Update on Bret Weinstein, the demonized Evergreen State College professor

A few days ago I wrote about Bret Weinstein, a professor of evolutionary biology at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington—a university hotbed of Regressive Leftism. After refusing to leave campus after the demands of students on the “Day of Absence” (in earlier years, students of color left campus on that day to engage in anti-racist activities, but this year they demanded that white people leave campus and white students don’t go to class), Weinstein was viciously defamed by students, who showed up at his class, and was called a racist. There were many demands for his resignation. It was a debacle, and embarrassing to the College. It didn’t help that the College President, George Bridges, appeared to be cowed by the students’ demands. Naturally, very few no left-wing newspapers or websites mentioned this incident.

Yesterday Dave Rubin did a live interview with Weinstein. I’ve embedded the video below, which is two hours long (it doesn’t begin till 3 minutes in). I haven’t yet watched the whole thing, but Grania has, and sent this summary—despite her broken left arm:

An interview with the beleaguered and much abused Bret Weinstein about the recent racial turmoil on Evergreen Campus surrounding the Day Of Absence. Weinstein comes across as a remarkably sane and fair person, never losing his compassion and understanding for others. A point of interest is where this recent spate of authoritarianism—and the subsequent tendency to anarchy comes from. As a footnote, ever the evolutionary biologist, Weinstein notes that the same thing that makes a mother love her infant can lead humans to view the outsider as the enemy; however he adds that we can control this once we are aware of it.

In the meantime, President Bridges has issued a statement, “Tolerance and respect show the way forward,” which shows he’s less of a coward than I thought. Although he doesn’t mention Weinstein, he seems to be highly critical of the treatment meted out by the spoiled and entitled students. However, I think the statement below is sufficiently ambiguous that the Regressive students could interpret it as supporting them (the “destructive course” could be seen as that of people like Weinstein, though surely Bridges intended it to refer to the students themselves).

At The Evergreen State College over the past week, we have had deep and sometimes intense exchanges among a group of students, faculty, and college administrators over equity and treatment of students. Some students on campus experience racism that interferes with their education. Others, including faculty, believe their freedom of expression is being restricted.

These are important issues. Discrimination of any form is not acceptable or tolerated on our campus. Free speech must be fostered and encouraged. We are an institution dedicated to learning. We must treat each other with respect and care. Every faculty member, student, and staff member must have the freedom to speak openly about their views.

Unless we continually seek to listen and to understand, rather than listening to react, we will not fulfill Evergreen’s mission to learn across differences.

We may disagree with each other. However, disagreement is one thing; dehumanization is another. Over the week, a few members of the Evergreen community have used traditional and social media to malign, mock, or misrepresent those with whom they disagree.

While the majority of students, faculty, and staff are fully engaged in the teaching and learning work of the college, a few are on a destructive course of action that hurts themselves and gives a distorted and false impression of our community.

This behavior is wrong and must stop. It does not represent us, and we will not allow it to define us.

Our students are as always Evergreen’s top priority. We must continue to support our faculty and staff, who are educators by intent, action, and example. Evergreen Police Services will remain an essential part of ensuring safety for all.  Campus remains open and classes are in session.

Conversations about equity and free speech will continue. These are incredibly complex issues to navigate. We at Evergreen have the courage to try. With tolerance and respect, my belief is that we can succeed, and continue to learn from each other.

In the meantime, Weinstein is still considered by police to be endangered, and has been advised to stay away from campus. Why doesn’t President Bridges do something about that?

h/t: Grania, Robert

53 Comments

  1. Joseph Stans
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Presidnt bridges has learnd the most importrant thing about Univeristy adminstration: Mealy mothed platitudes will let you keep ou job

    Trying to comment witht he editor doubling up on characters an dlines is very tiresome.

    • Posted June 15, 2017 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Seriously, I must protest the use of the words “anarchy” or “anarchists” to describe the actions and politics of these nasty little campus Parlor Pinks. Like the original Fascisti of Italy, they drape themselves in Socialist rhetoric, but their attitudes and actions are classic Fascism. Far from wanting to reduce government, let alone build a society that can live well without it, they want to create a totalitarian government with themselves in charge. Remember, the origin of the word “Nazi” was the German for “National *Socialist* Party”, and beware of sloppy labels.

