The caller on Thursday threatened to “execute as many people on the campus as I can get ahold of,” and referred to Olympia as a “communist scumbag town.” The caller’s identity remains unknown. The college announced it will reopen Saturday.
Thurston County Communications has released a recording of the threatening call that prompted the closure of The Evergreen State College on Thursday and Friday.
The call, which was made about 10:30 a.m. Thursday to a business line at the Thurston County 911 dispatch center, was apparently made by a male.
“I’m on my way to Evergreen University (sic) now with a .44 Magnum,” the caller says in audio obtained by KIRO 7. “I’m going to execute as many people on the campus as I can get ahold of. You have that, what’s going on here, you communist scumbag town? I’m going to murder as many people on that campus as I can. Just keep your eyes open, scumbag.”
The dispatcher then asks the caller how long it will be before he arrives, but the call abruptly ends at that point.
Thurston County Communications alerted Evergreen Police Services, which in turn notified the college, which announced shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday that classes were canceled, citing a “direct threat to campus safety.” The closure was later extended through Friday.
Law enforcement has since “determined that no one was actively posting a threat,” college spokesman Zach Powers said in a statement Friday afternoon. Normal operations at Evergreen, including weekend classes and activities, will resume Saturday, the statement says.
Thursday’s telephone threat came a week after hundreds of Evergreen students began protesting. The campus has experienced mounting racial tension that puts students of color at risk, the student group Expose Evergreen wrote in a news release last week.
Students cited several incidents, including an email from a professor who objected to the school’s “day of absence” in April.
In the past, students of color have left campus for one day to address racial issues, according to Evergreen. The event is inspired by Douglas Turner Ward’s 1965 play in which a town awakens to find that all black residents have disappeared.
This year, however, the format was reversed, with the day-of-absence program designed for faculty, staff and students of color held on campus. The program focusing on anti-racism work from a white — or majority culture — perspective was held off campus. Both programs were voluntary, Evergreen President George Bridges said in an interview Thursday.
Professor Bret Weinstein questioned the event in an email that was later made public.
“There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and underappreciated roles (the theme of the Douglas Turner Ward play Day of Absence, as well as the recent Women’s Day walkout), and a group or coalition encouraging another group to go away,” Weinstein wrote. “The first is a forceful call to consciousness which is, of course, crippling to the logic of oppression. The second is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.”
Students said Weinstein’s email was racist and called for his suspension. In a list of demands, posted in the Cooper Point Journal, students also called for firing a police officer and a college official.