The Daily Schadenfreude

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RxCowboy

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From Fox News:

Published May 16, 2018
Michael Avenatti being investigated by California State Bar
By Brooke Singman
Fox News

The State Bar of California is investigating porn star Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti, Fox News has confirmed, after a complaint was filed regarding allegedly unpaid taxes.

Fox News on Wednesday obtained an April 18-dated letter verifying the existence of the investigation—unrelated to his representation of Daniels.

“The complaint against attorney Michael J. Avenatti has been reviewed and forwarded to the Enforcement Unit for further investigation and prosecution, if warranted,” said the letter from the state bar, written by Supervising Attorney Anand Kumar and reviewed by Fox News.

The letter also provided the names of the investigators reviewing the complaint.

The State Bar of California declined to comment on the letter, when reached by Fox News.

The complaint itself was filed in late March by attorney David Nold of Bellevue, Wash., regarding Avenatti's role in purchasing Tully’s Coffee several years ago through an entity called Global Baristas.

The complaint, first reported by The Seattle Times, said Avenatti and Global Baristas faced a lien for unpaid federal taxes worth roughly $5 million, claiming taxes were withheld from workers’ paychecks but not paid to the government. The complaint from Nold, as posted by The Seattle Times, called into question Avenatti’s “fitness to practice law.”

HEAT ON STORMY DANIELS' LAWYER OVER PAST BUSINESS DEALINGS

According to the state bar's website, an investigation is launched based on a complaint only if the state bar attorney "sees evidence of a serious violation."

But Avenatti told Fox News on Wednesday that the complaint is “completely baseless” and called Nold an “unethical hack of a lawyer.”

Nold, who filed the initial complaint, represents Bellevue Square, which has been in a landlord-tenant dispute with Tully’s Coffee. The Superior Court for the State of Washington found Nold to be in “contempt of court” following an “intentional disobedience of a court order.” Nold disclosed Avenatti’s deposition transcript to The Seattle Times, according to a court filing obtained by Fox News.

“The court ruled that I should not have given the full Avenatti deposition transcript to the news media,” Nold told Fox News last week. “The court found nothing wrong with sending the bar complaint.”

Since the coffee chain purchase, Tully’s has shuttered its stores (though the closures were described as temporary) as Global Baristas has dealt with numerous lawsuits.

The paper trail for that deal is complex.

Fox News obtained a copy of the notice of federal tax lien in question, sent to “Global Baristas US LLC” and “Michael J. Avenatti MBR [member].”

Avenatti reportedly said he thinks Global Baristas has paid the outstanding taxes. Further, Avenatti claimed to Fox News last week that he wasn’t a “member” of Global Baristas US LLC—but rather the entity that owned it, Global Baristas LLC.

“The federal tax lien is related to an entity that was owned by another company that I used to have an interest in,” Avenatti told Fox News. “At no point in time was I ever responsible for any taxes for Global Baristas US LLC, nor was I ever a member of that entity, nor did I own any direct interest in that entity.”

However, a 2017 court document posted by The Seattle Times shows Avenatti acknowledging he was the “principal” of Global Baristas US LLC.

Avenatti, though, strongly disputed the complaint itself last week in an email to Fox News, calling it “complete and utter nonsense.”

Nold told Fox News in an email that this is "just Avenatti being Avenatti."

Meanwhile, another lawsuit was filed back in 2013 against Avenatti by his famous business partner, Patrick Dempsey of “Grey’s Anatomy” fame. Dempsey's complaint against Avenatti, which was settled quickly, alleged Avenatti had not fully financed the coffee chain as agreed.

Avenatti no longer has any interest in either Global Baristas entity.

The attorney was surely the lesser known partner in that Tully's deal.

But since then, he's rocketed to national fame with his representation of adult film star Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford.

He made waves last week when he tweeted bombshell allegations against Trump attorney Michael Cohen, citing financial records to accuse Cohen of receiving $500,000 from a Russian oligarch-tied company, in addition to other hefty payments from other companies for his supposed insight on the administration.

