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Weinstein: ‘I have been portrayed as the reason that Evergreen is in crisis’

Bret Weinstein, a faculty member at The Evergreen State College, says he has relocated his family for their safety, and he’s unsure about his future at the liberal arts college in Olympia.
Bret Weinstein, a faculty member at The Evergreen State College, says he has relocated his family for their safety, and he’s unsure about his future at the liberal arts college in Olympia. The Evergreen State College

Bret Weinstein, the professor at the heart of a heated controversy over alleged racism at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, said he’s relocated his family for their safety and he’s unsure about his future at the public liberal arts college.

“The college has never acknowledged the danger that they put us in, and therefore I have no way of knowing whether it’s safe for me return,” Weinstein said on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show Monday. “Their assurances that it is safe don’t mean anything, not that they’ve offered them.”

It’s unknown if the interview was pre-taped; the show’s is described as “a live hour of spirited debate and powerful reporting each night,” on the Fox News website.

College spokesman Zach Powers said Weinstein already has returned to his job, and that he’s aware that the college has beefed up its security measures.

“I understand faculty member Bret Weinstein returned to campus just over a week ago to teach in his normally assigned classroom,” Powers told The Olympian on Tuesday afternoon. “He has been notified by Evergreen Police Services of additional law enforcement present on campus.”

Weinstein said Tuesday that is not true.

“If college administrators say I was on campus last week, they are lying,” he told The Olympian. “I left campus when it was evacuated on the morning of June 1. I held my afternoon class in a downtown park that day, and left the state with my family that evening. We have not been in Washington since, and some administrators know that.”

In recent weeks, Weinstein has been vocal through Twitter and some news outlets, criticizing the way the administrators have handled student unrest over racial tensions at the 4,000-student college.

“Remarkable that George Bridges is still President of Evergreen. Means the Board of Trustees and @GovInslee (Gov. Jay Inslee) don’t know the truth,” Weinstein posted on Twitter on June 1.

“Not only did Bridges allow the collapse of @EvergreenStCol (Evergreen), he directly caused it,” the two-part post continued. “And now he is obscuring the truth, putting us all at risk.”

Weinstein teaches biology at Evergreen. He told Carlson he has duties to finish the year out, and no alternative employment.

“I’ve received tremendous support outside of the college, and I’ve received quite a bit of support privately within the college,” Weinstein said. “But publicly only one other professor has come forward to say he supports my position.”

That professor, Mike Paros, sent a letter of support for Weinstein to his lawmaker Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen).

“Most of the country at least either supports what Bret Weinstein did, or is concerned about Evergreen as a college where free inquiry can occur,” Paros told The Olympian.

A group of Evergreen faculty members told The Olympian editorial board last week that they believe Bridges should investigate Weinstein’s actions, saying he helped escalate racial tension on campus by taking his views to Fox News, The Joe Rogan Experience and elsewhere. They said that some faculty members have gotten death threats, and are meeting with their classes off-campus, due to safety concerns.

“I don’t know how I can go back and teach given that I have been portrayed as the reason that Evergreen is in crisis,” Weinstein told Carlson.

Racial tensions have been simmering on the campus for months. Weinstein protested an annual diversity event at the college known as Day of Absence, after its format was changed.

Traditionally, students of color leave campus for the day to demonstrate their contributions, while white students remain on campus to have discussions about diversity. This year, it was suggested that white students could leave campus for the day and talk about race issues, and minority students could stay on campus for diversity events.

“White people were asked to leave the campus — it was not that we were forced to leave but we were asked to leave, and it was made very clear that leaving was an act of allyship with people of color and therefore not leaving, if you were white, meant that you were not an ally,” Weinstein told Carlson.

College officials have said the event was voluntary and typically involves about 200 staff and students.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433, @Lisa_Pemberton

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