“Go Back to the Zoo”: How Evergreen State College Became a Target For Right-Wing Trolls

Comments

1
I think the ideological nature of the right and left in this story is inherently anti-intellectual--the fact is whatever your world view, whatever your vision for the future of this country, your beliefs are not objective truth or above reproach. There seems to be a general problem with plurality of opinion on both sides. I don't want to equivocate. The right-wing threats cross a line the campus left never came close to crossing, and I'm much more in agreement with the political views of the left. But there seems to be a notion that campus culture outweighs the merits of education itself.
2
The war is waged over everything but education and critical thinking.
3
I think you're misrepresenting---or lying about-- what Bret Weinstein said in regards to the equity council. Why are you quoting two or three words at a time from his e-mails out of context?
4
This is the biggest load of crap article I've ever read in my life. I've been following the story for the past 2 weeks​ and this article appears to be written by someone that's trying to change what really happened.
5
I agree with 4. Just because you couldn't get Professor Weinstein on the phone doesn't mean you needed to write an article that's so biased against him and that shockingly minimizes the behavior of the protesters. Thanks for obliquely mentioning the bands of students who were roaming for a time with bats and tasers. But you forgot to mention the ones who were going car-to-car in the college parking lot, looking for Professor Weinstein, leading to the campus police's saying they couldn't keep him safe and his holding his last class at a downtown park and then moving his family out of state. You also forgot the part where another faculty member tweeted that "some white ladies should come collect" his wife from campus. You also could have done a better job using your long word count to include some of the horrible and ridiculous things the protesters shouted at him and the school president and the chief of campus police. Some coverage of how the president immediately rolled over for 90% of their demands would have been nice too.

There are 3 things at play here, and each side, for well-meaning intentions or ill-will or a little of both, is allowing discussions to them to bleed together confusingly: There is 1) the CONTENT at the heart of it that different people have different opinions on (changes to college equity policy, changes to the Day of Absence, etc); there is 2) the BEHAVIOR of those "discussing" such; and 3) there are EXTERNAL ALT-RIGHT ENTITIES -- such as Fox News and Nazis putting up recruiting flyers and a guy calling in a threat and tomorrow's rally -- that are valid concerns on their own, but that are unhelpfully getting tied into #1 & #2 to such an extent that the original questions about #1 & #2 are almost vanishing into the distance.

If anyone hasn't already, I'd recommend they check out Professor Weinstein's appearance on the "Rubin Report" and the "Joe Rogan Experience," especially since Ana didn't give him much voice here, despite there being a lot out there to quote from. He's very articulate and sensible.
6
"[...]. I don't want to equivocate. The right-wing threats cross a line the campus left never came close to crossing[...].

Unfortunately, this isn't entirely true. Antifa make death threats all the time and all sorts of other threats of violence. They've also committed acts of violence and put many in great danger. It's also on the context of a mob as well, so it's a very real an extreme form of intimidation. The right hasn't come close to that level of political intimidation and violence. Certainly not at all on a mass, organized basis either.
7
Wee, a chance for more confusion!

For those who might think otherwise, based on @6's comment, the Antifa has actually had nothing to do with the Evergreen fracas (so far).
8
#7: Well you know, fuck context when you have a broader point (?) to make. :)
9
Yes, it's true that my broader point is that the many tentacles of confusion have been one of the biggest issues here. I have no problem, however, with conversations, on Slog or elsewhere, digressing to this or that.
10
You left out the part where Naima Lowe tweeted about someone please come and collectig Weinstein's racist ass wife. There are consequences for bad behavior. I guess when she told him he had no right to defend himself she expected him to do as he was told and wasn't expecting to be called out for attacking his spouse. Now she's worried about being a target of white supremacists because of Weinstein's comments on the poor treatment that Ms. Lowe bestowed upon his wife. Surprising, white supremacists are not usually big fans of Jews (Weinstein), could it possibly be her own behavior in the video that the protestors she supported posted online? Who would expect that an adult woman would be held accountable for her own actions? The scrutiny that Evergreen is under, the overwhelming disappointment expressed equally in the left and the right lays squarely on the shoulders of the student protestors and the inadequate leadership of administration and the faculty.
11
#9: that wasn't aimed at you. It was for your benefit, not a jab at you.
12
As a parent of an Evergreen student, I want to thank you, Ana, for covering this.

