Sunday: Hili dialogue

Good morning: it’s Sunday, September 24, 2017, we all survived the predicted Apocalypse, and it’s going to be another scorcher here in Chicago. And, God help us, it be Cherries Jubilee Day, promulgated by Big Cherry (here’s a recipe if you’re intrigued). In the U.S., it’s National Punctuation Day, so don’t go writing “its” for the contraction!

On September 24, 1780, Benedict Arnold, his spying uncovered, fled from the American Army to the British Army, in which he eventually became a brigadier general and led attacks on the Continental Army. On this day in 1980, the Mormon Church, pressured by the U.S. government, officially renounced polygamy. The operant word, of course, is “officially,” as some sects still practice it. In 1948, the Honda Motor Company was founded, and in 1957, President Eisenhower sent the military into Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce desegregation. Although the Norman Rockwell painting below, “The problem we all live with,” was painted in 1964 in response to a similar crisis in New Orleans (it was on the cover of Look Magazine, and President Obama later had it hung outside the Oval Office), it’s appropriate. Note the “n word” scrawled on the wall (along with “KKK”)—something that wouldn’t be acceptable for a magazine cover today:

 

On this day in 1968, my favorite news show, “60 Minutes”, had its first broadcast on CBS. On September 24, 1978, Dougal Haston and Doug Scott reached the summit of Mount Everest by climbing its southwest face: the first Everest summit achieved by climbing a face. Finally, I’ll just quote Wikipedia on another event on this day, as I’m on shaky ground with computer firsts: “1979 – CompuServe launches the first consumer internet service, which features the first public electronic mail service.”

Notables born on this day include Horace Walpole (1717), Blind Lemon Jefferson (1893), F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896), Howard Florey (1898), Severo Ochoa (1905), and Fats Navarro (1923). Fitzgerald is one of my favorite modern American writers, and recordings of his voice are rare. Here he is reading Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale” (Fitz was a huge Keats fan):

Those who died on this day include Paracelsus (1541), Hans Geiger (1945), Dr. Seuss (1991), Françoise Sagan (2004) and Buckwheat Zydeco (2016). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, on her wicker shelf, is puzzled:

Hili: I don’t understand people…
A: I don’t always understand them myself.
In Polish:
Hili: Nie rozumiem ludzi…
Ja: Ja też nie zawsze.

Out in remote Winnipeg, Gus’s staff writes this along with a new video:

This is a new game Gus invented the other day. A bit of a dangerous game for me…

Matthew Cobb sent us three animal tw**ts; the first is a splendid example of spider/ant mimicry:

Here’s a murmuration of starling shaped like a whale. Does this mean the apocalypse did happen yesterday?

And this is not injustice, but social justice. Cats, after all, are small and oppressed:

How are Jews like Muslims?

If this article is true, and I suspect it is, then the answer is “Among the orthodox of both faiths: extreme prudishness combined with irrationality”.

Read for yourself (click on the screenshot to go to the link) and tell me if you think this is real. The article describes all kinds of machinations that hyper-orthodox Jews go to to avoid contacting the opposite sex (I’ve written about Airplane Musical Seats before), but this takes the cake:

Lagniappe: Cat fail

Some cats seem to recognize that a two-dimensional image of a bird on a t.v. or computer screen is not a real prey item, but others, like this cat, cannot.

Bret Weinstein on the problems of the Left

As of yesterday, Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying are no longer biology professors at The People’s Republic of Evergreen State College, and it’s the college’s loss (check Bret’s and Heather’s teaching ratings, which are at the top of the scale).  As far as I know, they haven’t yet found new jobs (and some school better scoop them up pronto), but Bret isn’t remaining silent about the kind of treatment either he received at TESC or that’s spreading across U.S. campuses. Heres a series of his tw**ts from yesterday. The key prescription is the penultimate one: the left “must abandon its snap judgments, litmus tests, and presumption of guilty by association.”

