Category Archives: Politics

HIV/AIDS concern draws students to street

Freezing temperatures did not deter annual march downtown and vigil for victims
by Jamie Soukup

For World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, a group of about 30 people gathered on the corner of First Street and Main at 7 p.m. for a candlelight vigil, supported by Blue Mountain Heart to Heart. The temperature was below freezing, but steadfast attendees brought hot chocolate, coffee and smiles. After grouping together, attendees lit candles and carried them as they walked down Main Street to the First Congregational Church.

At the church, a World AIDS Day Memorial Service was held. The Reverend Dr. Greg Kammann gave the invocation. Kammann spoke about finding a cure for the disease, helping to relieve AIDS discrimination and the stigma associated with it, empowering ourselves to change conditions that put people at risk and praising those who are working to help the cause. He asked those in attendance to periodically repeat, “Help us stop AIDS and keep the promise.”

After the invocation, testimonials were read aloud from those who actually suffered the reality of AIDS. While participants were reading aloud, individuals who had been wearing plain white masks since the vigil began stood up and approached the front of the church. They removed their masks and hung them, one by one, on a red wall.

Later in the service, Carolyn Dietzman and Travis Locke read aloud the list of names of loved ones who had been lost to AIDS, written prior to the service by attendees who wished to commemorate them. During this reading of names, individuals removed masks as well.

The purpose of this mask removal was to physically demonstrate the theme of World AIDS Day this year-“AIDS Has A Face.”

Sophomore Christie Seyfort said of the masks, “It was my favorite part of the service. It showed how the victims are everywhere and can be anyone.”

First-year Harry Fulop agreed. “The testimonials really struck me as really personal, emotional things to share.”

Alberto Galindo, a Whitman professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures, was the featured speaker at the service. His speech, entitled “25 Years and Searching for Home,” dealt with the concept of how human beings all seek the idea of home, and those who suffer from AIDS feel that need to a great extent. He spoke eloquently about how he refuses accept this time period as “the Era of AIDS,” because that seems to be a sign of resignation. He refuses to believe the last 25 years, in which he has witnessed the entire acknowledgement of AIDS, have been for naught; in that time, although we have suffered and grieved, we have learned and worked and are still learning and working for a cure.

Following Galindo’s speech, the Whitman’s female a capella group, the Sirens of Swank, sang the peaceful and enchanting song, “On Children.”

The Rev. Kammann gave his Benediction, praying to God for compassion. “It is this compassion,” he said, “that can help make our community a home.”

First-year Katie Weaver said of the event, “I think it’s important to spread the word to support issues that not only affect the Walla Walla community but also the community of the world.”


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Campus clubs defy post-elections slump

by Andrea Miler

When the commercial breaks with the soothing voices of electoral candidates stop airing, the plastic signs with red and blue letters are but mere trash run over by cars in the street and the election results are said and done, what is left to do for those who toiled over petitions, fliers and green ribbon bracelets?

Matt Voorhees, an assistant professor of politics at Whitman, says that it is often “harder after a success” for a party to maintain an interest in activism and involvement. The losing party, on the other hand, has a stronger incentive to mobilize and continue such a standard of activism. However, in both cases, there is going to be a demand for a mobilization of interested voters.

Voorhees says the next challenge for the winning party will be to define the meaning of the election. That party will be asking themselves, “What does this victory allow us to do?”

So begins the task of building a policy agenda and motivating voters towards said agenda. To maintain interest, parties will often use networks to initiate “grassroots activities” which Voorhees described as “contacting voters.”

Sophomore Roman Goerss, chairman of the College Republicans, has plans for “creating more of a dialogue on campus” between the College Republicans and the Whitman community. Earlier in the semester, the recently ASWC recognized group co-sponsored a voter registration fair. Despite common conceptions, Goerss says the group is “relatively active,” and in the coming semester the group hopes to hold a membership recruitment drive. Goerss talks of inviting speakers—including local Republicans holding office, and hopefully officers holding a national standing—to campus.

Campus Greens member Karlis Rokpelnis does not cite much added pressure for the group caused by recent elections. He says his “comment would be that the elections this year did not play a large role in mobilizing people for environmental causes.” However, Campus Greens remains quite active.

According to Rokpelnis, the Campus Climate Challenge is the most extensive initiative in the group’s works right now. Also, the Paper Campaign is continuing an effort to urge the bookstore to sell re-used paper notebooks.

