In the Media

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 8:42am
North County Outlook

The City of Arlington is contracting with Western Washington University Sustainable Communities program to develop a plan for the future of our treasured downtown. We invite you to join us and share your ideas for downtown Arlington. Imagine the Arlington downtown of the future, one that continues to provide opportunities as a civic and economic center - what does this look like for you? A workshop has been scheduled to gather input from the community at large.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 8:45am
Detroit Free Press

A new report released last week by several scholars from four universities confirms the experiences that El-Sayed and other Muslim candidates across the U.S. faced during the 2018 political campaigns. Titled "#Islamophobia, Stoking Fear and Prejudice in the 2018 Midterms," the 97-page report details the hatred that 166 Muslim political candidates in the U.S. endured during the midterm elections.

Six Muslim candidates from Michigan completed the survey the researchers sent out to Muslim candidates, said one of the report's authors, Western Washington University associate professor of journalism Brian Bowe.

"What’s important here is not simply that someone like Rashida Tlaib is the target of online Islamophobic, xenophobic and misogynist rhetoric, it’s that Twitter makes it easy for bad actors to amplify this rhetoric, which then spills over into news coverage," Bowe told the Free Press. "Some of the most active Twitter conversation about Rep. Tlaib came from far outside the 13th District, as we saw from the thousands of tweets tagging both her and Rep. Omar. This kind of disinformation infrastructure may disrupt and distort local debates over which candidate would best serve the needs of constituents, posing a danger for democracy."

Friday, November 8, 2019 - 10:11am
The Bellingham Herald

Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis is among a dozen applicants to replace Justice Mary Fairhurst on the Washington State Supreme Court, according to a spokesperson the Office of Governor.

Montoya-Lewis was sworn in Jan. 16, 2015, as the first Native American judge on the Whatcom County Superior Court. She was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee after the state Legislature approved a fourth Superior Court judge for the county in 2013.

Before that, Montoya-Lewis served as an associate professor at Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College and had served as a judge for 16 years, including as chief judge for the Lummi Nation from 2008-11. Montoya-Lewis graduated from law school at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1995.

Friday, November 8, 2019 - 10:09am
The Bellingham Herald

Western Washington University announced Thursday that it is attempting to raising $20 million by September to help fund a new building on the Bellingham campus and expand its specialized programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

“Two of the most important goals in Western’s strategic plan are advancing inclusive student success and increasing Western’s impact in Washington,” Western President Sabah Randhawa said in a release Thursday, Nov. 7. “Preparing more graduates for successful careers in the state’s high-need STEM fields satisfies both objectives at once and demonstrates our commitment to serving the needs of the state, our students and the public good.”

Thursday, November 7, 2019 - 9:43am
Cascadia Weekly

What do feminist icon Gloria Steinem and Western Washington University adjunct professor Dr. Joy Wiggins have in common?

A whole lot. For starters, they’re both interested in heady topics such as the origins of sex and race caste systems, how gender roles play an important part of people’s lives, nonviolent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples and obliterating the patriarchy—especially when it comes to seeking equality across a variety of spectrums.

Additionally, they’re both authors. Wiggins and co-author Kami Anderson recently published From Sabotage to Support: A New Vision for Feminist Solidarity in the Workplace, and Steinem’s new book, The Truth Will Set You Free, But First it Will Piss You Off: A Lifetime of Quotes, is now on the shelves.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 8:35am
The Washington Post

Muslim candidates, including Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, endured torrents of hateful, xenophobic and threatening tweets during last year’s campaign season, much of it amplified through bots and other fake accounts, according to a study to be released Tuesday.

The study, by the Social Science Research Council, analyzed 113,000 Twitter messages directed at Muslim candidates.

The threats and verbal attacks flowed so heavily toward Omar (D-Minn.) — who came to the United States as a refugee from Somalia and has become a visible symbol of Muslim political aspirations — that the report categorized more half of all accounts that mentioned Omar as “trolls” because they tweeted or retweeted hateful, Islamophobic or xenophobic content.

“All these things that happened online — all this hate, all this controversy — were manufactured.” said Jonathan Albright, a social media researcher at Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism and a co-author of the report. “They wouldn’t exist if somebody hadn’t built a platform like this to amplify them.”

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 8:26am
The Social Science Research Council

Pintak, Lawrence, Albright, Jonathan, Bowe, Brian J. and Pasha, Shaheen

This report examines the campaign experiences of Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, and other Muslim candidates who ran in the 2018 US midterm elections. While many Muslim candidates reported limited encounters with Islamophobia among their constituents, a social media narrative of manufactured outrage was disproportionately Islamophobic, xenophobic, racist, and misogynistic. It was heavily influenced by a small number of agents provocateurs, whose hate-filled messages and disinformation were amplified by networks of accounts operating on a scale that signals the involvement of organized networks. These operations largely replaced Breitbart and other extreme-right media entities that were the primary source of anti-Muslim dialogue in the 2016 presidential campaign. They spread hate speech like a virus on social media through both human interaction and the use of bots, sockpuppets, and automated “cyborg” accounts, poisoning the political narrative, drawing in both likeminded and unsuspecting individuals, and disproportionately amplifying—and, for some, normalizing—the message of intolerance.

 Download #Islamophobia: Stoking Fear and Prejudice in the 2018 Midterms here.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 8:19am
The New York Times

By Lawrence Pintak, Jonathan Albright and Brian J. Bowe

Dr. Pintak, Dr. Albright and Dr. Bowe are the authors of a study by the Social Science Research Council on anti-Muslim sentiment on social media during the 2018 midterm elections.

Donald Trump has made the demonization of Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, a key element of his 2020 re-election strategy. But the targeting of Ms. Omar and her fellow Democrat and Muslim member of Congress, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, started as soon as they became candidates.

We published a study this week that found that, around the 2018 midterm elections, Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib were in the cross hairs of a tiny band of Islamophobes, long before Mr. Trump elevated them in his tweetstorms, and likely before they were even on his radar.

We studied more than 113,000 tweets, posted from early September 2018 to the weekend before the election, that mentioned Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Omar Qudrat, a Republican congressional candidate in California who lost his race.

Ilhan Omar was the prime target. Roughly half of the 90,000 tweets mentioning her included hate speech or Islamophobic or anti-immigrant language. Put another way, almost 60 percent of the network of accounts that mentioned or tagged her had posted at least one tweet containing hate speech or overt disinformation. Almost one-third of the tweets mentioning Ms. Tlaib were Islamophobic or xenophobic. Even Mr. Qudrat, a former military terrorism prosecutor, faced online harassment.

Monday, November 4, 2019 - 9:08am
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Three years ago, Carles Badenes and his fellow astrophysicist Todd Thompson were at a conference where researchers were invited to put together impromptu proposals — pitched and awarded in the same weekend — in hopes of getting a small amount of seed funding to pursue a “crazy idea.”

But not long into the search, they – along with a third partner in the project, Kevin Covey of Western Washington University — found what they were looking for, a discovery made public Friday in a paper published in the journal Science.

Monday, November 4, 2019 - 9:02am
Campus Rec Magazine

Pools are for more than just lap swimmers.

In fact, Richelle Williams, the aquatics coordinator and youth program advisor at Western Washington University (WWU), hopes to create an environment that welcomes more than those who want to swim laps. “I have some of my happiest memories at pools,” she explained. “I strive to create that same experience for people with the widest variety of aquatics experiences.”

As such, she will look at trends in popular culture to determine creative aquatics offerings. Plus, Williams said they are always looking for collaborative opportunities with campus partners. She said it begins with asking how the aquatics department can best serve them.