Prior to the Feb. 4 EWU Board of Trustees meeting, two controversial speakers, Ron Jeremy and Ward Churchill, were scheduled to appear on the Cheney campus within the next few months.
Within minutes of the full BOT meeting’s proceedings, only Jeremy’s appearance survived.
Jeremy, the adult film star and director, who will be paid $6,500 to deliver a speech on “Sex and Law,” will appear at EWU, despite protests.
Churchill, an Ethnic Studies professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder who was scheduled to speak April 5 during EWU’s Native American Awareness Week for $3,000, had his invitation to the university rescinded.
Churchill was relatively unknown nationally until Jan. 28, when Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly ran a piece on Churchill’s essay “Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens” which compared “technocrats” who died in the World Trade Center attacks to “Little Eichmanns.”
University Media Campaign Specialist David Rey said that EWU had generated 50 non-threatening e-mails about the two appearances, most dealing with Jeremy’s Feb. 16 arrival.
Jordan, at the board meeting, read a statement about the different options and why the decision was made to invite Jeremy but revoke Churchill’s invitation, saying it was because of safety.
Jordan said that after two bomb threats in the past two academic years, the safety of the students, faculty, staff, administration and Churchill demanded the cancellation of his appearance.
“This is an issue to keep with our police department,” Jordan said later in an interview with The Easterner. “We are trying to look at the broader perspective as well as the environment currently going on in the Northeast.”
Jordan said that the scheduling of future speakers may be affected by the decisions concerning both Jeremy and Churchill.
“Even the student body president came up to me and said we do need to think through ways concerning the nature of speakers,” Jordan said.
Jordan said that Jeremy’s appearance, although not considered as heightened of a threat as Churchill’s, will be altered to broaden the campus debate perspective.
“There will be a panel, which will not include him that will go on later in the day,” Jordan said. “We were very concerned about the lack of balance of the debate on pornography and law. The topic should be discussed on a college campus and done in a balanced-perspective.”
Jordan said that Churchill’s physical presence was out of the question, due to the safety concerns, but Jordan was willing to offer the chance of teleconferencing Churchill in order for the speaker’s lecture to be heard.
“It was something that just came to mind while I was sitting there with the board,” Jordan said. “I mean, we have the technology to do it.”
Jordan’s statement to the campus community can be read in its entirety (see page 7).
Churchill resigned his chairmanship Jan. 31 and the University of Colorado Board of Regents Feb. 3 ordered an investigation into whether or not the professor should be fired for his comments regarding Sept. 11.
EWU’s cancellation marked the third time in a week that Churchill’s lecture invitations have been rescinded. Hamilton College in New York and Wheaton College in Massachusetts have previously cancelled Churchill’s appearances there.
University Director of Public Safety Tom McGill said that no specific threats were made against EWU’s campus appearance of Churchill until the morning of Feb. 4. McGill later said there were several threatening e-mails, amounting to over 100.
The Easterner has learned that EWU faculty received several e-mails, warning that if Churchill’s appearance on campus was not stopped, fundraising dollars could be curtailed as a result.
EWU is currently in the process of starting a $32 million fundraising campaign.
The EWU Faculty Senate has not met on the issue and will not formally meet until Feb. 14.
The EWU BOT listened to public comment for 30 minutes on the topics of both Jeremy and Churchill.
African American Studies Director Nancy Nelson-Fletcher told the BOT that she was disappointed with both decisions.
Jeremy’s scheduled appearance, Nelson-Fletcher said, had overshadowed the events of black history month at the university.
“We had a student at the end of one of our presentations stand up and said we ‘only showed the bad side of slavery,’” Nelson-Fletcher said. “It shows how important the work that we do really is.”
Adjunct professor Kevin Shipman read an opinion piece to the BOT by Churchill that was published Jan. 31 in The Rocky Mountain News and clarified some of the misconceptions that Churchill said were made about his comments regarding 9/11.
Churchill’s statement said that the “technocrats of empire” who worked in the WTC were the equivalent of “little Eichmanns,” who were targeted legitimately by Allies in WWII.
“The bottom line of my argument is that the best and perhaps only way to prevent 9/11-style attacks on the U.S. is for American citizens to compel their government to comply with the rule of law,” Shipman read from Churchill’s statement. “The lesson of Nuremberg is that this is not only our right, but our obligation. To the extent we shirk this responsibility, we, like the ‘Good Germans’ of the 1930s and ‘40s, are complicit in its actions and have no legitimate basis for complaint when we suffer the consequences. This, of course, includes me, personally, as well as my family, no less than anyone else.”
