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Weinstein/Evergreen Primer for Lazy Journos

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  1. Greetings,
  2.  
  3. I am writing to ask if there are plans to cover the events last week at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. The story revolves around race-related student protests, with Professor Bret Weinstein and President George Bridges being the most visible faculty targets of the protests. I've found it incredibly interesting to watch develop and was hoping to see a more in-depth article written than the more shallow overviews that have been churned out. Most present coverage seems to focus only on outrageous and shocking footage of student misbehavior and administrator capitulation, but I think there's a lot more interesting things going on than simple visual entertainment.
  4.  
  5. The place we should probably start is https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-campus-mob-came-for-meand-you-professor-could-be-next-1496187482 where Professor Weinstein briefly describes the events and the forces at work.
  6.  
  7. Weinstein also recently appeared on the Rubin Report for a two hour interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fEAPcgxnyY.
  8.  
  9. Moving further back, I think the most concise explanation of the events was during a King 5 interview, with particular emphasis at the threats he had received. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzUuQ6LkE94 That youtube channel also has other videos showing the assemblies held to address protestors last week.
  10.  
  11. The Cooper Point Journal is the student news paper and the most detailed source of information. It is heavily biased, but the information provided is invaluable for understanding the campus climate.
  12.  
  13. To briefly outline, at 9:30 on Tuesday, Professor Weinstein's class was interruped by protestors. The footage of this has spread somewhat widely: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fDm5fXzrQQ&index=1&list=PLV8ajpBgPg4hANX8zyqI-sCsjS9rGJ07Z This (and subsequent) video is hosted on my youtube, but I did not film it or any other footage. I simply uploaded it from facebook and periscope livestreams so that I could more easily view them, and to protect the identity of protestors. The discussion continued later in #12 of the playlist.
  14.  
  15. The protestors move on, have a confrontation with the police, (which is why one of their demands is for Timothy O'Dell's job, and why they are consistently upset with "Stacy": https://youtu.be/cGtR55vC0zk?list=PLV8ajpBgPg4hANX8zyqI-sCsjS9rGJ07Z&t=2100 is her statement to crowd)
  16.  
  17. From here, my timeline is a bit fuzzy. It's very easy for me to confuse things past 9:30 on Tuesday with things at any time on Wednesday. One way I thought would be easy is whether Wendy is wearing White or Green. You should check on it. More on that later.
  18.  
  19. I think the next thing is that the protestors get ahold of the president (#02), barricade the administration into an office (#08), and after considerable protest (#14), manage to converse with adminstration inside that office (#13, #15). At around 4PM they move to a large open room: as seen in #16, #07. This is described as a "library" by Weinstein in some interviews.
  20.  
  21. At some point there are outdoor protests. Not sure what point. https://youtu.be/Y1QOKs9Pw54?list=PLV8ajpBgPg4hANX8zyqI-sCsjS9rGJ07Z is a video that was missing or broken during the Rubin Report interview, about halfway through. #18 is another outdoors section. Not sure what time or day that was either.
  22.  
  23. Moving into Wednesday, let's look at a couple protestor information post:
  24.  
  25.     *PRESS RELEASE: COPY & PASTE*
  26.     May 23, 2017
  27.     To whom it may concern;
  28.     At approx. 9:30 am at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, a group of about 50 students were organizing a peaceful protest against anti-black remarks that a faculty member (Bret Weinstein) had made in past emails. Weinstein came out of the D building after receiving reports of the student’s plans, attempting to block the students from entering the building. He then willingly held open the door for students to enter the building, where they made their way throughout the building.
  29.     Students read from a statement *read at the bottom* and asked Weinstein to take responsibility for his actions and the statements he made in his anti-black emails. Students were understandably upset but were NOT overtly threatening or harmful in any way. Bret Weinstein began filming the students once they entered the building, but was contesting their rights to film him. The students then peppered Weinstein with questions, asking if he knew that what he did was harmful to both students and faculty of color.
