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Friday, May 14, 2021

Video Controversy, Birnam Assault, RA Update: Your April 27 weekly news briefing

AS candidate video controversy

Associated Students presidential candidate Mary Moeller has removed her campaign videos from Facebook after receiving criticism for using footage of members of Blue Group without their explicit consent.

Blue Group is a group of undocumented Western students and their allies.

[The video] was intended to show solidarity with the Blue Group’s work and inform voters on my positions as a candidate,” Moeller said in a Facebook post. “Instead it made the Blue Group feel like I was leveraging their movement as a political token.”

Moeller said she had shown the video to the Blue Group prior to posting it, and now regrets her decision to post it.

In a comment on the video, Blue Group’s President Victoria Matey called the video disrespectful and tokenizing.

“It’s taking credit for our work that you haven’t been a part of,” Matey said. “We don’t need a white savior.”

Matey said Blue Group did not realize the video would be posted online. Blue Group endorsed Simrun Chhabra for AS president.

Birnam assault

University Police arrested a 44-year-old convicted felon, Wednesday, April 26, for allegedly assaulting a Western student, according to a Western Alert.

The student was riding his bike outside Birnam Wood around 10:45 a.m. when the man allegedly grabbed his neck and attempted to strike him, according to the alert. After the student notified police, the alleged assailant was seen in Red Square and arrested outside Edens Hall. A Western Alert about the incident and arrest was sent out out just before noon.

RA updates

Resident advisers have been in talks with President Randhawa to form a negotiation team to  begin addressing concerns, they said in a statement. They have formed a committee made up of eight RAs, one elected to represent each residence hall, as well as two RAs at large to serve as organizers and points of contact. A list of the members was sent to President Randhawa on April 23, they said.

The AS is considering a proposal to form a University Housing Representation and Advocacy Committee. The committee would be chaired by the AS vice president for student life and contain RAs and student residents, as well as representatives from AS resources centers. The committee is meant to serve as a voice for students in University Residences.

City council meeting

Students from Western’s AS Local Issues Team spoke during a public comment period about rental issues. The AS is calling for information on tenant rights and voter registration to be given to renters upon move-in.

The City of Bellingham is offering the Port of Bellingham $300,000 to not purchase waterfront property where Mayor Kelli Linville hopes to build a homeless shelter. Five maritime businesses are currently located at the Roeder Avenue property. The port will consider the issue at their meeting on Tuesday, May 2.

From the latest issue of The Western Front:

Tanner Boyd, who was arrested after allegedly entering a dorm room and wearing female residents’ clothing in November 2016, was a volunteer track coach at the time, The Western Front revealed. He was arrested for a similar incident two years before, but the head coach allowed Boyd to continue volunteering with the consent of the team. The dorm break-in was brought up again by the recent RA concerns about safety.

The March for Science in Bellingham brought out around 2,000 people on April 22, according to organizers. The march was to raise support for the scientific community, and took place in about 500 cities nationally.

The geology department is concerned about the safety of waterfront development. Western has been offered six acres of land under the Port of Bellingham’s Waterfront Development Project. The waterfront is made up of unconsolidated sediment and professors say if proper precautions are not taken, there could be significant building damage.

Don’t know who to vote for? Check out westernfrontonline.com for exclusive interviews with AS candidates. Students can vote online at wwu.edu/vote until 2 p.m. on Friday, April 28.

Western’s dorm mattresses are produced using prison labor. Inmates who make Western’s dorm mattresses can make a maximum of 42 cents per hour.

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