The Daily Evergreen

A semester in review: eight memorable stories

WSU Provost Dan Bernardo and WSU President Kirk Schulz speak at a “Drive to 25” Town Hall on Sept. 5. 
The administration has asked colleges across campus to reduce spending by 2.5 percent for the year.

WSU Provost Dan Bernardo and WSU President Kirk Schulz speak at a “Drive to 25” Town Hall on Sept. 5. The administration has asked colleges across campus to reduce spending by 2.5 percent for the year.

ZACH RUBIO | Daily Evergreen File

ZACH RUBIO | Daily Evergreen File

WSU Provost Dan Bernardo and WSU President Kirk Schulz speak at a “Drive to 25” Town Hall on Sept. 5. The administration has asked colleges across campus to reduce spending by 2.5 percent for the year.


Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Performing Arts, spending cut to eliminate deficit

After WSU overspent its budget by roughly $30 million for several years, WSU President Kirk Schulz proposed a plan to eliminate the university’s deficit by cutting each unit’s budget 2.5 percent.

The plans include cutting some programs and employees funded through reserves. This led to the Performing Arts program being cut and elimination of temporary retention counselor positions in the Office of Multicultural Student Services. Amid outrage over the cuts, Student Affairs has found funding to cover retention counselor jobs.

Schulz justified cutting Performing Arts because the program has spent $1.6 million of the university’s reserves since 2011 and has never had permanent funding.

The College of Arts and Sciences will reduce spending by $1.2 million in fiscal year 2018. The College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences will reduce its spending by about $920,000. The Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture will also reduce some research and teaching assistant stipends.

Other departments and colleges are focusing on reducing travel expenses and nonessential operations, and all will keep vacant positions open unless filling them is critical.

CAHNRS college’s ‘culture of retaliation’

Robert Wielgus, a WSU wolf researcher, filed an ethics complaint against the university earlier this year, saying WSU violated his academic freedom and suppressed his research.

The conflict arose when Wielgus publicly criticized a rancher for not doing enough to avoid conflicts between his cattle and wolves. WSU disavowed Wielgus’ statements, saying they were inaccurate and inappropriate.

The university launched an investigation into Wielgus’ conduct, though he was later cleared of wrongdoing.

A public employee advocacy group later filed ethics complaints against Rep. Joel Kretz on behalf of Wielgus, saying that he threatened to withhold WSU funding if the university did not silence Wielgus.

Numerous other researchers in the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences have since come forward, describing a culture of retaliation in the college and saying administrators have used annual performance evaluations to undermine academic freedom, and sometimes force faculty to leave the university.

WSU, community leaders travel to American Samoa

University officials traveled to American Samoa in August in an attempt to connect with marginalized student populations.

Though the university denied a correlation, the trip followed a contentious year for WSU’s relationship with Pacific Islander students. Several groups accused the university and local police of targeting football players from that region.

WSU President Kirk Schulz, former WSU football player Jack Thompson, Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins and Vice President of Student Affairs Mary Jo Gonzales visited Samoa on Aug. 23 for five days.

For Schulz alone, the trip cost about $6,500. Vice President of Marketing and Communication Phil Weiler said the WSU Foundation, not tuition and tax revenues, fund trips like this.

Many students say they have yet to feel any changes from the trip, and that it has not impacted campus culture.

College Republicans criticized after former pres. attends rally

After former WSU College Republicans President James Allsup attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, free speech and campus climate concerns again rose to the forefront at WSU.

Many called for Allsup to be expelled from the university. WSU President Kirk Schulz condemned Nazism and racism, but did not mention Allsup in a series of tweets and a letter to campus after the rally occurred.

Allsup resigned from his position as club president and president of the state group as well. Nick Gervasini, a junior at Gonzaga University, replaced Allsup as leader of the Washington College Republicans Federation, and Amir Rezamand replaced him as the WSU club’s president.

After Allsup resigned, members of the Washington Legislature sent a letter to Schulz requesting the university revoke the club’s status after Allsup’s attendance at the “Unite the Right” rally.

