Evergreen State College's police chief resigns

Police Chief Stacy Brown has resigned after less than a year on the job at Evergreen State College. From the News Tribune:

“We are very grateful to Chief Brown for the leadership and professionalism she provided to the college throughout the past six months,” Evergreen president George Bridges said in a statement provided to The Olympian. “We wish her all the best.”

The News Tribune doesn’t say exactly why Brown resigned but cites two incidents in which she was targeted by student protesters:

During a May 24 protest, some students held signs that were calling for Brown’s firing…flyers were distributed featuring a cartoon of Brown dressed in a Ku Klux Klan outfit.

May 24th is the day a mob of students showed up at Bret Weinstein’s class and demanded his resignation. The News Tribune published this picture (by writer Lisa Pemberton) of the flyer that was distributed at the time:

The Ku Klux Klan hood is there presumably as a nod to Black Lives Matter which, you may have noticed, is not terribly fond of police officers. Why is Chief Brown depicted in a sexualized pose? That’s less clear though it’s obviously meant to diminish her. Professor Bret Weinstein said at the time that police were ordered to “stand down” by President George Bridges in their response to the protesters:

Videos of the protests that followed the confrontation at Weinstein’s classroom show students demanding that police be unarmed when on campus. At one point, President George Bridges gave into this and asked Chief Brown to come to campus unarmed, fearing the sight of her weapon would further agitate the mob. Bridges later told state lawmakers that was a mistake. “I asked Chief Brown to come without her firearm and that was wrong. And I’ve apologized to her for it,” he said.

The other confrontation between Chief Brown and student protesters took place at Brown’s swearing in ceremony in January. Thurston County Chief Deputy Dave Pearsall described what took place during testimony before state lawmakers:

“Several students, I think there was probably 20 or 30 students there, decided that they were going to get up in front and take over the entire event, with noisemakers, and drums, and horns and the PA,” he said. Pearsall continued, “They actually went and took one of the microphones out of, I believe it was the vice president’s hand, just jerked it out of her hand. They were cursing, saying all kinds of things. It just went on and on. It was complete chaos.

“It got to the point where, after about 15 minutes President Bridges decided that the ceremony wasn’t going to happen. I personally watched some of these students go up to Chief Brown, right up to her face, and call her all kinds of names, cursing at her. As well as, she had her young children with her who were fearful of what was going on.”

Michael Zimmerman, former provost and vice president for student affairs at Evergreen State College added some detail about the protest at Brown’s ceremony in a piece he wrote for Huff Post:

Fast forward to the installation of Evergreen’s new police chief, Stacy Brown, herself a graduate of Evergreen, early in winter quarter. This event, too, was disrupted by students and during the disruption the vice president for student affairs was pushed and a microphone was wrestled from her hands. She was almost knocked to the ground by two students. Because of the way the vice president was treated, disciplinary proceedings commenced against the two students who pushed her. No other student faced disciplinary consequences for the disruption.

After her ceremony was disrupted, Chief Brown told the campus newspaper, “I never would have imagined that would come from the Evergreen State College I mean we’re peaceful, right?” Brown added, ““I didn’t see anything like this when I was here—heated discussions, sure, but they were always civil.” In response, the student paper published a letter attacking Brown with the title “F**k Civility!” A sample:

Brown says that she cannot talk to people who don’t want police at all, painting them as unreasonable, which seems par for the course with the school’s dismissal of the fact that policing is a racist and classist oppressive tool used to keep down and imprison the most vulnerable citizens.

Police services and campus police may argue that campus police are here to help students and are less harmful that other policing institutions. However, even campus police are part of an apparatus that criminalizes and enslaves Black people and those who attempt to take action against white supremacy. This is seen in their cooperation with other law enforcement agencies, in addition to the active role that  Evergreen police have historically taken in repressing students who attempt to change the status quo and social order…

In their choice of Stacy Brown for campus police chief, Evergreen has given power to another white person that as no understanding of racial issues. Brown, and by extension the school, seems to think the white perspective is the only one worth considering, a perspective that this administration is already full of.

I don’t know if Chief Brown is going to sue Evergreen State College, as Bret Weinstein appears poised to, but she clearly was dropped into a terrible situation with no support from the administration.

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David Strom 6:01 AM on June 06, 2023