  30.     He replied that he did not think that he was wrong in his actions, which upset both students of color and white students. The students chanted and continued to try to make their feelings known to Weinstein, but he was refusing to listen and instead attempted multiple times to take over the discourse and make the students listen to him. During all this, some of Bret’s students were surrounding him and verbally attacking the group of protestors.
  31.     After 20-25 minutes, the students exited the building while chanting, and made their way down the walkways of the seminar II building. At this point, the students were attempting to debrief and discuss what just occurred when campus Officer Timothy O’dell arrived and attempted to push through the crowd of white students protecting the people of color and those with disabilities. The police chief Stacy Brown also arrived and attempted to assist O’dell. After some time of non-violent dialogue, the students began to file down the stairs towards Red Square. By the time most of the group arrived at Red Square, both state troopers and Olympia Police showed up and began to threaten students with mace and arrest.
  32.     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. The white students were then delegated to spread out throughout the library floor and watch for police potentially surrounding the building. The white students did see police surround the building, but as of this point most of them have retreated.
  33.     This is all that the students know to have happened at this time. The students are trying their best to get their message across in a peaceful manner, but are only being met with backlash and excessive police force. This is the active and only true narrative of today’s events. Stay tuned. #ExposeEvergreen
  34.  
  35.     Statement read by the students:
  36.     “We come here as students against campus racism and against anti-blackness on campus, and we would like to reach out to students of color in the humanities as well as the sciences that we are here to support, and we want to dismantle anti-blackness campus wide. We want to give some sense of solidarity and provide safety in and outside of classes.”
  37.  
  38. Students frequently shared: http://www.afropunk.com/profiles/blogs/urgent-olympia-wa-students-reportedly-attacked-by-police-for
  39.    
  40.    
  41.     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 24, 2017
  42.     STUDENTS AT THE EVERGREEN STATE COLLEGE PROTEST RACISM AND ANTI-BLACKNESS ON CAMPUS.
  43.     Whereas the campus community is experiencing mounting racial tension, putting the health and safety of brown and black students at risk and
  44.     Whereas The Evergreen State College administration has failed to indicate any plan of action for the protection of students of color on campus and
  45.     Whereas the College administration, specifically Andrea Seabert Olsen, has demonstrated anti-blackness in the pigeonholing, charging, and sentencing of two Black, trans, disabled students based on false, racially-charged allegations and
  46.     Whereas the Evergreen State College Campus Police, in a separate incident, kept two Black students detained over an unfounded claim of aggression until hours after midnight, conducted unlawful interviews, and contacted the students’ guardians illegally, without a Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) release or student consent and
  47.     Whereas peaceful protesters were assaulted by Evergreen Police Officer Timothy O’dell over a false report made by professor Bret Weinstein on the morning of May 23, 2017, after students attempted to hold Bret accountable for a recent racist email he wrote and
  48.     Whereas the College administration has, without any student input, proposed changes to the Student Code of Conduct which would criminalize protests and disruptions on a federally-funded, public institution and
  49.     Whereas the labor for dramatic change in the institution has fallen on Black femme students, instead of paid administrators or other white bodies.
  50.     In response to these recent events and the cyclical nature of anti-blackness and racism at The Evergreen State College, students are engaging in an ongoing struggle for equity on campus. Today at 1pm, students will be rallying in the Library lobby to formally present a List of Demands to College administrators as well as to show solidarity with the individuals whose bodies are routinely targeted by The Evergreen State College.
  51.     This is a CALL TO ACTION to show up in solidarity with students on campus; to report incidents of racial bias or harassment by or at The Evergreen State College; to submit claims to the Office of Civil Rights; and to contact College administrators to demand repercussions for ongoing incidents of anti-blackness conducted by students and faculty alike.
