Friday, May 9, 2008

Western Front Inaccuracies Noted by Campus Community Coalition

I received the following comment from Lara Welker after I published several blog entries related to Western Front (the WWU student newspaper) articles on the Campus Community Coalition’s Let’s Talk Forums and on zoning and student responsibilities. (Click here and here to read those blog entries) Ms. Welker speaks to several inaccuracies in these Western Front pieces in a letter directed to the editors of the Western Front.

“I regret the inaccurate information printed in the Western Front about the Let's Talk Forum, and sent the following letter to the Editors:

Dear Western Front Editors:
I would like to make a clarification regarding the Let's Talk Forums coming up on May 15. Two recent pieces in the Western Front were inaccurate and misleading about the purpose of this event.

First, the Opinion article "Students Can Be Responsible Neighbors" (5/5/08) stated, "The ["Rule of Three"] ordinance has causes so much commotion, the Western's Campus Community Coalition is holding a discussion for community members and students to discuss the consequences of housing in Bellingham."

The purpose of the "Living Together in Bellingham" Let's Talk Forums is to discuss the issues that come up when students and long-term community members are neighbors, understand different perspectives on these issues, and consider how we can we help each other be great neighbors and community members. Housing is a facet of this conversation, but it is inaccurate to say that Let's Talk is to discuss "the consequences of housing in Bellingham." In addition, these discussions have been held regularly for several years now, and were not prompted by the more recent "commotion" about the ordinance.

Secondly, the title of Harte Onewein's article "Forums Address 'Rule of Three issue" (5/6/08) is inaccurate. While the sentence, "....the "Let's Talk" discussion sessions ...will focus on issues arising from students living off campus" is true, the rest of the article is really about the "Rule of Three" issue. So not only is the title simply incorrect, combining the two issues into one article is very misleading.

The issues these two pieces address have long histories and are very, very complex. I caution your staff and you as editors against oversimplification.

I would appreciate it if you would publish a correction so that students and other readers have correct information about the Let's Talk forum. We invite everyone to participate on Thursday, May 15, with one session at 4pm and another at 7pm in Viking Union 565. For more information, please contact Lara Welker, Campus Community Coalition Coordinator at 650-6863 or

For those who are interested in learning more about the "Rule of Three," I believe the campus ACLA club is planning a session on this for May 20. I encourage you to contact them for more information.

Thank you.
Lara Welker
WWU-Bellingham Campus Community Coalition
Prevention and Wellness Services"

I encourage members of the community to attend the Let's Talk forums next week.

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