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The University of Washington - Seattle

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UAW Local 4121 reaches contract agreement with the UW
by The Daily of the University of Washington - Latest News
Jan 01, 2017
“After months of bargaining and contract extensions, the members of UAW Local 4121, the union that represents teaching assistants (TAs), research assistants (RAs), tutors and other Academic Student Employees (ASEs) at the UW, voted to ratify a new one-year contract with the university.
The union members met June 8 to vote on the new collective bargaining agreement and 97 percent of the members approved the contract, passing it by more than the simple majority that was needed.
The union’s bargaining team has been meeting with the university about its contract since February. The bargaining period was supposed to end by April 30, but was extended until the union and the university came to an agreement.
The new contract includes terms about the preservation of academic quality, the UW maintaining health insurance premiums for ASEs, a new ASE child-care reimbursement program and an offset in the cost of increases in mandatory student fees by $50 next year.
David Parsons, president of UAW Local 4121, said that, instead of waiving the mandatory student fees, which was one of the union’s main requests, the university agreed to provide an increase in ASEs’ compensation to offset the increase in the student fees, which he sees as a good first step.
“This is a conceptual breakthrough,” Parsons said. “This is the first time in years that the university has done something to address this fee problem. Nobody thinks of this as a complete solution, but it’s a step in the right direction and something that people are looking forward to building upon.”
David Williams, a member of UAW Local 4121 and a graduate student studying physiology and biophysics, said that he was glad to see the fees addressed with compensation.
“I feel really good about the fact that we have addressed these fees as wage decreases,” Williams said. “They’re a part of our wage structure. They’re fees we have to pay as part of our employment at the university.”
Peter Denis, interim assistant vice president of UW Labor Relations, said that there was a good exchange of ideas between the union and the university, and the UW administration felt comfortable making these agreements despite financial constrictions that have resulted from cuts in state funding for the university.
“In these economic times, anything that has a dollar sign attached to it is very problematic,” Denis said. “We listened to the representation of the ASEs and the university felt that this was an appropriate move to make at this time.”
Parsons said the new child-care program will be modeled on the Child Care Assistance Program provided by the Student Parent Resource Center. The university will dedicate $25,000 to the program and ASEs can claim up to $600 per quarter if they haven’t already received it from the Child Care Assistance Program.
Another aspect included in the contract was preservation of academic quality.
“One of the major themes in our contract campaign this year has been that we are really serious about wanting to protect the quality of education and access to higher education,” Parsons said. “We got this university to commit to maintain the same level of instruction services in the College of Arts & Sciences, so that next year there’s not going to be a drop in TAs or tutors.”
Parsons said that the union wanted something in the contract to ensure that TAs would be able to address concerns about problems posed by larger class sizes.
“[What] we’ve been hearing a lot is that TAs have been seeing bigger class sizes,” Parsons said. “It’s hard to maintain the level of quality in the classroom when you have to deal with five or 10 extra students and still try to have that personal interaction.”
The contract includes that TAs should collaborate with their supervisors to work through problems with “class size increases or other matters that may make it difficult to maintain academic quality.”
“There’s new language in the contract that opens the door between the union and the university in terms of preserving academic quality,” Williams said. “It’s a recognition that ASEs play a major role in maintaining academic quality at the UW. That’s something that’s been ignored for a long time.”
Throughout the bargaining period, members of the union took actions to promote their requests, including a three-and-a-half hour sit-in in the conference room of Interim President Phyllis Wise on May 31.
“The large push of actions in the last week definitely left an impression,” Williams said. “It showed that there’s a dedicated group of people within the union that are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to convince the university that we care.”
Denis said the actions taken by the union didn’t have a negative effect on the negotiation process.
“We understood that this was a difficult time for them and for the university,” Denis said. “I don’t think that [the actions] harmed the relationship between the ASE group and the university.”
The new contract will last until April 30, 2012, and the union’s bargaining team will begin to meet with the university to negotiate again next year. Denis said that the main takeaway from the last two years has been a greater understanding between the parties.
“We have to talk again and we’re well-positioned to do so,” Denis said. “We’re at a place now where we’re talking the same language.”
The members of UAW Local 4121 will vote on bargaining goals before negotiations start next year, but Parsons said he expects the same issues of fees, academic quality and health insurance to come up again.
Williams said that the contract negotiation this year was good, but that the discussions are still an ongoing process.
“This was a victory, but I think it was a victory in a battle, not a victory in a war,” Williams said. “It will continue until the ASEs compensations at UW are comparable to those at other large research institutions.”
Reach reporter Sarah Schweppe at”

Staff editorial: Non-enrolled UW students should be able to buy summer U-PASS
by The Daily of the University of Washington - Latest News
Jan 01, 2017
“University of Washington students who are enrolled for the fall, but not during summer quarter, will be getting creative within the next couple weeks in an attempt to attain an affordable transportation option this summer.
