Classes at Washington college canceled again amid threats

A college in Washington state canceled classes for a third day Monday in response to threats aimed at the campus.

Evergreen State College in Olympia has recently been embroiled in racial tensions.

The school closed and evacuated its students and staff Thursday after a “call-in threat” to the Thurston County Communications Center on Thursday morning.

“Yes, I am on my way to Evergreen [College] now with a .44 Magnum,” a man told a dispatcher officer, according to CNN affiliate KIRO.

“I am going to execute as many people on that campus as I can get a hold of,” the man said. “You have that, what’s going on here, you communist scumbag?”

The Washington State Patrol, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, and the Olympia Police Department responded.

“They determined that no one was actively posing a threat,” the school said. The college contacted the FBI. The school stayed closed on Friday as law enforcement continued its investigation.

Over the weekend, the school said it received “new external threat information” and decided to cancel its classes Monday.

Specifics about that threat have not yet surfaced.

“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,” said Sandra Kaiser, Evergreen’s vice president for college relations.

Law enforcement is on duty at Evergreen at all time and “Evergreen staff will be present to provide campus services to resident students and ensure their safety.”

The school said it soon will determine when to fully reopen campus.

Racial tensions

The tensions at Evergreen this spring received national publicity over a professor’s objection to an event on campus. It’s one of several controversies sparked by events on college and university campuses that have made headlines in recent months.

For years, there has been The Day of Absence at Evergreen. That’s when minority students voluntarily leave campus to discuss issues involving race.

This year, the event’s sponsors decided that white students, staff and faculty, instead “will be invited to leave the campus for the day’s activities.”

Bret Weinstein, a biology professor at Evergreen, protested the move, saying in an e-mail to staff and faculty that “one’s right to speak — or to be — must never be based on skin color.” Weinstein wrote a column in The Wall Street Journal about the controversy.

Some students demanded that Weinstein be fired and angrily confronted him.

CNN affiliate KIRO said there were “protests in mid-May in response to campus police questioning black students, according to a report in the Cooper Point Journal, the college’s student newspaper.” The affiliate said students said they were protesting institutional racism.