 

 

Berkeley profs and students try to redefine hate speech and renew calls for class boycotts during Free Speech Week; science faculty stays quiet

UPDATE: While Free Speech Week is an organizational mess, it’s not clear whether it’s been canceled. Milo appears to be saying different things: NPR says it’s off, while HuffPo reports Milo saying it’s still on. Regardless, my arguments about free speech still apply. One thing’s for sure: speeches by these people will continue to be scheduled on campuses, and people will still argue that the First Amendment needs a rewrite.

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Free Speech Week, a collection of talks by right-wingers like Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter, begins tomorrow at the University of California at Berkeley. It’s scheduled to last four days, though it looks as if it may be a bust (several of the “scheduled” speakers didn’t even agree to talk).

I wrote about this event last week, and mentioned a faculty/student protest letter calling for the cancellation of classes, the closing of campus, and a policy to not penalize students who didn’t show up at class during those four days (three academic days, in fact). The letter argued that the “free speech” was violence, would incite violence as well as hurt feelings and offense among certain students, and that students should be protected from both hurt bodies and hurt feelings. (I agree about the former but not the latter.) You’ll already know what I think of that argument. If people’s feeling would be hurt by hearing the speakers, they can simply avoid them. As for the violence, well, it’s Berkeley’s responsibility to prevent it, and remember that the violence in the last Berkeley riot was committed predominantly by the Left (Antifa and its minions), many of whom weren’t Berkeley students. If the Left fears violence, tell them to reign in those who are on the Left!

At the time, that letter was signed by 132 faculty and graduate students, heavily weighted with humanities scholars compared to those in the sciences. As I wrote:

What’s most interesting are those departmental affiliations. Nearly every signer is from the humanities: gender studies, film studies, history of art, rhetoric, film and media, ethnic studies, English, African American studies, theater and dance performance, comparative literature, and so on. The only people even close to being scientists are one faculty member and one graduate student in anthropology, a professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, and someone of unspecified rank from the Department of Public Health and Medical Anthropology.  That’s a total of four people not in the humanities, or 3%.

Why do you suppose that is? Where are the biologists, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, and so on? Indeed, there’s not even anyone there from philosophy!

Readers had their own theories about this disparity among academic areas, including a more politically active stance among humanities scholars, the fact that scientists were busy in their labs, and so on. I don’t really know the answer, but Free Speech Week is still on the books, the “boycott letter” is still there (see the letter and signatories here), and the number of signatories has increased . I’ve counted them all and looked at their fields, including only faculty and grad students and leaving out alumnae and undergrads.

Among the 211 faculty and grad-student signers, 36, or 17%, are in fields related to science (I’m counting math, anthropology, environmental science, policy & management as “science”). But if you look only at the faculty signers, there are but three: two in mathematics and one in the tangential field of “environmental science policy and management.” That’s out of 69 faculty, including visiting faculty, adjuncts, and lecturers, so the proportion of science-related people signing the letter is about 4%. Since there are surely more than 4% of all faculty in science-related fields, we again see science underrepresented. The higher proportion of science grad students than science faculty is, I suppose, explained by their youth and indoctrination in Regressive Leftism, something that they don’t have the maturity to think about.

Here are a few bits from the letter (my emphasis):

. . . as faculty committed to the safety of our students and our campus, we are calling for a complete boycott of all classes and campus activities while these Alt-Right events are taking place at the very center of UC Berkeley’s campus. As faculty we cannot ask students and staff to choose between risking their physical and mental safety in order to attend class or come to work in an environment of harassment, intimidation, violence, and militarized policing. The reality is that particularly vulnerable populations (DACA students, non-white, gender queer, Muslims, disabled, feminists, and others) have already been harmed, and are reporting increased levels of fear and anxiety about the upcoming events, the increased police presence on our campus, and how all this will impact their lives and their studies.

It is not just physical violence that our campus faces from this media circus. Many of these provocateurs’ most committed audiences are online, and the Breitbart media machine uses that audience to harass, cyberbully, and threaten anyone who speaks out against them. Students and faculty on our campus have already had their lives threatened for speaking out against Milo and his followers. Online threats are real threats, and if we allow this intolerant and bullying version of free speech to take over our campus, then it can only but come at the expense of the free speech rights of the Berkeley community as a whole. In fact, campus safety concerns have already forced the Anthropology Department to cancel a public talk during “free speech week.” This makes clear that the administration understands the imminent threat to campus safety while also revealing that the loud demands of the Alt-Right has the effect of silencing members of our campus community.

