A biology professor at the center of a recent protest about alleged racism at The Evergreen State College appeared on Fox News to explain the controversy.
Appearing on a show hosted by Tucker Carlson — in a segment called “campus craziness” — Bret Weinstein talked about last week’s protest, including how students blocked campus security, and later gathered in the school’s library building for a meeting “far crazier than the video you just showed.”
The video showed about 50 students confronting Weinstein and demanding that he resign.
Weinstein said he did not call campus police after he was confronted, but someone did out of concern for his safety.
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“They imagine that I am a racist and that I am teaching racism in the classroom,” said Weintein about the Evergreen student protesters. “And that has caused them to imagine that I have no right to speak, and that I am harming students by the very act of teaching them.”
The recent protests have been triggered by a series of events, according to The Cooper Point Journal, Evergreen’s student newspaper. Among those triggers they cite Weinstein emails, as well as an incident on May 14 in which campus police allegedly woke up, held and questioned two black students about an argument with another student. That argument was apparently about racism.
In one of those emails — shared by The Cooper Point Journal — Weinstein questioned the school’s “day of absence.” Previously, according to The Cooper Point Journal, it was a day in which students of color apparently left the campus and gathered elsewhere, but this year’s request was for “all white faculty and students (to) remain absent from campus.”
“There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and under-appreciated roles (the theme of the Douglas Turner Ward play Day of Absence, as well as the recent Women’s Day walkout), and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away. The first is a forceful call to consciousness which is, of course, crippling to the logic of oppression. The second is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.”
In response to the recent controversy, Evergreen President George Bridges issued a statement on Saturday.
He wrote that “discrimination of any form is not acceptable or tolerated on our campus” and “free speech must be fostered and encouraged.”
But he took issue with some of the protesters’ approach.
“We may disagree with each other,” his statement reads. “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.”
After Wednesday’s protest, Weinstein was told by Evergreen’s police chief that it was not safe for him to be on campus, according to a King 5 TV report. As a result, Weinstein held a class in a downtown Olympia park on Thursday.