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Public affairs

Winter 2010

Common cause

For reasons explained later in this issue, I was walking down Pike Street on a beautiful day in July with Rafi Khalil Nasar, an Afghan lawyer. We were just discussing the difference between civil and Shariah law when we came upon a couple of young protesters. They were both holding large posters of President Obama with a Hitler mustache. The male of the pair came up to me and insisted, “Wouldn’t you like to get rid of this jerk?”

Perhaps my reaction was exacerbated by having just listened to a group of idealistic scholars from Afghanistan discuss their efforts to build a society out … » More …

Winter 2010

A Washington sabbatical for Afghan scholars

We’re an Afghan/WSU contingent marching up Western Avenue in Seattle. Four Afghan men, all good friends, are dressed in suits and carrying big bouquets of flowers. They are in a boisterous mood. Not only is it a glorious day, they have WSU-embossed certificates in their non-flower hands and they are going home the next day after a long and productive summer in Pullman.

Azim Emad, Homayun Fazil, Rafi Khalil Nasar, and Sami Wardak, with ten others, have just completed the study abroad portion of their master’s degrees in public administration and public policy from Kabul University, a program that Washington State University helped establish through … » More …

Winter 2009

Paper cuts

Not that many years ago Washington's legislature was covered by more than 30 journalists from around the state. Now that number is eight. The Seattle Times no longer has a bureau on the east side of Lake Washington, and a print Post-Intelligencer no longer exists. Who will give us information and investigation when the papers have all gone? » More ...
Winter 2006

An American in Albania

Adapted from a series of e-mail messages from the author to friends and associates.

Introduction

Since serving three terms as ASWSU president as an undergraduate, I have never lost my passion for the process of student representation. I’ve tried to be a help to as many student leaders as possible, and I have wound up speaking at a lot of conferences around the nation, and even helped found the American Student Government Association (the only professional association for student governments) in 2003.

Earlier this year, I was asked by the State Department to do a speaking/training tour in Albania to assist their effort to create … » More …

Summer 2007

Dana Patterson: The path ahead

Yellow Springs, Ohio, is a small college community with a rich history of social justice. It was a stop on the Underground Railroad and, much later, home to Antioch College, where civil rights activist Coretta Scott King went to school.

Dana Patterson, who completed her doctorate in higher education administration at Washington State University last spring, was seeking a career that would lead her into social justice and human rights activism, when she applied to be first director of the new Coretta Scott King Center at Antioch. Looking at the job description, she realized, “It’s a perfect fit for me in light of what I … » More …

Summer 2007

Fighting for a free press

Brian Schraum ditched school for several days in January. The 19-year-old Washington State University junior wasn’t playing hooky, though. He was testifying in Olympia on behalf of a free-press bill he inspired.

Schraum, a communication major, is trying to protect high school and college newspapers from censorship. House Bill 1307, which Schraum helped Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-Des Moines) craft, would put the full weight of editorial decisions in the hands of the student editors. Even in high schools.

Last year, as editor of the Green River Community College newspaper, Schraum realized that while he had the freedom to print what he chose, that freedom wasn’t … » More …

Spring 2003

Smoke & asthma

For as long as Jami Hinshaw can remember, she has coughed, sneezed, sniffled, and felt miserable every September. When she was nine, the Spokane native and WSU alum was diagnosed with asthma.

Last fall, Hinshaw was fighting her usual symptoms, but she was also carrying a portable air quality monitor in a backpack as part of a study to better understand the health effects of agricultural field burning. Researchers from Washington State University are working with their counterparts from the School of Public Health at the University of Washington to examine volunteers’ exposure levels to atmospheric pollutants coming from field burning in the region.

Controversy … » More …

Winter 2001

State Economy: Across the new divide

Sooner than you think, you’re going to connect those dots and discover the whole state lit up.

THE VARIOUS PEOPLES OF Washington have successfully prevailed over many divides— mountain passes, raging rivers, ocean straits, even cultural differences— that separated comfort and prosperity from isolation and hard times. There were grim consequences to encounters with those divides, and sometimes stuff and people were jettisoned so a few could make it across. We wouldn’t be here at all if we had seriously miscalculated who had the right to survive.

Now, in a techno-economic system constantly challenged to be robust and resilient enough to meet the fiercest global … » More …

Summer 2005

Ruth Bennett: A former 'Youth for Nixon' puts a crimp in Christine Gregoire's majority

The way Ruth Bennett figures it, if the Libertarian Party candidate hadn’t been on Washington’s ballot for governor, Christine Gregoire (D) would have waltzed to an uncontroversial victory.

As it turned out, Gregoire’s winning margin of 129 votes made her contest with Dino Rossi (R) the closest gubernatorial race in state history.

While Bennett (’75 Anthro.) finished a distant third with just more than 2 percent of nearly three million votes cast, her 63,465 total nevertheless was plenty to turn the race into a nail-biter. Her tally shrank Gregoire’s margin of victory nearly 500-fold. By Bennett’s estimate, her campaign nearly cost Gregoire the race.

Conventional … » More …