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Evergreen president sought help for trauma after college’s ‘meltdown,’ Chronicle says

George Bridges, president of The Evergreen State College, speaks at a Senate Law & Justice Committee on Tuesday, June 20. He is joined by Evergreen Police Services chief Stacy Brown and Colleen Rust, director of government relations at the college. Bridges, who was widely criticized for the way he handled the college’s protests and unrest, talks about how he’s coping with trauma from the events in a recent story by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
George Bridges, president of The Evergreen State College, speaks at a Senate Law & Justice Committee on Tuesday, June 20. He is joined by Evergreen Police Services chief Stacy Brown and Colleen Rust, director of government relations at the college. Bridges, who was widely criticized for the way he handled the college’s protests and unrest, talks about how he’s coping with trauma from the events in a recent story by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Staff writer

The recent student unrest and its aftermath at The Evergreen State College in Olympia is the subject of a piece in the most recent edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“A Radical College’s Public Meltdown,” published Friday, goes behind the scenes of the protests, threats and claims of institutional racism that rocked the campus last school year.

The story states that Evergreen hired a crisis-management firm over the summer to help prepare for a major drop in student enrollment. It also talks about how college president George Bridges, who was the target of harsh criticism from all over the country over the way he handled the events, is coping with everything.

Bridges, who has been at the college’s helm since Oct. 1, 2015, said that he began feeling broken during the summer, and was having trouble thinking through problems, making decisions and staying upbeat.

“Something wasn’t working quite right,” Bridges told the Chronicle. “I just didn’t feel right.”

The story states that Bridges started talking to a psychologist, and is still working it out.

“It’s the exposure of your personal character to vilification that is perhaps the hardest piece,” Bridges said. “That’s where the trauma comes from — for me at least. It wasn’t the students. I really believe that.”

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433, @Lisa_Pemberton

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