Monday, June 12, 2017

The downside of appearing on Fox News

Remember the fracas at Evergreen State?  The one where a progressive professor, apparently not progressive enough, found dozens of students interrupting his classes, "screaming at him about racism, white privilege and even white supremacy"?  The one where students "pelted" the college president with profanity and "ordered him to shut up"?

There is an epilogue. The Chronicle of Higher Education is now reporting on the Evergeen State professor's reluctant decision to talk about the episode on Fox News. The article is behind a paywall, but here are some excerpts.

In the aftermath of Mr. Weinstein’s press tour, Evergreen State received threats. One person called the local police dispatcher to say that he planned to show up at the college and shoot as many people as he could. The institution was forced to close for three days. When college leaders invited students to return to the campus, some decided to stay away.

Unknown vandals destroyed campus property and tagged buildings with graffiti. Due to safety concerns, the college decided to move its June 16 graduation ceremony to a stadium about 35 miles away.

Many people blame Mr. Weinstein for the fallout. Peter Dorman, an economics professor, told The Chronicle that he doesn’t understand why his colleague would reach out to "people who don’t wish us well and don’t want to see us succeed in any event." Fifty-eight professors, about a quarter of the faculty, signed a letter asking the college to investigate Mr. Weinstein, saying that his actions had made them, along with students and staff member, "targets of white-supremacist backlash."

Others rose to their colleague’s defense. Mike Paros, a professor of biology and agriculture, said he sympathized with the dilemma that drove Mr. Weinstein into the arms of the conservative media. "Weinstein reluctantly went on Fox News because no other news source would pick up his story," wrote Mr. Paros in a letter to colleagues that was also posted online.

"This was the first time that I found out that those who watch Tucker Carlson are the ‘alt-right,’" he added sarcastically. "I should probably tell my family."

A group of 17 students sent a letter to reporters saying they, like Mr. Weinstein, believed Evergreen State’s leaders had showed too much deference to student protesters. The campus activists, they said, don’t speak for everybody.

With graduation a week away, Evergreen State remains consumed by a sense of unease. A group self-identifying as Nazis recently posted a video that appeared to show hooded figures posting racist fliers on windows and buildings at the college.

The forces unleashed by Mr. Weinstein’s media appearances have also created some discomfort for him and Ms. Heying.

They recently discovered a Facebook page where someone had posted aggressive political messages while posing as Mr. Weinstein. One of the posts featured a picture of a pistol.

"So sick of all these whiny SJW at Evergreen," read another, using a disparaging shorthand for "social-justice warriors." "I’m going to make sure there’s none of them left on campus very soon, though."

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