Rokpelnis also mentioned that in local political activity, “no irregularities were found in the audit of the Blue Mountain Humane Society.” Rokpelnis says Action for Animals looks forward to leaving behind the “bitter disputes of the last few years” between disenchanted humane society volunteers and the Blue Mountain Human Society and working “more efficiently towards common goals.”

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ASWC senators reflect on more ‘proactive’ semester of work

by Lizzie Norgard

Many of the projects ASWC undertakes for Whitman take place through the Senate and the committees each senator belongs to. Senators participate in the Policy, Finance and Programming committees and typically discuss policies, events and issues in committee meetings before they address them in senate meetings and to ASWC as a whole. This semester, the Senate has been working on several recent issues under the aegis of each committee.

ASWC has recently approved and re-recognized several clubs, a procedure which takes place at senate meetings. The new clubs include the African Awareness Club, Student Movement for Real Change, Campus Republicans and the Whitewater Club.

The Policy Committee has been trying to secure funding for STD testing at the health center, which used to be free for students. Since funding was cut by the Department of Health in 2004 for all but HIV tests significantly fewer students have been getting tested at the health center.

Junior senator Kate Rosenberg, who has been leading the project, said, “It sends a message of misplaced priorities, I believe, for Whitman to secure enough money to put TVs in the gym, while disregarding sexual health. Essentially, it’s a problem with roots in the state bureaucracy, but Whitman should have immediately picked up the state’s slack on this critical issue.” Rosenberg hopes to secure funding from a private donor for a test called APTIMA, which would test for gonorrhea and chlamydia. She has been working with Whitman Health Center Director Ellen Collette.

Another recent undertaking for the Policy Committee has been to pass a campus resolution against the Military Commissions Act. The resolution has been initiated by senior senator Thomas Miller. The Policy Committee is also contacting other schools to encourage them to do the same. According to sophomore senator and Committee member Julia Nelson, “the purpose of the resolution is for Whitman to show opposition as a school [to the MCA]. ASWC can be seen as reactionary, and this resolution shows its activist edge. The goal is to be more proactive about things.”

The Policy Committee has also been working on getting a student representative on the Board of Trustees, which currently consists mostly of alumni. The student representative would report to the Board of Trustees on the needs of students and provide input on decision making. The Policy Committee has yet to determine how the student representative would be selected.

The Finance Committee recently approved two contingency requests for special funding to campus groups. The committee allocated funds for a trip to Washington, D.C. for the Whitman Civil Liberties Union and for the production of “quarterlife,” the new campus literary magazine. The Finance Committee has also been trying to secure more money for the ASWC budget from the college’s investment-with-trust fund.

The Guster concert on Dec. 5 has been an important item on the agenda of the Programming Committee, which has been responsible for planning the event. The Programming Committee has also been trying to more clearly distinguish its responsibilities from those of the Campus Activities Board.

The Oversight Committee was recently involved with the special election for junior class senators. Because two senators will be going abroad, juniors Gabrielle Arrowood and Dan Shaw were elected in their stead. The Committee proposed changes to an amendment in the bylaws that required senators to hold a forum in all of the first-year halls, which is superfluous in the case of special junior elections.

The Executive Council is currently working on a new ASWC web page.

The information for this article was provided by senators Gabrielle Arrowood (’08), Julia Nelson (’09), and Bryce McKay (’09).

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Junior senator seats open up for spring ’07

by Andrea Miller

By chance, two ASWC Junior Senate positions became available for the upcoming spring semester.

Last May, the junior class elected Kate Rosenburg and split ticket holders Griff Lambert and Sam Bell to the ASWC Senate. However, Rosenburg and Bell will be taking leaves of absence beginning next spring and Lambert will be studying abroad for the semester. The Senate was obliged to fill those open seats.

On Nov. 28, Gabrielle Arrowood and Dan Shaw were elected for the open Junior Senate positions. Arrowood ran for the Senate back in May on a split ticket with Maile Zeng, believing she would be studying abroad in the spring of 2007. However, Arrowood’s plans changed, and the seats left open by Rosenburg and Bell provided her with an opportunity to serve ASWC another semester. Arrowood will continue with her position on the Programming Committee and her efforts of “increasing students’ awareness of how programming works on campus, as well as helping to plan and execute different campus stuff that goes on,” she said.