  2. Posted May 31, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Bridges: “Discrimination of any form is not acceptable or tolerated on our campus”.

    So if hounding someone to try to make them depart from campus, merely because they are white, is “not acceptable or tolerated”, presumably Bridges will discipline the students responsible?

    • Craw
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Yes, this statement seems like a mealy-mouthed punt to me. There really is a wrong side here, and that is not clear from what he says.

  3. Draken
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Weinstein also explained what happened in Wall Street Journal. He lays some of the blame with Bridges.

    • loren russell
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Please don’t link to pay-walled media like the WSJ — I’m sure you can find open sources that are as informative.

      • Draken
        Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Huh? That article is completely freely accessible to me and I didn’t pay or subscribe to anything?

      • Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        I can read it fine. Is this a case where you get so many articles free?

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted May 31, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          No. WSJ is pay-walled. You have to subscribe to read full articles, but partial ones are sometimes available. (Maybe they unblock certain full articles too.)

          • Posted May 31, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

            I think they unblocked this article. Usually WSJ articles are blocked for me, but this one is not. Any link to other WSJ articles from that page, however, leads me to a paywall.

          • Diane G.
            Posted June 1, 2017 at 3:40 am | Permalink

            IME, they have two categories, one pay-walled, one not. (I’ve yet to discern their criteria for determining which is which.)

    • Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      I believe that in the video Weinstein says that he thinks Bridges should resign.

      • Posted June 1, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

        Definitely. At 1:40:03-31

      • ohnugget001
        Posted June 1, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        Jerry,

        Please see my below comment if you are interested in new information Bret released. I left a much longer comment where Weinstein describes Bridges internal putsch at Evergreen in a new article at the WSJ:

        “The Campus Mob Came for Me—and You, Professor, Could Be Next”

        • Draken
          Posted June 1, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

          …which is the one I just posted above 🙂

          • ohnugget001
            Posted June 2, 2017 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            Whoops!
            I apologize for not having seen your referencing of the article before posting my observation of it. But in the end, I think the important point is that Bret’s own writing got more exposure. That’s something we both accomplished, as did Jerry when he penned a more recent article referencing the article we both noted.
            My best to you and cheers.

  4. Adam M.
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the change in tone has something to do with how the students swore at and insulted Bridges even as he groveled before them. At least I know I would lose sympathy for people if they cursed me as I tried to help or support them.

    But the statement sure is vague. It could just as well be criticizing the people who took the video of the student tantrums and posted them online. The students are demanding that the school get it removed from the Internet and punish those who filmed them. The statement is probably in support of Weinstein but if you really want to support somebody in a statement you make it clear. I think the statement is a mostly meaningless attempt to diffuse tensions by appearing to be on everyone’s side. But actions speak louder so I guess we’ll see what happens…

  5. Ashutosh Jogalekar
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    They treated the president like a child, asking him to put his hands down when he was talking, showing him how to do this and then laughing loudly. These students do not deserve to be at Evergreen and are a blight on its reputation. Let’s ask this question: if they had behaved similarly before they applied to college and this behavior was public knowledge, would any college worth its salt have admitted them?

    • Posted May 31, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Exactement ! These cubs need a swat, because reaching for the pot of boiling water while wondering about intersectonability gets one burned.

  6. Posted May 31, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Not so fast! Weinstein suggests that Bridges is attempting a pomo takeover of the university:

    “Things began to change at Evergreen in 2015, when the school hired a new president, George Bridges. His vision as an administrator involved reducing professorial autonomy, increasing the size of his administration, and breaking apart Evergreen’s full-time programs. But the faculty, which plays a central role in the college’s governance, would never have agreed to these changes. So Mr. Bridges tampered with the delicate balance between the sciences and humanities by, in effect, arming the postmoderns.”

    See: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-campus-mob-came-for-meand-you-professor-could-be-next-1496187482

  7. Martin X
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    ===statement below is sufficiently ambiguous===

    It’s also excessively wordy. Had Bridges wished to make a strong stand, he could have done so in a couple of short paragraphs.

