By Matt Taibbi
Canceled on campus for speaking his mind, he’s now going through a sequel at the hands of Silicon Valley.
On May 23, 2017, not so long ago in real time but seemingly an eternity given the extraordinary history we’ve lived through since, a group of 50-odd students at Evergreen State College arrived at the classroom of a biology professor named Bret Weinstein, demanding his resignation. He stepped into the hall to talk, believing he could work things out.
He was wrong. Weinstein’s offense had been to come to work during an event called the “Days of Absence,” in which white students, staff, and faculty were asked to stay home. This was an inverted version of a longstanding Evergreen event of the same name that, based on a Douglas Turner Ward play, invited students of color to stay home voluntarily, to underscore their value to the community. As he would later explain in the Wall Street Journal, Weinstein thought this was a different and more negative message, and refused to comply. When that group of 50 students he’d never met arrived at his door and accused him of being a racist, he assumed he could find common ground, especially when his own students (including students of color) spoke on his behalf.
“I was one of Evergreen’s most popular professors,” he later testified to the House of Representatives. “I had Evergreen’s version of tenure. Did they really think they could force my resignation based on a meritless accusation? They did think that, and they were right.”