Last week, Dr. Bret Weinstein testified to Congress about the extreme limits on expression that exist in certain environments on college campuses around the country.
No campus protest has caught the media’s attention quite like the spring 2017 protests at Evergreen State College. The saga, which centered around progressive biology Professor Bret Weinstein, involved student protesters roaming campus with baseball bats, an intentional disarming of campus police, and the university president being held hostage by students.
And what sparked this? Weinstein’s polite disapproval of an activism event that Bari Weiss of the New York Times called “a day of racial segregation.” This is how Weinstein described the “Day of Absence” in a May 2017 column for the Wall Street Journal.
Day of Absence is a tradition at Evergreen. In previous years students and faculty of color organized a day on which they met off campus—a symbolic act based on the Douglas Turner Ward play in which all the black residents of a Southern town fail to show up one morning. This year, however, the formula was reversed. “White students, staff and faculty will be invited to leave the campus for the day’s activities,” the student newspaper reported, adding that the decision was reached after people of color “voiced concern over feeling as if they are unwelcome on campus, following the 2016 election.”
Last week, Dr. Bret Weinstein spoke to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about last year’s chaos at Evergreen State College. During an exchange with Congressman Jim Jordan, Weinstein argued that students would not be permitted to state the fact that “Donald Trump is President of the United States” in safe spaces on college campuses.
“In a safe space could you say this sentence: ‘Donald Trump is President of the United States?'” Jordan asked.
“It depends which version of ‘safe space’ you mean. If you mean the version of ‘safe space’ the way that it is used in common parlance on college campuses today then the question of whether or not you can say it is contingent on whether or not someone will be offended by that observation.”
“Think about that. You can’t even state a fact,” Jordan responded. “A fact. Provable. I saw his tweet this morning. It’s provable. This shows the absurdity of what is going on on campuses and you have lived it in a physical way. This is what is scary.”