Here are the letters to the editor we received for the week of Jan. 29, 2018. Letters can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since coming to WWU last fall, I’ve had a fairly typical experience, as a college freshman. I suffered through (and conquered) some life-changing classes, I witnessed college parties firsthand, I made some true (and less-than-true) friends, and I lost and found myself. One common aspect of college life that needs to be eliminated now is sexual assault. Since coming here, I’ve watched not one, not two, but three of my friends go through extreme trauma after other “friends” decided that taking advantage of people without their consent is an okay thing to do. Breaking news! It’s not! One in five women and one in sixteen men are sexually assaulted while in college. Ninety percent of cases are not reported. So, Western Front, will YOU report on this? It’s time to publicize this issue, and to put our foot down once and for all. We need more articles that educate our students about how assault, violence, and harassment is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated. Inform survivors about on and off-campus resources, and let citizens know how they can help someone in a dangerous situation. As broadcasters, you have some of the strongest voices in the region. I urge you to use them, and to prove that Western really DOES care. My friends, and all students for that matter, are counting on you.
Anonymous student, environmental studies major
Note from The Western Front editor-in-chief, Asia Fields: Thank you for this letter. I completely agree that the Front needs to write stories about sexual assault at Western. Our staff has been working on coverage of this issue, which should start to come out soon. We are focusing on community-oriented, respectful and trauma-informed coverage this quarter. We want to go beyond just stories about the number of reports and write stories from other angles, such as by looking at what resources are available for survivors, how our community can prevent sexual assault and address rape culture and how we can empower survivors. We will be working on stories for the rest of the quarter that we hope will put survivor’s voices at the center (if they would like to be), show the scope of the problem and focus on potential solutions. If you would like to reach out to us about being a part of this effort, send us an email at email@example.com. Or, if you would feel more comfortable contacting me directly, feel free to do so over Facebook, Twitter or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Any survivors who reach out to us will have full control of their story (including what gets put into an article, whether their name is in it) and can withdraw from it at any time, no questions asked.
I’m a member of Planned Parenthood Generation, the club on campus that advocates for sexual health education and reproductive rights. I’m concerned with the fact that our school’s administration hasn’t made it clear to the student body that the Title IX guidelines will be maintained. Obama-Era Title IX guidelines protect survivors of sexual assault by assuring a 60 day time period in which their case would be addressed by the school. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has rolled back those guidelines, removing the waiting period and reversing protections that survivors have, like appealing their cases, and giving those protections to the perpetrators of the assault. Please keep in mind that only 3% of sexual assault allegations are false. Doubting survivors only adds to the stigma around sexual assault and means that less people will come out. As a male freshman living on campus, I know that men, who make up the majority of perpetrators of sexual assault need a reminder from the school administration that sexual assault is not tolerated at Western. I know that the student body would overwhelmingly agree with me.
Loren Peterson, history major
“ICE in their Veins,” a poem by Inga Elvrom, American Cultural studies major
As a Planned Parenthood patient in Bellingham, WA. I know from personal experience that these centers play a vital role in our state. I’ve been a patient ever since I moved here 4 years ago to attend Western and I have been so grateful for the services they have provided me, ranging from STD testing to run-of-the-mill women’s wellness checkups. If it weren’t for their ability to provide affordable services, I would have had no way to access such necessary screenings.
Attacks against Planned Parenthood are attacks against my health and the health of the 103,456 women, men, and you don’t people who also rely on these centers across Washington State for preventative services like birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing and treatment, and well-woman exams.
Over half of Planned Parenthood providers are in medically underserved areas, such as Skagit and San Juan county. That’s why the claims made by some politicians that other health care provider could serve me and other Planned Parenthood patients as effectively when access to health care at Planned Parenthood is blocked are so absurd.
Planned Parenthood has always been there for me when I needed them, and I don’t know what I would’ve done without their services. I am just one of millions who depend on Planned Parenthood health centers across Washington and around the country.
We should all stand up for this incredible health care provider rather than attempting to defend it, leaving me and thousands of individuals across Washington without the care that we need. Action can be as simple as showing your support by putting a sticker in your window or as big as volunteering with your local chapter. Whatever you do, don’t let the thousands of people who rely on affordable health services end up without.
Victoria Campbell, accounting and MIS major
Due to recent attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, I wanted to shed light on why everyone should (continue to) support this organization.
I’ve heard from many people that they don’t want their tax dollars going towards abortion and I want to make sure those people understand that no federal money goes towards abortion. The Hyde Amendment, which has been intact for decades, prevents that. So, don’t let a misconception like that stand in the way of your support.
What Planned Parenthood provides is healthcare. For everyone, not just women! Preventative medicine (such as mammograms, STI/STD testing and Pap smears) are provided daily to everyone from any walk of life.
Ultimately, defunding Planned Parenthood hurts those who need it most. Half of PP clinics are located in underserved areas, so when people say that other healthcare providers can provide these services for them, that’s untrue for half of the population.
Healthcare doesn’t need to be political. In fact, 48% of Donald Trump supporters stated that they’re opposed to defunding Planned Parenthood. Anyone is welcome at Planned Parenthood and anyone is welcome to support them! Don’t let your political views sway this nonpartisan issue.
As a young woman who has used Planned Parenthood for preventative medical services in the past, I’m eternally thankful for them. Their support is integral in so many people’s lives which is why your support of Planned Parenthood is so crucial.
If you’re interested in learning more about Planned Parenthood or getting involved, please swing by our Safe Sex Friday booth from 10 am – 2 pm every Friday in Red Square on Western’s main campus!