Penny Lancaster, an EWU alumna, said to the BOT that she wanted Jeremy’s appearance canceled out of concern for the safety of the women on campus.
“There is good reason to cancel Ron Jeremy as there was to cancel Ward,” Lancaster said. “It will create a hostile environment for rape and sexual harassment. Pornography is a cause or factor in rape crime, and it sends a message of bigotry and jeopardizes the safety of women and the reputation of the university.”
Michael Finley, a graduate student in the History Department, said to the BOT that Churchill’s appearance was important to the Native students and education of Native American ethnicity to others.
“He is a scholarly individual,” Finley said. “We don’t make up a majority of the population. We have a small voice. He’s that voice.”
Scott Wheat, an attorney and adjunct faculty for the American Indian Studies Program, said to the BOT that he agreed with Jordan on a university’s role in the matters of free speech, but not the decision to cancel Churchill’s appearance.
“I appreciate President Jordan’s belief in free speech in academia,” Wheat said. “When it comes to political discourse, that is at the core of the highly protected speech in this country.”Wheat said that Churchill’s cancellation was a problematic lesson that the university might end up teaching its students about the limits of free speech through the threat of violence.
“It sends a message to the students that death threats can stifle free speech,” Wheat said. “Generalized concerns are not good enough for canceling him. Academia is an area where this type of speech is expressed.”
Anthony Marler, 35, a graduate student in the Social Work Program, said to the BOT that bringing Jeremy to campus undermined the integrity of the program.
“By bringing him to the university, it’s a joke,” Marler said. “Bringing it up as a women’s issue is a joke.”
American Indian Studies Program Director Deidre Almeida said to the BOT that she had been the contact responsible for arranging Churchill’s appearance on campus.
“People don’t always agree with Mr. Churchill,” Almeida said. “It is difficult to be a minority in your own homeland.”
Almeida said she uses Churchill’s writings in her teachings.
“I have yet to see an evaluation from my course that has a hostile response to the readings,” Almeida said. “Ward Churchill is someone we can look up to. Ward Churchill can go toe-to-toe with any scholar out there.”
Almeida said to the BOT that Churchill’s lecture was not on the recent controversy surrounding the 9/11 attacks.
“He was coming here to talk about Native American activism,” Almeida said. “I would still love to see Professor Churchill come to our campus.”
BOT student representative Katie Moffitt said to the BOT that she supported Jordan’s decision on the two appearances.
“While understanding the benefit scholastically on our campus, I support their decision,” Moffitt said. “As far as Ron Jeremy goes, I don’t know if that was the best decision made by the students to bring him here.”
BOT member Jo Ann Kauffman said to the BOT that she hoped that Jordan’s decision was not an overreaction to what she considered media hype of Churchill.
“It was my trust in President Jordan that there are specific threats here at Eastern,” Kauffman said. “Without clear and specific threats at EWU, it does appear to be a reaction to the very hyped, vague threats in the media.”
Kauffman said that the vague threats of violence should not eliminate Churchill’s opportunity to speak.
“It wouldn’t have been my choice to schedule Jeremy during Violence Against Women Week,” Kaufman said, citing evidence linking pornography and violence against women. “Are we going to start to really hear from other views now, like ‘smoking doesn’t cause cancer?’ Salman Rushdie is coming to speak, and there have been threats against him in the past. If there are no clear, specific threats at Eastern, we should reconsider this.”
BOT members Neil McReynolds, Bertha Ortega, Paul Tanaka, Ines Zozaya-Geist, Kris Mikkelsen and Gordon Budke each said that they supported Jordan’s decision on the two speaking appearances.
Budke said that he had originally been scheduled to attend the BOT meeting via phone line, but the importance of his physical presence made him travel through the night to attend the BOT meeting in person.
Budke said that he had sympathy for the weight of Jordan’s decision.
“I spent eight hours in taxi cabs and on airlines to be here today,” Budke said. “It’s not easy for him. It’s not easy for us.”
In other BOT meeting news:
-The BOT recognized three Faculty Fellows: Susan Sterns, Galina Sinekopova and Sue Wright. Jordan said would help the university’s development academically.
“It will help energize the ‘change’ agenda here at EWU,” Jordan said. “The people awarded these fellows have really brought credibility to the process.”
-Local 931 Staff Union President Michael Nelson said that there was not much of an update on the state legislature’s review of employee union contracts.“Right now, we’re waiting to see what the state legislature’s going to do, whether they are going to take a look at the contracts together or separately,” Nelson said.