And to the right-wing trolls jumping into the comment thread, I want you to all go fuck yourselves.
13
Who are the right-wing trolls here? They employ this weird numbering system for identifying who you want to address...

By the way, your language sounds very au courant with Greener-speak.
14
@13, @12 is referring to @6, a troll who goes around on various forums pushing his bizarre theories that Evergreen is filled with bomb-throwing anarchists. The great thing is, he's easy to spot because he's a one-note crack-pot.

His comment is based more on his own fears and paranoias and not much on facts. @1's point about the imbalance of threats still stands.
15
#12 I'm a liberal, not a right wing troll. Trust me. there are plenty of liberals following this story who are horrified by the actions of the protesters and witch hunt of Bret Weinstein.

Can you point to which of the commenters are "alt-right?" Because I don't actually see anyone making racist claims. It's very convenient to define "alt-right" as "anything I disagree with"

All the commenters here are correct. This article is hogwash and uses Bret's lack of comment as a pretext to not articulate his side at all. The video evidence is there for all to see (which this article conveniently doesn't link to) The students and this Lowe woman come off as aggressive crackpots and Bret Weinstein comes off as perfectly reasonable.

If the left cant quit eating itself and devolving into solopsistic identity politics we're going to have 8 years of Trump. Which would be a disaster. So pull your head out of your ass and tell your kid to knock off this bullshit
16
Hard to even conceive of a less informative article about what's going on at Evergreen. I'm just in awe of what a regressive shitshow The Stranger has become. Horrifying that academic freedom and free speech issues are valued so little at your "alternative" newspaper. Guess it's just too inconvenient when reality doesn't support your victimology narrative. You couldn't be bothered to lift a little finger to articulate Bret Weinstein's position. No rational person who actually listens to what he says could make the case that he is a racist, though he and his family are under threat from authoritarians, including deranged white Antifa-types who fancy themselves as protectors of the hysterical black activists seen in the video footage. For anyone interested in what this "deeply progressive" and courageous man has to say for himself, these interviews are excellent:
Rubin Report:
https://youtu.be/-fEAPcgxnyY
Rogan:
https://youtu.be/xq4Y87idawk

Here is a small portion of the footage of campus protestors that The Stranger couldn't be bothered to link to:
https://youtu.be/bO1agIlLlhg
Bret Weinstein's Patreon:
https://www.patreon.com/bretweinstein

17
Agree with the majority of commenters here. This article is trying to excuse violence because of who's side it is on.

There is no shortage of videos of protesters blocking (liberal progressive) faculty inside buildings and tuanting them that they can't leave while pounding on the glass and writing threats on the windows, or cornering an elderly professor and shouting in her face, or mocking and screaming at the president who is attempting the human equivalent of a dog rolling over to show its belly.

I am leftist as it comes, but this mob mentality is dangerous, as it curtails the freedom of speech and expression with threats of violence. This school is among the most liberal in the nation and they are taking out their angst at the Trump adminstration on well-meaning progressives. It is indeed the left eating itself.
The key offense that kicked this off was a progressive professor having an opinion on the fairly radical proposal to ask all "white people" to leave for a day. If it's an Ask, then "I disagree" should be an acceptable response. In contrast, it appears to have been a demand in disguise. "Leave or else". Students essentially shut down the school for a week, and the administration still equivocates. How is it okay for an educational environment can be held hostage by rowdy 20-somethings?

Think about this if you are unsure if this is a fair protest. Imagine these protesters were advocating for an issue you don't agree with, say gun rights, anti abortion, 'pro Trump' or whatever. These actions would cause most liberals to label the protesters as dangerous terrorists. If it's not okay for someone else to do it's probably not okay for you to do. Thats an equitable society. The same rules for everyone.

A last reminder in case you are ready to throw out my thoughts because I am different than you: I am a liberal, studied environmental science, worked on environmental cleanup and renewable energy, vote democrat, Bernie supporter, etc. Just not an extremist.
18
This is an *awfully* rosy and one-sided retelling of the situation. It takes column space to tell us how popular the day of absence was, but not to Prof. Weinstein's readily available positions. It doesn't include the readily available primary sources, rather cobbling together a disjointed narrative that seems disingenuous on its face.
Why was the fact that the police told Weinstein his safety was in jeopardy omitted? Why were the hostage-taking actions of the protestors omitted? If you read this article, Bret Weinstein had a polite conversation with a few students and then buggered off to Fox news to whine. At the outset of the interview he told Carlson he'd rather be on another network but no one else wanted to hear his story. Like the students, who screamed "NO!" at him when he asked if they wanted to have a conversation. Like The Stranger, apparently.
This is incredibly shoddy.
19
I have several complaints with your article.

