Year of Absence: Evergreen State College Enrollment Down 17 Percent Following Campus Protests

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Evergreen State College has announced that enrollment is down 17 percent for the upcoming 2018-2019 academic year, following national attention to protests on campus.

New information confirmed February speculation that Evergreen State College was facing an almost 20 percent drop in enrollment following the campus protest effort that garnered national media attention.

The protests came in response to criticism of a social justice activism event called the “Day of Absence,” which involved asking white community members to leave campus for the day. Professor Bret Weinstein, who received calls for his resignation after he refused to participate in what the New York Times called “a day of racial segregation,” shared video and photos on Twitter of Evergreen students roaming the college’s grounds with baseball bats looking to intimidate Weinstein and his few campus supporters.

Evergreen State College President George Bridges was particularly ineffective in response to the student protests. He allowed students to hold him and other administrators hostage. He intentionally refused to allow campus police to intervene when the protests got out of hand, specifically citing student concerns about the tumultuous relationship between police and minority students.

Commentary in the Wall Street Journal this week blames Evergreen State College President George Bridges for the drop in enrollment. “Mr. Bridges has himself to blame. Nationwide, after administrators have capitulated to disruptive student activists, colleges have lost the support of donors, alumni, parents and prospective students,” columnist Jillian Kay Melchior wrote.

Former Evergreen Provost Michael Zimmerman said that there is no doubt that the college’s current administration is to blame for the current “enrollment crisis.” “The enrollment crisis at Evergreen, and make no mistake about it, it is a crisis, will not be fixed until the actions of last spring are acknowledged and their underlying causes addressed,” Zimmerman said in an interview. “To pretend that students fleeing Evergreen is simply a function of the economy or because of bad press generated by the far right is both misleading and counter-productive.”

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