While the school offers more traditional biology courses like “General Biology” and “Anatomy and Physiology,” it also has classes that provide more details about feminism and social movements than with the study of human or plant life.
Evergreen State College’s Biology Department will offer a course during the 2017 fall semester and 2018 spring semester entitled, “Reproduction: Gender, Race, and Power.” The course will provide students with “an overview of human reproduction,” but will pay “attention to gender and race as vectors of power that affect how reproduction is discussed, legislated, and experienced in the United States.”
The course description claims that biology is “shaped and defined by cultural norms.” One of the primary goals of the course is to “collectively dismantle the idea that women are defined as such by an innate reproductive capacity.” To achieve this end, students will be required to read texts that “address the experiences of trans and gender-nonconforming individuals,” and discuss the ways in which “contraception, abortion, forced sterilization, genetic testing, and other forms of reproductive control both reflect, and have been used to perpetuate, systemic racism.”
After completing the course, students will have an understanding of how “power and privilege operate on a variety of bodies, including our own.”
Another course the college offered its junior and senior students in 2016 was entitled “Feminist Epistemologies: Critical Approaches to Biology and Psychology.” Professors allegedly built the course to help students discover how “knowledge is generated from a feminist theoretical perspective.”
To achieve its stated goal, students read “feminist philosophy of science, sociological studies on science and how it operates in society, research on women scientists, and critical deconstructions of sociobiology and the related field of evolutionary psychology.”
Evergreen State College made headlines after one of the school’s biology professors, Bret Weinstein, spoke out against the school’s annual “Day of Absence.” A group of students and faculty at Evergreen organize one day every year where they meet off campus, as a symbolic remembrance of a famous play where all the black residents of a Southern town fail to show up one morning.
The group decided to mix things up in 2017, and asked that all “white students, staff and faculty will be invited to leave campus for the day’s activities.” After Weinstein called the actions “a show of force, and an act of oppression,” students responded in anger.
Viral protests forced the school to cancel classes for three straight days.
Some 50 students showed up outside Weinstein’s classroom to call him a racist and a supporter of white supremacy to his face.