Panic and dismay over criticism, propaganda at Evergreen College

Feb 13, 2017, 8:45 AM | Updated: 9:03 am
Evergreen College...
Mark Peterson exhibit at Evergreen State College. (Contributed)

I guess I struck a nerve with Evergreen College. The school’s Interim Provost, Dr. Ken Tabbutt, emailed a warning to staff members that their emails are subject to public scrutiny.

Rantz: Seattle tourism budget should be zero

Recently, after a tip, I discovered that artwork on display at the Olympia-based college was subject to vandalism. Despite the fact that the photographs were critical of President Donald Trump, someone decided to help destroy some of the artwork.

One staff member wondered if the art would “trigger” some students incapable of seeing an image of a candidate they didn’t vote for. In fact, I combed through many staff emails sent to a public list-serve showing panic and concern over the art. That seems to have angered Tabbutt.

Tabbutt sent out a warning email that reads like he’s trying to shield his school from embarrassment.

Last week we had a very unfortunate incident when emails sent to the All Staff & Faculty distribution list were quoted out of context by the media and specific individuals were identified.  It is an opportune time to remind us all that our emails are public records and, whether requested or not, may be distributed well beyond the campus community. The All Staff & Faculty DL is an extremely efficient method of communicating to the entire campus but when I click Send this email will go to over 1600 recipients; this includes over 700 students (student workers), 500 faculty and 400 staff.

When using email you should always understand that your message may very well travel past the confines of your intended audience and may be used out of context. Communication is critical on this campus and email is one of many mechanisms – I encourage you to think before clicking Send.

The unfortunate incident is really the vandalism, not a spotlight on the outlandish behavior on campus. But for Tabbutt, who baselessly claims emails were taken out of context, that’s not the unfortunate incident.

The emails were not taken out of context. In fact, I asked both Tabbutt and their spokesperson what was taken out of context. My emails went unanswered.

There seems to be a panic at Evergreen. Tabbutt is right to warn his staff that their words (“check your own privilege”) will get out. They should. These are adults who help shape our future leaders. We should know the influence these people are having on college students. But the panic extends to dismay and it has nothing to do with my blogs.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve received multiple complaints from listeners and readers connected to Evergreen College complaining about the school’s conduct and staff’s influence on the campus culture. Those stories will be forthcoming but I’m certain they’ll be written off by Tabbutt as misleading or, perhaps, fake news. They may not see anything wrong with treating college-aged students as snowflakes incapable of dealing with images of Trump, but I do.

More worrisome, there’s something even more wrong with the fact that some of these adults at Evergreen are helping create the campus that it’s acceptable to claim you’re being triggered by art, critical of Trump or not. It’s very Trumpian to dismiss these stories as “out of context” and “unfortunate”.

For a campus that gets triggered so easily by images of President Trump, it seems odd that Tabbutt is pulling the same “fake news” theme the president is notorious for.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Washington state Governor Jay Inslee speaks prior to U.S. President Joe Biden's appearance at Green...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gas shortages and record high prices plague Washington drivers

Gas stations in Washington are resetting their price boards to accommodate double digits in preparation for fuel prices potentially reaching $10 a gallon.
21 hours ago
Car Shot Seattle...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Man nearly murdered in random Seattle drive-by while celebrating job promotion

My 25-year-old coworker had just finished hitting a bucket of golf balls at a North Seattle golf range. Moments later, his elation turned to terror as a man tried to murder him.
4 days ago
Bellingham Sex Shop...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: School Board director hosts ‘Queer Youth Open Mic’ at sex shop

Unless Jenn Mason clears out the store, those children will be near sex toys, graphic books, and lingerie, with a curtained doorway keeping them away.
5 days ago
King County Courthouse from City Hall (flickr creative commons)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle judge slapped in the face, but refused to report assault to police

The unidentified suspect allegedly slapped a King County Superior Court Judge in the face, but the judge didn't want to be identified as a victim.
6 days ago
(Seattle Police Department)...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Victim died as medics waited for critically understaffed Seattle Police to arrive to scene

Due to critically low staffing, Seattle Police were unable to quickly respond to a deadly hit and run as medics waited to be cleared to treat the victim.
7 days ago
Police officers block a street as city crews dismantle the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) ar...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Did Seattle councilmembers abuse police help, while defunding department?

I didn't come up empty-handed because I have no idea whether or not it's true. In this case, I was stopped from doing a part of my job.
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Panic and dismay over criticism, propaganda at Evergreen College