Leftist students at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, have formed a vigilante group whose purpose is to "community police" the campus, according to College Fix.
While the specific reason for the formation of the bat-wielding group is not known, speculation is that the group was formed in response to the campus closing on Monday due to an "external threat." This would be the second time the campus had closed in four days due to threats. The first threat closed the campus for two days after someone had phoned the college saying someone was going to bring a .44 magnum to school and shoot "communist scumbags."
On Monday, Vice President for Student Affairs Wendy Endress sent out a memo to "colleagues," which included a memo sent out on Sunday by Sharon Goodman, director of Evergreen’s Residential and Dining Service. In the email obtained by College Fix, Goodman asked for the student group to lay down its arms, as it was making other students on campus feel intimidated and unsafe.
From the memo:
Dear RAD Students,
We are aware of a small group of students coordinating a community patrol of housing and campus. We acknowledge and understand the fear and concerns that are motivating these actions. We also understand that these students are seeking to provide an alternative source of safety from external entities as well as those community members who they distrust.
Community patrols can be a useful tool for helping people to feel safe, however, the use of bats or similar instruments is not productive. Some members of this group have been observed carrying batons and/or bats. Carrying bats is causing many to feel unsafe and intimidated. The bats must be put away immediately in order to protect all involved. Non-students participating in this activity are advised to leave campus.
College Fix reports that Goodman's memo offered students workshops with “trained restorative justice facilitators” to help finish out their final week of school.
Also within the email, Endress encouraged colleagues to council students to embrace choices that de-escalate tensions on campus. She also mentioned a professor who said one of his students feared for their safety.
According to the professor, the student said, “Because I had shown some criticism to the protest that was occurring on campus in earlier weeks I have become targeted and harassed by a wide number of students on campus. Recently, there have been a number of students who patrol lower campus with weapons like baseball bats and tasers who claim to be making the campus safer but in reality are making campus more hostile.”
The climate of the Evergreen campus has been dangerously hostile. Biology Professor Bret Weinstein faced backlash from students when he disagreed with black and Latino students forcing white students off of campus during the "Day of Absence." Weinstein was later confronted by a hostile student mob who screamed profanities at him. The Olympia police chief told Weinstein that “it is not safe for me to be on campus,” thus forcing Weinstein to hold his classes in a nearby park.
Weinstein posted a picture of some of the bat-wielding students on his Twitter page, claiming that some have already been hit, but won't report on it.
Credible reports protestors w/ bats roaming campus for 2 days. People hit, won't report. @heathereheying students &… https://t.co/yfqyA9Kmkh— Bret Weinstein (@Bret Weinstein)1496703627.0
One student has already been assaulted by an Evergreen student mob. A freshman at Evergreen named Nolan — whose last name was not given — protested the treatment given to Weinstein by writing apolitical references to the band Limp Bizkit in chalk around campus. The video shows Nolan having water poured on him, and his glasses ripped off and thrown by students. In a second video, Nolan and his friends are accosted by a group of students, one of which is carrying a bat.
The students in the second video appear to be the students seen in Weinstein's tweeted photo.
A coalition of students of color gave Evergreen College President George Bridges a list of demands on May 27. One of these demands is that all weapons possessed by campus police be sold, and for a student collective to develop and implement an alternative to campus policing. Whether or not this bat-wielding group of students is the alternative to policing noted in the list of demands has not yet been specified.