Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Rawlins Doctrine

Here is the story from Spokane TV station KREM last week on WSU President Rawlins' new definition of free speech: Using a racial epithet once in the heat of an argument is okay, just don't do something else "bold or offensive" that doesn't involve words. So I wonder who will be the first faculty member to use the N-word and test out the Rawlins Doctrine? I would expect the CES Department to be the first to leap to their defense.

Combined with the "Passion of the Musical" flap last year, Rawlins is leaving quite a legacy at WSU.
PULLMAN, Wash. -- Washington State University President Lane Rawlins tells KREM 2 news a professor who used a racially-vulgar term when arguing with a student over a political demonstration faces a reprimand, but will continue teaching.

Professor John Streamas argued with members of the College Repubicans on November 2nd, taking issue with a fence they put up on the busy Glenn Terrell mall in the middle of campus. The College Republicans said the 24-foot, chain-link fence was meant as a show of support the Bush administration's plan for a border fence between the U.S. and Mexico.

Professor Streamas said the fence was a racist symbol, and that many students on campus, especially minorities, saw it as threatening and insulting. As the argument escalated, Professor Streamas uttered the words "white s***bag" in front of one of the students. Speaking with KREM 2 News on Friday, Rawlins said, "his comments were totally inappropriate, and I think he knows that." But Rawlins said Streamas would not be terminated, "One utterance of a faculty member in the heat of discussion is not the kind of thing for which you terminate someone. But we are looking at reprimands, at whether this is a pattern of behavior."

Rawlins also said the fence presented problems, "We want to encourage the young people that if they're really interested in constructive dialogue, perhaps the best way to start it is not to do something quite as bold and offensive as just building a fence in the middle of the campus."

Video of the incident was featured on the video-posting website You Tube, and was the focus of a segment on the Fox News program "Hannity and Colmes". Streamas teaches in WSU's department of Comparative Ethnic Studies
The video of the interview is here.

1 comment:

H. Lewis Smith said...


Los Angeles, CA., - Author H. Lewis Smith has written a thought provoking, culturally divided book that will not only spark heated conversation, but can also bring about real change. The N-word is often used in the African American community amongst each other and is generally not a problem when spoken by another African American. However, once the word is used by a Caucasian person, it brings on other effects. The question is "who can use the word and why?" Smith believes it is a word that should be BURIED!!!!

The book is written in a manner that all can understand. The points are well-taken and the wording is easy to follow. There are quotes from great people in our history including Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman, James Baldwin and many, many others. Smith has mixed history with honesty, love with life, education with effects. This is a great book for educators, parents, managers, professionals, newsmen, and anyone else wanting an in-depth look at the N-word, the effects and the solutions. A MUST READ!!!!

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