Welcoming Celebrated Author and Vietnam Veteran Tim O’Brien to CWU: NEA Big Read Event

April 25 • 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
McConnell Auditorium • Free

As part of the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read event, CWU will host the award-winning author of “The Things They Carried,” Tim O’Brien. CWU is the only university in the Pacific Northwest to receive the Big Read Grant.

O’Brien, a Purple Heart recipient, crafts interrelated short stories about his experiences as a Vietnam Veteran. “The Things They Carried“, a book that has impacted readers from all walks of life, blends fact with fiction and portrays different perspectives of the same event, taking readers on an insightful journey about not only warfare but also the contrast between the truth and reality soldiers face during war.  Continue reading

Students of Color Summit: Agents of Change

Students of Color Conference-33Excitement, friendships and the drive to create change and positive influences are just a few things that the Students of Color Summit generated at CWU earlier this month.

On the first weekend of April, CWU partnered with the Washington Student Association to host over 224 students from 13 universities and schools to celebrate diversity and inclusivity through a fun and immersive environment.

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“Beyond Vietnam”: Sparking Modern-Day Discussion with the Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Megan_Francis_headshotGuest Speaker Megan Ming Francis

April 10 | 4 – 5:30 p.m. | SURC Ballroom

Megan Ming Francis will be introducing and leading discussion on PBS Documentary “MLK: A Call to Conscience”. This event, on the heels of the 50th Anniversary of MLK’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech, will spark conversation regarding political activism during a time of war.  Continue reading

A Conversation with Norm Stamper, Former Seattle Police Chief

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Image Courtesy of Norm Stamper

Who polices the police? According to Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief, the community.

On April 5, at 7 p.m. in the SURC Ballroom, Stamper will give a talk titled “Community Policing in the Age of Police Militarization” about the importance of community involvement in policing on local, national and global levels.

Stamper was a career cop, serving on both the San Diego and Seattle police forces for a total of over 30 years that stepped down from the position of Seattle Police Chief in 2000 following his hotly contested use of aggressive policing tactics, including tear gas, on protesters at the WTO riots in 1998.

Since his retirement, Stamper has advocated for revision in policing, including an end to The War on Drugs and a denouncement of increasing police militarization.

CWU HYPE Staff exchanged emails with Stamper to get some insight into his coming talk, what it will touch on, why it’s important to him, and why it may be important to you, too.

What will your talk, “Community Policing in the Age of Police Militarization” touch on?

The current state of community policing in America, the drug war and the damage it’s done to individuals, families, communities, as well as the costs to community-police relations and civil liberties. The spate of controversial police shootings and in-custody deaths at the hands of police. What we can do to strengthen constitutional policing at the community level.

Why are those topics important to you personally? 

I’ve spent my entire adult life as a cop or, as a consultant-trainer-expert witness, studying and commenting upon police policies and practices. I’ve witnessed the demoralizing effects of police misconduct on good cops, and seen damage done to the reputation of entire organizations caused by poorly trained or undisciplined individuals. It’s also heartening when I see community and police come together to police a city’s neighborhoods, and build a strong, mutually trusting relationship.

Why do you feel those topics are, or should be, important to the students and faculty at CWU?

I think it’s important to all Americans who value freedom, civil liberties, and safe communities to band together, with their police, to make that all happen. By definition, students, including those at CWU, are all about intellectual curiosity, and the search for answers to problems within their chose discipline. For those who’ve been disturbed by controversial shootings, and/or policing’s overly aggressive, militarized response to political protest–or who have been bothered by the tactics of the protestors themselves–the topic couldn’t be more relevant. 

Do you feel your experience in law enforcement has uniquely shaped your view on the issues of racial tension and mass incarceration from that of other, non-police, citizens? In what way? 

Yes. Like other cops, I’ve seen, up-close and personal, the harmful effects of race discrimination and mass incarceration on individuals and families, particularly in communities of color. 

