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As New Threat Briefly Closes Evergreen State, Students Rip Legislation That Would Cut Its Funding

Updated (6/5/2017, 6:37 p.m.) with news of the campus’s reopening.

A student-government organization in Washington State on Monday condemned proposed legislation that would strip state funding from Evergreen State College, an institution embroiled in student protests and allegations of racism.

The statement was issued by the Washington Student Association, which represents college students statewide, on the same day that classes at Evergreen were canceled for a third weekday in a row so local law-enforcement officials could “review new external threat information received over the weekend.” The campus reopened Monday afternoon, and classes and activities resumed.

In its statement, the student association addressed the recent allegations of racism and the student protests that at times have disrupted classes or forums. The group also said the move to strip Evergreen State of public funding could harm students, and it defended the right of students to protest. “This legislation was a myopic and disingenuous response,” the statement says. “Further, this legislation is counterproductive as it sets a limit on students’ constitutional rights to free speech, rather than addressing the root causes of student concerns.”

The lawmaker who introduced the bill, Rep. Matt Manweller, a Republican, said in a news release that Washington could focus on other state institutions, and “we should not be spending taxpayer dollars on a public institution that condones and encourages this type of behavior.”

The campus briefly reopened over the weekend, but administrators announced the Monday shutdown on Sunday night. A spokesman said late Monday that the campus had reopened at 3 p.m. that day. This week is the institution’s last week of classes for the quarter. A spokesman for the college, Zach Powers, said the administration would announce later on Monday if classes would resume on Tuesday.

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