Posted September 26, 2017 by Cooper Point Journal in News
 
 

A Year in Review

Campus Protests at Evergreen

By Jasmine Kozak-Gilroy

2017 was a historic year for The Evergreen State College, blasting us into the public discourse and bringing with it unprecedented media attention. The quick succession of events and over saturation of outside media sources has created confusion over causality and what, exactly, went down last spring. This timeline, created with input from students, staff, and faculty, serves to chronicle the months leading up to, and following, the now infamous protests.

Protest at Convocation

Two student protesters took the stage during a question and answer session with the invited speaker holding a sign that said, “Evergreen cashes diversity checks but doesn’t care about blacks”. President George Bridges interrupted the students, thanked them for vocalizing their conc erns, and said that they would have more time to speak on issues of race on campus after the Q & A ended, a promise that was never realized.

Equity Emails

In the first major email thread of the year, Weinstein sent an email criticizing the Equity Council’s Strategic Equity Plan to the entire Staff and Faculty email list saying, “From what I have read, I do not believe this proposal will function to the net benefit of Evergreen’s students of color, in the present, or in the future.” His email sparked discussion and critique of his positions by staff and faculty of color and allies, which was met by more emails by Weinstein and supporters.

Chief of Police Sworn In

A group of students, including the two students that took the stage at convocation, brought noisemakers to the swearing in ceremony of Evergreen State College Chief of Police Stacy Brown, taking the microphone from Wendy Endress, the Vice President of Student Affairs, and chanting “Fuck cops”. This incident launched an investigation and prosecution of these two students, threatening suspension for the allegedly violent action of taking the microphone from Endress.

Day of Absence/Day of Presence Email

Bret Weinstein sends out email protesting new configuration of Day of Absence/ Day of Presence, bringing on more controversy and many, many more emails.

Basketball Coach Resigns

Jennifer Schooler former geoducks women’s basketball coach resigns following  a title 9 case in which she was found to be in violation of discriminatory policy regarding “racially offensive and derogatory comments” and “intimidating hostile and offensive learning environment” that “constitutes discriminatory harassment”.

Black Students Detained by Police

A week of internet conversations and drama culminating in one student calling the campus police of two Black students, alleging that they had threatened him. Both students were led out of their dorms at about 11:45 p.m. by their Resident Directors to be questioned by the police.

Students Co-opt Conversation with VP/VP Of Equity

Students co opted the planned conversation with the first of three Vice President/ Vice Provost of Equity and Diversity candidates, Chassity Holliman- Douglas, to talk about recent events and the history of racism and administrative stagnancy on campus.

Students Boycott Bridges’ Forum

On May 18 Wendy Endress sent out an email that included false information about the students who had been detained by the campus police, lauding the accomplishments of the administration in the pursuit of equity, and inviting students to a forum hosted by George Bridges to discuss the questions of race brought up in the previous week.

Students Boycott Bridges’ Forum

On May 19 students, fed up with the administrations pattern of inaction and self congratulatory rhetoric, called for a boycott of the event in a press release, positioning their actions within a decades long history of institutional inaction. The forum went on as planned, with low attendance.

Weinstein Confronted

In the morning of May 23, students disrupt Weinstein’s class to discuss emails, with some individual students declaring that they believed that Weinstein should be fired. The campus police were called, and they in turn called the County Sheriff’s office for backup. When the cops arrived, student protesters formed a protective ring around the students of color conversing with Weinstein. This ring of students was ripped apart by Officer Timothy O’Dell when he shoved through protesters, hurting two students.

Bridges Holds Meeting To Address Student Concerns

On May 23 at 4 p.m., Bridges met with students to discuss the actions of O’Dell, complaints about Weinstein, and other student safety concerns. The meeting was hosted by Bridges, Endress, and Brown. Weinstein was in the crowd of community members who gathered. Students took over the meeting, which was planned as an event moderated by members of the administration, to discuss concerns, ask questions, and make demands of the administration.

