Reply Sun 28 May, 2017 06:53 pm
Have any of you been following what's happening at Evergreen College in Washington?

Here is a primer:

Should all whites be kicked off campus?

follow up meeting footage.

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Reply Mon 29 May, 2017 08:29 am
The Evergreen College President's response:
George Bridges Statement in Response to Student Demands

Delivered in the Longhouse on Friday, May 26

I’m George Bridges, I use he/him pronouns.

I begin our time together today by acknowledging the indigenous people of the Medicine Creek Treaty, whose land was stolen and on which the college stands. I would like to acknowledge the Squaxin people who are the traditional custodians of this land and pay respect to elders past and present of the Squaxin Island Tribe. I extend that respect to other Native people present.

In response to Native Student Alliance requests, we commit to opening every event with this acknowledgement.

We also received requests from our Native students late yesterday. We discussed many issues they seek to have addressed. We are working on these requests, too. In our meeting, I committed that Native American students, staff, and faculty can sustainably collect, gather, and harvest the natural resources from any of The Evergreen State College’s lands for ceremonial purposes with legal impunity and asking no permission. Their additional requests include but are not limited to important items such as: funding and resources for the recruitment and retaining of Native students; paid positions to support the Native Student Alliance; a pre-orientation retreat for new and continuing Native students; funding for a Native American graduation; exemption from the catering and cooking prohibitions so that Native students may cook and eat Native foods in freedom.

These will be the focus of much work and commitment in the weeks ahead.

We are grateful to the courageous students who have voiced their concerns. We understand that the demands presented are evolving. We have worked intensely on this in the past two days. Our responses, too, will evolve to ensure we are attending to the needs you present. Our documents must live and be living, changing with additional issues and concerns as they arise. This work never ends.

We have heard from students very clearly that they experience racism on campus that interferes with their education. We acknowledge that the status quo isn’t acceptable. We don’t know all the answers. We want to come together with you to learn from your experience, to build solutions, and to take action. We are grateful for this catalyst to expedite the work to which we are jointly committed.

For a long time, we’ve been working on the concerns you’ve raised and acknowledge that our results have fallen short. We should have done more to engage students in our work on equity and inclusion. This week, you are inviting us into the struggle you have taken up. We share your goals and together we can reach them.

I’ll present this afternoon on our responses and action plan. Following our gathering, a message with the details that I present today will be sent via email and posted on the web. I hope you will read, digest, reflect, and come back next week for further dialogue. I invite you to respond in writing, individually, and in group meetings. We’ll create space for your input. Let’s keep the conversation alive.

We acknowledge that students want action, not just conversation. In this room we can only talk. I will talk about actions that are being taken immediately. We’ll have some food available around 6pm; we’ll eat together and I hope the conversations will continue informally.

To ensure that students are able to enjoy an Evergreen education free from discrimination or bias, we commit to taking the following actions. I’ll structure my comments under the headings in the list of demands provided on May 24.

“We demand that no changes to the student code of conduct be made without democratic student consent.”

Immediate actions:
As of today, we’re not contemplating any action associated with the demonstrations of the last two weeks, but we can’t control what complaints we might receive. If we receive complaints, we’ll need to follow up on them.

Next steps:
We reaffirm our commitment to continuing our work to revise the student conduct code, with significant contributions from students at the center of the process.

Students will work on the code with staff over the summer, as well as work on other strategic initiatives. Students will be paid for their labor. Further consultation will occur with students in the fall.

All changes being made will be accessible and transparent to the campus community and the document will be a living document that will be adapted over time in order to serve evolving student needs.

By the end of next week, we will identify the time commitment requested of the students involved in this summer work as well as the compensation for this work.

Students will select the peers that will be involved in the process.

The current code of conduct remains in place until a revised code is developed. With this timeline in place, a revised code would be submitted that adheres to state law and our campus needs by winter 2018.

“We demand that Officer Timothy O’Dell be fired and suspended without pay while an investigation take place.”
“We demand the immediate firing of Andrea Seabert Olsen from all Evergreen State College positions.”
“We demand Bret Weinstein be suspended immediately without pay but all students receive full credit.”

