At many colleges and university in America, both public and private, activism is taking priority over education. That seems true at one particular state college where the administration is encouraging professors to artificially boost the grades of their students who are involved in protests.
This story comes out of Evergreen State College in the liberal bastion of Olympia, Washington. Watchdog group Campus Reform obtained two letters sent by Interim Provost Ken Tabbutt to Evergreen’s faculty.
Since May, especially, the college campus has been embroiled in student protests and vandalism, as well as a day when demonstrators demanded that white staffers, faculty members, and students leave the campus. One Jewish professor, who initially refused to comply, ended up having to hold his class off-campus for his own safety, according to NBC-affiliate King 5.
Now Provost Tabbutt is suggesting that the demonstrators not be punished but, rather, be rewarded.
He sent an email to Evergreen’s teacher staff “to remind faculty that student protesters have diverted time and energy from their academic work to promote institutional change and social justice.”
Tabbutt acknowledge that it’s ultimately up to professors to determine what grade students should get based on their academic achievements, but that they should “consider the physical and emotional commitment the students have made and consider accommodations for that effort.”
He referred to the protests as “learning that is going on outside of your program” but, interestingly enough, made no suggestion that the student protesters pay extra tuition for all the additional “learning” they were getting at on-campus demonstrations.
“Awareness and sensitivity to complex student needs can go a long way,” Tabbutt insisted in a second letter, also signed by seven other academic deans.
He also included non-protesting “students of color” in his list of students who could use a grades boost because “they do not feel that Evergreen is a safe place.”
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