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Stamper, not long before his resignation as Seattle Police Chief

Does your message differ if it is directed at college-aged people as opposed to older generations? How so?

Not really, not at all, actually. I may vary the way I approach these topics based on age or other demographic factors. But the message remains the same.

What does your message mean for small towns like Ellensburg? Or even more microcosmically, for college campuses like CWU?

I think smaller towns, and college campuses generally have an advantage in identifying, analyzing, and developing remedies for social problems in their “own backyard.” It’s a function of scale, really, and diversity (or lack thereof, a problem in itself). Generally, the smaller the political jurisdiction, the less complex its social, economic, demographic variables, the more likely it is — in theory — to reach consensus. Again, if guided by the “wrong” values (nativistic, racist, misogynist, homophobic, exclusionary, etc.), any community, large or small, is likely to reach agreements that, in my opinion, are unhealthy if not dangerous…and quite possibly unlawful. Fortunately, from my visits to your town, your university, that does not describe Ellensburg or CWU, though there are challenges in every community

What do you hope attendees walk away knowing or feeling after your speech? 

That the police belong to the people, not the other way around. That a strong, authentic partnership between the community and the police will create safer, healthier neighborhoods, improve officer safety and morale, and help to guarantee constitutional law enforcement.

Stamper’s talk will be immediately followed by a Q & A with students. The event is free, open to the public and is sponsored by the College of Arts and Humanities.

Dr. Corey Hebert – A Passion for Healing, A Knack for Inspiring

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Dr. Corey Hebert

“When you have someone that has an open mind, which is the college student, that’s the best group to get to make change in the world.”

Renowned pediatrician, speaker and television health correspondent, Dr. Corey Hebert, will speak at CWU on March 9 in the Student Union Ballroom at 7 p.m. The talk is free and open to the public.

Dr. Hebert, whose primary medical care practices in New Orleans were some of the few to stay open and provide care following Hurricane Katrina, has been on “Oprah,” “The Doctors,” and a number of other news and health programs. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Community Health TV.

Herbert currently holds faculty positions at Louisiana State, Tulane, Xavier and Dillard universities and is the medical director for the State of Louisiana Recovery School District. He feels that it is his responsibility to educate, guide and inspire young people.

“You’ve got these kids out there throwing rocks at people for the Black Lives Matter movement,” Hebert said. “Not that I don’t want them to be showing their civil unrest…my talk is about how we can bridge the gap so young people that are learning about this activism also have a good knowledge base on who they are, why they should demand for things to be equitable, and what their role is in making it so.”

His talk, titled “KNOW THYSELF? Keys to the Pursuit of Excellence in the African American Community in the Age of New Black Activism,” will touch on the importance of black involvement in the medical community.

Hebert feels that his long and illustrious career as a medical practitioner has given him a unique, but vital, outlook on the current racial tensions and struggles against injustice in America, particularly among young, college aged people struggling to make a change.
“I see people at their worst,” Dr. Hebert said. “They tend to be very honest. You can’t lie to your plumber, your accountant, the police, your lawyer or your doctor. I get to find out how they [young people trying to make a change] are really feeling. It gives me more insight into the psyche of people that are wanting to do a lot of things, but they either don’t know how, or are too scared or defeated.”

Hebert’s appearance at the university is a continuation of CWU’s Social Justice and Human Rights Series. This year’s inaugural theme, Mass Incarceration and Racial Justice: Black and Brown Lives Do Matter, aims to educate Central’s community and initiate discussions about race. He will be meeting with students before his talk to discuss the importance of student academic achievement, activism and involvement on and off the campus.

“It’s a really great place for an open-minded discussion and I think that is what our country needs,” Dr. Hebert said about coming to the university to speak. “When you have someone that has an open mind, which is the college student, that’s the best group to get to make change in the world.”

That’s us, CWU!

(If it helps, he was named the best dressed man in Louisiana.)