Whether it is buying the U-PASS from an enrolled student who doesn’t want to pay the $99, having a U-PASS’ed friend replace a “lost” U-PASS or Husky Card and paying them the fee, or printing off a photocopied version of the glossy sticker, less-than-honest students in need of transportation might resort to breaking the rules to save a couple hundred dollars in fares this summer.
It’s not right, but it happens.
Students around the area who rely upon the U-PASS during the school year — but are not enrolled this summer in favor of a local job or internship — will be looking to avoid $90-99 monthly bus-pass fees at any moral cost because there is no way for students who are not enrolled to take advantage of a summer U-PASS.
The reason for this is straightforward: The UW administration subsidizes the public transportation of those coming to campus in an effort to lower the amount of traffic congestion in the area. Although the UW allows employees and enrolled students to purchase the U-PASS, Director of Transportation Services Josh Kavanagh said that the administration doesn’t see an institutional responsibility to subsidize the transportation of those not directly using the UW resources on a daily basis.
The argument makes sense, but we don’t think it is satisfactory.
There are a good deal of students in and around Seattle who are using the summer as an opportunity to earn money to pay for their education, to further their education and working opportunities through an internship, or to conduct business central to their growth as individuals.
The vast majority of students who need a U-PASS are those who are fully utilizing their summers for personal or financial advancement, a goal that is central to our university’s mission statement. We can’t imagine a student who would apply to pay $99 or more for the summer just to subsidize a few trips with friends on Metro transit.
Buying into university services as non-enrolled students over the summer isn’t unprecedented, either. The UW allows students who are returning in the fall to purchase medical insurance — albeit for an additional fee. Likewise, although not entirely similarly, students have the ability to buy a summer IMA membership if they are not enrolled.
We understand how the administration might not feel obligated to provide students not enrolled during the summer with the ability to buy a U-PASS, but we’d also like to make sure two things are recognized.
First of all, accessible and cheap transportation is vital to many students, and experiences and wages earned over the course of the summer will almost certainly indirectly affect the UW. Much like continuing health insurance into the summer, for many students the ability to buy a subsidized bus pass is only a fair continuation of a service they have been provided the entire year.
We’d also like to point out that the subsidization of the U-PASS comes from university funds, of which a majority comes from student tuition and fees. We would like the opportunity to subsidize our own bus fees, even if it means charging the staff/faculty summer rate of $135, in order to have a more convenient and cheap transportation option this summer as we intern or work in the Seattle area.
We understand why non-enrolled students aren’t allowed to buy into a summer U-PASS program, UW administration, but we think you can do better.
If students were given this option, many would likely shy away from the previously stated U-PASS shenanigans and thievery.
This is the opinion of The Daily’s Editorial Board: Editor-in-Chief William Dow, Production Director Marlee Gross, Opinion Editor Erin Flemming, News Editor Josh Liebeskind, Lifestyles Editor Lauren Becherer, Arts & Entertainment Editor Robert Frankel, Copy Chief Kristen Steenbeeke, Development Editor Alison Atwell, and Photo Editor Lucas Anderson.”

Ex-UW basketball player charged with promoting prostitution
by The Daily of the University of Washington - Latest News
Jan 01, 2017
“Former University of Washington guard Venoy Overton was charged this past Friday with a second-degree felony for promoting prostitution. Overton is being held in King County Jail with a set bail of $150,000 while waiting for his June 30 arraignment. The court requested Overton’s passport to be restricted to travel within the state of Washington, preventing him from accepting offers to play overseas.
According to the police report, the 18-year-old woman told police officers she was brought to a location on Pacific Highway South and was told to perform certain sexual acts in exchange for varying dollar amounts. She then would give a portion of the money earned to Overton. The woman said she had been brought to the same location twice before.
The unnamed woman involved first met Overton in September 2010 and said she paid him $100 a week whenever she wanted to see him, which totaled to approximately $3,000. Overton admitted to profiting from the woman.
“I’m not gonna turn down money from a girl,” Overton said in the police report.
Police officer Lovisa Dvorak and Sgt. Andy Grove from the Kent Police Department caught the woman when they were on surveillance May 20 at approximately 10 p.m. on Pacific Highway South. She reportedly admitted to prostitution activities and said that her boyfriend, identified as Overton, pressured her into it.
“She told us she was new to prostitution,” Dvorak said in the police report. “She said it was her boyfriend’s idea and stated he had ‘pushed’ her to do it despite her telling him she didn’t want to.”