Dan Shaw took the election as an opportunity to “participate in something [he] was highly critical of.” Shaw will be on the Policy Committee, which he describes as a “place where [he] could most effectively participate” and where he hopes to advance three new initiatives. He hopes to increase and strengthen awareness of environmental policy on Whitman’s campus. Shaw is looking into using windmills owned by Whitman as an energy source for the campus as opposed to selling that energy and commissioning energy for the campus from outside sources. Giving up that profit would be an advancement for the environment. Shaw is also looking to introduce a policy implementing gender neutral bathrooms and improvement of handicap resources on campus.

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Water waves for Walla Walla heat waves

by Lizzie Norgard

On Nov. 7, Walla Walla voters will decide if they will pay to build a new aquatic center. Complete with water slides, a wave pool, and a wading pool for small children, the aquatic center would especially benefit youth and families during the hot Walla Walla summers.

The bond proposal for the new aquatic center asks voters in the Borleske district to pay $7.42 million for the project over the course of 25 years. Funding would come from local property taxes, amounting to $23 per year per $100,000 of the resident’s property value. If the proposal is passed the aquatic center will be built on the site of the former Memorial Pool, next to Borleske Stadium.

The current proposal is a modification of a previous aquatic center proposal, which failed on the ballot three years ago. The prior proposal for a $9 million aquatic center would have been built on a different site and been funded partially by sales taxes from people throughout the county.

Though the 2003 proposal failed and there are rumors of debate over the new one, support for the aquatic center in the Whitman community appears strong.

Rebecca Sickels, who runs the Whitman mentor program and teaches yoga at the Juvenile Detention Center, sees the benefit of the aquatic center for at-risk youth in particular. “I look at our at-risk youth and I wonder what other options in this town they have other than hanging out at Coffee Perk? A lot of sports or other programs are too expensive. Over 60 percent of our public school children are living at or below the poverty line. Where can they spend time doing something healthy and productive and not participate in unhealthy risky behaviors? A reasonably priced public pool,” Sickels said.

Chemistry professor Ruth Russo said that the benefit of a public pool for the entire community is well worth the cost to taxpayers. “The cost per hundred thousand dollars is a very good value for the money, compared with other non-essentials people spend money on: $4 drinks at Starbuck’s; cable TV; gas-guzzling cars; or an evening movie at the theater,” Russo said.

Film professor Robert Sickels also supports the proposal. “For a town that touts itself as being a great place to raise kids, it seems insane to not have a public pool. As a dad with a little girl who I regularly haul to Milton-Freewater, I’d really like to see it pass this time,” he said.

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Platforms for WA State Senate candidates

Mike McGavick, Republican

“Northwestern voice of civility”

He has never held an elected office. He is the former Chairman, President, and CEO of Safeco Insurance.

McGavick wants to invest in early childhood education, excel educational standards with acts such as No Child Left Behind, increase grant, and make the US more competitive with other nations.

War on terror
McGavick wants to work to root out radical terrorism and support our troops. He is committed to deterring nuclear programs and to addressing North Korea’s nuclear testing. He believes we cannot retreat from our moral obligation in Iraq and we must fully implement the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations.

McGavick believes we need an overhaul of our nation’s immigration system, beginning with securing our borders and creating a rigorous path to citizenship.

Health care
McGavick wants to control healthcare costs by putting patients in control of their health care decisions and helping the uninsured gain care.

McGavick believes environmental conservation and productive development are not mutually exclusive. He says we can protect and improve our environment while allowing responsible human development. McGavick is against the removal of dams in Eastern Washington, and he wishes to curb human contribution to climate change.

Fiscal responsibility
McGavick believes Congress must make tough choices to get the deficit under control. He also advocates a non-partisan approach to Social Security.

In the news:
The Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission alleging that his $17 million severance in cash and accelerated stock options given by Safeco (his previous employer) amounted to an illegal campaign contribution to his Senate campaign. The ruling is still pending.

Maria Cantwell, Democrat

“Putting us forward”

Incumbent, originally sworn into office in 2001.

Economic growth
Cantwell says she is committed to helping middle class families in our changing economy. She has worked to boost small businesses and create jobs in both traditional and new areas.

Security at home
Cantwell believes that the government’s highest priority should be to keep all Americans safe. She has fought to increase border security, to develop new technologies for civilian protection from unseen threats, and to better equip our ground troops.

