearing, if that. And those people are only a subset of those students who support the Day of Absence protest.

I don't really see any particular good argument for lumping all those people together, and attribute to them all the worst of a spectrum of behavior, and not do the same thing to the other side
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:39 PM on June 2, 2017 [2 favorites]


I don't think it's right to lump people together on any side. If you agree (and you say you do), why are you insisting on doing so? There are many more than two sides, in fact, and any reduction of this to "two sides" is also "lumping."

Nobody here has expressed sympathy with the terrorist threat caller, but I do have sympathy for many other members of the Evergreen community--including all of the students, whatever views they may have of this matter.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:46 PM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]


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