The woman told the police she called Overton on May 18 in tears, telling him she was broke. Two days later, Overton dropped her off at Pacific Highway South — a place police say has a high prostitution rate — and told her to “walk slow and sexy,” she said.
The woman was allegedly paid $200 for sex acts, which she split with Overton.
“This investigation and arrest highlights the need to continue to aggressively investigate and enforce the laws regarding human trafficking offenses,” Kent Police Lt. Pat Lowery said.
Overton has now been under investigation three times while at the UW. Seattle Police Department records say the first investigation occurred in 2009 regarding explicit text messages he sent to his 15-year-old cousin saying he wanted to have sex with her, although he was not charged for communicating with a minor for immoral purposes after it was determined there was not enough evidence to press charges.
Overton was charged with providing alcohol to a minor in March, which stemmed from an investigation of the alleged sexual assault of a 16-year-old girl. He was suspended for the Pac-10 tournament, but UW head basketball coach Lorenzo Romar allowed the then-senior guard to play in the NCAA tournament.
“I have been informed of the arrest of Venoy Overton and I am extremely disappointed,” Romar said in a statement Thursday regarding the recent arrest. “My staff and I spent an extraordinary amount of time and energy attempting to mentor Venoy prior to his recent graduation, so this news is especially troubling.”
Reach News Editor Josh Liebeskind and reporter Hayat Norimine at”

Thomas is the final selection of 2011 NBA draft
by The Daily of the University of Washington - Latest News
Jan 01, 2017
“It was the point in the NBA draft when teams started selecting foreign players, with the intent to potentially bring them to the United States a few years down the road.
As the second and final round of the 2011 draft wound down Thursday evening, and a large portion of the crowd at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., had left, it appeared the door was shut for any University of Washington player to be selected.
But then, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver announced the 60th — and last — pick: Isaiah Thomas to the Sacramento Kings.
The former UW guard entered the NBA draft after his junior year with little doubt he would be selected. Most mock drafts had the 5-foot-9, Tacoma, Wash., native going in the second round; some even had him sneaking into the late first round. But on Thursday, Thomas had to sit through five hours without hearing his name.
After the selection, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas called Thomas “explosive” and “dynamic,” saying that he is “one of those guys that’s a fighter.”
Despite the pundits that claimed he should have stayed at the UW for his senior season, Thomas seemed sure of his decision. He recently told Gregg Bell of that the reason he decided to declare for the NBA draft was, “With [point guard Abdul] Gaddy coming back and [point guard Tony] Wroten coming in, I wouldn't have been able to showcase my skills as [primarily] a point guard, which is the position I will be playing at the next level.”
In three years at the UW, Thomas averaged 16.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and nearly four assists per game. He evolved into a true point guard after sophomore Abdul Gaddy tore his left ACL in early January. He led the Pac-10 with 6.1 assists per game last season while continuing to score, finishing fourth in the conference with 16.8 points per game.
Thomas will join a struggling franchise in the Kings. Not only are there issues on the court, but the team almost moved to Anaheim, Calif., after last season before opting to stay in Sacramento for at least one season.
Thomas will join fellow draftees, guard Jimmer Fredette and UCLA product Tyler Honeycutt, in Sacramento, as well as guard John Salmons, who was involved in a three-team draft-day trade that brought Fredette over from the Charlotte Bobcats.
Former Washington forwards Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Justin Holiday were not selected and now are free to enter the free-agent market.
Reach News Editor Josh Liebeskind at”

Will's word of the week: ketchup
by The Daily of the University of Washington - Latest News
Jan 01, 2017
“Gloriously sunny Seattle summer days mean that we can excuse some of our more unhealthy ways. That includes the eating of hot dogs and hamburgers (veggie or bison or otherwise), and the use of ketchup.
Yes, ketchup. I’m not quite sure if this column has touched on condiments before, but since summer has begun, now’s a great time to do so. And “ketchup” is marvelously mysterious. I must thank my friend Chris Lim for suggesting it. “Is it true that the etymology of ‘ketchup’ is Indonesian?” he asked me the other day.
Yes, actually, kind of: “Ketchup,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), may, indeed, have a Japanese origin. Or perhaps Indian. Or maybe Chinese. And it really didn’t have anything to do with tomatoes until the 19th century, Michael Quinion reminds us. A fellow philologist, Quinion’s delightful site, “World Wide Words,” is a handy resource for such quandaries as the exact extraction of “ketchup” versus “catsup.”
The former, according to the OED, can be, technically, any “sauce made from the juice of mushrooms, walnuts, tomatoes, etc., and used as a condiment with meat, fish, or the like.” So it has, for centuries before the invention of ballparks, been a kind of dipping sauce. The latter, the confusing “catsup,” is, as the OED also puts it, “a liquor extracted from mushrooms, tomatoes, walnuts … [also] used as a sauce.” Basically the same thing — indeed, the very same: But how did that happen?
