WSU leaders urge community members to make voices heard
Leaders from across the WSU system are encouraging all Cougs to make their voices heard by casting their ballots before 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3.
“The student voice is critical: before, during, and after the election,” Jamie Nolan, associate vice president of community, equity, and inclusive excellence within the Division of Student Affairs at WSU Pullman, said. “Core to our mission as an institution of higher education is to operate out of the understanding that WSU is a place for civil discourse, where students can be engaged while supporting one another and share ideas without tearing each other down. And we are proud of the Cougs who are voting and utilizing on-campus resources like on-site voter registration, the hubs, and ballot boxes. “
She continued, “We also recognize that a general election occurring during a global pandemic increases stress levels and could compromise our ability to digest the outcome of the election. We know that many of our Cougs will celebrate, and many will be disappointed, frustrated—perhaps feeling despair. We anticipate that everyone will need some time to process thoughts and feelings about the election results. WSU is hosting virtual spaces for students to come together post-election, to process and begin to envision a positive path forward as one Coug community.”
Post-election events for students will be listed on the university’s website.
Several campuses are providing access to voting and election information at designated locations.
WSU Pullman’s Student Voting Engagement Hub will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today to assist with ballot printing and provide visitors with voter pamphlets. On Election Day, the hub located inside the Junior Ball Room of the Compton Union Building will be the only place in Pullman where would-be voters can register to vote. Everyone should come prepared with a mask and will need to fill out the WSU attestation to participate.
Members of the WSU Tri-Cities’ community can visit its Student Engagement Hub today and Tuesday. The hub is located inside the Consolidated Information Center, Room 120, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nov. 2 and 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 3.
WSU Vancouver’s hub will be open on Election Day from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. inside the Firstenburg Student Commons.
Ballots can be returned via the United States Postal Service, to a county auditor office, or dropped at a Ballot Drop Box. Drop off locations can be found by logging in to VoteWA.gov. The Washington Secretary of State has also put together a voting by mail Frequently Asked Questions page.
Nolan, Ben Calabretta, associate director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Matthew Jeffries, director of the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center, wrote a message to the WSU community last month discussing the First Amendment in the context of political speech.
“The First Amendment allows great latitude for the exchange of protected political speech, and we hope our community will consider the impact words can have,” Nolan and her coauthors wrote. “Words should be used to respectfully exchange ideas and political positions – using divisive language to target vulnerable populations or those who hold different views harms members of our community and does not uphold WSU’s values of civil discourse and civic engagement.”
Anyone who experiences or witnesses harassment or discrimination prohibited under WSU’s Executive Policy 15 can report instances through the Office of Compliance and Civil Rights.
The letter concludes, “We expect all members of our community to treat one another with respect and acknowledge the humanity of others, this election season and beyond.”