Evergreen anarchist workshop halted after blogger's camera thrown off balcony

Staff writerApril 20, 2013 

An anarchist workshop held at The Evergreen State College was halted Saturday after a Mason County blogger’s camera equipment was stolen and thrown off a third-story balcony, according to campus officials.

Blogger John Smith, known online as “Amicus Curia,” had planned on photographing the events during the Olympia Anarchist Convergence, a two-day workshop scheduled on campus.

“It was a public event as we understood,” said Todd Sprague, college spokesperson.

Smith, 67, was blocked from entering the classroom where the workshop was being held, on the third floor of the Seminar Two building.

“They blocked me and said you aren’t welcome here,” Smith said. “I said it’s a public facility, a public event, but they blocked me, then kind of pushed me out the door.”

Smith said he was stepping out to contact campus police when one participant of the workshop grabbed his digital camera. Another grabbed his video camera gear and threw it off third-story balcony.

Smith estimated that the equipment was $10,000.

Campus police and administrators tried to get the names of the people involved, but the student group running the event would not cooperate, Sprague said.

“We went over and talked with the student group sponsoring the event and said we wanted to get the names of the people involved,” Sprague said. “We were unable to get the names and told them if we don’t, we will be disbanding the event.”

Campus police were preparing to end the event when they discovered those involved had already left.

“It was a two-day workshop as planned, and they were about halfway through their first day and they have now left the campus,” Sprague said. “It’s not our intention to allow it to reconvene on campus.”

Smith was able to recover some of the equipment that was thrown from the balcony. The digital camera is still missing.

“I’m pretty sold on the idea of its a public venue and public spaces belong to all of us,” Smith said. “The campus said I have every right to be here. It’s a public event – a public institution.”

Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476