“the college is now contributing to the vilification, paranoia and irrational rhetoric that fuels hatred and violence”
From the Heterodox Academy blog:
A Second Evergreen Professor Speaks Out
I have been teaching Evergreen students about biology, agriculture, and animals for the last ten years. Before becoming a faculty member, I had a full time large animal veterinary practice where I would spend my days traveling to farms in rural “red counties” of Western Washington. The Evergreen State College has had a local reputation as a “hippie college” ever since it was founded in the mid-1960s as an alternative to traditional universities. Interdisciplinary sixteen credit programs are often taught by multiple professors, and students receive written narrative assessments instead of grades. With a low student to faculty ratio of twenty five to one, Evergreen professors have the opportunity to learn collaboratively with students through critical inquiry around interesting questions.
My most rewarding teaching experiences have been when my mostly left leaning students have prompted me to examine my own views on controversial issues. I would like to think that students have also benefited from being exposed to the occasional “redneck” perspective in the classroom and on field trips. Many of the farms we visited were my clients, who always looked forward to the annual visits by Evergreen’s “strangely dressed students with piercings and tattoos” that seemed to be much more inquisitive and insightful than their land-grant university counterparts. There were definitely awkward moments, but the results of these cross-cultural exchanges were always the same; discussion and an appreciation for multiple perspectives that were previously unheard or misunderstood within their prospective community. I believed that I had found the antidote to the ever increasing disease of polarization and identity politics that has been dividing our rural and urban populations.
Now Evergreen has taken from me the medicine needed to cure the illness. Even worse, the college is now contributing to the vilification, paranoia and irrational rhetoric that fuels hatred and violence. The antidote has now become toxic.
This is a story of how a Democrat voting veterinarian working with mostly Republican livestock owners became a “bigoted” professor at a left wing progressive liberal arts college. It is about a collection of professors that are so blinded by their advocacy, that they cannot fathom different viewpoints. It involves a newly appointed President who believes in ideological safe spaces who endorsed a strategic equity plan that will hurt the very students it is trying to help.
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