President and students to discuss racism issue

President V. Lane Rawlins, spurred by student concerns regarding an alleged harassment incident at the Compton Union Building, has tentatively scheduled a meeting with Nina Kim and other students for March 8. However, details of the meeting are still in the process of being arranged.

“In the nearly 15 years that I have served as a university president, I have never turned down a request for a meeting with students,” Rawlins said. (Rawlins’ President’s Update on the issue can be seen at

Kim, 21, an Asian American junior, filed a report against several WSU students for what she perceived as racial harassment. Early this semester, she said, the students in question jumped up and down in front of the windows at the student Multicultural Center in the CUB on more than one occasion, making animal noises and gestures. Kim told the police, that one student had “pointed at his eyes and made a motion to indicate that she had ‘chinky eyes.’ ” On another day, the same student signed “I love you.”

Upon investigation, the WSU Police Department deemed that no criminal action had taken place, that the male students were “very apologetic and did not mean to alarm anyone,” that the “investigation was complete,” and the issue was forwarded to the University (Student) Conduct Board for review. The university, as of March 1, was awaiting a ruling a from that board.

Two of the students accused in the incident are basketball players who go by that office on the way to the CUB dining facility. Fliers accusing them of racism have circulated around campus with the players’ pictures. Coach Dick Bennett has told reporters that the players have been incorrectly and unfairly singled out, and that they “weren’t even the ones who did it.”

An article in the Feb. 24 issue of the Moscow Daily News on harassment and freedom of speech, which helps put the situation into perspective, can be viewed at WSU Today online at  The university’s employee policy on discrimination and harassment can be viewed at the Center for Human Rights website at, and its student policy at

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