Cohen is under criminal investigation as part of a grand jury probe into his past business dealings. Included in the investigation is a $130,000 payment to Daniels in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.
 

RxCowboy

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From frontpage.com:

TENURED JIHADIST PROFESSOR AT KENT STATE FIRED AND CHARGED FOR LYING
Universities must pay a price for sheltering professors who support terrorism.
May 18, 2018 Bosch Fawstin

Julio Pino aka Assad Jibril Pino, had tenure at Kent State, and the university had No problem with him smearing America, shouting “Death to Israel”, calling Osama Bin Laden “the greatest”, nor even for his open support for terrorism. But now that the FBI has charged him for lying to them, as he told them that he didn’t know a Facebook friend of his by the name of “J.E.” who threatened to kill hundreds of people, the corrupt Kent State University has finally found a reason to part with him, if only to spare themselves trouble from the law. Here’s what Pino’s Facebook friend wrote about him:

“I f*****g love Julio Pino, even if he does eventually do something that most consider horrible, I’ll still love him because I know him in a deeper way than most of you even could.”
1526723388289.png

And not only did Pino refer to his students as “my little jihadists”, but he’s being investigated for recruiting for ISIS. Fortunately, at least some of his students have been willing to call him the “WORST professor I’ve ever had…pushes his personal views WAY too much. Stay away from him. Awful professor.”

Pino was given a faculty excellence award in 2003, even though by that point, he had written an op-ed in a student paper, urging children to become suicide bombers and kill innocent Jews. In a letter, he referred to a suicide bomber in Jerusalem as a “freedom bird” and “a shining star”. Pino was also given an academic award in 2010, even though he wrote for a pro-Al Qaeda website in 2007, a website with the stated objective of assisting violent jihadists in acts of terrorism. Pino has been with Kent State since 1992, and he received tenure in 1998. He converted to Islam in 2000, from communism, I imagine, as he studied “overthrowing the government” when he was a student at UCLA.

This bad guy was sheltered by the bad guys at Kent State University for over two decades, and they should pay a price for it.
 

John C

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From frontpage.com:

TENURED JIHADIST PROFESSOR AT KENT STATE FIRED AND CHARGED FOR LYING
Universities must pay a price for sheltering professors who support terrorism.
May 18, 2018 Bosch Fawstin

Julio Pino aka Assad Jibril Pino, had tenure at Kent State, and the university had No problem with him smearing America, shouting “Death to Israel”, calling Osama Bin Laden “the greatest”, nor even for his open support for terrorism. But now that the FBI has charged him for lying to them, as he told them that he didn’t know a Facebook friend of his by the name of “J.E.” who threatened to kill hundreds of people, the corrupt Kent State University has finally found a reason to part with him, if only to spare themselves trouble from the law. Here’s what Pino’s Facebook friend wrote about him:

“I f*****g love Julio Pino, even if he does eventually do something that most consider horrible, I’ll still love him because I know him in a deeper way than most of you even could.”
View attachment 61272
And not only did Pino refer to his students as “my little jihadists”, but he’s being investigated for recruiting for ISIS. Fortunately, at least some of his students have been willing to call him the “WORST professor I’ve ever had…pushes his personal views WAY too much. Stay away from him. Awful professor.”

Pino was given a faculty excellence award in 2003, even though by that point, he had written an op-ed in a student paper, urging children to become suicide bombers and kill innocent Jews. In a letter, he referred to a suicide bomber in Jerusalem as a “freedom bird” and “a shining star”. Pino was also given an academic award in 2010, even though he wrote for a pro-Al Qaeda website in 2007, a website with the stated objective of assisting violent jihadists in acts of terrorism. Pino has been with Kent State since 1992, and he received tenure in 1998. He converted to Islam in 2000, from communism, I imagine, as he studied “overthrowing the government” when he was a student at UCLA.

This bad guy was sheltered by the bad guys at Kent State University for over two decades, and they should pay a price for it.

