PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University officials said they are saddened and concerned about an incident that left a student injured after a fight on Greek Row. Although an arrest has been made and a student has been charged with assault, there are larger issues that remain to be addressed.
An investigation by WSU Student Affairs has been underway since the incident was reported. From the information that has been gathered, it appears that the incident involved a fight between two individuals and was not racially motivated. However, this possibility is not being discarded as the investigation continues.
In a meeting today with leaders from multicultural groups on campus, President V. Lane Rawlins said he would immediately appoint a commission to look into student climate and safety concerns.
“This commission will be made up primarily of student representatives from various ethnic and racial populations on this campus,” said Rawlins. “We must dig out the roots of these problems and work together to ensure that Washington State University remains a place where all of us feel safe. That is best accomplished when we all take responsibility to protect everyone in our community.”
Rawlins said the university will not tolerate violence and asked student affairs officials to intensify their investigation.
WSU Board of Regents President Kenneth Alhadeff said he supports Rawlins’ efforts. “It has always been our highest priority to maintain a safe and caring learning environment for all students. Any act of violence against any student, regardless of race, is totally unacceptable. WSU will take every appropriate action to solidify the safety of all students at all times.”
The president accepted responsibility for a lack of communication on the issue. “I understand the frustration and concern of many of our students because we did not do as good a job as we should have to keep student leaders adequately informed of our ongoing investigation,” he said. “We have in fact been working very hard to determine the facts of this incident.”
Rawlins has also agreed to speak to students at a rally on Monday, Sept. 18, at noon on the Glenn Terrell Mall. The rally is co-sponsored by ASWSU, The Office of Multicultural Student Services and the President’s Office. He will also attend a forum on campus violence, sponsored by ASWSU, to be held at the CUB Auditorium at 5 p.m. the same evening.