Lawmakers in Washington State are looking to strip funds from Evergreen State College in the wake of chaotic, radical protests and a threat that shut down the campus on Thursday.
"In response to a direct threat to campus safety, the college is closing immediately for the day. All are asked to leave campus or return to residence halls for instructions," the college stated on its website.
This comes on the same day that Republican State Rep. Matt Manweller announced a three-pronged legislative response to recent, extreme demonstrations at the college, which followed one white professor’s refusal to leave campus for a “Day of Absence,” asking all white students and faculty leave the premises for a day.
Manweller introduced a bill to privatize the college over the course of five years. He will also order an investigation into whether any civil rights laws have been violated and push to remove $24 million in capital funding currently allocated under the state budget to Evergreen College.
“Colleges and universities need to be a place that is open to debate and the free exchange of ideas regardless of skin color, religion or ethnicity. Public money should never be spent on institutions that advocate for openly racist policies,” Rep. Manweller said in a statement to FOX Business.
The campus erupted into chaos last week after Professor Bret Weinstein emailed event organizers, indicating he would not exit the premises on the Day of Absence. Traditionally, people voluntarily participating in the activity attended workshops off campus while others remained on site.
“On a college campus, one’s right to speak—or to be—must never be based on skin color,” Weinstein wrote, saying group organizers could take his email as a “formal protest of this year’s structure.”
Since then disturbing videos have been released of students screaming and cursing at administrators, and there have been repeated calls for Weinstein’s resignation, with students asserting his email was racist. Weinstein was told by police last week he was no longer safe on campus and was forced to hold class in a nearby park, according to The Washington Post.
“These students, in their ignorance and anger, are trying to undo the civil rights movement and return us to a Jim Crow era of education policies," Rep. Manweller told FOX Business. "We said no to segregated education 50 years ago and we’re saying no today."
Similar instances of attempts to stifle free speech have taken place at college campuses across the country. One notable instance at Berkeley College earlier this year involved the cancelling of a speech by controversial Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos amid violent protests, which caused President Donald Trump to get involved.
If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
Since then conservative firebrands, like Ann Coulter, have had speeches canceled at venues around the country as well.
This issue has become so widespread, Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust took it up during her commencement address to graduates, saying: “It is not about the freedom to out-shout others while everyone has their fingers in their ears. For free speech to flourish, we must build an environment where everyone takes responsibility for the right not just to speak, but to hear and be heard, where everyone assumes the responsibility to treat others with dignity and respect.”
Evergreen State College did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.