“Real soldiers and Trump’s a coming,
Jihadists are on their own,
This summer I hear the drumming,
Fired Jihadist in O-hi-o”


Needs a little work, but it’s a start.
 

RxCowboy

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Law firm of Stormy Daniels' attorney hit with $10-million judgment

By MICHAEL FINNEGAN
MAY 22, 2018 | 9:35 PM

Avenatti, who has blamed the unpaid taxes on an unnamed payroll company, accused the Los Angeles Times of "purposely confusing me with a separate legal entity that has no role in the Daniels case."

A law firm of Stormy Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti was hit with a $10-million judgment Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court after he broke his promise to pay $2 million to a former colleague.

Judge Catherine Bauer of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana ordered Eagan Avenatti to pay the $10 million to Jason Frank, a lawyer who used to work at the Newport Beach firm.

"At this point, that's what's appropriate," Bauer said at a brief hearing.

To settle his law firm's bankruptcy, Avenatti personally guaranteed in December that it would pay Frank $4.85 million. But he and Eagan Avenatti failed to pay the first $2 million installment that was due last week, triggering Tuesday's judgment.

The firm is also delinquent on $440,291 in back taxes, penalties and interest that Avenatti promised would be paid last week, Assistant U.S. Atty. Najah Shariff told the bankruptcy judge.

Avenatti and his firm had accepted the deadline under an agreement reached with the Internal Revenue Service in January. It requires Eagan Avenatti to pay the IRS a total of $2.4 million.

More than half of that was for payroll taxes that the law firm withheld from employees but did not turn over to the government. Avenatti, who has blamed the lapse on an unnamed payroll company, was personally responsible for holding the money in trust for the IRS, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.

Avenatti paid an initial installment of $1.5 million. Shariff told the judge that the government would soon file a motion demanding payment of the additional money that was due last week.

Avenatti accused the Los Angeles Times of "purposely confusing me with a separate legal entity that has no role in the Daniels case."

"Irrelevant," he wrote in an email responding to questions about the $10-million judgment and the missed tax payment. "Over blown. Sensational reporting at its finest. No judgment against me was issued nor do I owe any taxes."

Avenatti has repeatedly sent emails to The Times about the Daniels case from an Eagan Avenatti email address, with Eagan Avenatti below the signature line.

The firm listed in court records as representing Daniels is Avenatti & Associates. In the bankruptcy case, Eagan Avenatti identifies Avenatti & Associates as one of its two owners; the other is attorney Michael Eagan of San Francisco.

Like other plaintiffs' lawyers who work on contingency, Avenatti lives on a boom-and-bust pay cycle.

His biggest victory was a $454-million jury verdict last year against surgical gown manufacturers Halyard Health and Kimberly-Clark, but a judge reduced it in March to $24 million. The gowns were supposed to protect doctors and nurses from blood-borne viruses such as Ebola and HIV, but sometimes leaked.

Avenatti's highest-profile client is Daniels, a porn star who says she had a one-night stand with Donald Trump in 2006.

In the 11 weeks since Daniels filed suit to void a nondisclosure agreement that bars her from talking publicly about the alleged tryst, Avenatti has become one of the president's chief antagonists, often appearing on television several times a day.

He has also become a target of Trump supporters, some of whom welcomed news of the $10-million judgment.

"Guy has a habit of being a scum bag," conservative blogger Mike Cernovich wrote on Twitter.

Frank, who attended the bankruptcy hearing Tuesday, declined to comment on the judgment in his favor.

Jason Frank, the lawyer who won a $10-million judgment Tuesday against the firm Eagan Avenatti.
Jason Frank, the lawyer who won a $10-million judgment Tuesday against the firm Eagan Avenatti. (Michael Finnegan)

He alleges that Eagan Avenatti cheated him out of millions of dollars in compensation for his work.

When Avenatti struck the deal to pay Frank $4.85 million, he agreed to strict deadlines.

