I want to update you on an incident that occurred earlier this year at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. The update pertains to Professor Bret Weinstein and Chief of Police Stacy Brown, whose professional and personal lives were enormously affected by a debacle during which the college’s president allowed radical, leftist students to effectively take over the campus.
On October 4th, 2017, I wrote a column about the travails of an intellectually honest, liberal academic named Bret Weinstein. If you recall, the good professor, who appeared on Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, had the impertinence to oppose student social justices’ school sanctioned “Day of Absence.” Whom did these stalwarts against racism want to be absent from campus? White people.
These student radicals wanted Caucasian students and faculty to stay away from the school on a specified day so students of color could chit-chat about the school’s amorphous white supremacist oppression. This is odd when you consider Evergreen is one of the most radical leftist academic institutions to ever stain the American educational landscape. Do they really have a valid argument that Evergreen State College is a bastion of institutional racism? It may be, but certainly not against minority students. These students don’t want to solve problems; they want to perpetuate them.
The radical students had a mass freak-out that a professor would dare to express an opinion they disagreed with. In this case, that he opposes racism in any form. These fascist malcontents began to wreak havoc, taking over buildings and intimidating students, staff, and faculty. It’s no mystery how they managed to overcome campus authorities.
Everyone now knows about Evergreen President George Bridges’ pathetically flaccid response after students took over the president’s suite. Reportedly, Bridges was only allowed to go to the restroom if escorted by one of the student thugs. Some folks would call this unlawful imprisonment – but, I’m just a cop, so …
Bridges also hamstrung his police chief, Stacy Brown. Brown has since stepped down (I don’t blame her a bit) after serving for less than a year. Incidentally, Professor Weinstein is also no longer at Evergreen. He and his wife received a settlement (I hope they enjoy it) from the college stemming from a lawsuit Weinstein brought earlier this year.
During the student uprising, Chief Brown had advised Professor Weinstein that the police department could not guarantee his safety on campus. She told Weinstein it would be better if he held his classes off campus, which he did.
There is a reason the police chief took this unusual path. It seems that President Bridges would not permit Brown to enact a mutual aid request, which would authorize assistance from other law enforcement agencies to return order to the campus. More on this later. Instead, Bridges capitulated to the petulant snowflakes, essentially surrendering the campus to them.
“The baiting and stigmatizing of Brown began at her swearing in, and continued throughout her tenure as chief,” said Weinstein to The Olympian. “The fact that the college administration encouraged the frequently illegal actions of the protesters, and tied the hands of the police, made Brown’s job all but impossible.”
According to Seattle talk show host, John Carlson, on his KVI 570 AM radio show, Chief Brown apparently kept notes of the events on campus during those tumultuous days. These notes were not freely disclosed by Evergreen but were requested by the Washington State Legislature. One of these notes is important to take note of.
Bridges had summoned Brown to meet with him and the radical students in the president’s office. That was the mundane part of the request. Bizarrely, he also requested that she come to the president’s suite unarmed. She was told not to carry any lethal or non-lethal weapons.
Now Brown had been a law enforcement officer for a long time. In fact, prior to holding the spot as the college’s top cop, she served as the Lewis County (WA) Sheriff’s Office chief deputy. I’m certain her instincts told her that this request was out of line. Instead of ignoring the order, however, Brown arrived at a risky compromise. She notated she would go home first to change into civilian clothes, which would allow her to attend the meeting unarmed.
Bridges’ request struck me as insulting and ridiculous. It was an affront for him to have made such a request at all. That’s not the way cops work. Guns are not evil; they are one of our work tools.
At the president’s suite, Chief Brown wrote that she was confronted by ten to twelve openly hostile and angry students who demanded she take notes [about their positions]. Brown said she refused to acquiesce to their demands. From there, Brown wrote that she accompanied Bridges to a much larger meeting with about 400 students. Brown described that certain students seemed to have been assigned to shadow the authorities attending the meeting. She said a group of students hovered nearby every time she moved (remember, she was unarmed at that point).
