The word “book” may seem stale or boring to some, but to Sandra Kroupa, books are everything but that. In fact, the books she accumulated over the 47 years as a book arts and rare book collector are nothing like traditional books. The books she brought in to display at Wilson Library’s Special Collections room all stood apart from each other. Many of the books didn’t appear to be books at all, but rather appeared to be more aesthetically artistic, yet stayed compelling in the writings. Kroupa said in her presentation on Tuesday, April 7, that the artists’ books can do a myriad of things, from changing your mood to making you feel certain ways. Each book in Kroupa’s collection is a unique masterpiece artistically created by many authors and artists around the world. Kroupa said she seeks to acquire books that will fit in her collection rather than adding books that she found to be good. A few of the different types of books Kroupa showed included books written on individual matches in a matchbook, books that looked like accordions, books that could be played like a board game, political playing-card books, Holocaust-feeling books and even books that looked like like various objects, like a box of white crayons. Conner Celli, sophomore, said he expected a presentation on old books from the 1600’s, but what he saw wasn’t even close. “I was surprised by how unique these books were and how interactive they were,” Celli said. “There’s more to a book than I assumed and there’s more than one way to create a book. It’s not just paper and a cover, it’s put it on a match and pull off a match and create a book.” Grace Sutherland, sophomore, said she was prepared to not care about Kroupa’s collection, but actually found it interesting. “In this day and age, with everything being digitized, there’s something about a physical book that can’t be replicated with a digital version,” Sutherland said. “I think especially with these books, there’s really no other way to do it except for just seeing [the book] in person, in its physical form.” Sutherland said she was also surprised to see the unique collection and even recommends checking out the books. “I didn’t even know these art books were a thing before this class, so I think [the collection] is really important because it’s a whole other way to think about books,” Sutherland said.
Although the lights were dim, it was still possible to see the mass of bodies that filled Honey Moon Mead & Cider to capacity. Members of the Bellingham community came to a fundraising event to support Film is Truth, a locally owned video rental store.
Sexual assault procedures and resources on Western's campus are under inspection as new measures proposed by the Washington State Legislature would enhance the existing resources for sexual assault victims on campus but also implement a task force to prevent campus sexual violence.
Sexual assault procedures and resources on Western Washington University’s campus are under inspection as new measures proposed by the Washington State Legislature. The measures would enhance the existing resources for sexual assault victims on Western’s campus and also implement a task force on campus sexual violence prevention. These new measures are proposed to the Higher Education Committee in Bills 5518 and 5719. Under Bill 5518, Washington public universities would be required to report all sexual assaults to “the governor and the legislature with recommendations for improving state oversight of campus sexual violence policies and procedures.” The bill also requires the university to make information regarding campus sexual violence confidentiality and reporting available to current and prospective students and employees. Universities are also asked to refrain from establishing different disciplinary processes based on the status or characteristics of the student involved in the case. Bill 5719 would work toward reducing and preventing sexual violence by developing collaboration between campuses and law enforcement. Strategies to promote sexual violence awareness and improving student safety are also noted in the bill. The bills passed through the Senate with unanimous support, said Western Assistant Director of Government Relations Joe Timmons, in an email. Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity and Employment Diversity Dr. Sue Guenter-Schlesinger said the bills are a way of increasing the reporting and the understanding sexual assault options and resources. “In addition, increased and more effective prevention efforts may result from the work of a state-wide task force that would aim to decrease and eradicate sexual violence from our campuses,” Guenter-Schlesinger said. The Consultation and Sexual Assault Support group, also known as CASAS, is the main resource for Western students affected by sexual violence. It provides support for reporting incidents and academic, medical, financial, and emotional care. Western students were also required to complete the EverFi Haven online course for training in understanding and confronting sexual assault this year. The course also offered links to Western’s rules on residential living, the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Support and the student code of conduct. Human services and Spanish major Shanni Hupf saw EverFi as an informative tool concerning sexual assault resources on campus. “I thought it was good that Western is taking measures to help everyone know more about those topics,” Hupf said, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” Bills 5518 and 5719 could change how people understand and confront sexual violence on campuses, Guenter-Schlesinger said. “These [bills] will hopefully increase institutions’ and the entire community of students, faculty and staff’s awareness of sexual violence and the state’s commitment to ensuring campuses are most effective in their efforts at preventing and responding to it,” she said.
Last quarter, multiple Western Alerts were sent out reporting incidents of indecent exposure on and around campus. Although three notifications involving indecent exposure have been issued in 2015, University Chief of Police Darin Rasmussen said he wants to assure Western’s campus is safe.
Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, hosted a well-attended town-hall discussion on Western’s campus Thursday, April 2. Students and community members gathered to discuss local and national issues such as the Gateway Pacific Terminal, oil train safety and the impact both issues have on Bellingham. The Gateway Pacific Terminal issue was on the minds of multiple community members, as was the increase of potentially dangerous oil trains running through Bellingham – a hot topic following several recent train explosions across the country. "I support the terminal … because I saw it as a way to create good high paying construction jobs... in a county that has thousands of people out of work," Larsen said in response to several challenges from community members. "I don't have a decision-making role in it at all.” Though Larsen is no stranger to the area, having represented Washington’s second district since 2001, the community forum was his first hosted on Western’s campus. "I did want to have more students involved," Larsen said. "And we had a good turnout." Roughly one third of the audience members were students, which was a step upfrom last year said Associated Students Vice President for Government Affairs Sarah Kohout. “[Last year] it was downtown and I think I was one of the only young people in the room,” Kohout said. “So hopefully this will be an opportunity for more young people to be able to go and be able to ask him questions and also learn about what other issues are important to other members in the community.” Larsen agreed hosting the event on campus made it easier for students to attend. However, the veteran congressman and senior member on the House Transportation Committee had another reason for locating the event at Western. "I think sometimes when I do it in town, it ends up being a group of folks who organize around one or two sets of issues and the message of the student community can get lost in that," Larsen said. The majority of attendees who contributed to the discussion were established community members. Their questions and comments were primarily focused on immediate local concerns. At one point, a fiery dialogue erupted among several audience members. "Folks, really," Larsen said, attempting to ease the building tension in the room. "As my good friend, Derek Kilmer, representative from Port Angeles said, “If this is going to turn into the “Jerry Springer Show” it will be a very short meeting." The meeting was not short. In fact, it ran half an hour over the estimated timeframe. For those who did not get a chance to address the congressman, the discussion was over quickly. "It was obviously good to have a town hall that was centered on campus, because students aren't represented very much," said environmental policy major Patrick Eckroth. "But it was disappointing that it was pretty brief and that he cut a lot of people off. It makes it hard to be engaged and represented when no one will listen to you, which is really concerning as a student."