  52.     Who to contact:
  53.     The office of President George Bridges - harriss@evergreen.edu
  54.     Vice President of Student Affairs Wendy Endress - endressw@evergreen.edu
  55.     Assistant to the VP for Student Conduct Andrea Seabert Olsen - seaberta@evergreen.edu
  56.     Signed,
  57.     Those Who Are Not Often Heard
  58.  
  59. And also look at a local news source: http://www.theolympian.com/news/local/education/article152491379.html
  60.    
  61. On Wednesday,
  62. It appears there was a small, quiet committee: https://youtu.be/ai2XsO-sDzg?list=PLV8ajpBgPg4hANX8zyqI-sCsjS9rGJ07Z&t=180 Wendy wearing Green.
  63.  
  64. There's a large discussion in the Library 1 PM. Sorry, not sure which video(s).
  65.  
  66. Late at night Wendy wearing Green in the cafeteria ("The Greenery"): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rny1DOGjJ40&index=25&list=PLV8ajpBgPg4hANX8zyqI-sCsjS9rGJ07Z
  67.  
  68. Thurs, 25th:
  69.  
  70. Professor Naima Lowe's students and other protestors interrupt cake at the "Standing Committee of the Curriculum" in video #09
  71.  
  72.     Edited: this is the longer version that I sent to my colleagues via email today. Young people are geniuses. I'm a lucky bitch to make my living working for and with them.
  73.     Dear Colleagues,
  74.     Over the last two days students at Evergreen have protested systemic inequities on our campus, including but not limited to issues of accountability within our student conduct code, police misconduct, and faculty responsibilities towards creating a learning environment free of racism. This group of students protested in many forums and in many ways, including interrupting, and ultimately halting, this afternoon's faculty meeting. Today's faculty meeting is one of my favorite of the year. It is the one where we honor faculty who are about to retire. It is one of the few times a year where there is a general sense of good will and kindness among the faculty as we honor people who are moving on from their positions. It was also a time when our colleagues from the Standing Committee of the Curriculum were going to present some of their work and vote on proposals before us. I understand that some people found it disappointing or upsetting to not be able to honor our colleagues in this way, or have the opportunity to vote. I share that disappointment, but I also participated with the students in their protest because I felt (and feel) that the things that they are asking of us matter more. That is hard to say because I come from a culture that honors elders deeply, and a family of educators that appreciates the hard work that goes into a career in academia.
  75.     But again I say: This matters more. Not a single member of the faculty has a job without the students. Period. No configuration of our curriculum is viable without clear input on the very issues that the students are protesting. Period. If our students are suffering in this way, than our job is to respond, listen and understand what they are trying to tell us. Our job is to let go of our own egos, defensiveness and need to be understood as "good" or "liberal" or "progressive" or whatever else, and recognize that ALL OF US, regardless of race, are capable of reinforcing white supremacy and perpetuating anti-black racism. None of us gets a pass. We are all accountable.
  76.     These students came in front of us today and asked to do something very simple: Come support us. I know that to some of my colleagues, this request seemed out of turn, rude, aggressive, confusing. I also know that we've had months and years to listen to the requests of our students of color that have been raised in many many many nicer, easier, more palatable ways. These are not new requests and complaints from students of color on this campus (and on campuses across the nation), and this protest is the direct result of us not doing enough to transform ourselves and the college in a way that can meet the needs of students of color.
  77.     These students have demonstrated incredible solidarity, strength and thoughtfulness about their protest. They had a clear vision, while also being flexible. They were forceful and clear in their expectations, but they also took great care to ensure that people protesting AND being protested had access to food, water, medical care, etc. They understood their power and used it very effectively. They exercised their right to speak clearly and plainly at a public institution that their tax dollars and tuition pay for. They told us things that some of us don't want to hear, and it is important that we get into that discomfort and figure out how to DO BETTER. I'm sick of dealing with the deflection and arrogance and racism of this "liberal" group of faculty that I work with. (Literally, ask my doctor.)