We recognize that as a public institution, we are legally bound by the Constitution to allow all viewpoints on campus. However, there are forms of speech that are not protected under the First Amendment. These include speech that presents imminent physical danger and speech that disrupts the university’s mission to educate. Milo, Coulter and Bannon do not come to educate; they and their followers come to humiliate and incite. If the administration insists upon allowing the Alt-Right to occupy the center of our campus for four days to harass, threaten and intimidate us, as they did during Milo’s visit in February, then faculty cannot teach, staff cannot work and students cannot learn.

Note that “mental safety” is analogized to physical safety, which means being offended is like being punched. I reject that argument, as the students don’t have to listen to any of these speakers.  Further, no members of the campus community have been “silenced”: this letter and the publicity it got (see below) is proof of that.  As for threats, I suspect the Left is making them at least as often as the right, and in the past has been prone to actions like pulling fire alarms or phoning in bomb threats to cancel right-wing talks. I’m guessing that will happen this week.

Finally, note the “We love free speech but. . . ” sentence, with the invidious claim that the speakers are arriving only to humiliate and incite. Well, there’s no doubt that people like Milo are appearing in Berkeley as a way to “test the waters” for their message, but if they incite the Left, rousing the thugs of Antifa, then that is the fault of the Left. I don’t think anyone, and that includes Bannon and Milo, is urging people to commit violence, and therefore they’re not abrogating the Constitituion. I’m sure people like Milo wouldn’t disapprove of Left-inspired violence, as it gives him publicity, but the best way for the Left to deal with these speakers is to either mount peaceful protests (including counterspeech) or ignore them completely. Every time the Left starts a riot, it looks worse, and further entrenches the Trumpies.

In the meantime, the supposedly “silenced” members of the Berkeley community got a big voice in yesterday’s New York Times. Click on the article below to see it:

Curiosly, the article doesn’t mention the big underrepresentation of science faculty among the signers, which is an interesting phenomenon worth noting and exploring. Equally curious is that they get one of the three science-faculty signers, mathematician Katrin Wehrheim, as their prime commenter and use another science professor, an anthropologist who didn’t sign the letter, as another anti-event commenter:

But symplectic geometry will not be meeting for its scheduled session on Tuesday because the professor, Katrin Wehrheim, is one of dozens of faculty members who have canceled classes ahead of a series of scheduled appearances by right-wing speakers next week in the latest round of Berkeley’s free speech wars.

“It’s just not safe to hold class,” Professor Wehrheim said. “This is not about free speech. These people are coming here to pick a fight.”

. . . In stark contrast to this position [“students need to hear stuff they don’t agree with”] is Professor Wehrheim, the symplectic geometry expert, whose German heritage informs a stance that certain speech should be banned from campus.

“Americans are missing the profound analogies between present day U.S. developments and German history,” Professor Wehrheim said.

In Germany today, Professor Wehrheim said, “you will get jailed for certain speech — and I think that is absolutely the right thing.”

No, it’s not the right thing. The courts would never enact the kind of anti-“hate speech” laws that obtain in Germany, and the U.S. didn’t suffer because of the First Amendment. Trump, in fact—idiotic authoritarian that he is—wasn’t elected because the First Amendment allowed Nazis and white supremacists to speak out in his favor. That idea is ludicrous. And if someone like Wehrheim wants authorities to censor speech, what kind of speech, given our president government, do you think will be censored? Hint: it may be hers.

Other faculty have called for suppression of “alt-right” speech:

“What America is not understanding about what’s happening at Berkeley is this is a community and a campus that is under a comprehensive, well-funded full assault by the alt-right,” said Michael Mark Cohen, an associate professor of American studies and African-American studies who is helping lead the boycott. “These people will not leave us alone. This has to stop unless the rest of the country is willing to let Berkeley become a battlefield.”

