Some of page content & features are available only to members - Sign up only takes 8 seconds!

Following Up With Evergreen College Turmoil...Another Perspective?

+3 votes
70 views
Aug 17 in Society & Culture by Virginia (4,094 points)

Wondering how Evergreen College was getting along, I came upon an article in the August 11, 2017 HUFFINGTON POST. Offered by three faculty, one retired, the article tries to present other perspectives, and explores the role of the extreme far Right in the Spring turmoil.

My home in Washington State has always been a bulwark of conservatism. However, one concern for me is that the polarization appears more extreme now. Twenty-five years ago, there were the John Birchers; but they were nothing like the ultra-right proto-fascist groups of the present time.

So, without making any final judgments, I am considering the perspective presented in this article: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/evergreen-state-college-another-side_us_598cd293e4b090964295e8fc

Your thoughts?

4 Answers

TheOtherTink Aug 18

Well, frankly, I'm not impressed with this article.  It is full of misrepresentations and appears to be an attempt at damage control, damage brought on by Evergreen's own failings.

"But the real significance of this story has hardly been reported at all."  Absurd. CNN or especially MSNBC would have been only too glad to report the 'real significance' that these authors would have wished for, had it really existed. Instead, they rail at Fox News and the right-wing media, as if 90% of the media weren't liberal or left-wing.

 "White conservatives are not lacking in a freedom to speak...It’s women and people of color who struggle the most finding a platform – but there is a conspicuous lack of concern about that by free speech crusaders.” Another absurdity. I'll believe that when I hear of a mob of right-wingers shouting down a left-wing woman or person of color on a campus.

"At Evergreen, the Big Lie is that Evergreen’s Day of Absence demonstrated "reverse racism" as whites “were forced to leave campus because of the color of their skin.” It is stunning to us how often this “alternative fact” has been repeated until it has become unchallenged truth. The truth is that the Day of Absence has long been an accepted — and voluntary — practice at Evergreen."  Yes, of course it was "voluntary", like Don Corleone making an offer that couldn't be refused. Prof. Weinstein found out the hard way what would happen if he refused to "volunteer". Weinstein's greatest sin against left-wing orthodoxy, of course, was that he went public and exposed the orthodoxy for what it is.

"Weinstein failed to correct Carlson’s sensationalist distortions of the Day of Absence. He did not explain the larger reasons for the Evergreen protests, characteristically putting himself at the center of the story. Weinstein had the right to do the interview, but that didn’t make it the right decision. His interview, and the subsequent tweets he sent about “black supremacists,” were judgment calls he knew full well would unleash vitriol and far-right threats against his colleagues. Blaming the victim, and failing to note that Weinstein in the above clip did indeed explain the "voluntary" nature of the Day of Absence.

"A toxic brew of “alt-right” (far right), white supremacist, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-Communist ideologies is growing along the West Coast that targets college campuses as a primary enemy, with Evergreen at or near the top of the list." Oops, the good professors let something slip there. Is being anti-Communist now in the same league with being a white supremacist in their eyes?  I suspect so. :ermm:

Overall, I find this article to be a polemic written by ideologues who are beside themselves that the goings-on at Evergreen got such wide publicity, and that they wrote it in part to cover their posteriors with the student radicals, to prove that they are ideologically pure.

O'Tink, a very thoughtful and insightful response...you took time and beautiful effort.

I am thinking it might not ever be possible to know just what is going/went on...unless we were there, which I was not. I did watch the whole YouTube clip you posted, and the second interview I was not impressed...with the interviewer! He would ask the Wisconsin person a question, and then try to talk him down when he did not like the response he was getting; which I then could not hear, and wanted to! 

My own personal experience, however, is the oppression that comes from the ultra-conservatives - and I grew up among them. Encountering other perspectives, in adulthood, was freeing for me if not life-saving. 

The FOX interviewer DID let Prof. Weinstein talk, however, and Weinstein's words were impressive. For now, while I am listening to those three other ideological voices, I do still tend with Weinstein.


Thank you, Virginia.   I don't doubt that you have experienced oppression from ultra-conservatives, and I am against oppression of all kinds, but the subject here is the leftist oppression going on at Evergreen.