Library Building Occupation

A call for protest went out following the May 23 meeting and on May 24, students gathered at 1 p.m. for a rally before flooding inside to George Bridges’ office, blocking exits and, over the course of several hours, gathered Deans, the entire collective bargaining team for the United Faculty of Evergreen union, and hosted a meeting centered around student concerns and demands, moderated and managed by the students themselves. Students presented Bridges with a list of demands, requesting that they be addressed by 5 p.m. Friday May 26.

TESC in the News

In the week following the occupation  Weinstein is interviewed for several new stations, repeatedly implying that the Evergreen student protestors are violent and dangerous, and repeatedly insinuating that the Library Building occupation was called  to incite his firing.

Bridges Addresses Demands

On May 26, Bridges holds a meeting in the Longhouse at to address the demands made by students. Although some of the more clear cut demands were met, he fielded criticism for a stark refusal to disarm the police and, for the most part, repeating patterns of talking instead of acting, and implying that many demands are out of his control.

Weinstein on Tucker Carlson

On May 26, while Bridges was addressing student demands,  Weinstein appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News segment to answer questions about the protests. Carlson covets a large Alt- Right following and after Weinstein’s interview, news about TESC  began to appear on 4chan and other Alt- Right message boards, leading to the doxxing and online harassment of students, staff, and faculty.

Patriot Prayer Gets Involved

On May 31, Joey Gibson, leader of Patriot Prayer, a Portland based Alt- Right group centered around questions of free speech, made a vague threat to show up at Evergreen on The Dori Monson Show, a popular Washington based conservative talk radio show.  Gibson said, ““We are not going to release any details right now. We are going to make sure we follow the law and make sure we are respectful. But they are going to hear from us.”

Campus Closed Indefinitely, State Troopers Arrive

On the morning of June 1, The Evergreen State College campus was evacuated and temporarily shut down due to threat that was phoned in to the Thurston County dispatch. In the audio recording of the call you can here a the caller, identified in July as Robert Kerekes of New Jersey saw, “I am on my way to Evergreen University now with a .44 Magnum. I am going to execute as many people on that campus as I can get a hold of.”

Patriot Prayer in Disguise

On June 9, a group of what appeared to be standard religious protestors appeared on campus wielding signs that bore slogans such as, “Jesus Save Us From Hell”, but instead of screaming about saving people, they were shooting about free speech, touting typical Alt-Right lines. Several of the demonstrators who assembled were identified as members of Patriot Prayer. Students assembled to combat their shouting with more noise, and two individuals were arrested for unrelated reasons.

Patriot Prayer Show Up in Full Force

On June 15, the day before graduation, which was moved to Cheney Stadium in Tacoma for saftey reasons, Patriot Prayer showed up for their planned rally.  campus was shut  dow n in anticipation of the event, and riot cops took center stage, spreading out behind baricades across Red Square. Although one protestor was detained, no arrests were made on either side.

Hearing

In a state senate hearing held on June 20, Bridges is quoted saying, the narrative of the protests at Evergreen, “blew up with misinformation.” At the same hearing, Stacy Brown expressed disapproval that the campus police were not allowed assault riffles.

Bret Files Tort Suit

On July 31 Bret Weinstein and his wife, Heather Heying, filled a tort claim alleging a hostile work environment.

Stacy Quits

On August 2, Stacy Brown chief  of police at the Evergreen state college resigns following protest at the school including her swearing in ceremony.  Ed Sorger, former chief of police, is the Interim chief of police while the school searches for  someone to replace Stacy.

Summer Threat

On August 14,  following closely on the heels of a politically motivated murder in Charlottesville, Evergreen received another threat that specifically mentions Charlottesville and it is analyzed by the FBI. The college publicly condemned the racist violence and terror spread by white supremacists in Virginia and ensured students that safety was a top priority for the school.

More Emails

On August 21 the  college updated students via email on the details of the threat received on August 14. Details included the assailant threatening to “[drive] an armored 18-wheeler semi truck onto campus” The FBI investigated the credibility of the threat and found it to be not credible.

Tort Claim Settled

On September  15, the Evergreen State College settled the claim with Weinstein and Heying, paying them $450,000 and an additional $50,000 for legal costs accrued in filing their claim against the school.