  8. Posted May 31, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Bridges is resorting to the standard tactic of an academic administrator–when you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, spout platitudes.

  9. Posted May 31, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    This is really off-topic, but while listening to a podcast Sam Harris did with Bret’s brother Eric, I got the impression that Bret was a group selection proponent. I just looked up some of his published research and it seems at first glance that he does subscribe to group selection theory. This, of course, has nothing to do with his current situation, but I thought it was kind of interesting. On a very loosely related note, there was recently another confused op-ed in the NYTimes about Darwin’s “long forgotten theory of sexual selection” and Richard Prum’s new book about it. Very disappointing.

    • Posted May 31, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Seems like maybe I spoke to soon. Upon further reading, I find this (from a recent paper):

      “The hypotheses developed here clearly depend on the interests of groups of individuals.
      Nevertheless, we have not relied on the group selection perspective (where natural selection is
      discussed at various levels, including the social group, as if selection at multiple levels
      reflects multiple evolutionary mechanisms). In fact, even proponents of multilevel selection
      admit that selection at various levels can be reduced to a single mechanism (Sober & Wilson,
      1998). An individual-level perspective in evolutionary discussions of human groups therefore
      has the advantage of discussing the complexity of natural selection, without an apparent
      proliferation of evolutionary mechanisms.”

  10. Kevin
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I imagine conversations on this and most other regressive campuses very similar to this:

    Brian: Excuse me. Are you the Judean People’s Front?
    Reg: Fuck off! ‘Judean People’s Front’. We’re the People’s Front of Judea! ‘Judean People’s Front’.
    Francis: Wankers.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Most of these fracases remind me of that scene from Life of Brian.

    • Filippo
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      I’m reminded of a question (I missed) on a test I took at navy officer candidate school about the organization of the U.S. Navy. The question asked T/F whether the “Department of the Navy” is the same as the “Navy Department.” It is not. The phrases seem reasonably synonymous to me. The “Navy Department” is the Navy, the “Marine Corps Department” is the Marine Corps, both under the “Department of the Navy.” Some test creator was hurting for something to do.

  11. DrBrydon
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Yes, Bridges statement was notable for its complete lack of reference to threats or violence.

  12. Frank Bath
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Is this a university where students pay to attend and are thus customers to be coddled? I ask as a UK observer.

    • Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      They do pay to attend (as in more or less all universities in the USA) but the rest of the question, no. Or maybe yes, depending on the local details.

    • Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Evergreen State College is subsidized by Washington State, and, as all colleges in the USA, is subsidized by the federal government through grants, loans, and work-study for students. The college is also exempt from most taxes, as are all 501(c)3 entities in the USA.

      “In-state” tuition for Washington State residents is $6,552/year. “Out-of-state” tuition for non-residents is $24,144/year. This reflects the subsidy given to the college by the state of Washington.

    • Posted May 31, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      I would not say that students are individually coddled at U.S. universities or colleges, but I can no longer say that they are not coddled as a group at some of these places.

  13. Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I think the statement is intended to support Weinstein, but I also think the ambiguity is no coincidence. I would still describe the statement as cowardly.

  14. Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Prof. Weinstein seems like a very thoughtful guy.

    • dabertini
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      A clone of PCC(E). The ruben interview is riveting.

  15. Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Ambiguity doesn’t work when you are facing people who automatically assume the worst of you. Nothing but abject grovelling will do.

    Bridges might think he’s being diplomatic but he’s put a noose around his own neck. I’m not sorry for him.

  16. Timothy Cullen
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    It’s not ambiguous at all.

    “Some students on campus experience racism that interferes with their education. Others, including faculty, believe their freedom of expression is being restricted.”

    This statement validates alleged racism on campus while reducing free speech concerns to mere beliefs.

    “Over the week, a few members of the Evergreen community have used traditional and social media to malign, mock, or misrepresent those with whom they disagree.”

    The only person in “traditional media” I’ve seen was Prof. Weinstein; this seems primarily directed at him for going to the press.

