An Olympia man has filed a proposed initiative to the Legislature to rename The Evergreen State College “The Evergreen State Social Justice Warrior PC Indoctrination Compound.”
Open government activist Arthur West filed Initiative Measure 953 on July 5, according to a bill request posted by the Secretary of State’s Office. Its title is “Rationalization of Higher Education.”
West has made a career of challenging governments in public meeting and public records cases. Last September, he lost an appeal of a public records lawsuit against Evergreen, in which he alleged the college withheld records from him and “improperly used police power” to keep him off campus in May 2010.
But he’s had success, too. In March, West won $15,000 in a lawsuit over city of Puyallup and the Open Meetings Act. He said he also recently won $43,800 in a public records case against the city of Tacoma.
On Tuesday, West told The Olympian he thinks the recent protests over racial tension and other activities on the campus should be “subject to ridicule and parody.”
“Part of what I did was to highlight just how ridiculous things are getting up at that college,” West said. “I think the conduct I’ve seen via the videos and read about is so over the top that I don’t think we ought to take it seriously.”
When asked if he ever attended Evergreen, West chuckled and said, “A long time ago.” He said he supports many of the students’ issues, such as fighting racism, but said he felt their actions were “counter effective to advocacy.”
West also said he supports Evergreen faculty member Bret Weinstein who turned to conservative media to criticize the way college officials handled unrest at the school.
“People who supported Bernie Sanders are not the enemy,” West said. “Donald Trump? I can see. He’s a racist. Bret Weinstein? Not so much.”
The initiative calls for the college to change its logo and seal to a “likeness of a young anarchist in a brown shirt, hobnailed jack boots, and a black face mask and hood.” It says the figure should be “vigorously trampling” upon the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.
West said he doubts he’ll be able to collect the nearly quarter-million signatures that are required to get the initiative on November’s ballot.
Still, he plans to give it the old college try. He said he’s working with a cartoonist to design a logo and plans to print some petitions for people to use if they want to help collect signatures.
“I imagine east of the mountains people will be more receptive of the message,” West said.
When asked if Evergreen officials would like to comment on the initiative, college spokesman Zach Powers said, “No thank you.”
Erich Ebel, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office, provided the following statistics on citizen-proposed legislation:
▪ Of the 1,576 initiatives to the people filed in state history, 589 didn’t submit signatures before the deadline, and 22 were submitted with insufficient signatures.
▪ Of the 954 initiatives to the Legislature filed in state history, 175 didn’t submit signatures and six were submitted with insufficient signatures.
▪ Of the 74 referendum measures filed in Washington State history, 17 didn’t submit signatures and two were submitted without enough signatures.