Bonfire of the academies: Two professors on how leftist intolerance is killing higher education

Anarchy-Blog

(from The Washington Examiner):

by Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein

At colleges and universities all over the country, students are protesting in increasingly virulent and sometimes violent ways. They demand safe spaces and trigger warnings, shouting down those with whom they disagree. It has become rote for outsiders to claim that the inmates are running the asylum; that this is analogous to Mao’s Red Guard, Germany’s brown shirts, the French Revolution’s Jacobins; and, when those being attacked are politically “left” themselves, that the Left is eating its own. These stories seem to validate every fantasy the Right ever had about the Left.

As two professors who recently resigned from positions at a college we loved, and who have always been on the progressive-left end of the political spectrum, we can say that, while none of those characterizations is exactly right, there is truth in each of them.

The Evergreen State College is a public liberal arts college in Olympia, Wash., at the southern tip of Puget Sound, surrounded by water and forests. Being public means it has a socioeconomically diverse student body, which brings a variety of life experiences to campus. It is not an elite college made up primarily of rich kids. It is, rather, an experimental college with a curricular structure that, for both better and worse, is like no other. Most students take full-time 16-credit programs, for up to a full academic year. Instead of hopping from organic chemistry to genetics to art history, students are immersed with others whom they come to know well in full-time, interdisciplinary programs that are often team-taught by faculty. This allows professors to know each student individually, and is particularly well-suited to students with high potential and unusual learning styles.

To give but one example of what was possible at Evergreen, in 2015-16, we team-taught a year-long program called Evolution and Ecology Across Latitudes. It included an intensive, 11-week trip through Ecuador, in which we explored the Amazon, the Andes Mountains, and the Galápagos Islands, and also studied the pre-Colombian peoples of Ecuador — the Inca, Cañari, and Huaorani, to name just a few. We started the year with epistemology, taught statistics, and considered the modern history of Latin America as well. Before our trip, we worked with several of our low-income students to help them get grants so that they could study abroad with us. We were a diverse group in nearly every way.

We were among Evergreen’s most popular faculty, and year in, year out, our students wrote stellar evaluations of us. Our programs were always full, even in a time of falling enrollments. Yet, we work at Evergreen no more. What happened to this brilliant, flawed experiment? There are too many subplots to recount, but here is one thread that, we hope, others can use to spot insurgencies on their own campuses. CONTINUE READING HERE

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