Well, note that the Chinese “kôechiap,” or “kê-tsiap,” according, again, to the OED, is the ancestor of the modern conception of ketchup, and means the “brine of pickled fish or shell-fish.” It may have been picked up by Dutch merchants in the 17th century as they traded in Malaysia and throughout Indonesia. We thus next find “kēchap,” the Malay version of the word, and then the Dutch transliteration, “ketjap.”
Expatriate Chinese communities help to explain the prevalence of a dipping sauce named “kēchap” in the midst of the region’s transcultural fusion of tastes. The presence of British merchants and their close contact with the Dutch during this era also helped to bring the idea of “ketjap” to us in the West.
In their accounts of “ketchup,” Quinion and the OED also quote the first-known, written reference to the word, from Charles Lockyer’s 1711 “An Account of the Trade in India,” in which the author writes of how, “Soy comes in Tubbs from Jappan, and the best Ketchup from Tonquin; yet good of both sorts are made and sold very cheap in China” (sic). Another dictionary more than a decade before had referred to “catchup” as a “high East-India Sauce,” reflecting the early mixing of the ketchups, so to speak.
Over time, “ketchup” prevailed, although it took a while for the main varieties of ketchup to be centered around the tomato and products made from its paste. But by the time we get to the end of the 18th century, with Henry Heinz and his 57 varieties, ketchup had gone global again. Ubiquitous bottles of the stuff can be found all over the world, perhaps thanks to hungry American GI’s bringing their tastes with them during the world wars.
So, the next time you grab that red bottle and cool down those hot fries with a glob of somewhat-mysterious “catsup,” you’ll know that it has a long and global history. Pass the ketchup, please, indeed.
If you have any word ideas, questions or etymological inquiries for next time, please send them to me at, and, until then, take care!
Reach columnist Will Mari at”

Overton is not a pimp
by The Daily of the University of Washington - Latest News
Jan 01, 2017
“Venoy Overton might be a lot of things: a once-great college athlete, a disgraced alumnus, and, now, in danger of violating the plea agreement he made earlier this year in regards to the misdemeanor charges of furnishing alcohol to a minor.
But Overton is not — at this writing — a convicted pimp, and that’s something at least a few Huskies need to remember.
The breadth of the English language gives its users the opportunity and the pleasure to say the same thing in so many different ways. Usually, this lets us say exactly what we mean (which of us could have gotten through our composition credits without
But in some contexts, such as the law, it’s important that very specific words be used and that their very specific definitions be understood.
One reader (“Keep him in jail”) commented on The Daily’s June 3 news story about the most recent charges against Overton, “Seriously, does this idiot not take a hint? First he rapes a minor, and now he’s playing at being a pimp.”
I appreciate the willingness to comment on the issue, because it’s an active readership that keeps a news source relevant. However, “Keep him in jail,” Overton has only allegedly acted as a pimp — or, to be more specific, he’s allegedly guilty of promoting prostitution in the second degree, which is a Class C felony.
Thankfully, erroneous claims within comments are usually self-correcting: Another reader (“Reader”) replied, “Venoy is guilty of many things but rape of a minor isn’t among them (at least that we know of).” “Reader,” that’s exactly how I would have phrased it — and similar to the way I have.
It was in another arena that I first heard statements that troubled me in the same way “Keep him in jail”’s words did. Before Overton’s name was even associated with the then-redacted police report in which a 16-year-old girl accused him of sexual assault, my women studies class was deep into a conversation that included phrases like “the basketball player who raped that girl” and “that athlete-rapist,” shouted across dozens of rows of the lecture room. The accusations outlined in that police report never even amounted to sexual-assault charges, much less a conviction; the phrasing used during that in-class conversation, then, was especially distasteful in hindsight.
When a person is in a prominent leadership position, as UW student-athletes often are, it shows exceedingly poor judgment for that person to provide alcohol to teenagers. Knowing that he would be held in the public’s view to a higher standard of behavior should have caused Overton to avoid such incriminating situations. The poor choices we know he has made can influence the way we talk about him. It is very difficult for someone to rid his or her name of a sex scandal, even if it turns out to be a rumor. Indeed, once a prominent individual is brought to trial, the elevated publicity of such charges can mean a guilty verdict rendered by the public before the legal proceedings are over, and a bad name long after. Although the alleged rape charges against Kobe Bryant several years ago were later dropped, people still refer to “The Kobe Bryant rape case” as if the rape had legally existed.