We do not and will not fire any employees in response to a request. We do take complaints seriously. We have a college non-discrimination policy which applies to all members of our community. Following any complaint of discrimination, we will conduct a full investigation. If it is found that discrimination occurred, action is taken. The nature of that action is not released because in order to protect the privacy of those involved. We recommit to the progressive discipline processes established with our union bargaining units and the State of Washington.

Immediate action:
We must increase our capacity to investigate instances of alleged discrimination. Therefore, we have decided to increase the college’s Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Officer to full time today. In addition, if we need to hire outside investigators, we will. We will provide information about how this process works and who to contact on all aspects of the college’s website pertaining to students, faculty, and staff. We commit to communicating the process for reporting discrimination to all students at the start of every quarter and at the beginning of very academic year.

“We demand the immediate disarming of police services and no expansion of police facilities or services at any point in the future.”

Next steps:
The Police Services Community Review Board will review police response to calls and complaints received on May 14 and May 16. A timeline for this review will be finalized by the end of next week. As you know, the Review Board doesn’t include individuals from the President’s Office or Police Services. Many of whom on the board are people of color.
Annual training for police officers will be expanded because of the responsibility they hold and the critical services they provide to the college. The training will include techniques for safe and non-threatening engagement with students, addressing anti-black racism, de-escalation, minimizing use of force, serving trans and queer students, sexual assault response and responding to the access and special needs of students with disabilities. Private funding will be sought to support training.

We intend to retain a campus police force that understands and is responsive to the unique needs of our college campus.

“We demand mandatory sensitivity and cultural competency training for faculty, staff, administrators, and student employees.”

Immediate action:
The United Faculty of Evergreen and the College have executed a memorandum of understanding committing to mandatory training. I’d like to Invite Grace Huerta to speak about the agreement we’ve reached today. It reads:
“Now, therefore, the parties agree as follows:

“We share a mutual interest in ensuring that all Evergreen students receive an education that is culturally competent, culturally relevant and free from the negative effects of bias.

“To achieve this, we recognize that Evergreen faculty members must have access to, and take advantage of, professional development opportunities to address subjects including but not limited to institutional racism, and the needs of students of color, LGBTQIA students, undocumented students, victims of sexual assault, and students with disabilities.

“We commit to annual mandatory training for all faculty beginning in fall 2017.

“This agreement was ratified today by both parties”.

Next steps:
Required training for all staff currently includes a review of the college’s non-discrimination policy. We commit to providing cultural competency, sensitivity, and anti-bias training in the training required of all staff. By requiring this training for all staff, we will also ensure that all search committee members are trained. We’re launching staff training in the fall and offering it throughout the year.

“We demand the creation of an equity center.”

Immediate action:
Today we commit to establishing a new and expanded equity and multicultural center with design plans finalized for student review by the beginning of fall quarter this year. You will have the space that you seek and deserve.

Next steps:
The design of the center will be informed by students. Over the summer, we seek to hire students to design and plan for a new equity and multicultural center in collaboration with staff. They will be compensated for their time. A final plan for implementation will be developed following the work completed this summer.

“We demand for the coordinator of the Trans & Queer Center to be permanently hired full time.”

Immediate action:
Prior to this week’s events, we had initiated the process to appoint Amira Caluya on a permanent basis as Coordinator of the Trans & Queer Center. We expedited this process and confirm that they have been appointed on a permanent basis effective today.

“We demand the creation of a position that will support undocumented students.”

Next steps:
We have requested funding for a retention specialist to serve undocumented students from the Legislature. Once this is funded, we will recruit for this position immediately.

“We demand that the video created for Day of Absence and Day of Presence that was stolen by white supremacists and edited to expose and ridicule the students and staff be taken down by the administration by this Friday.”

