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Attempts To Cancel Coastal Carolina University Prof Steve Earnest Were Worse Than We Knew

Attempts To Cancel Coastal Carolina University Prof Steve Earnest Were Worse Than We Knew

An article in the Los Angeles Times unwittingly documents the festival of stupidity and false accusations that almost led to the firing of a man who did nothing wrong.

We have covered the story of Coastal Carolina University Professor Steve Earnest extensively, but a new report from the Los Angeles Times has shed new light on the situation.

The good news is that Earnest has been reinstated. The bad news is that he was put through hell for nothing.

It all started when a visiting artist wrote the names of some black students on a whiteboard because they wanted to meet up with some other black students. Later on, a completely different group of students saw the names on the board and jumped to the false conclusion that black students were being singled out for something.

It was quickly cleared up, but not before students made a fuss over it.

Earnest had zero to do with any of this. All he did was remark that the students had overreacted. That’s it. Next thing you know, people were calling for him to be fired.

The Jenny Jarvie article in the Los Angeles Times acknowledges all of this but still acts as if the students had a reason to go after Earnest, which they clearly did not. Just look at the title. The students “decided to fight back.” Fight back against what, exactly?

A drama professor told students they got their feelings hurt too easily. They decided to fight back

It all started with a misunderstanding.

A Black theater student at Coastal Carolina University told a visiting drama teacher she wanted to connect with nonwhite students, so the teacher drew up a list of names on a whiteboard, then forgot to erase it when they left the studio.

When several other students walked in, they saw the list and were left with the suspicion that those on it had been singled out with racist intent.

A committee of professors investigated and promptly sent out a departmentwide email clarifying what had happened that September day. Seeking to calm students, the professors wrote that the explanation “in no way undermines the feelings that any of you feel about the incident” and that the faculty was “deeply sorry.”

The visiting teacher also wrote an apology: “No matter the good intention. … I still want you to know I’m an idiot and I am sorry.”

Things might have ended there. But at a time when college campuses have become center stage for the polarizing issues of race, identity and what constitutes harm, the theater department was primed for conflict.

Enter Steve Earnest.

“Sorry but I don’t think it’s a big deal,” the 62-year-old drama professor, who is white, wrote in a “reply all” email. “Im just sad people get their feelings hurt so easily. And they are going into Theatre?”

Within minutes, his iPad lit up with messages, mostly from Black theater majors.

First of all, Earnest was absolutely correct in his comments about theater, or any form of acting for that matter, and I say that as someone who majored in theater and worked in the industry professionally.

Theater is a brutal business, particularly for actors. It’s rejection after rejection after rejection, often based on personal things like looks, voice, body type, etc. Thousands upon thousands of new people enter the field every year, so competition is fierce. Many people work at it for years and get nowhere.

The article then moves on to a black female student named Kelis Herriott, who wasn’t even in the room with the whiteboard that started all this nonsense. The article falls all over itself to describe Herriott’s life, how she fell in love with acting, and how she decided to start a boycott of Earnest, who made the grave mistake of apologizing to the mob:

Less than 24 hours after sending his first email, Earnest tried to make amends.

“I sincerely apologize for my statements that caused hurt,” he wrote, offering to meet with students. “I do have something of an empathy issue that I could improve on. My own children will attest to the fact that I have ingrained in me the old ‘just suck it up and move on’ mentality.”

The apology fell flat.

That night, Herriott asked herself: “Why am I doing all this homework to go to class and be awkward? And for other people to have to go to Steve’s class — like nothing happened.”

And so she gathered other students to organize a boycott.

“I should have control over my education to remove toxic people, regardless of freedom of speech, or whatever,” she said later. “Hate speech is hate speech.”

What hate speech?! It’s maddening to read this. Things escalated even further:

That Monday morning, dozens of students, dressed in black, skipped classes. Messages were pinned on doors and noticeboards across the humanities and arts building: “Fire the racist,” “TIME TO RESIGN” and “Black Actors Matter.”

Soon, local TV crews descended on the 10,000-student campus, which is about two-thirds white. By the end of the day, a dean had ordered Earnest not to come to classes.

Once again, Earnest. Didn’t. Do. Anything.

But then, about two-thirds down in the article, we come to this fascinating tidbit, which was left out of prior reports:

If there was one thing Earnest tried to instill in his students, it was toughness. He would warn them that acting is a brutal profession full of rejection and requires a sturdy exoskeleton to survive.

He himself is a rare species in the world of theater: a Donald Trump-voting conservative from a small town in Alabama with a deep passion for avant-garde European theater.

Another student, named Jihad Levermore, who particpated in the boycott of Earnest is quoted towards the end of the article. See if you can spot the stunning irony here:

As for the students who led the boycott, they remain uneasy about Earnest coming back to campus.

