Mailbag: Letters to the editor for the week of Jan. 22

Here are the letters to the editor we received for the week of Jan. 22, 2018. Letters can be submitted to westernfrontonline@gmail.com

 

The importance of intersectional feminism

As a woman of color, I know that ‘equality’ does not encompass all types of women. There are many issues in the world that you will not face if you are not black or Asian, if you are not poor, if you are not gay; the list of things that make us different and undergo different challenges could go on and on. After reading your article covering the recent Women’s March following the anniversary of the inauguration of our current President, I believe it is pertinent to discuss intersectional feminism.

Intersectionality is the idea that social categories such as race, class and gender as they pertain to an individual or group are not separate from each other in regards to discrimination. We should be able to acknowledge that there are certain disadvantages we will face depending on our identities and try to move towards accepting each other despite these differences.

Choosing to march and not recognize womxn of color and the trans and non-binary community is choosing not to march for actual equality. The truth is, women of color, or of lower social class or those who identify as non-binary will face more adversity in this world than those who are white, or middle to high social class or cisgender. Addressing this will bring us closer to equality for all. It is important to keep in mind that acknowledging the struggles of minorities does not disqualify that of those who are more advantaged. The movement for equality concerns us all.

Perhaps if more people were conscious of intersectional feminism and what it stands for, more people would make an effort to make sure it is recognized. It’s time to raise awareness to this issue because all women deserve to be heard and spoken for, no matter their social identity.

Kayla Sousa, linguistics and English major

 

More coverage of STEM and other programs needed

As I go about my weekly business, I often enjoy reading an article or two published by The Western Front (here on out known as the WF) to stay informed about what is happening in our community, both on the smaller scale of our campus, and the larger scale of Bellingham and this beautiful state many of us call home. But, the more I have read, the more I have begun to realize that one very large, and for a great deal of my peers, a very important topic was missing – there was little to no content about STEM programs, projects, or events here on campus. So odd did this strike me that I sought to prove myself wrong, for there seemed to be quite a bit of content about other programs here on campus (namely environmental, political, or arts related programs).

I looked through over fifty pages of content (with ~ten articles per page) on the WF website, and out of hundreds of articles, I found only seven articles even remotely related to the hard sciences. That means that a meager ~1.4% of articles that are published (currently) by the WF pertain to STEM programs here on campus. To say I was disappointed by this statistic would be an understatement.

As a student currently pursuing a degree through our lovely engineering department, I found this to be staggeringly out of proportion compared to the sheer number of projects and events that our department produces and participates in every week, quarter, and year. And that’s just the engineering department, let alone programs like computer science, chemistry, physics, and biology (the last two of which were not even mentioned once in an article).

STEM students make up roughly 15% of total WWU enrollment (as per the WWU admission quick facts page), and to see such a small representation of our work to our peers and community is frankly quite discouraging. And I know we (referring to my peers in STEM programs) are not the only ones that feel this way.

I would like to say I am involved on campus; participating in multiple clubs and extracurricular programs on a weekly basis. But, even then, I feel like I know very little of what goes on around campus or with in different departments, no matter how involved I get. After talking to about a dozen students from one of my GUR classes (a class with students from a variety of programs) – most of them expressing that they would like to hear more of what was happening in other programs – I realized that I was not alone in this. There are so many extremely important events that happen here on campus that no one knows about.

All that I ask for is greater representation of more programs here on campus. The material you are currently producing is relevant and important, but I would love to see more of what is happening with in various programs here on campus, not just a select few. Whether it be more from STEM programs, teaching programs, English, or business; there are so many unrepresented programs that are making huge impacts here on campus and in our community.

Ruth Runge, engineering student

 

Weston agrees with Ruth

I believe this newspaper should show more coverage of the Western Washington University Engineering Department, and specifically the issues it faces with overall recognition from the university. Western’s engineering students engage in technically challenging projects every day, with many participating in research and design that they are not even given class credit for. The engineering department is involved in several projects that embody the core values of western: sustainability and inclusivity. Student led projects that research new recycling processes, create zero emission vehicles, and drive forward solar panel technology are all part of our lives in the engineering building, yet almost none of it is recognized by the university. The department also makes a strong effort towards diversity, with an active Society of Women Engineers club, as well several community outreach efforts made to inspire young minds that the staff conducts quarterly. Looking through the Western Front website, I can’t see a single example of events in the engineering department being covered. The engineering staff and students are some of the most dedicated and hardworking people on campus, and it’s unfortunate that our struggles and achievements go mostly unnoticed by the university’s various media outlets. If this school wishes to continue striving for inclusivity and diversity, it is imperative that the engineering department is given more recondition on a campus wide level. This inclusivity isn’t needed for just the engineering department, but for all STEM majors. As the quality and capabilities of the school’s science based departments continue to grow every year, so too should WWU’s commitment to empowering its students through an appreciation for what they do. Engineering, or any STEM major for that matter, requires too much commitment and sacrifice for your merits to go unnoticed by a university that is largely known for its arts programs. For the betterment of the school as a whole, please include more coverage of the Ross Engineering Technology building, and all the wonderful people that work inside it.

Weston Renda, Western student

 

A growing necessity for cryptocurrency security

With such a drastic growth in cryptocurrency over the past few years, comes an intense need for secure and traceable transactions. On the website Coinstocks, it was noted that up to $125 million worth of Bitcoin is illegally used every day. Just like any other form of currency, there are pressing issues of money laundering and theft. A great problem lies with the anonymity of transactions, thus making everything simply gone when stolen or sold. As crytocurrencies continue to gain more global attention, the current value of $587 billion is projected to grow to nearly a trillion dollars by the end of 2018. This money is not all smoke and mirrors; there are clearly real returns for “old” and new currencies. Although, nothing is truly new in such an up and coming market even though it is a multibillion-dollar market.

Due to the sizable market that has unexpectedly presented itself, there have been some steps toward a secure crypto network. Blockchain (digitized, public record of all cryptocurrency transactions) intelligence technology has recently been pressured by law enforcement and government agencies, and other e-commerce groups to provide tools for protection of this online money. There are three future implementations, one being algorithms to track buying and selling activity from all platforms. The other two tools being secure online “wallets” that are in compliance with banks, as well as a database that allows companies access to search history. As cryptocurrency develops there is an increasing need for security for investors money, with amounts small and large. By presenting these ideas to other cryptocurrency networks, hopefully the near future holds a more secure interface.

Christian Stromme, psychology major

 

More coverage of student activities needed

I have been keeping up with this newspaper quite a bit, and I love every aspect of it. The organization, the layout, the easy access to the problems and news stories we want to hear about, but there’s something that I feel could be added to make this newspaper even better.

A lot of students find it hard to feel connected to their campus. With our long days in the libraries, all work and no play, students find themselves feeling a little depressed and that there is no motive for anything else. What if your paper was to provide a section that addresses all on-campus student activities? This could include things like student-run clubs, protests, marches, intermural sports, and anything in between.  Since many students read this paper, it could be a start to helping isolated students become more in touch with their school, classmates, and their community.

A section like this can also show light on how Western is doing, and how involved its students are, to attract many other audiences. Such as students thinking about going to Western, family wanting to send their child to Western, and even old alumni to stay in touch with the school’s on-going activities. All in all, I think an interactive section like this on your paper could not only be good for others, but for you paper as well. It would bring a new, bigger audience.

Marina Hollenbeck, communications major

 

Letters to the editor are not the opinion of The Western Front. The Western Front is committed to publishing letters to the editor from the community, as long as they meet the paper’s editorial standards. For more information on letters to the editor, or to submit a letter, contact westernfrontonline@gmail.com

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