Promoting prostitution is a serious crime, and one for which its commissioners have to be held responsible. If Overton is guilty of the accusations laid out in the charging documents, that puts him among the lowest of the low and confirms behavior involving dangerous, sex-related offenses. That’s exactly why it’s so dangerous and discourteous to suggest he is already. Until and unless Overton is found guilty of the most recent charges against him, let’s refrain from calling him a pimp; the law rightfully allows him the benefit of the doubt, and the language surrounding his name should too.
Reach opinion writer Maddie Hall at”

Movie review: 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon'
by The Daily of the University of Washington - Latest News
Jan 01, 2017
“The logic of Michael Bay’s twisted universe gets even weirder in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” The characters become loonier, the motivations of the heroes and villains are nonsensical, the destruction is purposeless, and come on: Shia LaBeouf’s girlfriend is way too hot for him.
Bay’s universe mirrors our own in every possible way, except for one major detail: Although humans share Earth with giant autobots, this reality doesn’t seem to faze anyone. The autobots sound like humans, they act like humans, and they care about humans, possibly more than their own kind.
Initially, Bay’s attempt at rewriting history by insinuating that the 1969 moon landing was really an attempt to investigate a Cybertron spaceship crash-landing on the dark side of the moon is kind of cute, but then you realize that a majority of the details have been mystically arranged to serve the function of making a stupid Pink Floyd joke. Jerry Wang (get it?), played creepily by The Hangover’s Ken Jeong, makes this clear when he says, “We’re code pink. As in Floyd. As in dark side.”
The wacky ensemble is completed with John Malkovich as a corporate goon, a sinister John Turturro, and Frances McDormand as the Secretary of Defense, who insists she’s not a “ma’am” — whatever that means.
Bay’s attempts to make up for “Revenge of the Fallen” pay off in the 3D department, because the visual effects are pretty stunning, and the added depth of field is appropriate for this kind of live action. But the randomness and purposelessness of the film’s characters and events are overwhelming, and even a little depressing at times. If superhero LaBeouf can’t get a job after college, there really isn’t much hope for the rest of us.
This movie is really, really bad. But there are some seriously awesome, slow-motion action sequences, and enough robot face-offs to entertain even the most skeptical young adult. Ultimately, though Bay has a few moments of inspiration, he seems to be channeling Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” — lots of flying paper, crashes out of windows and falls across long distances — or maybe it was just the music playing tricks on me.
My favorite part of the movie, though, was Megan Fox’s replacement, zombie-runway model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (don’t judge). Her acting is nonexistent, and she looks like she’s posing for a photo shoot the entire time.
Coincidentally, this makes her perfect for a Michael Bay film.
If you’re going to see “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” I trust you know what you’re getting yourself into. Either you’ve seen the first two, or you’ve heard of the infamous director’s shenanigans. Brace yourself. If you like an exhaustive amount of explosions and gigantic, awesome robots, this movie is for you.
The verdict: A really, really bad — but visually resplendent ­— migraine of
a movie.
Reach reporter Amy Scott at”

by The Daily of the University of Washington - Latest News
Jan 01, 2017
“In response to “The diversity requirement
should spark intellectual progress” by William
Ray (May 31), and “Being a public university
complicates teaching diversity” by Thomas
Cloud (June 2)
The proposed diversity requirement seems
entirely reasonable. According to this newspaper,
diversity classes would “also count under either
the visual, literary and performing arts or
individuals and societies requirements already in
place,” and “there would be no additional credit
requirements for students on top of the current
minimum of 180 credits.” Given that the addition
of two diversity classes to required curriculum
would be of minimal inconvenience, it’s hard
to argue that the imposition of said classes
would be a burden to students or the university
When Thomas Cloud claims that it would
be “inordinately complex” to require diversity
courses at a public university, his language seems
strangely exaggerated. If anything, large public
schools like the UW are probably much better
suited to teach courses on diversity than private
ones, as Cloud seems to imply. Furthermore,
Cloud is unrealistic in portraying the concept
of diversity at UW as some sort of misguided,
left-wing political agenda. Diversity in America
is more than simply an abstract idea or a political
notion, but a fact of life and an important part of
our cultural fabric; we encounter diversity every
day, and must learn to navigate and appreciate
situations involving many different types of
people. As demographers are well aware, our
diverse society will only become increasingly so
in the future. Increased diversity is quite literally
the future of our country.
If diversity courses expose students to new
ideas and challenge their way of thinking, then
this is all in keeping with the purpose of a
university education. William Ray is right: “We
need much more intelligent discussion of what
diversity means and why it’s important.” The
diversity requirement would be a constructive
step towards this end.