Next steps:
Based on conversations with the Attorney General’s office, the most likely course of action requires an investigation. We commit to launching an extensive forensic investigation of the theft of this video and to determining who stole it from the student. If that investigation yields a suspect, we will seek criminal charges against the individual in consultation with the Attorney General.

Other personnel decisions

We have heard you about your concerns. We truly have. In order to fulfill our commitment to you, the knowledge and life experience of our leadership team needs to change. We acknowledge the lack of diversity among the college’s senior leadership team and affirm that people of color must be involved in decisions that affect the college and our community.

Immediate action:
We’ve welcomed three talented candidates for the role of Vice President/Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion to campus. I’m glad you participated in conversation with them and I seek your recommendations on whom we should hire.

I’m announcing today that in addition to the VP/VP, we will be recruiting a new leader to oversee student enrollment and retention at the College. Our longstanding Associate Vice President of Enrollment Services, Steve Hunter, has served Evergreen for 41 years in many ways. His retirement creates an opportunity to recruit new leadership.

The person we hire will be appointed to the senior leadership team and will focus, among other things, on student retention across all aspects of the college from the moment a student comes into contact with Evergreen to the point at which they graduate. I seek your involvement in the recruitment and hiring of that person so that we are assured we appoint someone whose attention is directly focused on the needs and success of underrepresented students at Evergreen.

We are hiring Dr. Stone Thomas as a senior advisor to the President and a member of the senior leadership team of the college to begin next week. Stone was among the first African American leaders of Evergreen, as well as the president of another institution. For 40 years, Dr. Thomas diligently supported learners in a number of roles including Coordinator of Upward Bound, Director of Educational Support Programs and Dean of Student Development, Vice President of Student Development and Campus President. In 2011 Dr. Thomas retired as Campus President from Tarrant County College South Campus. In tandem with his administrative appointments, Dr. Thomas served as an adjunct faculty for 12 years at The Evergreen State College.

Next steps:
We will increase the budget in First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services to address student wages and staffing and to ensure that the scholar’s pre-orientation program is accessible to more students. The resources will be available for use effective July 1.
It is critical to have student voice involved in a variety of initiatives over the summer including the conduct code, summer hiring, new student orientation, developing a communication plan for next year, and work on the equity center. We will hire for three to four positions by the end of the academic year.

In closing, I want to invite you to reflect and we will reconvene next week for additional conversations. What I’ve shared today will be circulated electronically.

Free speech must be fostered and encouraged. Every faculty member, every student, every staff member must have the freedom to speak openly about their views. We are an institution dedicated to learning. Unless we continually seek to listen and to understand, rather than listening to react, we will not fulfill the mission of The Evergreen State College.

Discrimination of any form is not acceptable or tolerated on our campus. We must treat each other with respect and care. Let’s acknowledge the unique, individual roles that each of us plays at Evergreen.

Let me reiterate my gratitude for the passion and courage you have shown me and others. I want every one of you to feel safe on this campus and be able to learn in a supportive environment free from discrimination or intimidation.

I welcome your questions. I hope we can break bread together and continue the conversation informally.

He seems very capitulating to student demands. This will be interesting to follow.
Reply Mon 29 May, 2017 09:21 am
Sure does. Glad he's for free speech, but given the rest of the statement, I have to wonder what he means, and whose speech if free.
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Reply Mon 29 May, 2017 10:00 am
By Georgie Hicks

Months of protest and community dissatisfaction came to head this week with a student led protest, specifically about empowering student voices, formed by the group behind #exposeevergreen gathered the force of the student body, occupied the Daniel J. Evans Library Building, and brought a series of demands directly to several key members of the Administration. Following a series of unsuccessful conversations with different, divided portions of the Evergreen administration over the past several weeks and years, they gathered, personally escorted and held President George Bridges, all of the Deans, the Vice President of Student Affairs Wendy Endress, a Board of Trustees representative, and the full teacher union bargaining team all in President George Bridges office for about five hours. The administration stayed in the room until demands to address the problems of systemic racism and oppression faced by minority students were agreed upon.

