Last month, Bret Weinstein, a professor of evolutionary biology at Evergreen State College in Washington state, objected to plans for this year’s “Day of Absence.” In the past, the annual campus event involved people of color voluntarily leaving campus, an act inspired by the plot of a Douglas Ward Turner play.This year, however, organizers decided to switch things up and asked white students and faculty to leave campus. When Weinstein voiced his issues with the new format, saying no group should ask another group to leave, the campus erupted.
Student protesters interrupted his class, demanding an apology and calling him a racist, and the school’s president faced similar student rage. Protests, debates over free speech, and claims of systemic racism continue. Evergreen closed for four days in response to possible outside threats, and the school moved its graduation ceremony off-campus due to safety concerns.VICE News travels to Washington and talks to Weinstein, several students, and Evergreen’s president about the controversy.This segment originally aired June 15, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.