WSU Regents Commend Sunday Actions by Police Officers

PULLMAN, Wash.–Washington State University’s Board of Regents today addressed issues of last weekend’s riotous disturbance and adopted a resolution commending the actions of the area law enforcement officers and public safety personnel for their courageous and professional conduct.
Regent Ken Alhadeff said viewing two hours of videotape of the incident was a “hard thing to watch” for a Cougar alum and human being. “What I saw was the insanity of alcohol.”
He said what happened Sunday “is not a symbol of this university or its students. It’s a symbol of the power of alcohol and other drugs to make people choose to not have a choice. And we cannot tolerate it.
“The men and women who try to protect this campus and our students need to be commended,” Alhadeff continued.
“This is a fine university, full of fine human beings. And many of the kids who participated are wonderful young people. Alcohol, however, erases your capacity to have morality and judgment, and we’ve got to take control,” Alhadeff added.
Board President Carmen Otero said the culture of alcohol that resulted in the riot has to be changed and the university must use every available means to see that change does occur.
This morning’s meeting preceded the first of several commencement activities scheduled for regents and the university this week. WSU Spokane conducted ceremonies this afternoon. Two commencement ceremonies will take place on the Pullman campus tomorrow recognizing some 3,200 graduates of the class of ’98.
Action items approved by the board today included the elevation of the university’s prestigious Honors Program for academically gifted students to the status of Honors College, effective June 1, and recognition of the WSU faculty at Spokane’s Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education as the WSU College of Nursing.
Regents approved the schematic designs and authorized the university to proceed with plans for the sale of bonds to finance the proposed $35.6 million Student Recreation Center. The 140,000-square-foot building, containing fitness, swimming pools, gymnasiums and other recreation facilities, is planned for completion in 2001.
They also took preliminary steps leading to the eventual construction of engineering/life sciences and multimedia classroom buildings, costing $45 million, at WSU Vancouver.
A resolution directing the administration to take appropriate actions for reorganization of the university’s Staff Senate also was approved. Changes in the membership and function of the Staff Senate are needed to resolve an unfair labor practice complaint filed by the employees’ union.
The board also voted approval of a $1.7 million settlement with Pease & Sons contractors for claims against the university stemming from delays in construction of buildings on the WSU Vancouver campus.
Bylaws of the Graduate and Professional Student Association and the WSU Research Foundation were amended by regents, and they approved the establishment of a bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies at Pullman, extension of the master’s degree in communication to WSU Tri-Cities, and termination of the master’s degree in geological engineering.