If he and the firm failed to meet them, Avenatti said he would consent to a Bankruptcy Court judgment ordering Eagan Avenatti to pay Frank $10 million. That includes the $4.85 million that he'd personally guaranteed.

At the hearing, Avenatti attorney Mark S. Horoupian told the judge that Avenatti, as agreed, was not disputing Frank's right to the $10-million judgment.

Frank initially tried to collect the money last year through arbitration.

The three retired judges who oversaw the proceedings ordered Eagan Avenatti to give Frank the tax returns and financial records that he needed to calculate the exact amount he was owed.

When the firm failed to give Frank the documents, the former judges concluded that Eagan Avenatti "acted with malice, oppression and fraud" in defying their order.

Avenatti was supposed to testify in the arbitration. But two days before his scheduled deposition, a man who identified himself as Gerald Tobin, listing a Florida UPS mailbox as his address, filed a petition to place Eagan Avenatti into involuntary bankruptcy due to an unpaid invoice of $28,700, according to a suit that Frank filed last week against Eagan Avenatti.

At a U.S. Bankruptcy Court hearing, Judge Karen S. Jenneman said Tobin's petition, which suspended the arbitration, had "a stench of impropriety," but Avenatti denied colluding with the Florida vendor.

Avenatti's tax troubles date back nearly a decade. His unpaid 2009 and 2010 income taxes led the IRS to put a $904,000 lien years later on all of his personal property, Orange County records show.

Avenatti said the lien "was placed in error," no taxes were due and the issue was resolved many months ago, but the lien remained open as recently as last month, according to the Orange County clerk-recorder's office.

Tax debts and unpaid bills have also saddled Avenatti's coffee business. He and a partner bought Tully's Coffee in 2013 for $9 million. Multiple landlords have sued for back rent or eviction of Tully's stores. Every Tully's outlet has closed, according to the Seattle Times.

The IRS put a $5-million lien on Tully's parent company, Global Baristas US, last June, initially naming Avenatti as the person responsible for payment. Like Eagan Avenatti, the company withheld payroll taxes from employees, but did not transmit the money to the IRS, the government said.

Avenatti blamed that, too, on a payroll company.

Avenatti says he divested his interest in Tully's long ago and now serves solely as outside counsel.

But in bankruptcy and civil court papers, he claimed a substantial ownership stake in the coffee chain as recently as April 2017, and in July 2017 identified himself as chairman, general counsel and a board of managers member at Global Baristas US.

michael.finnegan@latimes.com

Twitter: @finneganLAT

UPDATES:

9:35 p.m.: This article was updated to include the Gerald Tobin petition placing Eagan Avenatti into involuntary bankruptcy.

6:55 p.m.: This article was updated with details on the tax history of Michael Avenatti and Tully's Coffee.

3:30 p.m.: This article was updated to say that the law firm representing Stormy Daniels is Avenatti & Associates.

2:05 p.m.: This article was updated to identify Mark Horoupian as Michael Avenatti's personal attorney and add details on Stormy Daniels.

1:15 p.m.: This article was updated with details on the back taxes that Michael Avenatti owes the Internal Revenue Service.

12:45 p.m.: This article was updated with background of Egan Avenatti's dispute with Jason Frank.

This article was originally published at 9:45 a.m.
 

RxCowboy

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From the Chicago Tribune:

Editorial: Illinois exodus: When living here no longer makes financial sense
Editorial Board

If the state of Illinois kept score on millennials it poached from surrounding states, it could have counted Sara Niedzwiecki — temporarily. A Wisconsin native, she moved near Chicago shortly after college, envisioning city life as it’s portrayed in the movies: hip, adventurous, welcoming. Not for her, it turned out.

As part of a series on the accelerating exodus from Illinois, we’re tracking down expatriates (and potential expats) and telling their stories. From millennials to retirees, their narratives follow the same thread: Illinois is losing its promise as a land of opportunity. Government debt and dysfunction contribute to a weak housing market and a stagnant jobs climate. State and local governments face enormous pension and other obligations. Taxes have risen sharply; many Illinois politicians say they must rise more.