This measure was taken because previous attempts to make changes to policy to support students of color and other underserved populations and promote equity had been met with the various sections of the administration blaming the college’s stagnancy and lack of action on other areas of the administration, sending students through an endless maze of meetings and conversations that all ended the same way: with empty promises and no concrete actions. No force was used to detain members involved in the meeting, and everyone held in the President’s office were provided with food and water, with students available to attend to any emerging needs, including medical care. The building entrances were barricaded when it seemed as if police would be on the way soon. When word got out that police were not on the way, as Bridges’ had told the police to stand down and they had locked themselves in police services, White students stopped guarding the doors.

The May 24 occupation followed two weeks of increased student activity around questions of race and equity, ignited by a May 14 incident during which two Black students were brought in for questioning late at night and held by campus police into the early morning. These students were not made aware that they were not legally required to go with the police and were escorted to be questioned by their Resident Director. This incident culminated with the violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act rights of the students when their personal information was accessed and their mother’s were contacted the morning after Mother’s Day around 2 a.m.Other factors included the administration’s unwillingness to address concerns about faculty’s expressions of racist, sexist, and transphobic beliefs, including emails sent by faculty Bret Weinstein, who had been broadcasting his dislike for new equity policies and expressed feelings of being discriminated against because he is white on the all staff and faculty email chain from fall quarter.

The conversation around Weinstein’s emails came to a head when the cops were called on a group of students who disrupted his class, demanding he apologize and listen to their concerns, and officer Timothy O’Dell aggressively shoved through a crowd of students protesters.

Though Weinstein is one factor, many other concerns lead to the the occupation, including the drawn out discipline process of two black disabled trans students for their participation in nonviolent protests by Vice President of Student Conduct Andrea Seabert Olsen and lack of student input in new student code of conduct rules that would, among other things, make any form of “disruptive” protest punishable.

The occupation began with a 1 p.m. meeting in the Library lobby, with students moving out to Red Square for a reading of a press release written by organizing students which listed the mounting concerns of marginalized students on campus including lack of health and safety of PoC on campus due to the mounting racial tension and racist emails from faculty. A group of about twenty students then filed upstairs to president George Bridges’ office, blocking any possible exits. Hundreds of students followed, filing into the administration offices chanting “Hey hey ho ho the racist teachers have got to go.”

Vice President Endress initially refused to meet with the protesters and attempted to leave without addressing the students’ concerns. Endress was encouraged to return and eventually came around and was present for the meeting in Bridges’ office for the rest of the discussion. Students wanted VP Endress present because of an email she sent regarding the two Black students who were held by police services late May14, that stated “by midnight the police determined that there was no immediate threat. [and] Some of the students were offered alternative places to stay. Some ‘no contact’ orders were put in place. The staff in Student Affairs continues to investigate and consider what consequences or restitution is appropriate.”

This information was false as students were escorted by Resident Director Hanna Smith at around 11:45 p.m. and held until around 2 a.m. that morning.The two students who were held and questioned had restrictions put on where they could go in the dorms they live in, at one point they were not allowed into their own dorm rooms and were not offered any resources in which to ensure their safety after this harrowing experience. VP Endress was also involved in pressing charges on two Black students for their participation in a series of protests against the Administration’s lack of action in supporting students of color. One day prior to the occupation, on May 23, Endress had refused to apologize before about 300 students and failed to confirm that information in the email she had sent out was false. When she was asked whether the information in the email was factual she opted to say “to my knowledge” and when asked to apologize she said she “wanted to apologize with integrity” and that she “take[s] responsibility for sending that email too soon” to which she was met with disappointment from the students present, who knew that the day she sent the email Endress had been in implicit bias training and yet still sent out an email that left students of color vulnerable.

