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Evergreen College President: students involved in disrupting classes will be disciplined

The president of The Evergreen State College said students involved in disrupting classes at the school will be facing disciplinary action. He made those comments at a special State Senate hearing on Tuesday. (Photo: KOMO News)

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The president of The Evergreen State College said students involved in disrupting classes at the school will be facing disciplinary action. He made those comments at a special State Senate hearing on Tuesday.

It comes in the wake of protests and outside threats that shutdown the campus for several days and forced graduation to move.

The string of events peaked June 15, when there was a heavily armed presence at a protest by an outside group, concerned with what they'd been seeing and hearing about Evergreen.

They were upset about student protests against professor Bret Weinstein and perceived racist comments. He said he was totally misunderstood, but then went on Fox News to explain.

The college president said social media exploded. A death threat to students and faculty shut down the campus for a couple of days and brought increased state patrol presence. Then there was last-minute decision to move the graduation to the secured setting of Cheney Stadium.

College President George Bridges told the state lawmakers on Tuesday, "The fine line between what at Evergreen is appropriate protest and what is inappropriate protest. Clearly disrupting class is inappropriate."

He said the participants in the class disruption will be identified in the videos and given a warning.

"And the warning will be quite clear. If they repeat this kind of disruption in the future they will be adjudicated under our conduct code," He stopped short of saying what that would be.

One alum wants the penalties to be harsh.

"If what comes out of this is that students again just get slaps on the wrist, that is not enough," said Tamara Lindner, class of 2014.

Thurston County Chief Deputy Dave Pearsall said unruly behavior has been going on for some time such as the disruption of the January swearing-in ceremony of new campus police chief Stacy Brown. He said the 20-30 students grabbed the microphone and chanted with drums.

"They were cursing, they were saying all kinds of things, it just went on and on. It was complete chaos," said Pearsall.

And the president admitted he erred when he asked Chief Brown to come to the classroom and president's office protest, without her gun, fearing it might make some students feel uncomfortable.

"I asked Chief Brown to come without her firearm and that was wrong. And I've apologized to her for it," Bridges told the hearing,

But students -who weren't allowed to testify - said there were no people of color at the hearing and they need to be heard.

"Yes, because this is a very public situation. Students have had to deal with safety concerns, being harassed and 'doxed' and made violent threats against," said student Vee Ramsey.

Professor Weinstein was scheduled to testify on Tuesday as well, but pulled out saying it was on the advice of his attorney.

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