People are fleeing. Last year’s net loss: 33,703. Among those who’ve left in recent years:

Sara Niedzwiecki, now 30, moved to the suburbs in 2010 just as millennials began to accelerate their departure. In two waves between 2011 and 2015, millennials led age groups in out-migration to other states, according to Internal Revenue Service data compiled by the Illinois Policy Institute, a right-leaning think tank. Illinois ranked second-worst in losing millennials and their dependents, behind New York.

Niedzwiecki, an accountant fresh out of college, worked in Libertyville for several years and then at a downtown location. Sure, it would have been nice to live in Lakeview or Bucktown with other 20-somethings, but she couldn’t afford it. So she endured a daily commute from the suburbs and tried to build a life.

It never happened. After years of watching her paycheck get sapped by rising rent and taxes, and after exploring options to buy a house and realizing she couldn’t afford that either, she moved back to Wisconsin. She got a better-paying job, left her $850-per-month basement apartment in the suburbs and bought a $148,000 two-bedroom condo in Madison with parking and a washer and dryer. Her property taxes are about $2,800 annually.

“I just felt like I was never going to get ahead in Illinois,” she said. “Six years of living there proved that.”

She grew up in Door County with her twin sister. Both women lived in Illinois before moving back to Wisconsin. A handful of their friends left Illinois, too, for Florida, California, Texas and Wisconsin. “I was super excited about trying something new and getting out of my small town,” she told us. “But Illinois was not feasible for me.” Instead, she has an affordable life in Madison. She hasn’t looked back.

Donald Felz, a lifelong Illinoisan who retired from a utility company in 2016, says a sinking home value and taxes drove him and his wife, Debi, out of Illinois. The Woodstock home they built in 2006 for $390,000, into which they put another $35,000, was losing value. This was to be the house where the Felzes would host grandchildren and putz in the yard. Instead, rather than put their retirement finances in further peril, they sold it in 2016 for $310,000. The property tax bill had climbed from $7,658 in 2007 to $8,340 in 2015. That’s not a huge rate of increase. But had their housing value remained at the purchase price, the taxes would have been nearly $12,500. A falling Illinois home value kept a high Illinois tax bill from rising higher.

The frustration, Felz said from his current home in Windsor, Colo., was more than taxes. It was how those dollars were spent: “If I could have seen some incremental improvement that followed the increases, then OK. I get it. I see it. But the roads were not getting fixed. The schools were still struggling. I couldn’t figure it out. The money was going somewhere.”

In Colorado, taxes on their home, valued at $510,000 and climbing, are about $4,000 a year.

Earlier this year, Felz returned to Illinois to visit his father. They spent evenings on the sofa watching TV and digesting the constant scroll of campaign ads from candidates running in the March primary election. That gave Donald Felz one more reason to appreciate his new home in Colorado: “We have term limits.”
 

RxCowboy

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From WSJ (as opposed to SWJ):

Rough Social Justice at Evergreen State
The Washington college’s enrollment plummets as even the left sours on protest-mob politics.
By Jillian Kay Melchior
May 22, 2018 6:46 p.m. ET

Here’s the math behind an academic hemorrhage: Between 500 and 600 fewer students will attend Evergreen State College next fall than in 2017, according to internal estimates. That means projected full-time enrollment is down as much as 17% from 3,500 last fall. When President George Bridges saw an internal email outlining these numbers, his impulse was to get the public-relations department to finesse them. Otherwise, he wrote, they “might end up appearing elsewhere in ways that will be used against us.”

Mr. Bridges has himself to blame. Nationwide, after administrators have capitulated to disruptive student activists, colleges have lost the support of donors, alumni, parents and prospective students. If there was one school you’d expect to defy this trend, it would be Evergreen, in Olympia, Wash. Founded in 1967, the college is proudly to the left of Berkeley and Middlebury. Its motto is literally “let it all hang out”—omnia extares—and radical activism has always been part of the pitch. But new records show that Evergreen hasn’t been spared the backlash that has plagued schools like the University of Missouri. This time, it’s coming from the left.

