News & Politics

Evergreen State College Was Already in Danger of Losing State Funds

In this Wednesday, May 24, 2017, photo, after weeks of brewing racial tension on campus, hundreds of students at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., protest against the college administration and demanded change. (Lisa Pemberton/The Olympian via AP)

Evergreen State College has been in absolute turmoil ever since biology professor Bret Weinstein objected to an event that expected all white students and staff to vacate the campus for a day. His objection was reasonable: He felt the outrageously racist event was oppression, which rational people know to be true.

Since then, both the students and the administration have gone insane. Students demanded exemption from classwork so they could disturb the peace … and the president granted it. The school was shut down for three days over violent threats, and there were reports that a student mob was roaming the campus with bats and batons, threatening those who disagreed with the “No Whites” event.

Well, it now appears that the school may not be around for much longer, because it was already in danger of losing its state funding before this insanity occurred:

The public state college near Olympia has become a national caricature of intolerant campus liberalism in both The New York Times and Fox News. At least one professor has been harangued and classes disrupted by shouting mobs of students accusing the famously progressive campus of “systemic racism.”

That coverage apparently has incited anonymous threats of mass murder, resulting in the campus being closed for three days. In the critical last week of school, students have been deprived of learning by extremes on the left and right.

But Evergreen faces a deeper, and more long-term threat. It is the only state four-year higher education institution to see enrollment drop steeply since 2011 despite wide-open admission standards. At about 4,080 students, it is about 300 students short of the Legislature’s funded enrollment target.

The two problems are now entwined. Evergreen President George Bridges and his administration need to assure future students and their parents that academics come first — and not acquiesce to the 200-or-so student protesters at the expense of the 4,000-student campus. Without safety, there’s no learning, and without learning, Evergreen will wither into irrelevance.

Unfortunately, Bridges hasn’t really done that. By any stretch of the imagination.

When students were screaming bloody murder at him, he didn’t just take it, he praised them for their “passion.” When they demanded to be given a pass to ignore homework and projects required for their courses, he granted the absurd request.

Bridges’ claim that the student discipline process is being updated rings hollow in the light of his decision to pander to the irate children, putting racism-fueled outrage ahead of academia — and even ahead of the rule of law. He shows no signs of even understanding the obvious problem.

Evergreen State should look to the cratering enrollment at the University of Missouri over the last couple of years following its similarly violent “inmates running the asylum” protests. This is its future.

The enrollment was already too low. At this point, it will take a miracle to keep the doors open.