Letters to the editor

To the editor:

Between 1990 and 1992 I taught at Whitman as a sabbatical replacement in the sociology department, and I have the highest regard for my Whitman faculty colleagues. I also have long appreciated the general progressive social and political climate of Whitman. However, today my spirit is saddened. I want to share what I just experienced at La Monarca, the taco truck on Isaacs, which reaffirms the unfortunate local image of Whitman College students.

A colleague and I went to the taco truck for lunch. There were about eight or so college-age men, many wearing TKE t-shirts exposing their likely Whitman affiliation. As their meals were being prepared, my colleague and I waited next to the group to place our order. Although one of them, a young white man, began speaking in a manner that some may find vulgar, I am rarely ruffled by such language. Nonetheless, when the same young man suddenly took notice of us, he tittered, “Sorry! (laughter) We’re from Walla Walla CC (more laughter).”

While he undoubtedly had no idea that we work at WWCC, what struck me was that he wanted to pin his self-consciously unbecoming behavior on my students. This incident simply bolstered the elitist stereotype that Whitman students bear, and deepens the economic and social wedge between our institutions and the community due to the condescending and belittling nature of the remark.

Having taught at WWCC for the last eight years, I have enormous respect for the community college students. In general, they are hard-working, dedicated people who don’t take their education for granted. It is gratifying and rewarding to be part of their journey. I used to think that Whitman was the ideal institution, but my enriching experience at WWCC has been even better.

So much for Whitman’s “progressive” image.

Cordially,
Susan Palmer
Sociology
Social Sciences Division Chair
Walla Walla Community College

To the editor:

Last fall semester, I wrote a series of columns for the “Pioneer.”

Through the process of writing them, and now rereading them, I have finally come to understand and deeply regret the pain, outrage and misunderstandings many of them caused.

Therefore, I wish to apologize to the Whitman community for the damage I have done. I would also like to apologize to the following groups and individuals whom I targeted in these violent pieces of writing: the Walla Walla Police Department, the patrol captain of that department, Natalie Knott, the greek system and Phi Delta Theta in particular, ASWC and Professor Tom Davis.

Andrew Hookom ’07

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