  78.     Most importantly, they gave us a GIFT. This is a group of students who actually believes that this college can be better. They are HOPEFUL. They believe that we are capable of being the college that we say that we are. We should accept this gift and return this generosity with our own.
  79.     I'm so proud of what the students did today. They are brilliant and they are doing exactly what we've taught them today.
  80.     Sincerely and in Solidarity,
  81.     Naima
  82.     Sent from my iPad
  83.  
  84.  
  85. Friday:
  86. President George Bridges capitulates to most demands:  
  87. http://www.cooperpointjournal.com/2017/05/27/george-bridges-statement-in-response-to-student-demands-delivered-in-the-longhouse-on-friday-may-26/ and http://www.cooperpointjournal.com/2017/05/27/complete-list-of-student-demands/ show the demands.
  88.  
  89. Of special note is "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 this Friday." Many reporters are incorrectly saying that the demand is in response to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bO1agIlLlhg which is very popular on right-wing sites as well as on reddit and 4chan's /pol/ board. The video in question is actually https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wc8A-S6uIDM
  90.  
  91.  
  92. This concludes my overview. I do have two addition points.
  93.  
  94. One of the student activists, Jamil, has an interesting past: http://www.cooperpointjournal.com/2017/05/24/students-questioned-about-alleged-harassment-allegations-of-anti-black-racism-ensue/ describes it partly, as does http://libertyhangout.org/2017/05/leftist-alien-among-leftist-peers/ and http://libertyhangout.org/2017/05/the-price-of-having-a-different-opinion-on-a-left-wing-campus/
  95.  
  96. The short version is that Jamil made a post in the Class of 2020 facebook group about trying to secure a course to be mostly black/brown students. Kai-Ave copied the post but replaced the word "black" with "white". After some threats, police getting called and an attempted suicide by the group moderator, Jamil is in the front of the next witch hunt. The professor of the course is Professor Naima Lowe.
  97.  
  98.     copy/paste to share plz <3
  99.  
  100.     "To Whom It May Concern (so all of y’all),
  101.     On Friday, George will hold a “Silence the Black people” session over the lunch hour in the Longhouse and we will not join him there. We have already voiced our experiences over this year and Wendy and George have made it obvious they don’t care about how recent events are affecting the student body. They are making an effort to diminish our voices and take control of a situation they refused to acknowledge until it began to tarnish their reputation. The incidents described below are a part of this years struggle and a cyclical issue in which Evergreen has consistently refused to listen and engage in critical dialogue surrounding race, and refused to make radical progress on becoming the college it advertises itself as being – highlighting Evergreen’s complicity in the cultural failings of the United States.
  102.     You might have heard about some anti-black and misogynoir messages that were posted in The Evergreen Class of 2020 Facebook group. Black women and femmes were being harassed and found the posts to be incendiary and aggressive. The arguments on Facebook were rooted in the goals of silencing and erasing the voices of Black women and femmes and catering to the feelings of both white and white passing, non-Black POC. The police became involved when a non-Black man of color, who has a history of invalidating the humanity of Black people, chose to victimize himself and suggest that his safety had been compromised. This was the same non-Black man of color who started the Facebook arguments.
