College Republicans demanded the dismissal of a WSU professor Tuesday night at a press conference. The group said the professor made inappropriate racial comments towards them.
A little over a month ago the WSU chapter of the College Republicans held a demonstration in support of federal legislation regarding immigration. To make their point they put up a chain link fence on the Glen Terrell Mall.
The demonstration sparked a lot of debate among students and faculty, including alleged comments from Associate Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies John Streamas.
The College Republicans said Streamas referred to them using an expletive in combination with a racial comment about their being "white." Now, they are demanding the University fire Streamas.
"With the support of the Washington State College Republican Federation and the thousands of people who have contacted us from around the country for example, Idaho, New York, North Carolina, people from the University of Idaho, we officially are demanding action be taken,” said Dan Ryder, a chapter member. “We expect a response from the University by the beginning of the 2007 year."
One of the audience members engaged in conversation with the organization's leadership at the press conference. She was critical of signs at the demonstration that carried messages about illegal immigrants not being welcome in the U.S.
“If you guys want to make out those signs not being racial, go ahead,” said Sarah Streets, a WSU junior. “However, some people did see it that way. We also have to think outside of the box and look not only at what we're doing as a collective community, but how it could be hurting somebody. And, we have to take into account other people, other communities, and I don't know who necessarily said it, I don't remember who said it, but it was said. So, two wrongs don't make a right."
Kylie Smith, College Republicans chapter president, said her student group has received tremendous support from those who say this is a matter of first amendment rights and free speech.
"We've received so much response from people nationwide and from the university thanking us for finally speaking out against these teachers, who they feel they have to word an essay a certain way or say certain things in class...that they know is going to be what the teachers would like the response to be,” said Smith. “So, this needs to stop."
Streamas was not available for comment Wednesday.
WSU Director of Media Relations James Tinney said WSU is taking the complaint seriously. He said the school's Center for Human Rights has completed their investigation and are moving forward with options.
Tinney said as an isolated incident, it's unlikely that the comments allegedly made by Streamas would be grounds for his dismissal.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
"WSU College Republicans demand dismissal of professor"
From KLEW TV in Lewiston (after you click on the link, there is a video clip you can watch):