JASON RANTZ

Anti-Trump activists vandalize ‘racist’ art at Evergreen State College

Feb 3, 2017, 6:01 AM | Updated: 10:46 am
Evergreen State College...
Mark Peterson's poster is apparently 'triggering' students.

The Evergreen State College campus in Olympia is in turmoil over the election of President Donald Trump and they’ve taken to vandalizing “racist” art as a means to express themselves. Only, the art isn’t racist: they were simply pictures of Trump. In fact, they were critical of him.

More photos from the art exhibit

Adjunct faculty member Steve Davis is the campus’ Coordinator of Photography. He put together an exhibition of work from Mark Peterson, a photographer who spent the last couple years on the campaign trail. His photographs have appeared in TIME, Rolling Stone and on MSNBC, according to Davis.

“His work is brash, funny, and presented our presidential election process as nothing short of a circus,” Davis explained to me. “I invited Mark to show last spring, as I thought it was the perfect exhibition to coincide with last year’s election.”

Specifically, the work was chosen by Davis because he “believed it gave a different perspective, from a front row seat, of how candidates, mass crowds, and the mass media intertwined to create what seemed to me to be a rather horrid spectacle.”

Davis mistakenly believed that the campus would appreciate the work. They didn’t. Evergreen students and faculty decided to live up to their reputation as unhinged.

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“The work was generally accepted and appreciated, until November 9th,” claimed Davis. “From that day forward, it was vandalized and criticized as being racist—and I’m not sure why except that a lot of things on campus have recently been branded as racist!”

A review of emails between angry staff members helps paint a better picture of the concern. These emails were sent to the faculty list-serve and confirmed by two independent sources who wish to remain anonymous.

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Dorothea Collins, a Grants and Contracts Specialist who self-identifies as an artist, emailed the faculty list-serve complaining, “…I cringe at this choice and am overcome with an immense feeling of nausea every time I look at this display because many of our lives are soaked already more than enough with these type of images and the associated rhetoric, bigotry, misogyny, hate and racism.”

Oh, the humanity!

Amir Hassan, an Academic Specialist, complained over email that “…in spite of the fact that it is meant to be critical, it was a poor decision to provide space for images of his likeness – I have no doubt they have been triggering for many students.” He does not provide an instance of a student feeling “triggered” by images critical of Trump.

Hassan encouraged Davis to “more fully check your own privilege.” That doesn’t actually mean anything but includes buzz words to show his Progressive bona fides. He went on claim the exhibition, among other decisions by David, is a poor reflection of the entire college.

Actually, Hassan and Collins are a poor reflection of Evergreen. They play into the very worst stereotypes of hypersensitive and irrational Progressive activists.

Hassan refused to comment on this story and Collins did not return multiple requests for comment.

“There’s a big chill over Evergreen these days,” Davis believes. “Some, filled with a high degree of moral indignation are very vocal and accusatory. […] I believe that some faculty and staff were misguiding their own anger and fear of the Trump era, and targeting the wrong things. Shooting the messenger (Peterson and me, as curator) seemed better than doing nothing, I guess.”

That’s an understatement. This kind of behavior – from vandalism to belly aching – is an embarrassment, though not to a school like Evergreen, more interested in political statements than education.

I reached out to Evergreen State College spokesperson Todd Sprague. He sent over this comment:

“The college doesn’t condone theft or vandalism, but to my knowledge, no additional leads emerged.”

Sprague said he found out that two images were removed from the exhibit by an unknown person/s and found outdoors in the rain. “I was unable to confirm the content of the images.”

He said he wasn’t aware of reports of triggering incidents related to the exhibit.

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Anti-Trump activists vandalize ‘racist’ art at Evergreen State College