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Evergreen State College sanctions students for springtime uproar, rolls out pro-free speech guide


It appears Evergreen State College is taking steps to make sure a campus uproar like the one that took place last spring does not occur again.

For one, some students involved in the upheaval have been given some sort of sanction, according to a Sept. 30 report in The Olympian.

About 180 students were named in incident reports during the spring and summer quarters, college spokeswoman Sandra Kaiser told the newspaper.

“Of those 180 students, approximately 80 were found responsible for their actions,” Kaiser said. “They received sanctions ranging from formal warnings, community service and probation, to suspension.”

The punishments were meted out during the spring and summertime, The Olympian reported. Kaiser said the cases weren’t solely related to protests, and would not specify to the newspaper how many student protesters received sanctions.

And recently the public university also rolled out a “Free Speech Guide” that defends the notion that unpopular speech is protected by the First Amendment.

“The First Amendment allows speech that you may find extreme or hateful. It’s not unusual for people to want to silence others’ speech and eliminate that which is unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive,” the guide states. “However, it is the protection of unpopular expression that lies at the core of the First Amendment, which makes it unlawful to prohibit speech based on content.”

The guide goes on to warn that civil disobedience, much like what was seen on campus last spring, will be met with punishment.

“If violations of policy or state law occur at free speech activities, you should expect a response from Evergreen staff or law enforcement,” it states. “Examples of policy or law violations include interfering with college operations or activities; interrupting college events and meetings; blocking persons, vehicles, sidewalks, entrances and exits; and interference with life and safety personnel, such as ambulance, police, or fire first responders.”

Editor’s Note: Since publication, the original article from The Olympian that this story was based on has been amended. Kaiser told the paper after it published its report that the student sanctions weren’t solely related to protests, and would not specify how many student protesters received sanctions. We have updated our article to reflect this new information as well.

MORE: Evergreen State College faces $2.1M budget shortfall, cites enrollment drop, issues layoff notices

MORE: Evergreen State College settles claim with embattled professors for $500,000

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. She previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for a decade in Southern California, and prior to that held editorial positions at The Weekly Standard, Washington Times and FrontPageMagazine. She is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipient and has contributed to National Review.

Add to the Discussion

  • palex alex mccpalex

    That’s what happens when an individual is hyper-sensitive. He, or she, begins to cry. It doesn’t take much either. If somebody refers to me as a cracker, which has occurred more than once, I’m not about to let myself become an emotional wreck. So why should anyone get sideways and stupid if the word nigger is used? Just another cheap double standard. SLW’s make me laugh.

  • Joe Blow

    These mental midgets are so weak and easily manipulated

  • Joe Blow

    I can understand the answer if the question was, “Who are the least desirable., most unpleasant + unintelligent people on campus?”

  • Sam American

    is cornell posting signs in windows to segreate building? – seems they want no negros in this one building

  • ScarletPimpernil

    Exonerating victims of false accusations is far from enough.

    Many colleges are government institutions. Accordingly, due process, as guaranteed by both state and federal constitutions, is applicable. Accordingly, any such college found to have made an end run around constitutional protections can be sued for those acts, and should be.

    One of the guaranteed protections is, access to the courts. If colleges are making decisions that, normally, would only be seen out of courts, they are usurping and combining the duties of the three branches.

    The higher courts have ruled due process commences at the administrative level. From the descriptions of events, colleges have offered anything but due process at the administrative (college) level.

    Aside the fact no president can make law, in the end, and based on the foregoing, Obama’s executive orders were no law at all and the colleges [and agents] that relied on them are accountable to those they made victims.

    • ourfoundingfathers

      It’s always easy to say “just sue them” until you realize state schools have “immunity”; the lawsuit will cost you $100,000 and you’ll never get a dime from the school even if you win. Private schools do not have immunity but how many people can spend $100,000 + hoping they will win and be reimbursed?

      • ScarletPimpernil

        It is also, erroneously, said judges have absolute immunity. A review of case law makes clear they enjoy immunity ONLY when acting within the scope of their authority. The moment they step outside it, they waive it.

        For example, if a college ordered anyone walking by it, on an adjacent sidewalk, be kidnapped and imprisoned, the college could not claim immunity.

        Add to that the fact no artificial person (i.e., corporations) or government agency is capable of either good or ill, except through the acts of those associated with them (e.g., agents of the corporation or government agency). As such, any time a college or other concept entity damages someone, the damage can, always, be traced back to individuals.

        As to cost, one individual might be hard pressed to sue a government agency, but several people joining forces can change things. It is from such need things like class action suits were born. Of course, other suits can have more than one plaintiff.

        To “fight city hall” and win requires, first, a desire to do so. From there, simple study of the entity’s policies and procedures will take one far.

        It will start with learning to build an administrative record, which courts must look to. No attorney is needed for these informal procedures.

        • ourfoundingfathers

          All of that may be true, however, reality today is the schools don’t care nearly about paying out money (it’s basically OPM) nearly as much as they care about protecting their image. Damaged individuals overwhelmingly will need to spend thousands of dollars (minimum) to fight a lengthy case, and the schools know this. So, they settle – they pay a little money to make you go away. Yes, you can say “no” and go to court – but it’s going to cost you a lot of money and there’s no surety of getting a dime back. Class action suits have not been used for Title IX issues and I challenge you to find an attorney who will take that case.

      • ScarletPimpernil

        Another point to consider is, merely that something hasn’t been successful doesn’t mean it wont be. For example, I have reviewed many cases in which certain arguments were not tried, but, had they been, likely, would have changed the outcome.

        Consider, for example, what is called the Public Duty Doctrine. Under it, it is said police, firemen and other government entities have a duty to everyone and, therefore, to no one in particular. However, once a duty develops, the involved entity has a duty to protect individuals under its care.

        Based on the foregoing, if a cop arrest you, he/she has a [reasonable] duty to insure your care and well being. Think of it as a kind of fiduciary responsibility. Nowhere in law are colleges or any other school exempted from this doctrine.

  • I Love Libertarians

    This is a far-left trial balloon against the mother city of Civilization.