The first is that you have broken links on "subsequent demonstrations" and "open letter".

The second complaint is that "In subsequent demonstrations, students also protested the treatment of two Black students at the hands of campus police" is very amusing when you realize that those two were responsible for threatening Kai-Ave Douvia, and driving another student to attempt suicide. A couple hours of questioning in response to those crimes is treatment worth protesting, of course.

The third is that the full unedited footage has been spread widely online for weeks, it is simply that journalists are too lazy or disinterested to cover this story fairly. The full footage can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL…

The campus police has had this footage for "quite some time", and many journalists have been sent it by me personally. I received responses from the NY Times (June 1), NY Magazine(May 27), and Washington Post (June 1, they did end up writing some aticles, but not very well) declining to cover this story in detail. I sent emails with a brief "primer" (https://pastebin.com/wmrsUCbA) in that first week inviting neutral and left-leaning journalists to discuss this story with their readers, but only right-leaning sites responded. I'm sure many of the student protestors attempted to reach out to professional journalists as well, but I'm betting there was little response or interest even from activists looking to spread their story. Even your article comes weeks after the events and is STILL among the very, very few left-leaning articles. If you want to blame someone, blame the journalists that failed to cover these events from a neutral or left perspective. Don't blame right-wing media and anonymous messageboards for being critics of the protestors and wanting to learn more about the individual protestors. Blame left-wing media for failing to produce any postive messages about the protests and individuals at all. I'm sure many of these protestors would not be upset about their names being public if they were being praised by Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, or Gawker.

The fourth complaint is that the footage does not lie. I've seen most of the raw, unedited footage, and the characterizations of the protest are not unfair in the various viral hightlight reels. If anything, the full footage portrays the students in an even worse light. There's strange, contradictory, or impossible demands that make the viewer question what the protestors expected. Students calling for the national guard to appear to protect them from vague or imagined threats, but hold back and disarm campus officers (for safety). Demands that Wendy had completed a full investigation of a Greenery incident and finished firing unionized/contracted professors overnight. Numerous veiled or subtle threats that administrators simply chose to ignore. Many simply bizzare demands that seem like a show of force and would make any viewer less interested in taking the side of the protestors. Do not make the mistake of believing that only the right has contempt for the distateful way these protests occurred.
20
That link did not work. Playlist here: goo.gl/ggCfRU
21
This is the only non-right leaning coverage I've seen. Reasons why:
1) Only radicalized leftists have belief systems that align with the protester's narrative/actions.
2) The meta of the events is that the activists will not tolerate discussion; those who don't swallow their platform wholesale will be targeted and 'exposed' by social media mob mentality, reminiscent of authoritarian socialism.
3) Because of this, only alt-right editors or those who can do the mental acrobatics to justify the protesters can feel good about covering any of this.
4) For non-radical leftists or moderates, all of this is fairly shameful and embarassing - so why call out your own in these troubled times.
22
Intellectual freedom and reasoned debate are hallmarks of a liberal education. So sad that my alma matter can't stand up for them. Awful article btw.
23
Liberals cede the high ground when we endorse double standards- especially in regards to hate speech and intolerance. Disagreeing with a minority opinion does not a racist make, sorry.
24
Like Evergreen's president, the Stranger's editorial board is too spineless to challenge hate speech from minority voices for fear of being labeled "unwoke" or some other bully label they aren't equipped to challenge.

Regardless of skin color, sometimes people are just wrong- it's ok to condemn intellectual laziness & belligerence even when minorities are doing it. The left is a few years away from acknowledging this but will have to before we start to look any dumber.
25
#21, sleepdrifter, I saw a few other takes that side with the protestors. The best being the Serious Inquiries Only Podcast which pulled up relevant context, but read Weinstein's email completely wrong. http://seriouspod.com/sio48-whats-really…

And an incredibly twisted take that gets a huge amount wrong at a factual level, at the Root. http://www.theroot.com/the-official-whit…

The only other postiive coverage seems to be the Cooper Point Journal (the student paper) and AfroPunk, which has some humorous language: http://www.afropunk.com/profiles/blogs/u…
26
This is piece is complete and utter drivel.