I found the Michael Zimmerman article quite revealing on the prior history at Evergreen, containing facts that I am sure Profs. Fischel, Grossman and Nelson would rather have been kept quiet. It seems that Prof. Weinstein had for some time been objecting to the high-handed actions of the Equity Council, the members of which would brook no public discussion or review of their plans for Evergreen. And Zimmerman was there, having been a high administrative officer at Evergreen:

"But even that tells only part of the story. As mentioned above, the Equity Strategic Plan was built on a statistical foundation. When the validity of that foundation was called into question, including by a robust analysis by an Evergreen alum currently in graduate school, the same faculty member who publicly called Professor Weinstein a racist began attacking scientists generally claiming that their reliance on data was dismissive of the concerns of students. [emphasis added] President Bridges, upon being presented with the alum’s statistical critique, promised a response but none has been forthcoming.

Despite all of this, Professor Weinstein continued to call for open discussion of the strategic plan with no response other than personal attacks on him being ratcheted up. It became clear why Professor Weinstein’s appeal for dialogue drew such enmity when the same faculty member who publicly called him a racist was reported to have said that the Equity Council didn’t want such discussion because the plan might not survive such scrutiny intact. A number of senior administrators voiced the same fear with one going so far as to say that expecting a public review of the plan after it had been approved by the Equity Council which had so many people of color on it was an example of white supremacy." [emphasis added]

So it seems as if Weinstein was dealing with a would-be Politburo whose edicts were not subject to prior public scrutiny, not subject to scientific analysis, and questioned only under pain of being branded a racist.

So we are left with the question, do we believe Weinstein and Zimmerman, or do we believe Fischel, Grossman and Nelson?  Maybe no one is telling the whole story, but judging from the videos I've seen and the documents I've read, I think Weinstein and Zimmerman present a MUCH more compelling case.

O'Tink, here is just some food for thought - without the kind of inside experience I would need to (according to my own standards) accurately evaluate the situation at Evergreen...

1. I would want to know WHY Zimmerman was removed (as I get it) by the college president to a peripheral function, before giving any credibility to what he says...to me, a potential red flag.

2. I also do not trust scientific data, unless I gather it myself or a trusted colleague. (The exceptions are people like John Bell and Ernest Rutherford.) There is in Western culture a "church of scientific materialism" which has been used to bully and oppress people, and no matter how many times its predictions fail, our devotion to that spurious "church" never wavers. White supremacy can be VERY subtle. I was with the Black Panthers in SF, and I saw how they were infiltrated/discredited, along with assassinations...our own FBI.

3. I opened the photos of Fischel, Grossman and Nelson, and they look white to me. I would want to know (first-hand) their ulterior 'agenda' before dismissing their message completely.

4. In my experience, liberalism generally has been oppressed, dismissed and quite completely defeated; to the immense detriment of our nation. I am talking about something very different from the 'neo-liberalism' so-called that has existed for the last few decades.

5. For me, one big concern here is the polarization happening; the transition (on the right) from conservative John Birch to radical extreme proto-fascist, fanning the flames of divisiveness. I do all I can to buy out of that, to look for BOTH sides...goal, rapprochement. 

All that being said, I still am tending with Weinstein. His points ring true, whatever else might be going on.

Virginia, I found this marvelous extended interview (staring at 3:00) with Weinstein, in which he addresses all of your questions about Evergreen, including why some white faculty and students are found being such avid radicals, and why many others are afraid to speak up.

I've only had time to watch the first 45 minutes, but in that 45 minutes, he corroborates what Zimmerman wrote, and draws a very cogent and reasoned picture of what is going on, quite in contrast to the polemics indulged in by Fischel, Grossman and Nelson, so as a matter of credibility, I don't think there is any comparison.

I think Zimmerman was removed from effective office because he refused to be part of the radical agenda, of which President Bridges, either through conviction or cowardice, seems to be part.

And that agenda and mindset are CHILLING.  If people like the radicals at Evergreen ever get control of government, the result will be like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union: only ONE way of thinking, or you lose your job or worse.  Big Brother is on his way.


