A number of stickers/posters of the white supremacist group Patriot Front were found early today affixed to light poles across Western’s main campus in Bellingham. A University Police officer on patrol discovered the posters on light poles in Red Square, in front of Wilson Library, in front of the Communications building, in Haskell Square and in other locations. Western’s Facilities Management was alerted and the posters removed.
University Police has initiated an investigation. Western Washington University strongly condemns the white supremacist beliefs of the Patriot Front. Hate will not be tolerated in our community. Both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have the Patriot Front on their watch lists.
University officials are on heightened alert for any more of these posters, which when found will be removed as soon as possible in accordance with university policy. We encourage members of our community who may see such postings to call the customer service number of WWU Facilities Management at 360-650-3420; they will dispatch staff to remove the posters or stickers on campus property.
There has been an upsurge of alarming activity in our local community. According to media reports, residents of Bellingham’s Lettered Streets Neighborhood said they recently found white supremacist fliers on their doorsteps. Earlier this week Western sent an email message to WWU students on two recent incidents: a report of a man shouting racial epithets near the Buchanan Towers residence hall on campus and another incident in downtown Bellingham in which two men were reported holding rifles. Bellingham Police verified through video footage that the individuals were not pointing their weapons or threatening anyone with the rifles. While this may not be illegal, it can also be troubling and feel threatening to those passing through downtown. Anyone can anonymously report criminal activity to University Police by calling (360) 650-7233 (SAFE).
There are resources available for WWU students, faculty and staff in the wake of these incidents.
- Western's Counseling Center can be reach at 360-650-3164 Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you reach the center during daytime hours and need to speak with a counselor, a phone consultation can be arranged. If a student is in crisis and in need of support when it is closed, they may call 360-650-3164 and press "1" to reach after-hours services.
- The Washington State Employee Assistance Program is a resource available for faculty and staff. EAP counselors are available for in-person or phone appointments. The EAP office can be reached by calling 877-313-4455 (toll free). The toll-free after-hours help line is 866-704-6364. TDD/TYY users, please call via WA Relay at 711.
Messages from the Western Alert emergency communications system come in three warning levels, plus weather advisories:
- Western Alerts are sent when an imminent threat to the health and safety of campus exists. These alerts are always sent via both text and e-mail and may include other notification methodologies, depending on the severity of the incident. The texts will almost always point you to your WWU email for more information. These messages may incorporate follow-up information as it becomes available.
- WWU Crime Notices at Western shall be distributed to students and employees for any of the 15 Clery Act crimes that pose a serious or continuing threat to the Western community.
- WWU Campus Advisories are sent out for situations when there is not an imminent threat but a situation of concern.
- Western Weather Advisories are sent to campus when inclement weather such as snow has occurred, and the campus community may need to adjust their schedules due to closures or delays, or when the university is operating on a normal schedule but more time may be needed to get to campus. Weather notification is also posted on the WWU home page, the WWU Inclement Weather page at http://em.wwu.edu/inclement.html, and by calling Western’s Storm Hotline at (360) 650-6500. See the Inclement Weather page for more information about policies and procedures regarding how the campus reacts when bad weather arrives.