Mr. Cohen says he would prefer for the university to bar inflammatory right-wing speakers from coming to campus and spend the money now going to security on legal fees defending the ban.

Sorry, but Berkeley will survive. The assault I’m worried about is not by these marginal and sometimes looney right-wing speakers, but by the authoritarian Left that wants to determine what students are allowed to say and, more important, to hear. We will survive the era of Trump, but we won’t survive a rewriting of the First Amendment.  Remember that one day Trump will be gone, and that courts will continue to enforce the existing interpretation of freedom of speech. (Even right-wing courts adhere to existing policy.) People like Cohen, the Melissa Click of Berkeley, simply fail to foresee the consequences of banning “inflammatory” speakers.

I’ll close by quoting two more professors who favor banning offensive speech. (They get a lot more play that those in favor of free speech, showing that nobody has been silenced):

According to a survey conducted in August and made public on the Brookings Institution website, a plurality of college students polled, 44 percent, believed that hate speech was not protected by the First Amendment.

“Today’s students tend to believe in a narrower interpretation of the First Amendment than is actually true,” said the author of the study, John Villasenor, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. “There is this idea that what is permissible to say should be judged in large part on its impact on a listener.”

One proponent of that idea is Nancy Scheper-Hughes, an anthropology professor at Berkeley who this semester is teaching a course on the relationship between free speech and hate speech. [JAC: Oy!]

“Words can be like rape — they can destroy you,” Professor Scheper-Hughes said in an interview.

Professor Scheper-Hughes said that sexual harassment was an example of how certain categories of speech are illegal and that there should be further changes to the country’s free speech laws.

“The Supreme Court is behind the times,” she said. “The First Amendment deserves to be re-looked at.”

And if the present Supreme court were to re-interpret the Constitution, do you think it would change the First Amendment in a way Scheper-Hughes would like? Don’t count on it.

Scheper-Hughes didn’t sign the letter, but her argument that words are like rape is a gross exaggeration designed to equate language and genuine violence. I’m sorry, but if you can be “destroyed” by legally expressed words (I’m not talking about illegal harassment here), you need to work on bucking yourself up, or seek counseling to be able to live in a world where offensive speech is ubiquitous.

One more anti-First-Amendmenter:

Leigh Raiford, a professor of African-American Studies at Berkeley, said those who advocate free speech “absolutism” ignored the fact that minorities on campus feel especially vulnerable when adherents of the far right come to the university.

“At what point is the principle of free speech more important than community safety and the values of our city?” she said.

Well, Dr. Raiford, the courts have already decided that, ruling that speech can’t be banned unless it incites imminent violence. And that is the boundary at which free speech remains more important than other values.

It’s ironic that that question could easily have been asked by a segregationist in the Sixties South arguing against allowing people to give talks promoting civil rights. After all, integration was thought to endanger the “safety and values” of Southerners in power. Isn’t it fortunate that bigots back then weren’t allowed to deem calls for integration “hate speech”?

I am far more afraid of those who would impose censorship on speech than on flash-in-the pan careerists like Milo Yiannopoulos or the marginalized American Nazi Party. The arc of the moral universe bends towards justice, but the curve will be straighter if we keep trying to shut people up.

h/t: cesar

Caturday felid trifecta: Cat Island, new cat-related movie, cat photos taken at the right moment

AV News has an article about an area you may have heard of: “Cat Island” in Japan, Tashirohjima Island, where there are six cats for every human. As the Atlantic relates, Japan actually has about a dozen “cat islands”, areas where felines run free and outnumber humans, and their article is about Aoshima Island, which also has a 6:1 ratio (is this some kind of ecologically stable ratio, with each human able to support six cats?) I’ll show photos (or a video) from each island.

Tashirojima: a video.

 

Aoshima. (I worry that these cats are not properly cared for and have disease or hunger). You tell me why so many of these cats are yellow or orange!

