A professor at Evergreen State College described how she was stalked, cursed at and berated by student protesters who demanded she join their protest. The professor described the series of events that took place in a letter she sent to other faculty members about a week after the protests erupted.
The letter was revealed yesterday by Benjamin Boyce, a former Evergreen State College student who has been creating videos about events at Evergreen ever since student protesters demanded professor Bret Weinstein resign. The letter was part of a collection of over a thousand pages of documents Boyce received from the school this week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
This is a fairly long letter and I’m only going to focus on this professor’s description of what happened to her on campus. Boyce doesn’t give the name of the professor but it’s clear from his description and from the letter itself that she is a white woman.
Student activists gain license to harass and intimidate members of the Evergreen community in an effort to achieve their ends. Last Wednesday on two separate occassions I was followed by white students who yelled and cursed at me, accused me of not caring about black and brown bodies and claimed that if I did care I would follow their orders and join the protest in the library. They stood in front of me, blocking my way as I attempted to walk across campus.
In the first occassion, three female students and one male who claimed to not be a student surrounded me with raised voices and twisted my words when I responded to them. When I stopped to try to talk with them they refused to actually engage in conversation. The only thing which they would accept was my obedience, which you won’t be surprised to learn I was not going to give. They followed me all the way across Red Square to Sem 2 [Seminar 2] while berating me. By the time I got to the venue for the faculty meeting, I was shaking.
When I left the faculty meeting I was followed by two new students who were waiting outside the door for me. These two followed me and asserted that nothing I could possibly be doing was more important than following their orders. If I did have something important to do, I should tell them what it is so they could evaluate whether my decision to leave was valid. I tried to get them to question their own assumptions but they were incapable of engaging in dialogue. Their passions were running too high. High enough to violate principles on which this institution depends to exist at all.
All they could say to me was: Imagine what it’s like for black and brown people to experience that kind of threat all the time. They have no idea how or whether throughout my life and in spite of appearances (my white skin) I may have had to deal with and overcome intimidation, threat and harassment. I’m not saying that my trauma is worse or more important or the same as that of people of color. I’m not competing with anybody. But it’s simply wrong to erase someone’s humanity in the name of not erasing someone else’s.
And while this was a terrible experience for me, I’m much more concerned with the students lack of understanding of what they allowed themselves to do, which was to willingly erase their own humanity by treating me in the way they did. I’m telling you about this because I’m also concerned that the students are being egged on by faculty who approve of this kind of thing and igore the tactics for the sake of the goal. Some of you, in essence, are telling the students to do it again. Maybe they’ll show up in my classroom next week and demand my resignation because I’m a racist. I wouldn’t be at all surprised.
There’s a lot to unpack here but let’s just start by saying it’s perfect that all of this is taking place in Evergreen’s Red Square (named for the color of the bricks I believe, but still). These students are behaving like Maoists at a struggle session. They are literally demanding this woman justify her right to do anything else but obey them. It’s reminiscent of students telling Evergreen President George Bridges he could only go to the bathroom if accompanied by two of their minders.
And yet, it seems none of the students who shouted and cursed at this professor have been disciplined. On the contrary, as the letter points out, some of the professors were egging the students on in this behavior.
Here’s the video in which Boyce reads the entire letter (there are some cuts in the video so there may be some ellipses). The portion transcribed above starts about 2:40 into this clip.