Despite requests to do so, the university has not revoked the College Republicans’ status as a Registered Student Organization.

Most recently, the club attempted to re-elect Allsup as chapter president. The chapter adviser and WSU Student Involvement later voided it due to RSO rules. Allsup would not be able to hold the position, as this was his final semester at WSU.

ASWSU petitions changes to Athletics’ recruitment policy

ASWSU President Jordan Frost sent a letter earlier this semester to WSU President Kirk Schulz and former Athletic Director Bill Moos, urging policy changes regarding the recruitment of athletes with a history of sexual violence.

Specifically, the letter referred to those who have pleaded guilty to or been convicted of dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment, rape or sexual assault.

Frost has said he believes sexual assault occurs across all demographics and isn’t necessarily a large problem in WSU Athletics currently. However, he said this policy change can be an opportunity for WSU to prevent future assaults, and to take a leadership role in creating safer campuses across the nation.

After a meeting with several administrators, including Vice President of Student Affairs Mary Jo Gonzales, Deputy Director of Athletics Anne McCoy and Executive Director for Compliance Kimberly Anderson, Frost said he found they were generally unsupportive of the change.

Frost said he has since had follow-up meetings with Schulz, and the policy is still in progress. He said the proposal will go to the Athletics Council in January for feedback and vetting.

Resident Adviser charged for multiple bomb threats

Whitman County Prosecutor Denis Tracy charged a former WSU resident adviser for multiple bomb threats.

Police arrested then 18-year-old Jose Tecuatl in connection with the bomb threats against multiple buildings on campus, including Stimson Hall, where he was a resident adviser. Swastikas accompanied one of the bomb threats, although it is unclear if Tecuatl drew the symbols.

He posted $5,000 bail after being charged with three counts of felony harassment to kill and three counts of threatening to bomb or injure property.

A Whitman County judge set a suppression of evidence hearing at 10 a.m. Jan. 10 in Whitman County Superior Court, a Whitman County Clerk’s Office spokesperson said.

Students stage Sit-In

More than 200 students gathered in the French Administration Building on Aug. 25, demanding that WSU administrative leaders take action to improve the campus climate for minority students.

The group made five demands: a policy defining free speech versus hate speech; required cultural competency training similar to Green Dot; retention of the Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies, along with resource centers; more staff and faculty of color; and more gender-inclusive bathrooms and free menstrual products.

Two weeks after the sit-in, President Kirk Schulz and other university leaders met with students to discuss the demands. In the meeting, Schulz and students addressed each demand and began working out a plan to satisfy them.

In an October ASWSU meeting, students discussed making cultural competency training mandatory for all incoming students. If pursued, funds for the program would come from the fees new students pay for Alive! sessions.

Groups are now being created to address the sit-in demands, as well as other campus climate issues, going into next year.

Shooting near campus marks last night of Halloween weekend

Shots rang out on Duncan Lane near a house party early on a Sunday morning in late October.

The bullets hit two males, one aged 19 and the other 17, after the assailant allegedly shot from inside of a car attempting to leave the party. Both King County men left the hospital in the following days. The shooting occurred less than a block away from the Northside region of campus, causing WSU to send out emergency alerts.

Police closed the investigation and marked the case as inactive in early December, Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said.

“Basically, we were unable to develop enough leads and probable cause to bring charges against anybody,” he said.

Pullman Police worked with officials from the west side of the state to investigate the possibility of gang violence playing a role in the shooting. Tennant said the case would be reactivated if anything develops.

About the Writer
IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

Ian Smay is a senior journalism & media production major, with an emphasis in broadcast news, from Dayton, Washington. He is also minoring in criminal justice, and served as the crime & courts beat reporter from Aug. 2017 – May 2018. He can be reached at [email protected]

Navigate Right
Navigate Left

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

No P.R. No B.S. No Retreat. Watchdogs since 1895
A semester in review: eight memorable stories