-ASEWU President Travis Nichols said that he was happy with the results of the Jan. 21 special election.
“UW’s council president said that their highest vote was 13 percent,” Nichols said.
Nichols said that the planned Higher Education Day Feb. 15 was going according to schedule.
“We plan to have the largest showing of EWU students that Olympia has even seen to date,” Nichols said.
Nichols said that ASEWU was currently working through financial matters, including trying to deal with staff payroll due to minimum wage increases and retaining the Spokane Transit Authority Ridership program.
-The history and naming of Tawanka Commons was addressed by University Archivist Charles Mutschler, who said that Tawanka fits into a long-standing tradition of looking at strong role models for women.
The Tawanka Commons was constructed from 1962-1965.
“Sacajawea had become something of a role model for early feminists,” Mutschler said. “The class of 1916 bought the statue that sits in the Showalter lobby because they were so impressed with Sacajawea.”
The Tawanka women’s service group was founded in 1926, Mutschler said.
Nothing in the 1926 newspaper mentioned why the name “Tawanka” was selected for the women’s service group, Mutschler said.
Mutschler said he believes the name may have come from Professor Cecil Pearl Dryden, who had lived in the Dakotas. The name “Tawanka” was discovered by Mutschler to be a word in the Dakota language meaning “willing to do,” although there is no local connect to the use of of the word “Tawanka.”
Alumni Relations Director Angela Brown said that the Tawanka alumni group recently celebrated their 75th year anniversary and had a $45,000 fund balance, which they continue to distribute to EWU students in the form of scholarships.
“The Tawankas did inquire at their meeting last December about where the plaque that used to be in the dining hall, describing their origins, had been placed,” Brown said.
BOT member Kauffman said she was satisfied with the documentation performed by Mutschler on the history of the name of the dining hall.
“But maybe we shouldn’t refer to it as an Indian word, but as a Dakota word,” Kauffman said. “It may stop some of the issues some Native students have.”
President Jordan praised Mutschler’s efforts on the research of the Tawanka name.
“I never cease to be amazed at the vast amount of what seems like useless knowledge that Charlie has,” Jordan said.
Director of Development Phil Akers said that a new naming policy was currently being developed for the university.
Akers said he wanted to ensure that the policy would have flexibility for the BOT.
“To date, no buildings have been looked at for the purposes of naming them after philanthropy except for Cheney Hall,” Akers said.
Business and Finance
The EWU BOT Business and Finance Committee discussed the proposed rec center with presenters Associate Vice President of Business Services Rick Romero and Jason Clerget Feb. 4.
Romero said that he wanted to give assurance to the BOT that though emotions were involved, they could not go forward without the BOT, and there was still a lot of information to develop.
Romero said the rec center project would be developed like Brewster Hall and the Brewster Hall II additions, trying to understand what the BOT needs in order to move forward.
The biggest piece, Romero said, would come from a cost benefit analysis where there would be more estimates, rather than assumptions, that could be presented to the BOT at the May 20 meeting.
“We want to give the benefit side of the challenge more, dealing with the competitive advantage and retention of students,” Romero said. “We want to give you more in May than we can right now.”
In order to really measure the costs of the project, Romero said that the project would need to go through a bid process, which was non-committal, but would give guidance to the eventual look and feel of the rec center itself.
“There are two types of ways we could do this,” Romero said. “Either through a design, bid, build phase where we spend the money for full design, $1 million-$2 million to develop the documents, then bid it out to see if it can be built. The process takes an additional nine-to-10 months longer, and that is the way capital projects are usually done.”
Romero said the alternative was called design and build.
“It’s what we can get for our money,” Romero said. “Really its a measure of what we get for $20 million because it is a specialized project, and we would enter the value engineering stage. Seeing how much it would cost with the sky-walk or other amenities.”
Romero said that future enrollment would not have to be higher in order for the proposed extra student fee rate to pay for the rec center’s creation and continued operation.
“It’s built into the budget right now,” Romero said. “It’s not based on recruitment or retention of new students.”
Romero said that the parking structure next to the rec center was part of the university’s 50/50 split with the students on the payment of the facility.
“As far as the parking piece, it is predicated as part of the university’s role in a partnership with the students more than a sole student investment,” Romero said.
Mary Voves, vice president of University Business and Finance, said that the parking piece of the rec center project was necessary due to Cheney city ordinances on new facility creation.
“The parking requirements by Cheney of new buildings means that we have to add new spaces every time a new facility is built,” Voves said. “We have to include parking as a part of any new building.”