Evergreen’s public controversy began with the “Day of Absence” last April. In earlier years, minority students and faculty held an annual one-day walkout, but in 2017 organizers instructed all whites to stay off campus. Biology professor Bret Weinstein declined, and in an email called the decree “a show of force, and an act of oppression itself.” After the email circulated on campus, enraged students disrupted his class on May 23.

Police tried to respond, but protesters blocked them from the classroom. Later that day, Mr. Bridges ordered campus police chief Stacy Brown to accompany him to a meeting with student activists—but to leave behind her uniform and badge. Mr. Bridges stood passively as students interrupted Ms. Brown’s speech with laughter, vulgar language and boos. The next day students occupied the library, using furniture to barricade the doors.

The protests grew so aggressive that many on campus feared for their physical safety. Mr. Bridges ordered the police to stay away. “If law enforcement were to come in,” he said later, “there would be perhaps violence, perhaps damage to property, damage to students.” Ms. Brown ultimately resigned, and this week plans to file a tort claim alleging a hostile work environment. Mr. Weinstein and his wife, who also taught at Evergreen, filed a similar lawsuit last fall. The college demanded their resignation as a condition of its $500,000 settlement.

As the protests raged, Kirsten Shockey of Oregon gave administrators a warning. She and her husband lean left. Their son Jakob attended Evergreen, and they assumed their daughter would, too. But they were alarmed by what she called the “witch hunt” atmosphere and “erosion of free speech” on campus. As decision time approached, Ms. Shockey told Mr. Bridges in an email, “we are watching closely.”

They didn’t like what they saw. Ms. Shockey’s daughter crossed Evergreen off her list, following the advice of her brother. “The way identity politics played out looked to us like a university going from a place of learning to a new type of anti-intellectualism,” Ms. Shockey later told me. “Free speech and good discourse was lost—and then good teachers,” she added. “This is about where the alt-left seems to be taking us.”

Others joined the movement against Evergreen. Applications for fall 2018 are down 20%. Sandra Kaiser, Evergreen’s vice president for college relations, claims the low application and enrollment numbers may not be as bad as they look because many students commit to Evergreen “at the last moment.” She added that “we normally expect enrollment to decline in a full-employment economy,” given that working adults, veterans and community-college transfers account for about half the student body.

At least someone is sick of all the winning. But an independent report on the protests, commissioned by Evergreen last October, reached a different conclusion. Published in April, it said that the declines in applications and enrollment were indeed “understood to be at least in part the result of the disruptions of last spring.” Moreover, current students were fleeing. Retention rates had long been “relatively stable,” the report said, but after the protests, undergraduate retention “reached its lowest performance in over a decade.” Only 60% of first-time, first-year students who enrolled last fall stayed through the end of the school year, “a full 8 percentage points below the prior year,” the report said.

Among those who remain, many resent how the administration catered to the most radical students. “I feel like the rest of us are getting dragged through the mud for what’s essentially a Marxist outburst,” said James Stewart, who will graduate from Evergreen this spring.

Last fall, Mr. Stewart conducted an in-depth survey of some 50 students for his statistics class. Almost all called themselves progressive, but Mr. Stewart found “enormous internal backlash, especially from those who are approaching graduation or have a finger on the pulse of what’s happening outside of Evergreen.” More than one-third of the students said “academic mobbing” was a top concern, Mr. Stewart said. “They now feel like they can’t speak their mind without getting attacked.”

These findings bode ill for the college Mr. Stewart still loves. “Here’s what I know about identity politics: The most important color in the country is, was, and always will be green,” he said. Half of Evergreen’s funding comes from tuition. The external review found an impact on operational revenue so significant that it “will potentially generate another sense of ‘trauma’ on the campus.”

