News and Commentary

Evergreen State College Sanctions 80 Students, Debuts ‘Free Speech Guide’

Evergreen State College doled out punishments to 80 students they say were involved in an incident last spring that led to a schoolwide shutdown and a million dollar legal settlement.

They’ve also issued a handbook to students explaining, in great detail, how to handle the concept of “free speech” and what students should do if they encounter an opposing viewpoint (hint: it’s not riot until the school shuts down and harass a professor and his wife out of their jobs).

Evergreen is facing both a budget and an enrollment crisis since students attacked Professor Bret Weinstein last May, alleging that he was “racist” for choosing not to participate in an event designed to show the impact of minority students on campus — but would have required all white students and faculty to stay home. Students became so enraged at the incident that they seized control of campus facilities, driving off campus safety officers and forcing the school to shut down for several days.

Just last month, Weinstein and his wife, also a professor, settled with the school for half a million dollars, in a lawsuit that alleged Evergreen students had interfered with the teacher’s right to free speech and his academic and intellectual freedoms.

Even before that happened, Evergreen announced that enrollment had dropped off, and that the school was facing a major budget crisis that could lead to cutbacks and layoffs.

In an effort to stem the bleeding, apparently, Evergreen told local media that they were investigating 180 current and former students for interfering with campus life.

“Of those 180 students, approximately 80 were found responsible for their actions,” an Evergreen spokesperson said. “They received sanctions ranging from formal warnings, community service and probation, to suspension.”

Most have already served their sentence, the school added.

This year, Evergreen has also issued a “Free Speech Guide” to students that instructs them in the basics of the First Amendment and reminds them that they cannot shut down speech, regardless of how offensive they may find it.

“The First Amendment allows speech that you may find extreme or hateful. It’s not unusual for people to want to silence others’ speech and eliminate that which is unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive,” the guide states, according to The College Fix. “However, it is the protection of unpopular expression that lies at the core of the First Amendment, which makes it unlawful to prohibit speech based on content.”

The booklet also outlines possible punishments that could result from acts of civil disobedience that wander into censorship or violence. If student protests interfere with school operations, damage buildings or other infrastructure, or result in the school having to engage the assistance of law enforcement and emergency personnel, students will face swift and immediate “social justice” of their own.

Such rules and regulations probably won’t go over well with Evergreen students, who attend the “alternative” school so that they can learn the basics in a “social justice” environment.