Classes resume after threats at Washington state college
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Classes are resuming at a small college in Washington state after protests on the progressive campus attracted national attention — and threats.
The Evergreen State College in Olympia announced on its website that it reopened its campus as of 3 p.m. Monday. Administrators didn’t immediately provide further explanation.
The college had been closed for the third consecutive weekday Monday. Officials said police were reviewing new “external threat information” received over the weekend.
Protests followed a white professor’s decision to oppose an optional event in which organizers asked white students to leave campus for a talk about race. The event was a reversal of the college’s longstanding annual “Day of Absence,” in which minorities attend programs off campus.
Biology professor Bret Weinstein, who has taught at Evergreen for 15 years, wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal saying he was called a racist because he had “challenged coercive segregation by race.”
Some students called for Weinstein to resign. Conservative media pointed to the furor as an example of intolerance on college campuses, where protests have derailed multiple appearances by contentious figures.
The University of California, Berkeley, was criticized for canceling an appearance by conservative commentator Ann Coulter in April and another by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos in February. The university canceled Coulter’s speech amid threats of violence, fearing a repeat of the clashes ahead of the Yiannopoulos event.
Evergreen officials abruptly closed the college Thursday after someone called the Thurston County Communications Center claiming to be armed and on the way to campus. The call was made from an unknown telephone number to the communications center’s regular business phone line and not their 911 lines, they said.
Police searched and found no one posing a threat, but Evergreen remained closed Friday.
Administrators had said they would determine when to re-open the campus as soon as possible.
“Even though we had planned to be back in class on Monday, it’s important to give law enforcement an opportunity to evaluate their new information,” Sandra Kaiser, vice president for college relations at Evergreen, said in a news release.