Quotes taken out of context, no mention of mob vigilante groups (seriously, do you think it's okay for students to patrol campus wielding baseball bats?), no mention of forced relocation of Prof. Weinstein and his wife due to threats, etc.

It's also comical how you claim that white people were "invited" to leave campus for a day. Maybe your definition of "invitation" is nonstandard? Bullying, coercion, and violent retaliation when people decline suggests it was never an invitation, but rather a totalitarian decree.

27
What a piece of shit article.
There is nothing progressive about intimidating and physically threatening someone who disagrees with you. From watching the videos of the students surrounding Weinstein, it looks exactly like left wing Fascism. With a spineless college president too weak to even raise his hands, much less protect those who disagree with Evergreen's GroupThink, the place is a bad joke on anyone who wants an education.
As someone who once worked at Evergreen, I have to say I'm ashamed of what the school has become, and how it allows some of its students to deprive the rest of getting a degree. And ashamed The Stranger takes such a one sided view, by omitting links and facts.
But this just echoes The Stranger's coverage of density and upzone issues: demonizes those you disagree with, and leave out any conflicting facts from your opinion piece.
Since Fox News has give up the phrase "fair and balanced', maybe The Stranger can pick it up now for its own use, as this this article is about as balanced as a Fox news report.
28
Watching the vice news coverage of these children throwing a tantrum was painful. This article was excruciating. In 10-15 years the kids involved in this attempt at suppression of free speech will be ashamed of their actions. If not, they're sociopaths. The adults involved, you should know better.

Also, if you feel you have to prequalify as liberal, left, or progressive to denounce this behavior for fear of being called racist or intolerant... what does that say about the climate being created by these ideologues? This is the same atmosphere that Sen Mccarthy created in 1953. Common sense and courtesy were set aside in the rush to denounce an opposing point of view. Who will be our Welch and deliver the, "Have you no sense of decency?"?

Bet this article gets retracted by next week.
29
Links are broken for me... Please fix :(
30
Here's a angle on this that (among other things) doesn't turn up in this article, and hasn't in any other media coverage either: The leadership vacuum not just at the college administration level, but also at the local government level. This slowmo train crash has spanned at least 3 months now (not even counting the earlier incidents, such as the protesters crashing the swearing in of the new Chief of Campus Police and also the crashing of the College Convocation in the fall), yet so far only one elected official -- Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza -- has gone on record with an opinion on any of it. Nothing from the Mayor, the City Council Members, or the County Commissioners. (Evergreen is actually outside the city limits). All that's spiraling further and further out of control and into a Ball of Confusion (I prefer the Love & Rockets version, thank you very much) is extending to ruin the very areas they govern. It saddens me that (in the absence of the College President's doing so effectively) none of them have set up a public forum of some kind, where the different factions at odds with each other could come together to prove they can civilly work out their differences. Is there an alternative to "Seattle's alternative weekly," where maybe this is being written about?
31
As a parent of a student at Evergreen I am appalled at how outside forces, who seem to know nothing about Evergreen, can jump in and try to damage this great innovative institution of learning over this. What happened is nothing new on campus in the U.S. but Evergreen is small enough they think they can shut it down. It is scary and sad for the students and staff who work so hard. Please all of you with your negative opinions please just go away and let them sort through this like every other college does. This one incident does not define or negate all the good this college does for it's students, the community, the state and the world.
32
Dear, old-white members of "patriot" and "neo-nazi groups," please just leave Olympia and stay away.
33
"Just go away"? Is that the kind of friendly, inclusive attitude you're hoping they're teaching your kid at Evergreen?

By the way, Kathleen, I live in Olympia AND I'm an Evergreen graduate (and only a couple months ago I paid money to attend an alumni event), so I'd say I'm allowed to voice an opinion on this. But you know what? I personally believe Billy Bragg in England and Vladimir Putin in Russia should be allowed to be heard out on this, too. That's a little bit of the open-mindedness I learned at Evergreen back in the '90s.
34
Insidiously partisan smear job Ana - truly fake news that you should be ashamed of. You bend the pertinent narratives into pretzels trying to heroicize these flailing ultra-left ideologues, and even then they still kinda look like assholes.

The way Goldy leaps in above and calls the mostly also left people lodging criticisms alt right trolls is A) sadly patronizing, and B) straight out of the Brown Shirt play book.