Security in the world
Cantwell believes that we must keep our country safe and secure by using our power and influence to promote freedom and democracy.

Energy independence
Cantwell is the Senate Democrats’ leader on Energy Independence and is working to end our addiction to foreign oil by 2020.

Clean environment
Cantwell considers hersef one of the nation’s strongest environmental leaders. She has supported policies to hold corporate polluters accountable and to protect our pristine roadless areas from logging and road construction.

Affordable health care
Cantwell supports programs to provide affordable coverage, to guarantee children access to health care, and to provide medication and care to the elderly, disabled and chronically ill.

Responsible government
Cantwell considers it a priority to keep the government clean and accountable to the people it serves.

Quality education
Cantwell wants to invest necessary resources and use the best technology in implementing a comprehensive strategy for K-12 education and higher education.

Protecting our rights
As we enter the information age and more personal information becomes publicly available, Cantwell is committed to protecting our privacy. She believes privacy rights are more important than ever.

Secure retirement
Cantwell believes we have a responsibility to protect Social Security and Medicare and to stand up to special interests to get health care costs under control.

In the news:
As Cantwell pulls ahead in the polls, she has come under fire for her unwillingness to grant McGavick additional time for televised debate. Editorials in the Daily Olympian and the Yakima Herald-Republic have rebuked Cantwell, claiming that she is afraid to confront McGavick.

Robin Adair, Independent

“Unexpected Candidate, Uniquely Qualified”

Adair has not held an elected office.

The Economy
Adair warns of a Congress-constructed “sub-economy” that has replaced the classic economy. She believes that removing money from circulation decreases economic growth, and foresees this resulting in the collapse of our economy. She says the poor and middle class will take the brunt of this collapse. She believes congress should adopt a natural economic method to avoid destabilizing, abrupt changes.

The Constitution
Adair claims that American rights are under attack by the government. According to her campaign literature, she is anxious to “take action” on issues of torture, and the alleged “removal of Habeas Corpus.”

Iraqi War
Adair says that the United States should withdraw to Kurd territory and keep only a “career” presence in Iraq. She believes that if we pull out entirely, Iran will invade and more will die.

Adair accuses Congress of allowing bribery to influence legislation and voices concern for how these irresponsible decisions will effect our future generations.

Social issues
Adair offers an economic model to make Social Security profitable in 17-20 years, to make insurance affordable, and to clean up Medicare.

Adair says we need to clean up pollution with innovative technology.

Adair believes that illegal immigrants are hurting our sense of community and increasing crime rates. She advocates border patrol and better knowledge of who is entering.

In the news:
On occasion, respectful acknowledgement of Adair’s candidacy is made in the news. Many have denounced her status as a “serious candidate.”

Bruce Guthrie, Libertarian

“It’s time for real change”

Guthrie does not hold an elected office. He is a lecturer in the Department of Management at Western Washington University.

A Policy of Peace
Guthrie says he wants to get America back on the path to Peace by ending the occupation of Iraq, reducing troops permanently stationed abroad, and keeping an all-volunteer military.

A culture of freedom
Guthrie’s campaign literature emphasizes maintaining individual freedoms. He claims that the current administration has ignored this important value through domestic spying programs, passing the Patriot Act, and ignoring individual rights to medical care.

Restoring faith in democracy
Guthrie is committed to counteracting recent cynicism about democracy. To do so, he will work to ensure fair elections, pursue and prosecute allegations of corruption, and restore checks and balances.

National Deficit
Guthrie voices concern about the financial state our country is leaving our children in. He denounces deficit spending and the irresponsible politicians who are allowing it to happen with an increasing frequency.

Support veterans
Guthrie is prepared to re-allocate resources from other spending areas in order to keep our promises to Veterans.

Social Security
Guthrie believes that by ending war in Iraq, cutting corporate welfare and making responsible financial decisions, we will be able to keep promises of Social Security benefits to our senior citizens.

In the news:
On Oct. 1, The Seattle Times reported that Guthrie will loan his campaign a substantial part of his life savings—nearly $1.2 million. The loan was an attempt to meet the fundraising requirement for inclusion in KING-TV’s debate among the candidates. Guthrie participated in the Oct. 17, 2006, debate alongside Cantwell and McGavick. Dixon was barred access.

