November 25th, 2015
Western Students Respond to Threats of Violence and Lack of Safety by University Authorities
Bellingham, WA- Responding to threats of violence and misrepresentations in multiple media outlets, students most affected by the recent violence at Western Washington University will make a public statement at 10am on Wednesday, November 25th. Supportive members of the Western and Bellingham communities invite the press to join us at the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center for this statement at 10AM.
WHAT: Press conference to present public statement from Western Students about recent violence at Western Washington University
WHERE: Whatcom Peace and Justice Center, 1220 Bay St Bellingham, WA
WHEN: Wednesday November 25th at 10AM PT
WHO: Western WA University Students, communities of color leaders and supporters
Beginning with a series of racist comments posted online in response to inaccurate reports filed about Western’s mascot, the campus has been shaken by an escalating series of threats that resulted in the cancellation of classes on November 24th. Social media posts have included threats of both sexual violence and gun violence directed at students of color as a whole and against individual women of color who serve as campus leaders. These student leaders were rebuffed in their attempts to seek aid from campus law enforcement on the night of November 23rd and are asking the public to hold Western accountable for keeping students safe.
President Shepard’s widely quoted statement has established a false impression that the issue is being resolved and that students feel safe. As these students will attest, there are ongoing concerns about these students’ safety both on and off campus. We strenuously object to President Shepard’s characterization of this situation as “no threat to general campus safety” as if the young women under threat are not integral members of our campus community. This incident is not an aberration on this campus or for other students of color on college campuses across the country. On the other hand, we agree that this campus must “plan responses that will make us stronger.” Listening to these students will be a crucial first step towards that desired strength.