Evergreen State College announced this week that they will replace their controversial “Day of Absence” event with a workshop on “inclusion.”
Bari Weiss of the New York Times called Evergreen’s “Day of Absence” exercise “a day of racial segregation,” but when former Evergreen biology professor Bret Weinstein objected to it in an email to fellow faculty members, a hoard of students descended upon one of his class sessions and demanded his resignation. After student protest efforts escalated, Weinstein was forced to relocate his class away from campus.
Evergreen State College announced this weekend that they will be moving on from their controversial “Day of Absence” event as a result of the Weinstein debacle. Weinstein resigned as part of a settlement with the university in September.
The “Day of Absence” program asked white members of the Evergreen community to leave campus for a day of activism related to inclusion and diversity. “You may take this letter as a formal protest of this year’s structure, and you may assume I will be on campus during the Day of Absence. … On a college campus, one’s right to speak – or to be – must never be based on skin color,” Weinstein wrote in his original email.
This year, the “Day of Absence” event, which had taken place at Evergreen in various forms for almost 20 years, has been replaced with a “more robust event for learning about equity, inclusion, and privilege in the 21st century.”
Earlier this year, Evergreen State College President George Bridges asked Vice President Chassity Holliman-Douglas to develop a program to replace the “Day of Absence.”
“I have asked her to convene and chair a planning group comprised of students, faculty, and staff to shape its content and structure such that all members of our campus community are invited to engage in dialogue and discussion with one another and the speakers we invite to campus,” Bridges wrote. “It is my sincere hope that this event reinforces our commitment to addressing these critical issues facing the college and society.”