Aaron Dixon, Green Party

“We have a choice: a grassroots run for the senate”

Dixon does not currently hold an elected office. He is an American activist and former captain of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party.

Out of war, into communities
Dixon says he is committed to ending the nation’s many unjust wars. He believes that peace and justice cannot be obtained through war. Furthermore, he wants to redirect resources currently used for war to aid in the rehabilitation of communities at home.

The war on drugs
Dixon challenges the war on drugs as a successful policy. He wants to reform criminal justice, including repealing the laws that ban drug offenders from housing, food stamps, access to their children, college assistance and the right to vote. He believes that following rehabilitation, a person should be effectively returned to society.

Attacks on civil liberties
Dixon opposes all legislation that will give the government more intrusive powers with regard to the civil liberties of free persons.

The environment
Dixon wants to dramatically reduce global carbon emissions in the next few decades through aggressively regulating and reducing emissions, as well as increasing investment in environmentally sound systems.

Economic foreign policy
Dixon does not support policies that advance globalization. He pushes for fair trade rather than “free trade.” He supports economic relationships of equality, not domination by capitalist countries.

Relations with developing world
Dixon believes that the paternal and punitive relationship with our Latin American neighbors must end. He also believes that Africa needs development based on fair trade relationships and the ownership and use of its rich natural resources for its people. He wants to introduce legislation that will push for enforceable norms of behavior by both international organizations and private corporations, to reduce Western control in the developing world.

National defense
Dixon says he supports nuclear disarmament and the end of funding for Star Wars and the militarization of space.

Health Care
Dixon believes we need a single-payer health care system and he supports legislation to provide every person in the nation with complete preventative, acute and chronic health care coverage.

The spoiler issue
Dixon wants to break the myth that a vote for him is either pointless or amounts to a vote for another candidate. He says his opponents do not represent Washington’s interests and that voting for them sends the message that you support their constant betrayals.

In the news:
On Oct. 17, Dixon was arrested for trespassing at KING-5 television studio in Seattle, in protest of his exclusion from the televised U.S. Senate debate being filmed there. A KING video of the arrest showed Aaron Dixon being led out of the lobby by officers and then placed in the back of a police car in handcuffs, as dozens of his supporters chanted “Let him go!” Dixon did not meet the sponsors’ criteria of public support or fundraising to participate in the debate.


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Whitman four-day trip spawns long-term agenda for immigration curriculum

Student trip helps ‘put a human face on abstract questions’ about immigration issues
by Andrea Miller

Though many complain about the lack of “real world” relevance of a liberal arts education, one group of students has gone to great lengths to see, experience and change what they have learned in their Whitman studies.

During the four-day vacation, 20 students traveled all over Eastern Washington and Oregon to study the Immigration Debate. Senior Laura Hanson, one of the coordinators of “The Border in Our Backyard: The Immigration Debate in Eastern Washington,” emphasized the word ‘debate’ because the group met with government officials, activists supportive of immigration and anti-immigration fundamentalists.

The trip was planned as a result of reflections of students who had traveled to Sonora, Mexico to study immigration. Border trip and alternative four-day trip attendee junior Griff Lambert said the experience was a “very good follow-up [to Mexico]” because it provided such a “good understanding of things happening in Washington.”

In Yakima, Wash., the group stopped at the American Legion to meet with members of Grassroots on Fire, a group “decided to mobilize and take action regarding the utter failure of [its] government and elected officials who have refused to control the invasion of foreign nationals who have entered [its] country illegally.”

Grassroots on Fire supports California’s Proposition 187 and the aim to restrict public resources to United States citizens only. At the time of the students’ visit, activists were protesting the group outside the American Legion. For Hanson, the juxtaposition of the Grassroots on Fire and its protestors was very lasting, and one of the more important moments of the trip. Lambert cites the group’s emphasis on “fact” as one of the more frustrating elements of the trip because the situation is made all the more “difficult in looking towards the future for change.”

Trip-goers plan to extend their experiences out to the Whitman community. The group is planning a trip for students to Broetje Orchards.

Furthermore, a new class is being designed that aims to bridge the “academic with real world experiences.” The class would be comprised of readings and discussions, as well as internships to get the students into the community and experiencing the issue firsthand.

Students are also working on collaborating with community groups from Walla Walla Community College and Walla Walla College. According to Hanson, the projects in Mexico, Washington and at Whitman all help to “put a human face on abstract questions.”

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