Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Bring Down the Curtain on Pullman Political Theater

Many Pullman residents will remember the flap earlier this year when two WSU basketball players were accused of racially harassing an Asian-American female student. The players claimed they were simply mimicking a dance from a popular movie. Raucous demonstrations on campus followed, with students pounding on the President’s office door, fliers were distributed denouncing the two players as “racists”, and then there was “Uncelebrate Week,” with its finale “The Tunnel of Oppression” at Beasley Coliseum. A subsequent WSU Office of Student Conduct investigation cleared the two of any wrongdoing.

The Washington State Human Rights Commission released a 102-page report on the incident Tuesday . . According to the report, the incident showed “...an undergraduate penchant for revolutionary drama more than anything else...” The report went further in its indictment of the protesters: "Some students and apparently some of their mentors ... acted in fairly extreme fashion, sometimes with a significant failure of civility..."

The report claimed the "volume and heat" of student rhetoric may have alarmed the Asian-American community more than the facts of the case.

It concluded by rejecting the zero-tolerance and hate-speech policies proposed by some students on First Amendment grounds.

Unfortunately, we have another such troupe playing Pullman: the Pullman Alliance for Responsible Development. The students and professors of PARD share the same penchant for “revolutionary drama” and extremism. I would even be willing to wager that many of them were also involved in the “racism” protests.

The WSU administration is not supporting racism on campus any more than the Pullman City Council is covertly aiding Wal-Mart.

It’s one thing to besmirch the names of two innocent young men, but now the economic future of our town is at stake. It’s time to bring down the curtain on all the political theater in Pullman.

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