Inside the Madness at Evergreen State
By Jillian Kay Melchior, The Wall Street Journal
Biology professor Bret Weinstein has settled his lawsuit against Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. Mr. Weinstein became a pariah last spring when he criticized an officially sanctioned “Day of Absence” during which white people were asked to stay away from campus. He and his wife, anthropology professor Heather Heying, alleged that Evergreen “has permitted, cultivated, and perpetuated a racially hostile and retaliatory work environment.” They claimed administrators failed to protect them from “repeated provocative and corrosive verbal and written hostility based on race, as well as threats of physical violence.”
Last week the university announced it would pay $500,000 to settle the couple’s complaint. Evergreen said in a statement that the college “strongly rejects” the lawsuit’s allegations, denies the Day of Absence was discriminatory, and asserts: “The college took reasonable and appropriate steps to engage with protesters, de-escalate conflict, and keep the campus safe.”
A different story emerges from hundreds of pages of Evergreen correspondence, which I obtained through Washington state’s Public Records Act. The emails show that some students and faculty were quick to levy accusations of racism with neither evidence nor consideration of the reputational harm they could cause. The emails also reveal Mr. Weinstein and Ms. Heying were not the only ones concerned about a hostile and dangerous campus.