He had objected to a college-sponsored Day of Absence on April 10, when white students, faculty, and staff had been encouraged to make themselves scarce on campus. The funniest—and also the saddest—of the videos might be called the Homework Video, or perhaps the Gumbo Video.
This video was excised from You Tube for violating the site's "harassment and bullying" policy after protesters complained it had been selectively edited to make them look like harassers and bullies. Viewed more than 86,000 times on You Tube, it recorded the events of a May 24 meeting with Bridges in his office, which the protesters had invaded and taken over, blocking the exits while some of them checked their phones and helped themselves to what appeared to be university-supplied pizza as they sat at the college president's conference table.
If a photo posted on Instagram is to be taken at face value, it has also meant wielding baseball bats and posing ominously on the balconies of student apartments.
The videos, made on the phones of Evergreen State students, were ubiquitous as the activities of the 200 or so protesters culminated in a literal shutdown of the college (Evergreen State suspended operations from the afternoon of June 1 to the afternoon of June 5, even though it had been scheduled to hold the last of its spring-term classes on those days, after someone made a 911 call threatening to shoot up the campus with a .44 Magnum).
Evergreen's likely most famous graduate is Matt Groening (class of 1977), creator of .
Brock Adams, maintaining that the Washington Democrat had sexually assaulted her in 1987.
Bridges countered that the University of Chicago was simply "tone deaf to the academic and developmental needs of many students." The Evergreen State protesters at the May 24 meeting, munching their pizza slices while a jacketless, white-shirted Bridges stood abjectly before them holding a multipage list of their written demands, clearly regarded such solicitude for their sensibilities as so much contemptible weakness. A male student standing behind Bridges informed him that if he didn't respond to the occupying students' list by 5 p.m. A knot of students on the other side of the table turned that into a chant: "We want gumbo! (The best-known of these colleges is the University of California, Santa Cruz, founded in 1965.) Many of the nontraditional colleges, including Evergreen, quickly became known as "hippie colleges" because they tended, as they still do, to attract a distinctly nontraditional student body.
The meeting opened with this exchange between a female protester and Bridges: "All of us are students and have homework and projects and things due. I have not done it yet, I will do it right now." "So they need to be told that these assignments won't be done on time, and we don't need to be penalized for that." Jeers and general derision followed, as Bridges tried to shush them with his free hand and make himself heard. I have claustrophobia." That psychological condition might have resonated with the high achievers at Whitman. that Friday, May 26, "you need to pay for a potluck." Bridges was amenable to that order, too: "We'll be paying for a potluck anyway," he replied. Evergreen, for example, proudly bills itself as "progressive" on its website.
(Corrie had been in Gaza as part of a senior-year independent study project and had joined a protest group that positioned its members in front of bulldozers destroying houses that the Israelis said were used as cover to shoot at their troops and smuggle arms.) Evergreen's commencement speaker in 1999 was Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted in 1982 of murdering a Philadelphia police officer.
Mumia, on death row at the time (prosecutors have since agreed to let him serve a life term without parole), delivered his 13-minute speech from behind bars.