Over the past month, I've probably put six hours into reviewing video and written stories over Evergreen State College in Washington state.
Up until this recent period.....it was a quiet college setting in the Olympia region (western side of the state).
I spent 14 months living in the Tacoma area back in the early 1980s. Typically when Olympia came up in conversation with locals in Tacoma....the comment was 'those people do things differently there'. The meaning was that the general population was not thinking or acting the typical way that you'd expect. As one guy noted....more marijuana was likely smoked within the city-limits of Olympia in one weekend.....than the entire city of New York smoked in a year.
The college there was invented out of thin air in the mid-1960s. They wanted an experimental college setting. No grades. Open relationships with the instructors. More of a core arrangement than actual classes. Oddly, the state gave them tons of money and if you viewed the campus....it's a fairly decent landscape.
Tuition? Fairly low....at $6,500 a year. Harsh entrance situation? No. If you were a kid wrapping up high school with a D-average....you could enter into Evergreen. It doesn't mean you really are capable but they'd accept you.
So over the years....Evergreen had a radical ideology at work. Over the last year, the student population (probably one-third of the campus of 4,000) have become the hoody-crew, and developing anti-social behavior. Verbally, they've intimidated students and instructors. The Chancellor? He's done virtually nothing to hold back the intimidation. Safety? On a day by day basis....it's now a question-mark.
One professor has had enough, and put up a damages claim in excess of three-million dollars.
The state? A committee is examining the idea of major budget cuts. I have my doubts that the bulk of the cuts will occur, but any minor cut would bring the $6,500 yearly tuition up to $8,000 very quickly. My guess is that an announcement will occur and affect the spring 2018 schedule. It'll flip out the 'punks' and trigger more hostility on the campus.
How did this accrediation occur for Evergreen....without grades? No one has ever explained that part of the story. NWCCU is the accreditation backer of the Evergreen program. They apparently don't have a problem with zero grades as part of the program.
My guess of the scenario to occur at Evergreen?
I think as the fall semester opens up on 15 September....some suggestions of calm and respect will come from the trustees and the Chancellor. The suggestion of tuition going up in 2018 won't be easily accepted, and I'll predict by mid-October that misbehavior starts up and some intimidation is reported.
Before mid-November, I'll go and predict that some pushing and shoving will occur....cops get called, and someone finally gets a lawyer to sue the campus for lack of safety. Call it the million-dollar payback. A couple more physical acts occur, and by December....five or six students or professors are hiring up lawyers.
At this point, the state will come and ask for the trustees to resign, and fire the Chancellor. I would hate to suggest this, but I think by January....the campus will be shut down and plans will be discussed for selling off the property. For some private college.....it might be an interesting operation and facility to buy. Law suits will be settled eventually, and life will go on.
Professors being rehired within the state? I think a review will occur and at least a dozen will find zero interest across the state in taking them onto another campus.
Students from Evergreen trying to transfer? My guess is that if you walked into another four-year campus in Washington....they will ask for your records, and evaluate you. Most will say that you need to repeat classes with them, and that the two or three years you did....are mostly worthless in the new college. Those with hoody-issues....will be deemed as problems and likely won't find another college to accept them within Washington.
Around a thousand years ago when universities were dreamed up by the Catholic Church....the basic education structure involved math, geometry, science, Latin, Greek and Roman history, and philosophy. At the end of the structured classes....you would stand up in front of a couple of instructors and demonstrate your knowledge. The two chief things that you were supposed to take away after a couple of years in this atmosphere? Debate skills and critical thinking.
Just having a loud voice, or shouting at people....doesn't show any remarkable intelligence or grasp of the subject matter being discussed. Critical thinking? If you assemble a hundred facts over a problem or situation....you have to be able to focus upon the facts, prioritize them, shade some of them as unimportant, and define some solution or end-point to the problem. If you've spent four years in a higher learning situation, and can't accomplish critical thinking....then what was the four years really about?
I look at the Evergreen crowd, and kinda wonder where lack of debate skills and critical thinking will lead them. You can't even manage a coffee shop or pizzeria....without these skills. If every argument is a one-sided yelling match, and zero effort put into critical thinking....you are looking mostly at a overgrown 12-year-old kid.
It would be interesting to look at the mid-1960s when the campus got started and how each year.....they moved one step closer to radicalization.