George Bridges: caving in to student terror?

Evergreen State College

This is our third day of recounting the remarkable recent events at Evergreen State College, an institution in Oregon with which we at this site were previously unfamiliar but that acquaintances of ours have described as a choice school for spoiled, privileged kids who are used to being pampered, who don’t want a particularly challenging university experience, and who don’t have very much in the way of serious ambitions. In late May, as we’ve noted, Evergreen made headlines because of the targeting by a vicious student group of a biology professor, Bret Weinstein, who refused to comply with an explicitly black-supremacist demand. After failing to intimidate Weinstein, the student agitators threw themselves at the college president, George Bridges, who proved to be, shall we say, remarkably cooperative.

Among the student demands met by Bridges: he agreed to make the position of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Officer a full-time job. But he didn’t just cave in to a litany of demands. He actually praised the students:

George Bridges

We are grateful to the courageous students who have voiced their concerns. We understand that the demands presented are evolving. We have worked intensely on this in the past two days. Our responses, too, will evolve to ensure we are attending to the needs you present. Our documents must live and be living, changing with additional issues and concerns as they arise. This work never ends.

We have heard from students very clearly that they experience racism on campus that interferes with their education. We acknowledge that the status quo isn’t acceptable. We don’t know all the answers. We want to come together with you to learn from your experience, to build solutions, and to take action. We are grateful for this catalyst to expedite the work to which we are jointly committed.

For a long time, we’ve been working on the concerns you’ve raised and acknowledge that our results have fallen short. We should have done more to engage students in our work on equity and inclusion. This week, you are inviting us into the struggle you have taken up. We share your goals and together we can reach them.

While most of the mainstream media ignored the story – and Bret Weinstein was widely savaged on the left for going on Fox News (even though it was apparently the only national news operation that was interested in talking to him) – Weinstein didn’t let himself be cowed. On May 30, he went on Dave Rubin’s highly popular podcast and spoke for two hours not just about this controversy but about his professional and personal background, many aspects of which underscored the absurdity of labeling him a racist.

More tomorrow.

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