Alex Jeffers
Senior, international studies, political science and
In response to “Being a public university
complicates teaching diversity” by Thomas
Cloud (June 2)
I read Thomas Cloud’s column “Being a public
university complicates teaching diversity” and
was truly puzzled by the disconnect between what
the columnist says the diversity requirement is
and what the diversity requirement is actually
meant to do. Think about this. In public schools
across our country’s 50 states, we teach children
about state history and highlight racial and
ethnic history specific to the area. In Washington,
schools tend to focus on American Indian
history because of the wealth of information and
culture that is available from coastal tribes. We
do so because we’ve made a conscious decision
as a community that this is an important aspect
of U.S. history that we want children to learn
— our understanding is more full because of
its inclusion. We don’t expect these children
to walk away with some all-encompassing
knowledge of American Indians. Rather, we say
that to know Washington history is to know
Washington American Indian history as well.
Why is that any different when it’s a public
university? The diversity requirement isn’t meant
to be a one-stop-shop where you gain some
lifelong knowledge about diversity with a fistbump
after the final. By proposing the diversity
requirement, we say that gaining knowledge
about the diverse world we live in (and not just
racially diverse) is important and we insert that
as part of the curriculum here. And it’s not some
outrageous thing either that is specific to Seattle.
The University of Massachussetts and Cornell
already have a similar requirement in place for
its students. Yes, we should rely on students
to choose the path they want to take at school
but we also lay a basic framework so that when
they come to the UW, they receive an education
that is more full, more complete. Cloud has a
worldview. I have a worldview. Our worldviews
come from our socially defined identities like our
racial background, sexual orientation, age, gender
and so forth that define who we are. The point
of the diversity requirement isn’t to teach you a
worldview. The point is to teach you that yours or
mine aren’t the only ones that exist.
Luke Lee
Alumnus, 2006, American Ethnic Studies &
Women Studies
After reading Thomas Cloud’s Thursday article
about the proposed diversity requirement, I
have to question Mr. Cloud’s implication that a
diversity requirement indoctrinates students into
a liberal worldview.
First of all, I take issue with his assertion that
the choice of Barack Obama’s autobiography as
the 2009-2010 common book was an expression
of liberal bias. He says that this is evidenced
by the fact that UW faculty and staff donated
money to the Obama campaign, but he did not
specify whether or not the University donated
these funds or if individual faculty members did
so on their own. I think that this is misleading
because there is a big difference between a
public institution openly or secretly supporting a
political figure and an individual employed by a
public institution privately giving them support.
Secondly, I take issue with Mr. Cloud’s
belief that a diversity requirement is a way for
a liberal institution to push its worldview on
its students. Maybe I’m a naive college student
held down by white guilt, but I support the
diversity requirement because I think that it is
a way for college students to learn about other
viewpoints — basically the opposite of what Mr.
Cloud is saying. The UW has faculty members
that are well-respected in their fields, and I have
always had the impression that academia is
self-correcting and that legitimate institutions
encourage their students to come to their own
conclusions, not indoctrinate them. I do not
understand why Mr. Cloud is so afraid of this.
I also take issue with his support of school
vouchers. School vouchers actually undermine
education because they provide the illusion
of choice. Public education is designed to be
secular and inclusive, but school vouchers
would indirectly give public money to private
institutions and put students who do not fit
into the local religious schools at a disadvantage
among other many things. Basically, it’s just a
terrible idea.
Also, if Mr. Cloud is so in favor of private
schools and is so opposed to this “liberal
establishment,” then why does he go to school
here? It reminds me of how Ayn Rand secretly
signed up for Medicare when she was dying of
lung cancer.
Hope Reilly
Sophomore, history, Scandinavian studies,
In response to “Kick Out Sodexo Coalition
joined by new student groups for latest sit-in,”
by Hayat Norimine (June 2)
For the past seven months, United Students
Against Sweatshops (USAS) members have
worked tirelessly to stand up for the reputation
of UW and ensure that our university only
associates with companies demonstrating ethical
conduct. Their commitment has consistently
amazed me through this year, and I believe that
they deserve to be heard and recognized by
the administration. Yet I also want to state that
the Associated Students of the University of
Washington (ASUW) Student Senate has passed
a resolution calling for the UW to terminate
Sodexo’s concessions contract (R-17-36, available
on This resolution represents
all UW students on this campus — over
40,000 people — and it is imperative that the
administration listens to us. This campaign has
been spearheaded by very passionate members
from USAS, but it also has earned the respect
of the entire UW student community. For this
reason, I wish to thank the members of the
diversity communities that have recently joined
the Kick Out Sodexo coalition and to encourage
other students to become involved. Sodexo’s
track record contains worldwide human rights
violations, and we, the students of UW, should
have a voice in how the campus is run. We should
not allow our university to become tainted
through association with companies such as
Sodexo. Instead, we should continue to stand
up and ensure that this contract with Sodexo
is promptly terminated in order to protect the
integrity of our university.