  103.     On Sunday night 5/14, two Black students were accused of threatening the non-Black man of color in the Greenery around dinner time. What was labeled as a threat was actually a question from a Black student asking the non-Black man of color when he was going to stop antagonizing Black students. This may have been done loudly, but not aggressively unless you find Black bodies as inherently aggressive. There were many non-Black friends who were with the Black student and participated in the conversation who were not accused of threatening this non-Black man. RAD then took action, first having one of the Black students moved from their living space on the eighth floor to a room on the fourth floor, and then placing floor restrictions on both Black students, saying they could not be above each of their respective floors. Later, around 11:00 pm, Police/RAD told the students that they were to appear at the Police station on campus without reason. Several people who were concerned for the safety of these two Black students going to a police station, joined them and waited while the Blacks students were questioned in private. They were told they had to be interviewed alone, which we were later informed was not lawful - though the RD & police officers kept warning action would be taken if there was any "retaliation." Then, everyone there was told to wait, at almost one in the morning, until the schools Conduct Officer could arrive to make a decision about the incident. No one was allowed to leave because an "investigation" was being conducted. Around two in the morning on Monday 5/15, 45 people had shown up to support the two Black students, all that were in attendance were told that no decision would be made despite being kept in the Police station for several hours in the middle of the night based on false allegations made by the non-Black man of color. We know that these allegations were at least in some part false based on the fact that one of the Black students had not interacted with the non-Black man of color in any way, on Facebook or in person in over two weeks. There was a “No Contact Order” put in place to protect this non-Black man of color. The Black students stated that for them to feel as though this situation was being handled equitably the non-Black man of color should have been woken up and brought down to the station as well. They were told this would not happen. Meanwhile, Black students mothers were called by the police illegally without a FERPA release or student consent before it had been determined by law enforcement wether or not any laws had been broken.
  104.     The schools email to students failed to include that Andrea Seabert, the Assistant to the Vice President for student conduct, did not tell the students they could leave until well past one in the morning. Students were not “offered” alternative places to stay, but rather told they had to move. The experience with police was anxiety producing for some students, while destabilizing and traumatic for Black bodies. It was not PoC who felt the bulk of the backlash, instead Black students specifically. Also “We” did not launch the Queer and Trans Center, it was founded despite George.
  105.     The school refuses to acknowledge how poorly Andrea Seabert has handled situations involving particularly Black, PoC, Trans, and people who have experienced sexual assault. Andrea Seabert needs to be held accountable for these actions. The school and George and Wendy have actively practiced anti-blackness, transphobia, and ableism as highlighted in the accusations placed on AR and Lawrence. This event taking place from 12-1 today, in the Longhouse is Georges attempt to put a band-aid on a much larger wound. To have a PR event. To distract students and to center himself when he has already failed so redundantly.
  106.     We strongly discourage all those that support Black students and our humanity on this campus from attending this event. We will not buy into their placating.
  107.     Signed,
  108.     Those Who aren’t Often Heard"
  109.  
  110.  
  111. As Professor Weinstein's WSJ article says, he was an opponent of the Strategic Equity Plan. The Cooper Point Journal has MANY fascinating things to say about this, and I've here is a canoe video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPZT7CASvCs
  112.  
  113. http://www.cooperpointjournal.com/2017/04/10/dl-on-the-faculty-dl-update-on-the-email-chain/
  114.     It's important to note that the emails were sent in March. The Day of Absence came and went without considerable drama in April. Now students demand his head for his supposed racist email in May. But why?
  115.    
  116. http://www.cooperpointjournal.com/2017/03/20/re-equity-inclusion-silence-and-fear-faculty-emails-reveal-controversy-over-race-and-diversity-at-evergreen/
  117.     Weinstein took particular issue with one policy, put in place to encourage equity at Evergreen “faculty voted to require official, yearly reflections on our individual progress relative to racial diversity.” He appears to conflate this attempt to mend historical inequality and combat racism at Evergreen, with discrimination against white people, writing, “It is hard to imagine a person of color being flagged by a conversion panel, or as an internal hiring candidate, due to their yearly reflections revealing cryptic bias, or insufficient progress with respect to race. But it is all too easy to imagine a white person (whatever that is taken to mean) being challenged on this basis.” He continues that as a result of these and other diversity policies, “We have now imposed on ourselves a de facto hierarchy based on skin color, and hooked it directly to mechanisms of hiring, promotion and dismissal–empowering some, and disempowering others.”
  118. http://www.cooperpointjournal.com/2017/03/02/faculty-hiring-at-evergreen-hiring-continues-as-planned-amidst-faculty-equity-drama/
  119.  
  120. Thank you for your time. Feel free to reach out to me with questions.
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