Other Tink, I cannot even tell you how much I appreciated this interview...I watched the whole two hours at one sitting. For me, hearing Weinstein at length very much confirms yours and my own favourable impression, almost point for point. (There were a few places where I was unfamiliar with his reference, or else unfamiliar with his metaphor... I don't understand much about gaming, for example; and a few others where I am guessing he will mature into an even deeper view than his already fine thinking.)

Also I thought the interviewer (Rubin) did well, for instance the first part where he worked with Weinstein to set the framework; Weinstein's thought affirms my own concern developing over these last eight months of study, for example the devastating concern/worry that our politico-economic system is NOT going to self-correct, and the urgent need to find a way to bring about revolutionary changes -- without descending into revolution itself. 

I don't know if you have seen the full interview yet, but (amazingly) Weinstein even expresses his compassion for the perspective of the students, and how he believes it got misdirected...briefly, their inability for any true dialectic, plus the universities as a 'soft' target...he mentions inequities in our system of jurisprudence, for example, which are much harder to affect. He was also courageous, I thought, in stating explicitly, why he feels the president of the college should be removed.

And the potential for fascism? Yes; Weinstein gave examples without really naming it that.  (For example, one of the faculty leaders telling Weinstein there was NO venue where he should be allowed to defend himself.)

On and on...anyway, I will bookmark this interview and will be watching it again.

Yes, Virginia, I have watched the rest of the interview. Weinstein is a brave man, risking career and maybe even life and limb, standing up to the Bolsheviks at Evergreen.  What a contrast between his reasoned arguments and the screeching yells of his opposition, even among other faculty who should know better.

These undemocratic forces are typified by those who think themselves so wise that they exclusively know what's best, and therefore should dictate policy. Naturally, anyone who disagrees with them is indulging in hate speech and must be silenced in one way or another.

O'Tink, Weinstein speaks in the interview about his admiration for logic and reason...well, it seems to me that his thinking is clear enough that he even goes beyond reasoning, and over into wisdom. Remarkable, especially in that extrapolating from his college 'adventure' in 1987, he is probably no more than 50 years of age.

* Later addition; btw, you and Marianne are both fine and generous researchers. It's very beneficial, and it's one reason I wish our group here on SOLVED could be larger...

And in this article, the victim is again blamed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/16/opinion/media-alt-right-evergreen-college.html?mcubz=3

BTW, the two guys holding the flags don't exactly took like KKK types to me.  Must be uncle toms. :ermm:

https://medium.com/@princessofthefaeries666/the-truth-about-the-evergreen-protests-444c86ee6307

Marianne Aug 17
Actually, news here are very controversed in this case.

But European newspapers hardly mentioned the Evergreen College Protests, or some referred, to "reverse racism".

Also in this case (Wikipedia), they did not specify whom the vandals were "siding".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Evergreen_State_College

There must be something fishy going around in many parts of this world - independent news media are being increasingly bought by big multis or oligarchs - and, if we remember, Berlusconi's control of Italy's main media for more than 30 years

https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/berlusconi-s-chilling-effect-italian-media

had rather negative consequences for Italy, its reputation and its economy.

Virginia Marianne Aug 18

Marianne, I did not even know that Berlusconi exercised that kind of media control! THAT is appalling.

Marianne Marianne Aug 19
Korvo Aug 18

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5959507ee4b0f078efd98b0e

I must admit, I know nothing about the turmoil at your college.  I do not understand racism. I read the above article, and thought it might give you another perspective.  Sorry, other than that I can say nothing.

Virginia Korvo Aug 18

Korvo, thank you SO much...Zimmerman's article was VERY long, and he wrote it in an unclear (to me) fashion. I doubt now that we will ever really know what was going on...

mtnba2k Aug 18
The cheapest NBA Live Mobile Coins and NBA 2K18 MT at https://www.mtnba2k.com.
NBA Live Mobile Coins
NBA 2K18 MT Coins

Related questions

Question followers

0 users followed this question.

29 Online
0 Member And 29 Guest
Today Visits : 6289
Yesterday Visits : 6657
All Visits : 5704198
...