Michelle Nance
Sophomore, business administration and political
The recent crimes committed by the thugs on
campus who are attempting to harass the UW
into hiring only union members is a disturbing
trend in politicized bullying. There is no reason
Sodexo or any other company should be treated
this way.
Why are these protesters doing it? Because
of “human rights” abuses, they claim. What
Sodexo has really done is to refuse to force their
employees to join a union. Instead, they give their
employees freedom to be a member of a union,
or if they choose, to not be a member of a union.
This is very troubling to the Service Employees
International Union (SIE U). If given the choice,
most people will not pay union dues for the level
of income that these jobs are able to demand.
The only waythe SEI U are able to convince
employees in grocery stores to pay $50 per month
for the privilege to earn minimum wage, is by
intimidating employers into forcing it. Sodexo
is still paying higher than market value for most
of its positions. This is why Sodexo Mexico has
won the Social Responsibility Award for the last
6 years.
If you are a member of those protesting
Sodexo and accusing them of “Human Rights”
abuses, you need to understand what you are
doing to the phrase “human rights.” There are
human beings in the world being sold into
slavery. There are humans being arrested and
persecuted for religious beliefs and political
ideas that they dare to speak out against. There
are children being kidnapped and forced to be
soldiers in bloody wars. To cheapen the very
important meaning of the phrase “human rights”
is repulsive and shameful. How dare you cheapen
the phrase to bully into play your political
This is America, after all. We do not embrace
the European ideals of socialism that calls for
forcing someone to join a group in order to have
a job. We embrace the morally superior and
Constitutional value of Freedom of Association,
which gives people the freedom to choose
whether or not they join a union or any other
group for that matter.
Brian Cox
Senior, mechanical engineering”

Missing Mercer
by The Daily of the University of Washington - Latest News
Jan 01, 2017
“Strolling along the Burke-Gilman Trail, one sees the Stevens Court apartment complexes lined up in neat, orderly townhouses, like a miniature neighborhood. But past Stevens Court, there sits a smaller building — now empty — which has housed about 400 UW students per year. This year was its last.
Mercer Hall, one of the UW residential halls since 1971, will be demolished in July. Rob Lubin, associate director of Facilities and Capital Planning, said its demolition was due to both financial reasons and to a part of the Student Housing Strategic Master Plan, which includes renovating the UW West Campus to create more diverse living communities.
“Financially, we’re finding that, unless it’s like a high rise building, … it’s more affordable for us to [construct] a new building,” Lubin said. “Everything is brand new. We tailor it to what students and focus groups have told us [they wanted].”
Another reason for Mercer’s demolition, Lubin said, was its relatively low return rate. The return rate to Mercer has generally been at about 5 percent, though it jumped to 12 percent in its last year. Other residence halls’ rates range from about 40 to 60 percent.
Junior Chelsea Greenslitt was part of that 12 percent. Having lived in Mercer for two years — spending her second year as a Resident Advisor (RA) — Greenslitt could not imagine being in any other residence hall.
“I didn’t want to be an RA in any other building, because it’s just not the same,” Greenslitt said. “[There] was something about Mercer. It [is] easier to get to know people — to develop a community there — than it is in any other building.”
One memorable experience from Greenslitt’s first year in Mercer was spending time in the lounge, a place where she always felt welcome.
“Whenever you cross in front of [the lounge], there’d always be people in there … inviting you to spend time with them,” Greenslitt said. “You didn’t have to work at it. It just happened.”
Greenslitt didn’t always want to live in Mercer. After getting her rooming assignment and looking at the virtual tour online, she was disappointed to see that she would be living in a place that “looked like a dungeon.”
She began to feel differently as soon as she settled in.
“I moved in and was like, ‘Oh, this isn’t too bad,’” Greenslitt said. “You really develop an attachment to it. Nobody really understands until you live there. The longer you’re there, the more you end up loving it.”
Lubin said that, in his experience meeting with students about Mercer’s demolition, the students were evenly split between those who loved the building and those who hated it. Contributing to that divide are Mercer’s notorious red bricks, which receive both admiration and criticism.
For Greenslitt, the red bricks made Mercer seem warmer than the other halls’ “clinical” white walls.
“When you first get in there it is a little dark, but, for the most part, [the brick] makes it feel like a home and less like a dorm,” Greenslitt said. “It’s a big visual thing there, and it’s something people complain a lot about, too, so it’s just a personal preference.”
Junior Tillie Henry, another former Mercer resident, said one thing she didn’t like about the building was its small rooms, exacerbated by the red bricks. But that wouldn’t have stopped her from returning to Mercer for her senior year.
“I would totally live there [again],” Henry said. “You connect more with the people around you. … It’s special in that Mercer is a little more quaint. … I’m so glad I was put in Mercer.”
