Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hey! Wait a Minuteman!

I got a heads-up email earlier today, saying there was something amiss with an extension course up at Western Washington University in Bellingham.

I read the email and then checked it out in the Academy for Lifelong Learning (A.L.L.) Spring Semester 2007 Course Catalog. Sure enough, there the "class" was, between "Classical Music of Northern India" and "The Spice Trade Through the Ages":
Citizens on the Border
COST: $27 A.L.L. members, $34 non-members
LOCATION: Bellingham Yacht Club, 2625 Harbor Loop Dr.
Three sessions: Wednesdays, March 7-21
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Registration deadline: February 28

This course is a history of Americans protesting what they be-
lieve is the failure of the government to fulfill its Constitutional
responsibilities. What is the purpose of the Minutemen? Who
are they? Where do they come from? Why are they needed?
Are their methods controversial? Are they a threat to anyone?

Tom Williams is the founder and the First Commander of the
Washington State Minuteman Detachment. ...
I was shocked! Nay, I was stunned!

I fired off and email to the Director of Extended Education asking what the heck was going on:
It has come to my attention that this Spring Western is offering a course titled "Citizens on the Border", taught by Tom Williams of the Washington Minuteman Detachment.

I am utterly baffled by this. Since when does Western sponsor recruitment for, to say the least, controversial political groups? Mr. Williams "teaching" a class about his own group hardly meets any possible criteria for academic objectivity. As it stands this is simply an opportunity for Mr. Williams to propagandize for his group using Westerns academic respectability as cover.

The Washington State Human Rights Commission was concerned enough to convene a hearing, in Bellingham, about the activities of the Washington Minutemen Detachment. (Hearing Minutes)
The connections between the Minutemen movement and White Supremacists is well documented.

I suggest you read: Shell Games: The "Minutemen" and Vigilante Anti-Immigrant Politics
- and -
David Neiwert's series:
The March of the Minutemen
Intro: Parts 1,2,3,4,5, and 6.

As a citizen of Washington State, a resident of Whatcom County and a former Western student, I urge you to reconsider offering this course.

Thank you for your careful consideration of this matter,
And the Director replied very quickly:
Thank you for your message. When the full background about this course was brought to our attention, we withdrew our invitation to Dr. Williams to present in A.L.L. The course has been cancelled. We appreciate your concerns and time in communicating with us.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Dr. Barbara Audley
Executive Director
Extended Education and Summer Programs
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA 98225
Obviously I was far from the first to voice concern about a Minutemen propaganda class and once the University was clued in they cancelled the course without hesitation. But, ya gotta wonder how it got there in the first place.

1 comment:

Wally said...

"I am utterly baffled by this. Since when does Western sponsor recruitment for, to say the least, controversial political groups? Mr. Williams "teaching" a class about his own group hardly meets any possible criteria for academic objectivity. As it stands this is simply an opportunity for Mr. Williams to propagandize for his group using Westerns academic respectability as cover."

Please substitute Larry Estrada and then Vernon Johnson's name for Mr. Williams in the above letter and see if you can get the WWU or at least Fairhaven College canceled.