Feeding them:

 

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Did anybody see last year’s movie “Nine Lives” with Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Garner? I didn’t even hear about it except in this May review in the Guardian, which, after calling it “The most important movie of the Trump era,” adds some info:

Great art speaks truth to power: Shakespeare’s King Lear, Picasso’s Guernica, Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. It provokes, it challenges, it implores change. In our time of global uncertainty and upheaval, one film has attempted to take on that mantle without fear of consequence. Nine Lives, a film about an absent father (Kevin Spacey) who is turned into a cat by a magical pet shopkeeper (Christopher Walken), is currently on 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is a certifiable box office flop. And it is the most important movie of the Trump era.

The key to understanding Nine Lives is throwing out everything you think you know about film. I admit, the trailer has all the hallmarks of a bad children’s movie – the cheesy voiceover, the record scratch moment, the prerequisite scatological humour where Kevin Spacey urinates in his ex-wife’s handbag, and the wordplay. The tedious, tedious wordplay. At one point a character is asked “Do they make MRIs for cats?”, and he replies – his eyes dead, dreading the inevitability of the pun he knows he has to make – “you mean cat scans?”

Except this is not a children’s movie. At all. And I don’t just mean that in the sense that it goes to very dark places (divorce, families having to decide whether to take their vegetative relatives off life support, one character attempting suicide – this all happens). There are large chunks of the movie that no child could find interesting. Conversations about New York real estate. Corporate business structure. Several (I mean several) scenes about how the company board votes for its CEO.

. . . And that’s the key. Nine Lives isn’t a film about Trump. It’s a film to him. He is the entirety of the target audience. This isn’t really a film at all – it is a message to the most powerful man in the world, begging him to change his ways. It doesn’t do so with anger – it coaxes with the things that will appeal to him, like jokes about skyscraper regulations, ex-wives and awesome skydiving billionaires that everyone inexplicably loves.

Here’s the trailer. Sadly, the movie gets an abysmally low 12% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 41% audience rating, because people like cats better than bad movies. I usually love movies with Spacey, but I think I’ll skip this one.

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Finally, Bright Side has “17 Cat Photos Taken at Exactly the Right Moment“. You be the judge; here are five:

h/t: Matthew Cobb, Arno, Matt

Readers’ wildlife photos

We have a new contributor today, so put your hands together and welcome aboard reader Bill Turner, who sends some photos from Oz.

We recently corresponded about the Talkeetna Airport cat and I promised to send you some wildlife photos. The attached are not the ones I intended (I have thousands from trips to the Galapagos, Africa, Alaska etc). However, I am sojourning in the centre of Australia so offer some very recent photos for your collection.
The first two are, respectively, of a male and female zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), a species I have seen many times in captivity, but this is the first time I have seen them in the wild. As they live in a desert region, they congregate around ready water sources, in this case, water tanks used to reprovision hikers at Kata Tjuṯa (better known as the Olgas), in the Kata Tjuṯa-Uluru National Park.
The second series of photos were taken in the shadows of Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock). It shows very interesting behaviour. A pied butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis) flew onto a branch with a Gould’s Wattled Bat (Chalinolobus gouldii) in its beak.
The butcherbird then lodged the bat in a ‘v’ formed by two twigs and then proceeded to use that as a brace to strip the flesh off the bat. I believe that this behaviour is what gives the bird its name – butcherbird – as it uses the branch as a butcher’s hook.
In the first photo, you can see the bird stripping away the skin from a wing. In the second, you can see the now denuded wing. I add a third with prey and predator, for good luck.
 
 

Saturday: Hili dialogue

Good morning: in the U.S. it’s Saturday, September 23, 2017, and it’s going to be hot again in Chicago, with a high of 88° F (31° C). And we’re predicted to be sweltering until Tuesday. It’s the hottest early fall I remember, and every day we’re setting records. I hate to think about global warming. . . .

It’s National Pancake Day, but I’ve already had my breakfast: a buttered baguette and a large latte: a French-style petit déjuner.  Today is the day the world is supposed to end as the “hidden planet” Nibiru crashes into Earth and then the trumpets blown and weird beasts occur.  I’m betting a thousand dollars it won’t happen (any takers?), but you’d be foolish to bet against me because you couldn’t collect if you won. It’s also the Feast Day of Padre Pio, the man with the fake stigmata. I doubt seriously whether you can have Stigmata by Munchausen’s, and strongly suspect he made the wounds himself.  Anyway, here’s a picture of the Padre with his “stigmata”:

Today’s Google Doodle (click on link to see) celebrates the 100th birthday of Asima Chatterjee, an Indian organic chemist. Working most of her life out of the University of Calcutta (she died in 2006), her major work was on the organic chemistry of alkaloids and the isolation of useful compounds from plants.

