News & Politics

Evergreen State College Closes Thursday and Friday After 'Direct Threat to Campus Safety'

Students leave The Evergreen State College campus in Olympia after a threat prompted a student alert and evacuation on Thursday, June 1, 2017. The announcement posted on the school's website Thursday asked everyone to leave the Olympia campus or return to residence halls for further instructions. The post did not provide other details. (Tony Overman /The Olympian via AP)

Evergreen State College in Washington state closed down Thursday morning after officials received a credible “direct threat to campus safety.” The college announced Thursday evening that that it would remain closed on Friday, as well:

The Evergreen State College Olympia campus will remain closed and on suspended operations this evening, June 1, and tomorrow, Friday June 2, in response to a call-in threat received earlier today at the Thurston County Communications Center (TCOMM 911).

“Suspended operations” means no classes tonight or tomorrow. Evergreen staff are present to provide campus services to resident students and ensure their safety. Law enforcement is present on campus at all hours.

Via KIRO7:

About 10:30 a.m. Thursday, a person called claiming to be armed and en route to the campus in Olympia. The call was made from an unknown telephone number to a regular business line at the Thurston County Communications Center, a college spokesman said.

College President George Bridges closed campus after receiving the information from police. Students and faculty were notified of the closure by an emergency text system and a campus-wide speaker system.

Buildings were searched and no one was determined to be an active threat. Olympia police, Thurston County Sheriff’s deputies and State Patrol troopers all responded, and Evergreen staff is in contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

The school is technically on “suspended operations.” Staff are present to provide campus services and ensure safety. Police also are on campus

According to Fox News, officers were “visible and present” on campus throughout the day Thursday, and school officials were waiting to hear from law enforcement before they gave “the all clear.”

The Olympia school became the center of controversy after activists asked white students to leave campus to talk about race issues. It’s a reversal from the longstanding annual “Day of Absence,” in which minorities traditionally attend programs off campus.

When a biology professor, Bret Weinstein, objected to the event, the activists demanded that he resign.

“They imagined that I’m a racist,” Weinstein, who has taught at Evergreen for 15 years, told Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” last week. “That has caused them to imagine that I have no right to speak.”

When students were caught on video screaming and cursing at college administrators and making racist demands, they demanded that the video be taken offline.

“We demand that the video created for Day of Absence and Day of Presence that was stolen by white supremacists and edited to expose and ridicule the students and staff be taken down by the administration by this Friday,” the students wrote in a list of demands to college President George Bridges.

On the second day of student protests demanding the the firing of Bret Weinstein, demonstrators held college administrators “hostage” in College President George Bridges’ office until they agreed to comply with their demands. See Campus Reform for video of the demeaning hostage situation.

At one point, Bridges explains that he needs “to pee,” to which one protester initially responds by sharply instructing him to “hold it,” though he was eventually escorted to a nearby bathroom by a team of protesters.

The school’s president rewarded their outrageous behavior by giving the students homework exemptions. 

Republican lawmakers in the state are now looking to strip funds from the college in the wake of the obnoxious protests.

Republican State Rep. Matt Manweller on Thursday announced “a three-pronged legislative response to recent, extreme demonstrations at the college.”

Manweller introduced a bill to privatize the college over the course of five years. He will also order an investigation into whether any civil rights laws have been violated and push to remove $24 million in capital funding currently allocated under the state budget to Evergreen College.

“Colleges and universities need to be a place that is open to debate and the free exchange of ideas regardless of skin color, religion or ethnicity. Public money should never be spent on institutions that advocate for openly racist policies,” Rep. Manweller said in a statement to FOX Business. “On a college campus, one’s right to speak—or to be—must never be based on skin color.”

Weinstein said the group organizers could take his email as a “formal protest of this year’s structure.”