MORRIS PLAINS, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Morris Plains, New Jersey man was arrested Monday on accusations that he called in telephone threats to a college in Washington state.
Robert W. Kerekes Jr., 53, was arrested Monday and was charged with making terroristic threats, criminal coercion, and false public alarm, according to the Morris County Prosecutor’s office.
The charges stem from telephone threats made on last month against Evergreen State College. The threats caused a shutdown of the college on June 2 and 3, and resulted in the response of numerous state and local police agencies.
The threats followed protests over a white professor opposing an April event in which organizers asked white students to leave campus to talk about race issues. It’s a reversal from the longstanding annual “Day of Absence,” in which minorities traditionally attend programs off campus.
Biology professor Bret Weinstein, who has taught at Evergreen for 15 years, wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal saying he was called a racist because he had “challenged coercive segregation by race.”
Weinstein said a group encouraging another group to go away was “an act of oppression in and of itself,” The News Tribune reported. Evergreen State said participation has always been optional.
“White students have never been required to leave campus, for Day of Absence, or any Evergreen activity,” the college said.
Advocates say the effort helps increase social awareness, but critics call it divisive.
Some students called for Weinstein to resign, and conservative media pointed to the furor as an example of intolerance on college campuses, where protests have derailed multiple appearances by controversial figures.
Morris County Prosecutors did not identify any motive for the alleged threat by Kerekes.
“This is an active investigation and there is no additional information for release at this time,” prosecutors said in a news release.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)