Listen to threat that shut down Evergreen State College
A New Jersey man has been arrested for allegedly making threatening phone calls against The Evergreen State College in Olympia in June.
Morris County prosecutors say 53-year-old Robert Kerekes Jr. was arrested Monday night.
The Morris Plains man is charged with making terroristic threats, criminal coercion and causing false public alarm.
The threats caused the public liberal arts college to be shut down for three days in June.
The call was made June 1 to the business line for Thurston 911 Communications, which dispatches emergency calls in Thurston County. Officials at that agency informed Evergreen Police Services about the threat, and they passed it on to college president George Bridges.
“Yes, I’m on my way to Evergreen University now with a .44 Magnum,” the caller said. “I’m gonna execute as many people on that campus as I can get a hold of. You have that? What’s going on there? You communist, scumbag town. I’m going to murder as many people on that campus as I can. Just keep your eyes open, you scumbag.”
The college was thrust in to the national spotlight after years-long tensions over alleged racial inequality and bias led to protests and demonstrations in 2016. It reached a head on May 24 when protestors barricaded themselves in the school’s library and made demands of the administration.
The next day a professor at the college, Bret Weinstein, went on conservative TV host Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show to defend himself after students shut down his class.
“They imagine that I am a racist and that I am teaching racism in the classroom,” said Weinstein about the Evergreen student protesters.
Weinstein had sent emails to school staff in 2016 and again in March that some called racist.
Security became such a concern for the 4,000-student school it moved its commencement ceremony to Cheney Stadium in Tacoma. Rental of the facility cost $100,000.
Evergreen spokesman Zach Powers said Tuesday, “We are aware of the arrest and are following the situation as it continues to develop.”
Personnel with Evergreen Police Services were not available for comment.
Prosecutors say Kerekes will remain in custody until a bail hearing is held.
It wasn’t known Tuesday if he has retained an attorney.
September 21: Student protestors take stage at Convocation. More protests over racial inequality occur in following months.
March 15: Professor Bret Weinstein sends email to all staff and faculty protesting changes to the Evergreen’s annual Day of Absence
May: Tensions rise as students make claims of racism and bias by some of the college’s employees.
May 23: Students disrupt a lecture by Weinstein. Police are called. Later, a meeting organized by administration to discuss the incident is taken over by students.
May 24: Students barricade themselves inside Evergreen library and make demands.
May 25: Weinstein appears on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News.
May 26: Evergreen president George Bridges holds meeting to address student demands.
June 1-2: Campus evacuated and closed in response to telephoned threats.
June 3-4: Campus opened over weekend.
June 15: More than 60 Washington State Patrol troopers stand watch over dueling demonstrators at the campus.
June 16: Evergreen holds its commencement ceremony in Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.