While all this was happening, professor Bret Weinstein was mocking protesters on Twitter and on Facebook, saying, “If I am hearing them correctly, they are calling for me to be fired as a racist. The fact that I am not a racist makes this awkward.” Weinstein had been the focus of student attention for months after he sent an email that called the reversal of the day of absence “a show of force and an act of oppression in and of itself”. For this year’s event, as opposed to previous years, a small amount of white students, 200, were invited to hold caucus and workshop off campus and PoC were invited to be present on the campus they often don’t feel welcome on for their own workshops. Weinstein opposed this change, saying he would not support the reversal and that “you may assume I will be on campus on the day of absence” and encouraged others to do the same. Weinstein, and evolutionary biologist, then offered to have “a discussion of race on campus through a scientific/evolutionary lens.”

Weinstein also received information from students who spied in a closed Facebook group including a screenshot of a student’s post offering names and faces of students supporting weinstein for PoC to know who to avoid for their own personal safety. No threats of doxxing or violence were made by this student. Weinstein publically posted a screenshot of this message from the closed group, mocking the student saying, “This is a small peak at what my students and I are dealing with. Evergreen is busy with other things while certain people are targeted for their beliefs.” As of May 25, the student Weinstein reposted is receiving death threats, threats of sexual assault and is being harassed on Reddit, online sources and directly to her phone by Neo-nazi groups and students who live on campus due to Weinstein’s actions.

As the library occupation continued, a faculty meeting was interrupted and many faculty chose to join the administrators meeting with students. The full teacher union bargaining team was present and agreed to bring any issue up in the bargaining with the admin over the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), as the current CBA ends in August. When the question of why racist professors could not be fired came up, it was made clear the CBA and the system of due process at this school made it difficult to remove teachers even when they have committed clearly racist actions. Cynthia Kennedy, faculty and bargaining team member, stated her issues with the CBA and how it has been used to protect racists herself saying, “…when my colleague was saying some thing that were racist, what was decided was that he wasn’t actually breaking anything in the CBA. so there wasn’t anything that we could do.” she continued by saying “I didn’t think that [The Current CBA] was working and I really really see what ya’ll [students] are bringing up as complaints as real complaints and I don’t know if there is a system that can work with it right now.” “I am willing to work to help talk about that [as a bargaining member], but I don’t see that what we have is working.”

At this point other Faculty started speaking up about their experiences trying to combat racism. Teachers who had been here for 15, 20, 30 years were said, they’ve gone through the current process, and it doesn’t work, that the system is broken.

Finally Bridges agreed to work on the demands. Around 5:30 students and administrators came to an agreement and the occupation was ended. Bridges was given two days to meet demands and he promised if any demand could not be met he would outline exactly why it could not be met in an announcement Friday.

Students warned George that, “If you’re not transparent we will be back” to which George responded “I want you to come back even if I am transparent, either way I want you to come back.”
Reply Mon 29 May, 2017 08:08 pm
Wait until they are all taking an important test, call in an airstrike, bulldoze it all over and start again. Yes there will be collateral damage but it's a small price to pay to eliminate militant looney liberals.
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Reply Mon 29 May, 2017 09:43 pm

edgarblythe wrote:

By Georgie Hicks

No force was used to detain members involved in the meeting, and everyone held in the President’s office were provided with food and water, with students available to attend to any emerging needs, including medical care.

I think it was very thoughtful to provide them with food and water even though no force was used to detain them. I do wonder why they didn't wander off and provide their own food and drink
Reply Mon 29 May, 2017 09:49 pm
roger wrote:

edgarblythe wrote:

By Georgie Hicks

No force was used to detain members involved in the meeting, and everyone held in the President’s office were provided with food and water, with students available to attend to any emerging needs, including medical care.

I think it was very thoughtful to provide them with food and water even though no force was used to detain them. I do wonder why they didn't wander off and provide their own food and drink

I believe they were talking about the administration officials present. Not the students.
Reply Mon 29 May, 2017 10:02 pm
That was my guess, too. I was pleased the administrative people were fed and watered. Downright decent treatment.
Reply Mon 29 May, 2017 10:48 pm
Almost civilized.
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Reply Tue 30 May, 2017 04:28 am
Those savage blacks are a trip, no? You don't find white people acting up.
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Reply Sun 4 Jun, 2017 06:30 pm
More from the worst coast:

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