Patriarchal Conformity And The Invasion Of The Evergreen State College

Colleges are fond of a simple system of grading.  You get an A, B, C, D, or an F, and this corresponds to a point value on a 4-point scale.  If you hit certain metrics for grading, you’re awarded with a title that segregates you from the rest of the campus, telling you that because you managed to get more points on an arbitrary scale, you’re somehow better than others on the campus.  You end up on the ‘Honor Roll’ or the ‘Dean’s List’, and you eventually graduate with a few fancy words in a dead language to attach to the end of your degree when you write your resume.

The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, dared to buck such an arbitrary and oppressive system.  They made sure that their school was welcoming by pairing students and professors together in a more intimate manner than you would find at your average school (and with more attention than you could expect from your academic advisor in most other colleges).  They set up a grading system that got away from the oppressive system of arbitrary letter grades, one that took into account effort put forward as well as the results of that effort. 

Then Bret Weinstein showed that, even among the generally progressive academics in a very progressive college setting, racism remains.  He decried as racist a ‘day of absence’ in which Caucasian students were to stay away from campus to highlight the plight of the students who suffer under their white privilege every day.  It was a chance for the Caucasian students to understand how these students of color, students from oppressed groups, feel coming on to a campus that, progressive as it might be, still doesn’t seem to want to go any further than simply ‘tolerating’ their presence.  Bret Weinstein couldn’t allow that, and he has, through continuously going to right-leaning outlets like Fox News and the Rubin Report, invited a terrible response to the tranquil and progressive campus.

The Alt-Right and Neo-Nazi organizations saw the recent upheaval and peaceful protests against Bret Weinstein and the administration as a chance to invade the somewhat ‘safe’ space of the college. Apparently, the idea of white students being made to feel like students of color feel EVERY SINGLE DAY was too much to bare for the real snowflakes out there in the world, and they decided to bring an oppressive group, headed by an openly racist man, to the campus to hold what amounted to a pro-Trump rally (I shouldn’t have to point out how terrible a pile of excrement Trump is at this point; you can see it on any news channel).

Yes, under our legal system, TESC’s campus is a public space.  But in practice, it is home to students, students who should not have to put up with Joey Gibson preaching hate.  These students should be able to go across their campus without having to endure men wearing tactical clothing intimidating them while hosting a pro-racism rally.  That’s not ‘free speech’; that’s hate speech designed to intimidate a captive audience while they’re trying to learn and better themselves as human beings and as students.  To make matters worse, the police come, looking more like they’re walking into a warzone in Iraq than a liberal arts college campus in Washington, and they actively give succor to the invading ‘Patriot Prayers’ members!

So, for all of his claims of being a progressive, Bret Weinstein essentially invited the fringe-Right extremists onto the campus.  His ridiculous stance, followed by cries for attention to the right-leaning press, created a climate (and continue to create a climate) of fear at the campus, to the point where students have to carry baseball bats to defend themselves from the Alt-Right who are descending upon the campus.  At this point, I cannot understand how this man continues to have a job, let alone a job at that college. The staff at the college should be ashamed that they haven’t done more to oust him, and the board of directors should be ashamed that they let a professor insult their students to the media without holding him to account.  It undermines the safety of the campus, it undermines the very concept of the campus, and it undermines the ability of students to safely and effectively learn. For the campus to heal, Bret Weinstein must be removed.

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Leslie McCann

I've been a lifelong feminist since before I knew the word for it. I've been fighting for the oppressed and underserved in our society since high school, and have multiple degrees in behavioral sciences, which include advanced degrees in sociology and gender studies. I'm here if any oppressed womyn, LGBTQ+, or POC need to talk.