Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, November 16, 2006

" Heated debate: WSU argues over fence demonstration"

From This was KREM 2's Top Story at 6:00 tonight:
Video here

PULLMAN, WA -- Students and staff on the Washington State University campus are in an uproar over free speech, a fence, and illegal immigration.

Earlier this month, the organization WSU College Republicans erected a 24-foot chain-length fence along the Glenn Terrell Mall, located at the center of the WSU campus. Members say the fence represents a similar fence planned by the Bush administration along the U.S.-Mexico border designed to keep out illegal immigrants. Members say they support the effort to stop illegal immigration into the U.S.

Some students and faculty say the fence display is offensive and should be taken down. On November 2nd, Comparative Ethnic Studies assistant professor John Streamus engaged in a debate with members, and allegedly called one of them a "white s---bag." KREM 2 News spoke with Streamus by phone, he says he regrets the comment but believes the demonstration is racist.

WSU administrators say Streamus is not facing any disciplinary action at this time. Officials say they are committed to keeping WSU "a place where people can exercise their free speech rights without fear of harassment or intimidation."

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