“I need to know that this is a department where everybody, from whatever walk of life they come from, is just going to be able to be themselves here,” Levermore said. “That sounds so kumbaya, but I really do want a safe space for everyone.”

Including Earnest?

“Um, no,” he said.

I’m glad that Earnest didn’t lose his job, but if I were him I would start sending out resumes now. Just reading and digesting this article has felt like banging my head against a wall.


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Protest envy.

I swear most of what happens on college campus these days comes down to protest envy. I felt that way back in the late 80’s when I was in school. My college instituted a stupid policy and the students all overreacted, held big loud protests, and generally made asses of themselves.

I thought at the time much of it was protest envy, driven by envy of their parents’ generation, who got to protest the good stuff: women’s rights, minority rights, and the Vietnam war. By the time the late 80’s rolled around there were no stakes as high as those 20 years before, so the students had to made do with what they had.

Since then, the stakes have gotten smaller and smaller, most of the incidences which cause volcanic college eruptions these days are fake, and those that aren’t fake are usually minor blips blown out of all proportion.

College kids want to taste protest! It’s part of the college experience! If they can’t make it be about something important, they’ll find something stupid to protest about instead.

    This kind of student activity is EXACTLY what happened in China during the Great Leap Forward. Students were encouraged to turn on their teachers and denounce them, even if they had done nothing wrong. The whole idea is to utterly ruin the university and make it either useless. or if they can terrorize the teachers and students into submission, that is acceptable as well.
    Just note that communist tactics are what they are using, and the whole idea is to destroy the function of the university.

      Dimsdale in reply to fredx3. | December 4, 2021 at 8:40 pm

      Come to think of it, the Brandon regime, and its flying monkeys in the press, tech and academia, have adopted many of the fine techniques of Chinese suppression, as noted in your post.

      The censorship and jailing of political prisoners is just the wannabe commie icing on the cake.

    henrybowman in reply to Ann in L.A.. | December 4, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    They could just Fight For Their Right to Party, like Generation X did.
    (Sorry, but as a Vietnam generation “student,” the absurdity of that concept will always strike me.)

He should never have apologized after the first email. They smelled blood and weakness. This bullshit was lead by a student that WASN’T EVEN IN HIS FUCKING CLASS.


    henrybowman in reply to Olinser. | December 4, 2021 at 4:53 pm

    This is par for the course with the Cancel Army. The disinvitation of the “unwoke” geologist from MIT’s visiting lecturer program was initiated by complaints from someone who wasn’t even affiliated with MIT at all.

    Dr.Dave in reply to Olinser. | December 4, 2021 at 7:10 pm

    An opology is an admission of guilt to the person who feels offended.

    JRaeL in reply to Olinser. | December 5, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    One of my number 1 rules. It feeds the beast.

Morning Sunshine | December 4, 2021 at 12:22 pm

“It all started when a visiting artist wrote the names of some black students on a whiteboard because they wanted to meet up with some other black students. Later on, a completely different group of students saw the names on the board and jumped to the false conclusion that black students were being singled out for something.”

they WERE being singled out for something. They were being singled out on account of their race for a social group of some kind. It is racist…. but not in the evil-intent way seen by the mob.


Morons leading mobs of idiots.

Somehow Democrat leaders delude themselves into thinking they can build the Party’s future on this stupidity. I think we have to now officially call it the Stupid Party.

Appropriately the Party symbol is a Jackass. At least they got that right.

The Friendly Grizzly | December 4, 2021 at 12:56 pm

Why can’t they all just go back to their HBCUs? Why can’t they leave the serious students alone?

I’m going to say this but it needs to be said: I’m black and I’m getting pretty sick and tired of black people.

    gonzotx in reply to chrisboltssr. | December 4, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    I appreciate that . I am not black amd am sick of black peoples too.
    Never thought I would feel or think that, but there it is…

      JohnSmith100 in reply to gonzotx. | December 4, 2021 at 4:38 pm

      Blacks are making a terrible mistake, because in the end they have been killing goodwill, and that will dearly cost them later.

      henrybowman in reply to gonzotx. | December 4, 2021 at 4:48 pm

      When I was in high school, I simply could not comprehend why Abraham Lincoln, having just prosecuted a successful war to “free the slaves,” would then immediately give his backing to a program to repatriate them all “back” to Africa. Now I suspect he understood some realities from personal experience that were heavily painted over in our sanitized textbooks.

      The ultimate irony is that Liberia — the haven set up by the American abolitionists for just this purpose — engages in slavery and forced labor to this very day, 150+ years after “systemically racist” white cultures have all abolished it.

“I should have control over my education to remove toxic people, regardless of freedom of speech, or whatever,” she said later. “Hate speech is hate speech.”

a) Hate speech is in the eye of the beholder.
b) Or whatever? Free speech is now equivalent to or whatever? What if I told you to shut up? Would you claim free speech? Whatever!
c) If you remove the toxic people, you’ll be gone.

