In July, professor Bret Weinstein and his wife Heather Heying, who is also a professor at the school, filed a $3.8 million lawsuit against Evergreen State College. The lawsuit claimed the school created a hostile work environment and failed to protect the couple from threats by students. Friday the school settled, agreeing to pay Weinstein and Heying $450,000, plus an additional $50,000 to cover their attorney’s fees. Weinstein and his wife also resigned their positions at the school.
The Seattle Times reports that Evergreen announced the settlement in an email which emphasized that the college had admitted no wrongdoing in the case:
“In making this agreement, the college admits no liability, and rejects the allegations made in the tort claim. The educational activities of Day of Absence/Day of Presence were not discriminatory. The college took reasonable and appropriate steps to engage with protesters during spring quarter, de-escalate conflict, and keep the campus safe,” according to the email.
In a statement, Evergreen spokesman Zach Powers said the settlement was in the college’s best interest.
“Years of expensive litigation would drain resources and distract from our mission to provide an outstanding education at reasonable cost to the veterans, first-generation college students, creative thinkers and future leaders who study at Evergreen,” he said.
Years of litigation may drain resources but there is also the real possibility the school could lose and be on the hook for millions of dollars. That would be a problem for a school which started the academic year by announcing a $2.1 million shortfall and a hiring freeze. As it is, it’s not clear how Evergreen is going to come up with $500,000.
At Huffington Post, former Evergreen Provost Michael Zimmerman writes that the resignation of Weinstein and Heying represents a complete victory for the far left students and their faculty allies:
From the outset the protesters wanted (at least) three members of the faculty and staff to leave their positions, preferably by being fired. (Will anyone ever forget the fervently aggressive chanting as students held the campus’s administration hostage: Hey, hey, ho, ho, racist faculty have got to go?)
All three are no longer in the positions they filled during the spring and two are no longer employed by the college.
Andrea Seabert Olsen was the student conduct officer, the person responsible for overseeing the student code of conduct. The protestors demanded that she be fired but provided only vague, if overly incendiary, reasons…She’s no longer serving as the student conduct officer, a position she’s held for many years.
Stacy Brown was Evergreen’s chief of police. Evergreen students wanted her fired because, well, because she was the chief of police.
I wrote about the unhinged protests against Stacy Brown here. During her swearing-in ceremony, students were screaming at her in front of her children. Add to that list the departure of Bret Weinstein (and his wife) and the students who interrupted his class last spring to demand his resignation have gotten everything they wanted. The message to students at Evergreen couldn’t be more clear: This behavior will not only be tolerated it will be rewarded.