Why does the political atmosphere seem slightly more excitable or extreme in the Pacific Northwest than elsewhere? Consider the possible or partial influence of the graduates of the elite Evergreen State College, a liberal arts school located in Olympia, Washington.

From “Evergreen State College Wikipedia page“, under the heading “2017 Protests“:

“Every April from the 1970s until 2017, Evergreen held a daylong event called ‘Day of Absence’, inspired by the Douglas Turner Ward play of the same name, during which minority students and faculty members voluntarily stayed off campus to raise awareness of the contributions of minorities and to discuss racial and campus issues.

“In 2017, the Day of Absence was altered after students of color voiced concerns about feeling unwelcome on campus following the 2016 U.S. presidential election (i.e., Trump’s victory over Clinton) and a 2015 off-campus police shooting. For that year’s event, white students, staff, and faculty were invited to attend an off-campus event at a church that fit 200 people, or about 10% of the white student body. An event for students of color was held on the Evergreen campus.

Bret Weinstein, a professor of biology at Evergreen, wrote a letter in March to Evergreen faculty, protesting the change in format, stating “on a college campus, one’s right to speak — or to be — must never be based on skin color.

“The incident attracted national attention, with the New York Times writing that Evergreen “found itself on the front line of the national discontent over race, speech and political disagreement” and that the national exposure led “right-leaning websites to [heap derision] on their newest college target.”

“In late May 2017, student protests — focused in part on the comments by Weinstein — disrupted the campus and called for a number of changes to the college. Weinstein says he was told that campus police could not protect him and that they encouraged him not to be on campus, which caused Weinstein to hold his biology class in a public park. Weinstein and his wife, Professor Heather Heying, later resigned and reached a $500,000 settlement with the university, after having sued it for failing to “protect its employees from repeated provocative and corrosive verbal and written hostility based on race, as well as threats of physical violence.”