Evergreen professor says lawsuit threat could improve college

KING 5's Drew Mikkelsen talked to a professor from The Evergreen State College who was targeted by protesters.

The biology professor targeted by protesters at The Evergreen State College this spring informed the state he might sue for $3.8 million dollars.

“What we faced at Evergreen is the very definition of a hostile work environment,” said Bret Weinstein.

He alerted the state of the potential lawsuit through a tort claim he and his wife, who also teaches at the college, filed last week.

“Moving in the direction of legal action was a last resort,” said Weinstein, “It has only happened because the college has refused to wake up in the face of every previous attempt we have made to call their attention to what was wrong.”

Several dozen students interrupted Weinstein’s biology class in May after he criticized efforts to change college policies regarding race.

He also refused to participate in an optional event in April where white faculty members and students were encouraged to leave campus.

Weinstein is white.

Protesters called for Weinstein’s resignation during several protests in late May.

He began holding classes off campus when the campus police chief Stacy Brown told Weinstein she could not guarantee his safety while at the school.

“She said people are searching car to car for an individual, and we believe it’s you,” said Weinstein, “That was obviously an alarming call to receive.”

The claim filed against the state alleges the college failed to set or enforce boundaries for protesters, allowed a culture where the protests were tolerated, and it claimed the school was fostering a “racially hostile work and retaliatory environment.”

Weinstein said the college needs to improve security and needs to hold those who do not follow the code of conduct responsible for their actions.

He also said Evergreen needs to protect everyone's freedom of expression.

"It has to be made safe for people to express points of view that are at odds with the conventional wisdom of the moment," said Weinstein.

He does not think those improvements can be made by current president George Bridges.

The college would not comment on the potential lawsuit. 

© 2017 KING-TV


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