 

On this day in 1642, Harvard University had its first commencement—a weird time of the year for graduation (the University was founded in 1636). On September 23, 1806, Lewis and Clark returned to St. Louis after their famous expedition to the American Northwest. In 1962, the Lincoln Center for the performing arts opened in New York City, and in 1980 Bob Marley played his last concert, in Pittsburgh. Already ill from metastasized melanoma (he had collapsed two days before), he lived for another few months before dying on May 11, 1981. His life might have been saved had he let the doctors amputate his toe, where the lesion occurred, but he feared it would hamper his movement. Instead, it ended his life. Finally, exactly 15 years ago, the first public version of the web browser Mozilla Firefox (“Phoenix 0.1”) was released.

Notables born on this day include the Roman Emperor Augustis (63 BC), Kublai Khan (1215), Walter Lippmann (1889), Louise Nevelson (1899), Mickey Rooney (1920), Ray Charles (1930), George Jackson (1941), Bruce Springsteen (1949; same year as me!), Jim Morrison (1952), and Sean Spicer (1971). Those who died on this day include Wilkie Collins (1889), Sigmund Fraud Freud (1939), Padre Pio (1968), Pablo Neruda (1973), Bob Fosse (1987), and Irv DeVore (2014).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Cyrus have a sleepy debate about free will. In fact, Hili’s being crushed was determined in advance; there was no alternative:

Hili: I’m crushed.
Cyrus: But you have freedom of movement and choice.
Butt to butt!
In Polish:
Hili: Jestem przygnieciona.
Cyrus: Ale masz nadal swobodę ruchu i wolność wyboru.

And once again I’ve stolen two cat tw**ts from Heather Hastie:

Rare film of Pallas’s cat hunting

Via The Rainforest Site we get some rare footage of my absolute favorite wild cat, the Pallas’s cat, or “manul” (Otocolobus manul) hunting in nature. It’s a denizen of the Asian steppes, and, with its luxuriant fur and small ears, well adapted to deal with cold. The cubs appear 20 seconds into the video.

The skinny:

On August 31, the Pallas cat International Conservation Alliance announced that they had captured footage of the elusive animal in Mongolia’s Zoolon Mountains. Using remote sensor research cameras, the footage shows a full-grown Pallas cat hunting in the daylight. The cameras also recorded cubs exploring the strange cameras during the night.

Well that wasn’t long enough to satisfy our desire to see this wonderful beast, so have a two-minute video from PBS. Look at that fur!

And note the eyestripes, something present in Felis silvestris, and ancestor of the house cat. I’m sure there’s ample speculation about possible adaptive functions of this pattern, but I don’t know what it is. Any guesses?

Felis silvestris, the European wildcat

Domestic tabby (Hili)

h/t: Moto

Internal emails at Evergreen State reveal climate of racial hostility

An article by Jillian Kay Meolchior in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, “Inside the madness at Evergreen State” (behind a paywall, but I thank a kind reader for sending me the text), reveals that, contrary to the college’s claims, The Evergreen State College (TESC) had a toxic atmosphere of authoritarianism, so that accusations of racism were leveled on the thinnest of evidence—or no evidence at all.

The problems at TESC came to light when biology professor Bret Weinstein refused to leave campus last spring during the “Day of Departure”, as he was white and considered a demand to leave as an oppressive act. As you’ll know if you read this site, Weinstein had a history of anti-racist activism, so he was hardly someone to demonize. Yet demonized he was, to the point that he and Heather Heying, another biology professor and Weinstein’s spouse, were called racists, hounded, threatened, and eventually forced to leave the town of Olympia, Washington, for their own safety. Weinstein and Heather just settled with TESC for $500,000—only two years’ salary for the pair—and resigned from the college yesterday.