Based on fall 2018 enrollment projections, nearly 25 full-time adjuncts will lose their jobs, provost Jennifer Drake wrote in a Feb. 15 email. The college has had to tap its emergency reserve fund for $1.3 million so far to cover the costs of the “events of spring 2017,” including legal settlements. Evergreen has delayed the construction of a $42 million, 375-bed dorm.

In response to the growing crisis, Evergreen administrators have refused to accept responsibility. The external review gives them cover here, commending their “responsive and appropriate” actions amid the protests. It blames the media for having “imposed its own narrative on the events and transformed them into an example of ‘a campus in meltdown.’ ” And it faults Mr. Weinstein for taking “advantage of this situation to make a national news story” and “make a political point.”

Administrators have since doubled down on identity politics. Evergreen advertises a “bias response team” to handle perceived slights. It has increased funding for new social-justice administrators and support staffers. Evergreen employees now go through “cultural competency, sensitivity and antibias training.” And in a May 14, 2018, email on “leaner leadership at Evergreen,” Mr. Bridges outlined an administrative reorganization plan heavy on “equity and inclusion.”

All this suggests things are going to get worse for Evergreen. Which would be rough social justice.


Ms. Melchior is an editorial page writer at the Journal.

Appeared in the May 23, 2018, print edition.
 

jakeman

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#18
From WSJ (as opposed to SWJ):

Rough Social Justice at Evergreen State
The Washington college’s enrollment plummets as even the left sours on protest-mob politics.
By Jillian Kay Melchior
May 22, 2018 6:46 p.m. ET

Here’s the math behind an academic hemorrhage: Between 500 and 600 fewer students will attend Evergreen State College next fall than in 2017, according to internal estimates. That means projected full-time enrollment is down as much as 17% from 3,500 last fall. When President George Bridges saw an internal email outlining these numbers, his impulse was to get the public-relations department to finesse them. Otherwise, he wrote, they “might end up appearing elsewhere in ways that will be used against us.”

Mr. Bridges has himself to blame. Nationwide, after administrators have capitulated to disruptive student activists, colleges have lost the support of donors, alumni, parents and prospective students. If there was one school you’d expect to defy this trend, it would be Evergreen, in Olympia, Wash. Founded in 1967, the college is proudly to the left of Berkeley and Middlebury. Its motto is literally “let it all hang out”—omnia extares—and radical activism has always been part of the pitch. But new records show that Evergreen hasn’t been spared the backlash that has plagued schools like the University of Missouri. This time, it’s coming from the left.

Evergreen’s public controversy began with the “Day of Absence” last April. In earlier years, minority students and faculty held an annual one-day walkout, but in 2017 organizers instructed all whites to stay off campus. Biology professor Bret Weinstein declined, and in an email called the decree “a show of force, and an act of oppression itself.” After the email circulated on campus, enraged students disrupted his class on May 23.

Police tried to respond, but protesters blocked them from the classroom. Later that day, Mr. Bridges ordered campus police chief Stacy Brown to accompany him to a meeting with student activists—but to leave behind her uniform and badge. Mr. Bridges stood passively as students interrupted Ms. Brown’s speech with laughter, vulgar language and boos. The next day students occupied the library, using furniture to barricade the doors.

The protests grew so aggressive that many on campus feared for their physical safety. Mr. Bridges ordered the police to stay away. “If law enforcement were to come in,” he said later, “there would be perhaps violence, perhaps damage to property, damage to students.” Ms. Brown ultimately resigned, and this week plans to file a tort claim alleging a hostile work environment. Mr. Weinstein and his wife, who also taught at Evergreen, filed a similar lawsuit last fall. The college demanded their resignation as a condition of its $500,000 settlement.

As the protests raged, Kirsten Shockey of Oregon gave administrators a warning. She and her husband lean left. Their son Jakob attended Evergreen, and they assumed their daughter would, too. But they were alarmed by what she called the “witch hunt” atmosphere and “erosion of free speech” on campus. As decision time approached, Ms. Shockey told Mr. Bridges in an email, “we are watching closely.”

