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Bret Weinstein, Evergreen State College

From May 2017 to September 2017
Evergreen State College (Public college or university)
Olympia, WA, United States

Identity of Speakers

  • Bret Weinstein
    Faculty/Staff
    Other

    Bret Weinstein was a professor of biology at Evergreen State College.

Resources

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    Other
  • Incident Political Orientation:
    Neither
  • Incident Responses:
    Rally or Protests
  • Incident Status:
    Settled
  • No protest Occured
  • Did not involve Speech Codes

Summary

Bret Weinstein was a professor of biology at Evergreen State College. In 2017, Weinstein spoke out against a proposed modification of a campus tradition called “Day of Absence.” For many years, students and faculty of color observed a Day of Absence by meeting off campus to discuss campus issues and how to make the college more supportive of all students. In 2017, however, organizers wanted white people to stay off campus on that year’s Day of Absence. Weinstein opposed this change, and he posted a message on a campus email list in which he objected to this proposal. Weinstein also spoke out against a recommendation on faculty hiring by the college’s Equity and Inclusion Council that would require an “equity justification/explanation” for all hires.

Weinstein’s positions on the Day of Absence and faculty hiring led to massive student protests and confrontations between Weinstein and students. Later, protestors took over the administration building. Weinstein’s case became a cause célèbre for conservatives lamenting the state of free speech on college campuses.

In July 2017, Weinstein and his wife, who was also a faculty member at Evergreen, sued the college for $3.85 million, alleging the college failed to “protect its employees from repeated provocative and corrosive verbal and written hostility based on race, as well as threats of physical violence.” In September Evergreen settled with the Weinsteins, agreeing to pay $500,000 without admitting liability. As part of the settlement, Weinstein and his wife resigned from their faculty positions.