Housing & Food Services administrator Erica Barton agreed, calling Mercer a “vibrant community.”
“The community in Mercer does feel pretty connected,” Barton said. “It’s a smaller building. There [are] less people to get to know.”
Sophomore Clare Morrison spent her first year living in Mercer. While she fondly describes her floor community as having been close, and that she felt like she knew everyone on her floor, she said she was not attached to the building itself.
“I’m not devastated that the building is torn down, but I think it [was] good socially,” Morrison said. “It had a nice atmosphere.”
Morrison enjoyed the campfires and barbecues she had in Mercer, which is the only residence hall to have a field, an open barbecue pit and a volleyball court behind it. The location by the Burke-Gilman Trail and the quick and easy trips to Gasworks are two things Morrison will miss about the building, along with its warm, red bricks.
After having spent two years in Mercer, Greenslitt said she grew attached to the building. Driving on the University Bridge and seeing Mercer, she was recently reminded of the time she spent there and how much the building means to her.
“That was my home for two years,” Greenslitt said. “That was the place that got me through the first two years of college — Mercer and the people there.”
Reach reporter Hayat Norimine at”

Letter from the editor
by The Daily of the University of Washington - Latest News
Jan 01, 2017
“As the summer editor-in-chief at The Daily, and the current ASUW Director of Policy and Procedures, you might think my being editor-in-chief will pose a conflict of interest. You’re not alone.
While at a fundraiser a week ago, I ran into Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle) during the reception and we chit-chatted a little bit. When I told him I was both the ASUW’s Director of Policy and Procedures and this summer’s editor-in-chief at The Daily, he was surprised.
“They let you be editor and be a part of student government?”
Yeah, they do. But in actuality, the two positions aren’t that different.
One of the roles of a news agency is to keep tabs on government. Although there won’t be a fully functioning ASUW this summer, the Board of Directors will be working on issues either directly or indirectly that you’ll see on the front page of The Daily every week.
There is bound to be overlap, and I’ll inevitably be editing stories that cover issues or events in which I have been involved. Unlike when I decided to run for ASUW during winter quarter, I won’t be able to remove myself from the editing process for ASUW-related stories.
We’ve got stories, profiles and other coverage coming down the pike that are bound to test my impartiality and, although I’ll likely have strong feelings about the topic, I’m going to take a step back and give ultimate content authority to the section editors, whom I believe in tremendously. In any case, there will be at least two editors — in addition to myself and the section editor — who will look at each article.
My goal isn’t to advance the ASUW’s efforts this year during my time at The Daily, it is to consistently provide our readers the best possible product. That’s a promise, and that’s something from which I will not sway during my time as editor.
In the end, although I can make all the promises I want, my performance comes down to your trust. I’ve earned the trust of the newsroom that voted almost unanimously in favor of my editorship, even while I was an ASUW candidate, of the Publications Board that hired me, of myself, believing I can distance my biases from my editing, and, hopefully soon, from you, who I will keep working for until our last issue in late August.
While there are potential issues with being an editor and a board member, one of my primary goals in both of the positions is exactly the same: community building.
We’re a community paper. Or, at least, we should be.
The Daily, over the last couple years, has raked in countless national awards, including the Associated Collegiate Press’ 2010 Pacemaker Award, the collegiate equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize. We’ve earned the respect of and are consistently read by major regional news outlets such as The Seattle Times, and many in the UW community — though not enough — consistently read the paper and are impressed by its depth of coverage and presentation.
We’re a good paper, but we aren’t a great paper, and the missing component is our connectedness with the community.
It can’t be this way.
In my time as editor, I want to make sure we are out in the community and that I lay the foundations for us being out there in the community even more during the next school year. I want to transform the role of being editor-in-chief from one of reading over copy and planning art for the next day’s paper to one of being known by and in communication with different communities at the UW.
I want The Daily to be both cognizant and respectful of other campus communities, and I want to work with this coming school year’s editor Alison Atwell and the rest of the newsroom to make sure we have the institutions and the institutional knowledge to treat each issue and community on campus with the utmost sensitivity and respect.
I’m going to do everything I can to make that a reality, but I can’t do it all myself, and that’s where I need you.
Anytime you have concerns, contact me. Whether it is coming directly to Communications 132, writing a letter or shooting me an email. Anything is better than nothing, and I am willing to discuss just about anything.
We can put out a good paper with the status quo, but we need to actually be visible, approachable and in touch with the community to truly become great.
Until then, I’m going to work hard to be both as impartial and accessible as possible, and I encourage readers to respectfully raise concerns, suggestions or compliments as early and as often as possible.
You’re the reason we write, design, edit and do just about everything else. Embrace it.”

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