At Reed College, the left clashes with itself over free speech

Evergreen State College wasn’t the only progressive school in the northwest where protesters were disrupting classes last year. At Reed College, dubbed the most liberal and least religious of 382 schools surveyed by The Princeton Review, far left students battle with their left-wing professors over the issue of free speech. The Economist reports:

Freshmen crowded the lecture hall at 9am for Humanities 110, the first class of their college careers. Elizabeth Drumm, the head of the programme, made some introductory remarks, her voice quavering. As some faculty members moved to take their places at a panel discussion, three demonstrators emerged from the wings of the auditorium. “We’re protesting Hum 110 because it’s Eurocentric,” one began. “I’m sorry, this is a classroom space and this is not appropriate,” Ms Drumm said, immediately cancelling the lecture.

You can see a video of this incident below. One of the intended speakers at the canceled lecture was  Prof. Lucía Martinez Valdivia who describes herself as “female, mixed race, American and Peruvian, gay, atheist, and relatively young.” In other words, she’s no one’s idea of a conservative white supremacist. Last year, when students planned to disrupt Prof. Valdivia’s lecture on Sappho, she begged them not to be too confrontational:

Ms Valdivia said she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and doubted her ability to deliver the lecture in the face of their opposition. At first, demonstrators announced they would change tactics and sit quietly in the audience, wearing black. After her speech, a number of them berated her, bringing her to tears.

Demonstrators said Ms Valdivia was guilty of a variety of offences: she was a “race traitor” who upheld white supremacist principles by failing to oppose the Humanities syllabus. She was “anti-black” because she appropriated black slang by wearing a T-shirt that said, “Poetry is Lit”. She was an “ableist” because she believes trigger warnings sometimes diminish sexual trauma. She was also called a “gaslighter” for making disadvantaged students doubt their own feelings of oppression. “I am intimidated by these students,” she later wrote in a blog post. “I am scared to teach courses on race, gender or sexuality or even texts that bring these issues up in any way…I’m at a loss as to how to begin to address it, especially since many of these students don’t believe in historicity or objective facts (they denounce the latter as being a tool of the white cisheteropatriarchy).”

The Economist reports that some students at Reed privately admit to feeling afraid to share their feelings for fear of being targeted by campus activists. But not all of the progressives on campus support taking over classrooms. One black student reportedly shouted down a group of protesters saying, “This is a classroom. This is not the place. Right now we are trying to learn.” More power to that student, whoever he or she is.

You definitely get the sense from this piece and from the video below that what happened at Evergreen State College is going to happen elsewhere this academic year. Here’s video of the protest that took place last week at Reed College:

Correction: I initially put Evergreen State in Oregon. It is of course in Washington state. Sorry for the error.

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