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Bellingham
Monday, October 19, 2020

Board of Trustees meeting

By Colton Redtfeldt

Western’s Board of Trustees will request $60 million from the state to construct an additional classroom and lab space for science programs, as of a meeting on April 13. An additional $14 million will be put towards renovations to the Environmental Studies Center between 2019-21.

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The project is Western’s top priority, according to the request proposal submitted to the Board. An initial proposal put forth in 2015 was sidelined until the university could complete renovations to Sam Carver Gymnasium.

Western’s existing science instructional space fails to meet performance standards and lacks adequate instructional space, according to the decision package proposal given to the Board. The new building will provide more classrooms and laboratory space.

The university is “at risk of failing to meet student demand while maintaining program quality,” according to the proposal. Western has seen a significant increase in STEM majors and plans to increase degree program offerings in the field.

The Board also updated existing demonstration policies to prohibit possession of dangerous weapons during demonstrations and prohibit demonstrations from interfering with university activities or pedestrian vehicular traffic, according to the proposal. The previous policy did not mention the possession of weapons during demonstrations.

The new regulation prohibits demonstrators from using speech that “would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety,” or “deny a person’s ability to substantially participate in the university community.”

Western Chief of Police Darin Rasmussen said previous school policies were outdated and no longer adequate.

“It was not comprehensive enough to address the issues that were coming up in colleges across the nation in regards to tiki torches and such,” said Rasmussen.

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