They didn’t like what they saw. Ms. Shockey’s daughter crossed Evergreen off her list, following the advice of her brother. “The way identity politics played out looked to us like a university going from a place of learning to a new type of anti-intellectualism,” Ms. Shockey later told me. “Free speech and good discourse was lost—and then good teachers,” she added. “This is about where the alt-left seems to be taking us.”

Others joined the movement against Evergreen. Applications for fall 2018 are down 20%. Sandra Kaiser, Evergreen’s vice president for college relations, claims the low application and enrollment numbers may not be as bad as they look because many students commit to Evergreen “at the last moment.” She added that “we normally expect enrollment to decline in a full-employment economy,” given that working adults, veterans and community-college transfers account for about half the student body.

At least someone is sick of all the winning. But an independent report on the protests, commissioned by Evergreen last October, reached a different conclusion. Published in April, it said that the declines in applications and enrollment were indeed “understood to be at least in part the result of the disruptions of last spring.” Moreover, current students were fleeing. Retention rates had long been “relatively stable,” the report said, but after the protests, undergraduate retention “reached its lowest performance in over a decade.” Only 60% of first-time, first-year students who enrolled last fall stayed through the end of the school year, “a full 8 percentage points below the prior year,” the report said.

Among those who remain, many resent how the administration catered to the most radical students. “I feel like the rest of us are getting dragged through the mud for what’s essentially a Marxist outburst,” said James Stewart, who will graduate from Evergreen this spring.

Last fall, Mr. Stewart conducted an in-depth survey of some 50 students for his statistics class. Almost all called themselves progressive, but Mr. Stewart found “enormous internal backlash, especially from those who are approaching graduation or have a finger on the pulse of what’s happening outside of Evergreen.” More than one-third of the students said “academic mobbing” was a top concern, Mr. Stewart said. “They now feel like they can’t speak their mind without getting attacked.”

These findings bode ill for the college Mr. Stewart still loves. “Here’s what I know about identity politics: The most important color in the country is, was, and always will be green,” he said. Half of Evergreen’s funding comes from tuition. The external review found an impact on operational revenue so significant that it “will potentially generate another sense of ‘trauma’ on the campus.”

Based on fall 2018 enrollment projections, nearly 25 full-time adjuncts will lose their jobs, provost Jennifer Drake wrote in a Feb. 15 email. The college has had to tap its emergency reserve fund for $1.3 million so far to cover the costs of the “events of spring 2017,” including legal settlements. Evergreen has delayed the construction of a $42 million, 375-bed dorm.

In response to the growing crisis, Evergreen administrators have refused to accept responsibility. The external review gives them cover here, commending their “responsive and appropriate” actions amid the protests. It blames the media for having “imposed its own narrative on the events and transformed them into an example of ‘a campus in meltdown.’ ” And it faults Mr. Weinstein for taking “advantage of this situation to make a national news story” and “make a political point.”

Administrators have since doubled down on identity politics. Evergreen advertises a “bias response team” to handle perceived slights. It has increased funding for new social-justice administrators and support staffers. Evergreen employees now go through “cultural competency, sensitivity and antibias training.” And in a May 14, 2018, email on “leaner leadership at Evergreen,” Mr. Bridges outlined an administrative reorganization plan heavy on “equity and inclusion.”

All this suggests things are going to get worse for Evergreen. Which would be rough social justice.


Ms. Melchior is an editorial page writer at the Journal.

Appeared in the May 23, 2018, print edition.

I hope they have to close the doors.
 

RxCowboy

Has no Rx for his orange obsession.
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Nov 8, 2004
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Wishing I was in Stillwater
#20
The crazy thing is that many of the people who flee these bastions of liberal utopia don't change the way they vote which, when enough of them move in, will eventually create the same problems in their new location.
Right. They leave a s**thole and then turn their new place into the same s**thole.