    The statement seems to imply the students were right about everything except for the manner in which they protested, and draws a false equivalence between the protestors and those who called them out. It may be written ambiguously, but in the few areas where it is less ambiguous it sides with the protestors’ position.

  17. Posted May 31, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    If you knew nothing it reads as if “faculty” and “others” (i.e. Weinstein) were rude, racist or “dehumanizing”, who use their freedom of speech to “mock” and “malign”, and then there are students whose education is hampered by such racism, and who contest the freedom of speech for that reason. Bridges suggests he is caught in the middle and wants to mediate the conflict with his letter.

    It’s confused, terribly written, and not ambiguous.

    Some students on campus experience racism that interferes with their education. Others, including faculty, believe their freedom of expression is being restricted.

    I am not sure what the intention was, but this says in plain english that Weinstein, others or faculty were racist, that this racism interfered with the education of students, who then wanted to ban racist expressions, which then came into conflict with freedom of speech. He takes over the narrative of the students, but it clashes with what he wants to express.

    It gets only worse as he continues to contrast respect, or the desire to be free from discrimmination and such with freedom of speech. This theme is further emphasized, but then he appears to swap the sides in conflict…

    We may disagree with each other. However, disagreement is one thing; dehumanization is another. Over the week, a few members of the Evergreen community have used traditional and social media to malign, mock, or misrepresent those with whom they disagree.

    It’s not clear who is meant, but because he set the conflict up in the first paragraph, it is devastating towards faculty.

    In my opinion, Bridges cannot remain president. I have no skin in that game, know nothing of the school, but in my view, the relationship with faculty is completely destroyed with this letter.

  18. tonyome
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Watch this video of the mindless animals at Evergreen https://youtu.be/bO1agIlLlhg

    • barn owl
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      I’ve seen toddlers having meltdowns at Costco who are more coherent and self-aware.

  19. Posted May 31, 2017 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    These students are spoiled brats. Expel them if they can’t handle.a different opinion and continue to disrupt the campus and ability to teach and learm

  20. Msry
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    American education at its finest.

  21. barn owl
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    The tedious tantrums of these spoiled Evergreen students might lead to a sense of despair about the future of universities in the US, but there are some rays of hope. The PBS program NOVA had an episode about the Flint water crisis, and how residents of Flint worked with Virginia Tech students and their research advisor to provide evidence of the extent of the lead contamination. Dr. Marc Edwards, graduate student Siddhartha Roy, and a group of Virginia Tech student volunteers worked with activist and Flint resident Lee Anne Walters to distribute water sampling kits and to complete the analyses on the water. You can read about their efforts here:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/tech/flint-lead-crisis/

    Fantastic example of citizen science, environmental activism, and university student involvement in scientific research that really matters for people’s lives. The self-involved Evergreen crybullies should have this rubbed in their faces. Maybe they’d start to get an inkling of how obnoxious, selfish, and unproductive they are.

  22. ohnugget001
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Jerry (and everyone),

    I don’t know how to get Jerry’s rapt attention to read this, but if anybody can, I think he deserves to know the larger picture at Evergreen as described by Weinstein.

    Despite his released statement, “Tolerance and respect show the way forward,” here’s some additional information which might cause one pause in thinking President Bridges isn’t without an ulterior agenda long underway.

    Per Weinstein in his May 30, 2017, Washington Post article, “The Campus Mob Came for Me—and You, Professor, Could Be Next”:

    “Things began to change at Evergreen in 2015, when the school hired a new president, George Bridges. His vision as an administrator involved reducing professorial autonomy, increasing the size of his administration, and breaking apart Evergreen’s full-time programs. But the faculty, which plays a central role in the college’s governance, would never have agreed to these changes. So Mr. Bridges tampered with the delicate balance between the sciences and humanities by, in effect, arming the postmoderns.

    The particular mechanism was arcane, but it involved an Equity Council established in 2016. The council advanced a plan that few seem to have read, even now—but that faculty were nonetheless told we must accept without discussion. It would shift the college “from a diversity agenda” to an “equity agenda” by, among other things, requiring an “equity justification” for every faculty hire.”

    Me thinks that puts a wee bit of a different spin on recent events at Evergreen as part of a larger insider putsch by Brideges. And there’s quite a bit more damning information in the article also.