Meolchior managed to get hundreds of pages of internal TESC correspondence through the state’s public records act, and says this:

 The emails show that some students and faculty were quick to levy accusations of racism with neither evidence nor consideration of the reputational harm they could cause. The emails also reveal Mr. Weinstein and Ms. Heying were not the only ones concerned about a hostile and dangerous campus.

I’ve already commented about how dysfunctional and regressive TESC is, so I’ll put some of Ms. Meolchior’s findings in bullet points for the record—to make them available to those misguided souls who think that everything’s hunky dory at TESC. The bullet points are direct quotes from the WSJ piece. The bolding, though, is mine:

  • Consider a February exchange, in which Mr. Weinstein — a progressive who is skeptical of identity politics — faulted what he called Evergreen administrators’ “reckless, top-down reorganization around new structures and principles.” Within minutes, a student named Mike Penhallegon fired back an email denouncing Mr. Weinstein and his “racist colleagues.”
  • Another student, Steve Coffman, responded by asking for proof of racism within the science faculty. Mr. Coffman cited Christopher Hitchens’s variation of Occam’s razor: “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” Jacqueline McClenny, an office assistant for the First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services — a campus office that helped organize the Day of Absence — observed that because Hitchens’s razor is an “Englishman’s popularization of a Latin proverb,” it “would seem to itself be the product of at least two traditionally hierarchical, imperialist societies with an interest in disposing of inconvenient questions.”

That’s how insane people are acting there.

  • Media professor Naima Lowe [JAC: one of the big instigators of student unrest] urged one of Mr. Weinstein’s defenders to read about how calls for civility are “often used to silence and/or dismiss concerns about racism.” She also said that the “white people making changes in their white supremacist attitudes and behaviors” were those “who do not immediately balk and become defensive,” instead acknowledging that “white supremacy is literally ingrained in everything.” In other words, merely defending oneself against the accusation of “white supremacy” is evidence of guilt.

  • After a mob occupied the library, the college’s facilities engineer, Richard Davis, wrote in an email that he believed “the students are testing how much lawlessness will be tolerated,” and “they have not found a boundary yet.” He described how two students stalked him and screamed at him, adding that he was disturbed by the lack of police. “Many of us are stating that as long as the students are not violent, their behavior is acceptable,” Mr. Davis continued. “Apparently, violence in this context is bloodshed.” (Mr. Davis retired in June.)

  • The protests were “loud and at times intimidating,” wrote John Hurley, Evergreen’s vice president for finance and administration. “Unfortunately some members of our community were stopped as they tried to leave campus and that was scary and others felt barricaded in their office.”

JAC: I suspect that in the “new” version of TESC, the role of the campus police will be minimized. Most of the humanities students hate them anyway, and they weren’t called out by President George “Invertebrate” Bridges to quell disturbances. It’ll be a tough job to be a campus cop at TESC!

Finally, there’s this:

  • Nancy Koppelman, an American studies and humanities professor, described being “followed by white students who yelled and cursed at me, accused me of not caring about black and brown bodies, and claimed that if I did care I would follow their orders.” Ms. Koppelman, who is 5-foot-1 [JAC: she appears to be white], said the students towered over her, and “the only thing they would accept was my obedience.” She reported that the encounter so unnerved her that she was left physically shaking.   Ms. Koppelman wrote that she was worried about “features of the current protest strategy that violate the social contract, and possibly the law.” Tolerating such tactics, she argued, “may create a working environment which is too hostile for some of us to continue our employment at the college.” Her email concluded: “I have not decided whether or how to share these thoughts more widely. If I do, I will very likely be tagged as ‘a racist’ by some of my colleagues and the students they teach.”

Clearly the students now think they’re running the place, and now that they’ve had their Pyrrhic victory by driving two great teachers away from the school, they’re going to feel more empowered. I can’t even imagine teaching there, much less being a student who hasn’t drunk the Kool-Aid. It’s a sad day when people like Professor Koppelman can’t even write about being intimidated by students without fear of being called a racist.