The thug behavior was predicted back in 1969

[ Letter ]from Macklin Fleming, Justice of the California Court of Appeal. Judge Fleming had written a personal letter to Louis Pollak, the dean of Yale Law School. Fleming was concerned about the plan Dean Pollak had recently announced under which Yale would essentially implement a racial quota – 10% of each entering class would be composed of black students. To achieve this goal, Yale had just admitted 43 black students, only five of whom had qualified under their normal standards. (The exchange of letters was later made public with the consent of both parties; you can read the full text of both letters here.)


No one can be expected to accept an inferior status willingly. The black students, unable to compete on even terms in the study of law, inevitably will seek other means to achieve recognition and self-expression. This is likely to take two forms. First, agitation to change the environment from one in which they are unable to compete to one in which they can. Demands will be made for elimination of competition, reduction in standards of performance, adoption of courses of study which do not require intensive legal analysis, and recognition for academic credit of sociological activities which have only an indirect relationship to legal training. Second, it seems probable that this group will seek personal satisfaction and public recognition by aggressive conduct, which, although ostensibly directed at external injustices and problems, will in fact be primarily motivated by the psychological needs of the members of the group to overcome feelings of inferiority caused by lack of success in their studies. Since the common denominator of the group of students with lower qualifications is one of race this aggressive expression will undoubtedly take the form of racial demands–the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards.”

“Places like Yale, Harvard and Princeton put an enormous amount of effort into keeping track of their alumni and following their careers. If there was good news to report about the widespread success of their black and other minority graduates in the world, I would have no doubt that they would be trumpeting it to the heavens. Yet over the years I have searched repeatedly for any such studies or reports, and I just can’t find them. Maybe somebody else can, if not for these institutions, then maybe for some others (other Ivies? MIT? Cal Tech? Berkeley? Stanford? U of Chicago?).”

    henrybowman in reply to catscradle. | December 4, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    MIT does this regularly in its alumni publications. However, one cannot tell from the skin color of an honoree whether or not s/he was admitted due to some quota, or because s/he fully deserved to be there. Even those who report having had a toxic early life typically worked their butts off through the lower grades specifically to escape that environment and become what they deserved to be. Others who get overwhelmed by the firehose and flushed out won’t be evident in the alumni publications.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to catscradle. | December 4, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    Today, government, business and academia are all loaded with incompetent Affirmative employees. Impact on productivity and completeness is a disaster.

    fscarn in reply to catscradle. | December 4, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    If Obama had been the “brilliant” student we were told he was then his grades/SATs/LSATs would have reflected all of that. And the left would have proclaimed from the rooftops all those high grades.

    That we don’t know those grades tells us what we all suspect.

    AA all the way.

When being accused of over reacting, over reacting is not the best response.

Why do these people try to “calm” a situation or “soothe feelings”? It was NOTHING other than names of black students that another student wanted to contact, specifically NON=WHITE students! That actually sounded RACIST when I typed that! No, they should have simple stated “This is a non-issue – it is a list of people that someone wanted to know – that’s it! No need for over-reactions or cancellations so don’t even get started with your usual liberal overheated rhetoric! Also, there were no NOOSES, no SWASTIKAS, and no RACISM! Thanks and TRY to have a good day”!

A drama professor told students they got their feelings hurt too easily. They decided to

prove him right in the most obvious way possible.

Fixed it.

Never apologize. Never. It’s like chum in the water.

“This was a nothing situation. There will be no “moment of clarity” nor an apology. This is the my last statement on this non-event.
Please don’t forget your reports on the Dadist movement and a comparative analysis of Cubism is due on Friday ON MY DESK by 11am SHARP!”

“I should have control over my education to remove toxic people, regardless of freedom of speech, or whatever,” she said later. “Hate speech is hate speech.”

She sounds like the epitome of a toxic person to me.
Anybody with me?

This shit will never end until the morons who do this shit start getting their fucking faces mashed in.

    henrybowman in reply to Paul. | December 4, 2021 at 6:54 pm

    They don’t need to have their faces mashed in.
    They just have to encounter a university administrator who says, “you’re expelled because we don’t let people do this crap.”
    Or an employer who says, “We don’t hire anyone nearly as toxic as you.”
    Or a reporter who says, “Why did you believe you would never need to grow up and accept responsibility?”
    The morons who run colleges, hire freshouts, and deliver our news need their faces mashed in.

It’s funny, I was just watching The Critical Drinker’s take on the second part of the new He-man series. He was boggling at how something that bad managed to get made. (And he makes a career out of fisking bad movies.)

Well, this is how.

I could be wrong (ask my family they will confirm this happens more than once) but I believe the caliber of students fanning the flames of this idiocy is what you get when parents or students themselves have not had to work and save for the privilege of getting their (student) butts in the seats at university.