    Again, if anyone can get Jerry’s attention so he knows Bret’s insider view of the executive and administrator assisted coup, I think Jerry would appreciate it.

    • BJ
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      WOW. What’s the link? I can send it on.

    • BJ
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      I sent him an email directing him to your comment 🙂

      Thanks for this update/clarification!

      • ohnugget001
        Posted June 2, 2017 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for pushing that to Jerry. I noticed the more recent article where he addressed Bret’s article I cited (and corrected me on the source paper – oops!).

        And he even credited me as bringing it to his attention in the post! That was thoughtful of him.

        Again, thanks for helping give Bret’s incredible article a larger audience. Bret deserves it – and a lot better than what he’s getting at his school.

        Cheers!

  23. BJ
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Referring to Bridges, ” Although he doesn’t mention Weinstein, he seems to be highly critical of the treatment meted out by the spoiled and entitled students.”

    Not good enough. Each one of these students should be expelled for disruption, harassment, and bullying. A week-long campaign of it.

    That is, if Bridges really did have any backbone.

    • Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Bridges has a “Position”, not a job. Rocking the boat is dangerous. He would much rather this whole mess just go away and leave him alone, y’know? He’d much rather throw his faculty under the kid’s bus than actually face them down. THose kids SHOULD be suspended but that won’t happen.

  24. Posted June 1, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Weinstein’s course on adaptation looks pretty solid:

    http://www.evergreen.edu/catalog/offering/adaptation-evolutionary-patterns-biological-space-time-14477

    Especially when compared to much of the manure that passes for education at Evergreen:

    Dance of Wisdom: Embodied Consciousness

    http://www.evergreen.edu/catalog/offering/dance-wisdom-embodied-consciousness-14433

    Moving Toward Health: Holistic Medicine Pathways

    http://www.evergreen.edu/catalog/offering/moving-toward-health-holistic-medicine-pathways-16418

    • Posted June 3, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      I can honestly say that Bret Weinstein is probably the best teacher I have ever had the honor to have. To this day…12 years later..I still think on things he put out in class (I had him for both Adaptation and the full course of Environmental Science). He would pose a question and then ask the student what they thought the reason of it, and why. This drove the kids crazy. One girl, a daughter of a US State Department agent (which she NEVER failed to remind us..Daddy even bought her a Mercedes)Shrieked at Bret, just tell us the answers, what’s with all this why shit?
      Bret is an incredibly astute evolutionary biologist and a gifted teacher. As I said, to this day, I think about the questions he posed and would love to sit down with him someday just to talk science, biology (which I love) and evolution.
      Add to that that he is a humble, gentle soul. There is no mean in him, not one bit, so this ‘protest’ must have taken him by surprise.

  25. Posted June 1, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Bret Weinstein was my facilitator (they’re not called professors at Evergreen) for the three years I did at Evergreen. Some of my classmates (who could only be called young, wealthy, spoiled, entitled brats) despised him because he made them work. Not physically, of course, but he tried to teach them how to think, and they didn’t like that. So many of the ‘kids’ then-and now-insist on being spooon fed the curriculum, without having to do research, or read the books (Evergreen doesn’t use expensive textbooks, it almost always uses books written by incredibly intelligent peopleoff the shelf.) They hated having to write, having to give a power point presentation, defend a thesis, having to do ANYTHING other than sit in class and get credit. (you don’t get credits if you don’t do the work). They even bitched when told they had to spell words correctly, do math, write coherent sentences, and argue their point lucidly. I am not surprised they attacked him: he’s not afraid of them, and they don’t like teachers (et al) whom they can’t manipulate (i.e. Bridges, the new president). I think it telling that Bridges replaced Purcell, a black man who was president of Evergreen for years. You never heard the word ‘racist’ during Dr. Purcell’s tenure.
    I can tell you that Bret Weinstein is NOT a racist, never has been, in fact, I think he is incapable of racism.


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  2. […] But students claim that white absence was voluntary. This argument may have been a red herring as Weinstein explains in an interview: “There were several emails inviting people to participate…Let’s be very […]

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