This article is utterly deflating in the sense that either you actually can't see that you're simply doing Breitbart in photo-negative, or you do know that's what you're doing but you've decided cause precedes truth. Either way there's a failure of character here, stinking of a sort of narcissistic virtue-signaling, of ontology-warping, purity-test threatening, echo-chamber ideology.

No doubt instead of hearing this avalanche of critique from so many proven rational voices, you'll retreat to the praise of the narrow little group that makes you feel like you are better than the rest of us. But when the Bernie supporting, long-time worker for social justice, Jewish liberal professors become the alt-right for not falling in line with every last bit of ideology with perfect precision, deep down you've got to know you're probably full of shit, that some aspect of ego is really doing most of the steering, right? Or do you really believe that you've cornered the market on giving a shit about other people?
35
Can we ever win the War on Stupid, and possibly spay or neuter the Stupid so the Stupid no longer continue to inbreed and rabidly vote RepubliKKKan?
36
....ya know, folks. This whole thing is a spill-over from other happenings, it's like a cacophony of little incidents that over time, left unattended, simply boiled over. I'm not even going to make an argument about the situation at Evergreen, rather to put this in context I would use a broader brush to paint a picture of Olympia as a whole.

The shooting on the Westside:

This stirred up a lot of emotions. When it initially happened, literally thousands of people rallied through the center of town in support of BLM. Everything went off without much of a hitch, we love a good protest. This escalated into blocking offices of prosecutors in an attempt to gerrymander the process. Throughout the entire ordeal, it was only a small minority of those in support who took it among themselves to partake in what really can only be called intimidation tactics. I don't think they were very intimidating or effective, but if you saw the exchanges between the prosecutor and the protestors at the time, you'd see a serious likeness to what Mr. Weinstein went through on the campus. Some might even extrapolate it was even the same people *cough.

Over time the judicial system played out, and recently the two who had been shot were found guilty of minor charges. The cop was cleared of wrongdoing a while back. Chances are good the two will eventually get nice settlements and live well for the rest of their lives. All of the headlines read "white cop shoots unarmed black boys." It was sensationalism. Headlines aside, one of the brothers is a regular at a watering hole I know. He has told many folks the cop turned into a lizard right before he shot him. He has said this repeatedly. Now, I'm not sure if this is validation of Ramtha's claim of lizard people that live beneath Mt. Rainier but chances are he's just a little nutty. The last time I saw him he was picking up a homeless girl on 4th Avenue for an evening at a local motel.

The "riots" downtown on Mayday:

Everyone is sick of having their sh*t smashed by privileged college students. Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with what's happened at the school but the attention from the right side of the aisle was still active when this situation erupted. This year they finally arrested some of the rioters, they were pretty much all students at Evergreen. This created a very real atmosphere of townies vs. uppity liberal students. This feeling unfortunately got amplified by the national media attention.

Here's the truth. Evergreen is a fine school with many fine programs. They really do try, and always have, to be the most progressive they can. It's kinda a known reputation. Nobody, and I mean nobody can get their heads around how, suddenly, we are supposed to view this as an oppressive or racist institution. The argument itself is ridiculous to anyone who knows the place or the area. Yet some insist it is racist, and the more those words are spoken, like a spell, the more racist it actually becomes. That is a tragedy.
37
"This year, white students, staff, and faculty were invited to participate in the off-campus event."

Invited to host their own separate off-campus event.
38
If anyone is interested in a (now graduated) student's investigation of the ideological framework behind the events at Evergreen, I've been putting together some video essays on the topic:

https://youtu.be/3_2_gpDXvUI
40
@39, Can your spam Love Doctor heal the emotional rift at Evergreen for a low low $5,000?
41
i hope these students enjoy their moments in the sun. soon enough reality will come crashing in when they find that the degrees they earned will get them the same minimum wage jobs they could have had years ago. and don't forget the debts they incurred to get those degrees.
42
Is this article meant to be satire or is the author that deluded? I've seen several videos from Evergreen college and the racist behaviour was on the part of Ms Lowe and students who were demanding that white students be segregated. Anybody who doesn't see that that is racist hatred does not know what those words mean. Ms Lowe should be fired with prejudice for criminal misconduct and so should the university president. Those students who harassed faculty should also be expelled permanently for their criminal conduct.
It is not free speech to harass and threaten, these were civil rights violations and criminal acts. Further students should have been penalized for failing to attend on previous years.