Voves said that the fee put in place to pay for the structure would probably never be eliminated.
“The student fee would be in place as long as students enjoy use of the facility,” Voves said. “But once the debt is paid off, then the S&A committee can vote to eliminate it. However, by that time, maintenance costs and a reinvestment in the facility after the debt leaves may result in the continuation of the fee’s existence.”
Voves said that the main contractor on the rec center would most likely come from outside the Inland Northwest, which does not have a long-standing record of developing such buildings.
Voves said that only a few firms in Seattle or Portland had any type of experience with athletic facility creation at all.
Voves said she was unwilling to accept any firm as the main contractor that did not have a lot of experience, but she would consider and possibly require local subcontractors for the project.
BOT Chairman Gordon Budke said that the locality of the contractor may become an issue, especially with EWU’s current development efforts.
“I’m concerned about the heat we take from having an architect from Poughkeepsie, a builder from Oshkosh. Is there any way to give points to local firms?” Budke said. “We’re going into a $32 million fundraising campaign. If we start shopping in Wisconsin, that’s not going to look good.”
BOT Vice Chair Kris Mikkelsen said she also had concerns about the perception of local firms not being used to build the project.
BOT member Ines Zozaya-Geist questioned why the CAPS Health & Wellness fee increase proposed last year was not seen as important by the students as the proposed rec center project.
“How are students perceiving the rec center, but not the Health & Wellness fee, as beneficial,” Zozaya-Geist said.
President Stephen Jordan said that the ways in which the rec center and Health & Wellness fee were developed made students respond in entirely different ways.
“From day one, the rec center has been a grassroots campaign,” Jordan said. “This project was never pushed from the administration down, that makes for distinct differences because CAPS was from a program, discussed by a small group of students in ASEWU and won by a narrow vote there.”
BOT member and chair of the Business and Finance Committee Paul Tanaka said that EWU now had a social contract with the students on the $55 proposed fee.
“Students voted for a $55 fee, assumptions were made on what it would be,” Tanaka said. “We have a social contract with the students at $55.”
In other Business and Finance Committee news:
-Voves explained the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which was not legally required for the university to adopt, but was accepted as good practice.
“We don’t currently have a code of ethics with officials,” Voves said. “It is recommended that we have everyone sign a code of ethics down to the dean’s level, because they manage large amounts of money.”
Voves said that while no one was going to be against a code of ethics, there might be some individual hesitation from those asked to sign it. Voves said that there was also a recommendation to change the identification of the committee to Finance, Audit and Business.
-The committee was also given an update on the university audit by the State Auditor’s Office and an update on the Audits of Auxiliary Funds by LeMaster and Daniels. The State Auditor’s Office found few issues, mainly concerning what might become future problem areas such as the cash handling at The Bookstore and Dining Services.
Tanaka then cleared the room of everyone except the BOT members and State Auditor’s Office in order to discuss the details of the state audit.
-The 2005 Second Quarter Financial Statements were explained by Associate Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Toni Habegger, who said that tuition revenue was on target and “right now, we’re in the ballpark for expenditures.”
Habegger said that the work force construction fund was still struggling with excess cost, but was expected to recoup by the end of the year to at least break even.
-Internal Audit Director Rebecca Greene provided an update on the Internal Audit Plan and listed areas which had been scheduled for an internal audit but had not been audited recently. Greene said that the Grants Office, EWU Athletic Ticket Office, Asian University Americas Program and Key Shop were scheduled for an internal audit.
“With the Key Shop, it impacts the whole campus because of the control over keys,” Greene said.
The long range plan of the Internal Audit is to have a five-year-plan, some of which is already underway, Greene said.
Greene said that she did have funds available for a work-study student in her office if she needed extra office support.
-Associate Vice President of Facilities Shawn King presented the Capital Projects that the university was already undertaking.
King said that Senior Hall is on schedule along with the Computing & Science Building because Cheney had experienced a mild winter.
“The Senior Hall project is moving along very well, but the Well Project is on hold,” King said.
The Washington State Patrol crime lab was expected to be occupied March 1, with only minor delays for the WSP with subcontractors. King said that 100 percent of the Capital Funds had been assigned to projects as the university looked toward the end of the biennium coming up soon.
Voves said that King had performed several tasks without a director of architecture at the university, and that hopefully a search to fill that position would happen soon.
Voves said that the university included in its master plan update some architectural standards regarding the brick surfacing seen at Showalter and Sutton Hall, in order to maintain a historical theme on the university campus. Voves said that she had been talked into the introduction of the limestone surface at the Computing & Science Building.
