"the dumbest blog i've ever seen."

    "Get out a little more dude."

    "Is it more conservative to write about Red Bull, spelling errors, or whining about liberal teachers?" -Former contributor

    "a well-kept and activist-orientated blog"-Chris Collins, Seattle Times

    It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.

    -Samuel Adams

    Comments are only subject to editing in case of spam or malicious, unrelated content. Dissenting opinion on this blog will never be censored

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Campus election irony

This year's head-shaker was the contest for the Vice President for Diversity position on the Associated Student Board of Directors--what was originally an uncontested race for Marcella Tomlin became a three-way contest with Chiho Lai, president of the Western Democrats and student senate chair, and our beloved David Zhang, guitarist, vandal and suppressor of free, diverse speech. Tomlin won the election with 41 percent.

Chiho joined the race apparently for the same reason's he expressed in his op-ed article to The Western Front during "White Privilege Awareness Week." In that article he took issue with the contention that Western is a racist school and ended up sounding almost conservative along side his leftist colleagues. Read about that article here.

I shouldn't be surprised at Chiho's loss, though realistically, he should have been the favorite. He made his frustration with myopic multicultural standards his primary campaign platform. As he put it in a position statement on Facebook.com:
Diversity includes not just minorities but also students who are traditionally considered part of the 'majority' as well. Diversity exists in all people, regardless of skin color, and no one person is more diverse than another.
On Zhang...

While I'm sure he meant well, I think he should know better than to expect much support after his disturbing attack on pro-lifers in red square. However, I should know better than to think he wouldn't get support anyway. He ended up garnering 217 votes--half as many as Chiho gathered, but still WAY more than he should have gotten. I wish Ms. Tomlin luck in her new job--whatever it is.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The vandal's apology

I should have done a separate post on what happened in Red Square last week Wednesday. It seems that the perpetrator has had a change of heart regarding his actions.

David Zhang, the Fairhaven student who destroyed pro-life signs in red square last week issued an apology to the protesters on his blog:
Although i may disagree with the way certain pro-life advocates choose to get their point across, they have a right to express themselves however they wish. that is their right guaranteed to them by the first amendment, and i respect that.

my actions damaging their signs were wrong and violated their right to free speech. i realize that the way i chose to express my anger was inappropriate and inexcusable. I am truly sorry for any harm that i may have done, and i sincerely ask for their forgiveness.
The previous post is Zhang's own (somewhat dramatized) account of his actions and resulting arrest. It looks like some of the pro-lifers have been commenting and also one comment from the person who took the photo that was published in The Western Front, Andrew St. Hilare. A good read.

Zhang is a somewhat well known figure. Most know him as the perpetually barefooted guitarist who can be found either playing in Red Square at mid-day or "open mic" night at the Underground Coffeehouse.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The great American cop-out

I never thought Western's campus would be big enough to house students who believe the First Amendment is null and void--um, to pro-life groups that is. See this coverage in The Western Front regarding one "offended" student's attempt to ravage the constitution:
In response to the anti-abortion display Tuesday and Wednesday in Red Square, Western senior Cara Pierson started a petition to ban hate speech from campus.

She said the photos of aborted fetuses, lynchings and Holocaust victims bullied and offended women who had abortions or considered having abortions.
For background on the displays and the fallout last week, see this article on the event and this one about the vandalism that ensued from one intolerant youth turned criminal.

Kudos to The Western Front for condemning the petition in this issue's editorial. Honestly, I can't imagine any newspaper coming down on the wrong side of this issue, but I'm sure it's possible.
If this amendment becomes campus policy, it would infringe on every student’s right to free speech.

Western should not ban any display — no matter how unattractive or offensive it may be — unless the display is breaking the law or purposefully inciting violence.
But even some self-described pro-lifers seem to have the makings of this tendency to censor. Censorship is usually motivated by one implicit goal: to squelch debate with hurried value judgments. Even if they aren't out signing petitions to censor, many people have been pointing fingers at the displays themselves instead of being willing to debate the issues. So while I don't know if such graphic displays are the most effective means of starting debate, I try not to distance myself from them because of my visceral discomfort.

Mark Iozzi, candidate for President of the Associated Student board of directors, seemed to attempt a fence-sitting move with regard to the petition:
“It is a slippery slope — infringing on free speech,” Iozzi said. “It is time to re-evaluate [whether] that the line is drawn in the appropriate place.”
No, it's not a slippery slope in this case--it is a cliff.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Thieves among us - did you hear about this?

Recent state audits of Western uncovered upwards of $117,000 that had been stolen from the university by a former employee in the cashier office, according the Seattle P-I today.
The former employee, who was not identified in the audit, was fired in August 2005 after the suspected thefts were uncovered, a state audit of the university said.

The Whatcom County prosecutor charged the former cashier with 11 counts of theft last month, university officials said. The school of about 13,000 students has since changed its cash handling procedures, officials said.
Being a former writer for The Western Front, I hope for their sake and the sake of the student body that they are onto this story.

I haven't seen it till now. Why?

Either this information has been squelched for a while now (the charges were filed last month), or it hasn't been covered well by local media, or....maybe I'm just not as good at noticing what's going on--which is somewhat scary because I know I hear and read and know about what's happening more than the average student (who should know about this).

One way or another, we had all better stay tuned.