Brown’s notes indicate that, after the two-hour meeting, students told Brown and Bridges that they were “tired of our B.S.” and demanded they leave. The chief also wrote that some students went to the cafeteria (the Greenery) and demanded the staff cook food for them. Brown described kitchen staff as crying and in fear of the students. Brown jotted that later that evening she received a message from President Bridges apologizing for not sticking up for the police and saying he regretted asking her to disarm.
The next morning the chief awoke to a text with an image of a pamphlet announcing that another student demonstration would take place at 1 p.m. She wrote that she would need to “lock down” the building because students “like to menace the police department.” Chief Brown informed President Bridges that she would need mutual aid (from nearby law enforcement agencies), incident command, and permission to send non-essential workers home.
Brown contacted the facilities manager to coordinate on locking down the police station. The manager told her that Bridges had authorized him to lock down the building but told him he didn’t want any other law enforcement officers on the Evergreen campus. Chief Brown wrote that she only had two police officers on duty that day. She then writes about a voicemail she received from Bridges in which he reiterated he did not want any additional law enforcement officers on campus because he didn’t “want to incite the students.” Brown also wrote, “he [Bridges] knows what I want, that I’m opposed to it [his decision], but that’s what he’s going to do.”
It always stuns me when non-law enforcement leaders behave like this. I don’t know of another profession where so many people profess to know more about how to do a job than the professionals trained to do it.
I’ve long contended that one of the problems law enforcement has with public relations is a lack of understanding by the public of what cops do and why they do it. One reason is because law enforcement is terrible at educating the public.
As demonstrated in his disarming of his police chief and refusal to authorize mutual aid, President Bridges obviously has no clue about proper police procedure – none. No wonder he lost control of his college, which will be feeling the effects of his apparent ineptness for years to come – if the college even continues to exist. The college is already suffering from dropping enrollment, a budget shortfall, and employment cuts.
According to news reports, Bridges is undergoing psychological treatment due to the trauma he experienced during the leftist student uprising. I have nothing personal against President Bridges. I don’t know him. But from observations and news reports of his handling of the entire affair, it doesn’t appear he has any business running an institution of higher learning – or even a kindergarten class.
I must say, my respect for Professor Weinstein has also grown. In an interview, again with 570 KVI radio, Weinstein spoke about the peculiar genius of social justice. Weinstein said, “the academy is producing people who are talking utter nonsense and imagining it is sophisticated and enlightened. That system is a failure.” He added that he doesn’t think the entire apparatus is a failure. But he says, “the part of the apparatus that is a failure is taking over….”
He offered that while the participants are not geniuses, the strategy is. The leftists make a nebulous statement about race or racial supremacy. Then if you disagree or even ask a question, what Weinstein calls a “booby trap” is sprung, and you are accused of racism just for questioning the radical students’ ideas and actions. In other words, you’re guilty of “hate speech.”
Weinstein and Brown are examples of intelligent, capable, and pragmatic professionals who tried to lend their obvious talents to higher education. Unfortunately, it was for a leadership and institution that apparently cares more about some leftist whiners’ silly notions of fairness and justice, who are really just bullies who want attention, to shut down free speech, and to get their way – about everything. And who was it who taught them “their way?” It’s pretty obvious when you think about it and a great way to close this discussion.
It’s fascinating to watch as America’s leftist administrators and educators such as Bridges begin to reap the social justice crop they’ve sown over the past several decades. Their students have learned their lessons well from their professors and curricula. They’ve become spoiled brats who believe the world revolves around them.
They can never be inconvenienced, they can never be offended, and they can never be wrong. Nothing can stand in the way of their vision for the world. If anything in life arises to present what they feel is an obstacle to how their Utopian world should work, they must tear it down. Even if they have to go over or through their not-lefty-enough-for-them teachers to do it.