Tanaka said that there were other choices that the university could have made which would not have met his personal approval.
“I’m glad you didn’t pick the Leavenworth Bavarian-look,” Tanaka said, joking.
Student Affairs Committee met Feb. 3, focusing on sharing the interpretations of the EWU Campus Climate Survey that was administered spring quarter 2004.
This meeting was one of two that will be held about the results of the survey. There was a lot of time, effort and expertise involved in the survey, and it resulted in a lot of data, which is why the interpretations were broken up in two sessions. The next session is scheduled to be held May 20, and it will focus on issues specific to diversity and will also compare the outcomes of this survey to the one that was conducted in the 1990s.
There were three versions of the survey, one of each for faculty, staff and students and they focused on the following eight areas of investigation: why they chose EWU, student (faculty or staff) life, interactions with students (faculty and staff), campus administrative leadership, the surrounding community, campus image, campus experiences and satisfaction with the campus.
The questions were formed to look largely at perceptions, and they did not focus on the actual behaviors.
The survey did not get enough of a response (only 24 percent of faculty, 26 percent of staff and 8.8 percent of students responded) to be published, but it is still being looked at because it is some sort of a response.
The low response rate made the administrators of the survey ask why it was so low. They came to the conclusion that most people did not fill it out because it was too long, and there was not enough of an incentive for them to take the time to do it.
Some people did not complete the survey and handed it in with their comments as to why they did not participate. Some comments that were received said that the survey was not very well done, the questions were confusing and misleading, some thought the length was excessive, some thought it was a waste of money saying they should focus on academics rather than the survey, and some people were even offended by the questions that were being asked.
Through the student responses, there were five clear patterns emerging. Students wanted the understanding of “diversity” to be expanded to include multiple dimensions of difference (the survey only took color into account). They wanted the academic rigor and student-centered learning focus to be maintained, all reports of discriminations to be taken seriously and addressed and have support for victims improved. They want more opportunities to be provided to learn from shared diverse experiences in and out of the classroom, and relationships to be improved in the surrounding communities.
There were also general themes that came from faculty and staff responses. They included the expansion of “diversity” understanding, some thought diversity was not an issue and other things should be focused on such as more support for and expansion of existing programs and initiatives, expanded opportunities for competence training and social interaction, diversity initiative funds and rewards to be connected to departmental efforts, and a place established for diversity-based discussions, gatherings and work.
The meeting also touched on the six stages of intercultural sensitivity: denial, defense, minimization, acceptance, adaptation and integration. The responses on the survey concluded that all six stages are fully integrated at EWU, and the goal is to get people to move from denial through integration, because no real progress can be made until, as a group, they are past the first three stages.
The next steps to take with the survey were also discussed at the meeting, and the first is to organize results into a narrative format with an executive summary that will include sections of reports of specific incidents of discriminations and recommendations for remedial action.
The Academic Affairs committee met Feb. 3 to discuss the university’s Academic Strategic Plan and its progress.
Provost Brian Levin-Stankevich updated the committee on the progress for a Faculty Fellow of Diversity.
The FFD would be a two-year appointment to provide institutional support to further diversity in and through the academic activities of the university. The FFD would also be responsible for implementing the BOT Diversity Initiative, help recruit and retain a diverse faculty and fulfill diversity goals involving curriculum and programs embodied in the Academic Strategic Plan.
“We also recognize that we don’t have a large pool on campus to choose from,” Levin-Stankevich said. “We have looked at the idea of naming a fellow off campus, but would like to see a faculty member from the university take that position.”
Though an actual presentation will be made to the BOT at their May 20 meeting, Levin-Stankevich said that he was preparing to publish an advertisement for the FFD in the next Chronicle of Higher Education.
BOT member and Academic Affairs Chair Bertha Ortega said that EWU should consider outside applications for the FFD position because of the impact they might have on the university.
“People from outside have a little more power to make change happen than someone already in the university,” Ortega said.
Other Academic Affairs Committee news:
-The Provost’s Assessment & Accountability Committee, Levin-Stankevich said, had started to address university-wide assessment, tied with the goals of the Academic Strategic Plan.
“It’s coming together for us,” Levin-Stankevich said. “We are currently aligning standards of accountability so we can begin to narrow down our outcomes. Results of that measurement will help us achieve our goal.”
-Levin-Stankevich said that EWU Administrative Director Ruth Galm was currently trying to develop a relationship with historically African American and Hispanic colleges and universities in order to create a pipeline of faculty diversity.
-Along with an upgrade of the Blackboard system, Levin-Stankevich said