Washington State Magazine

Summer 2007

Summer 2007

In This Issue...


It felt like coming home :: With Lane Rawlins, Washington State University has "become what a lot of people envisioned it could be." Even though he has plenty of ideas of what to do next, it is time to hand over the presidency. by Hannelore Sudermann

The presidents :: The fledgling Washington State Agricultural College hired and fired two presidents in two years. But then Enoch Bryan arrived, with his vision of a college of science and technology "shot through and through with the spirit of the liberal arts." Since Bryan, the succeeding presidents of Washington State University have established something of a rhythmic cycle of stirring things up and reconciliation, with lots of good drama and ideas mixed in. by Tim Steury

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Our Story: WSU presidents I have known (or known of) :: The secretary of Glenn Terrell and Clement French gives the lowdown on her former bosses and their predecessors. by Gen De Vleming }

Counting cougs :: Between 1995, the year before Washington banned the hunting of cougars with hounds, and 2000, the number of human-cougar encounters nearly quadrupled. Although encounters have returned to pre-ban levels in some areas, the public perception is that cougars are making a comeback—and must be stopped. But Hillary Cooley and Rob Wielgus insist that much of what we think we know about cougars is wrong. And their argument rests with the young males. by Cherie Winner

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: Counting Cougs :: Stalking the wild—and elusive—cougar with graduate student Hilary Cooley in northeastern Washington. A photo gallery by Robert Hubner. }

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE—Gallery: Project CAT :: In September 2006, photographer Robert Hubner joined graduate students Hilary Cooley and Ben Maletzke on a trip to capture and collar a cougar kitten, with the help of students from the Cle Elum-Roslyn schools' Project CAT. }

Biology by the numbers:: In normal times, Europe's brown bears live in a state of happy equilibrium. But under certain circumstances, things can go seriously awry, leading the males to commit what researcher Robert Wielgus calls sexually selected infanticide. Wielgus's most powerful tool against this eventuality is math. by Cherie Winner

Hops & beer :: Raising the raw ingredients for beer can be just as complex and interesting as growing grapes for wine, says Jason Perrault '97, '01. Like grapes, hops have different varieties and characteristics. Perrault, fourth-generation heir to a hops-farming legacy, runs a hops breeding program for Yakima Valley growers, helping to ensure that Washington continues to provide three-quarters of the hops grown in this country. by Hannelore Sudermann


:: World Class. Face to Face. It's not a slogan, it's a plan. President Rawlins shares some parting thoughts on the eve of his retirement.

:: Questioning the questions

:: Happy—and healthy—ever after


:: FOOD AND FORAGE: It's rhubarb pie time!

:: SPORTS: Baseball's my game

:: SPORTS: Hoop dreams


Cover: V. Lane Rawlins steps down as WSU's ninth president, having given the University a stronger sense of itself and its role in the state. Read the story. Illustration by Steve O'Brien.


Fighting for a free press

by | © Washington State University

Brian Schraum ditched school for several days in January. The 19-year-old Washington State University junior wasn't playing hooky, though. He was testifying in Olympia on behalf of a free-press bill he inspired.

Schraum, a communication major, is trying to protect high school and college newspapers from censorship. House Bill 1307, which Schraum helped Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-Des Moines) craft, would put the full weight of editorial decisions in the hands of the student editors. Even in high schools.

Last year, as editor of the Green River Community College newspaper, Schraum realized that while he had the freedom to print what he chose, that freedom wasn't guaranteed. The Running Start student wanted to set up an agreement with the school's administration to make the paper's editorial autonomy official.

Censorship hadn't been a problem, but he wanted to be sure it wouldn't become one, especially after hearing about a federal court ruling allowing other colleges to censor.

At first, the community college administration supported his effort, but not for long. "I guess they talked to their attorney and they were like, 'Well, we don't know,'" Schraum says.

So he changed tactics and contacted Upthegrove, who had once visited one of his classes. "I shot him an e-mail one day....I wasn't expecting to hear much," he says. Then one afternoon the newsroom phone rang. He picked it up and was stunned to hear Upthegrove on the other end of the line.

They met last summer at an ice cream shop in Des Moines. There, surrounded by milkshakes and sundaes, they laid the groundwork for a bill that would bring national attention to both Upthegrove and Schraum.

"I've enjoyed working with Brian. He is a nice guy and easy to work with. He is levelheaded, smart, and a good communicator," Upthegrove responded via e-mail from a hearing. "I feel very comfortable having him join me in meetings and having him as the public face for the bill.

"He is an articulate spokesperson on the issue," Upthegrove wrote. "He has responded to media inquiries, joined in a meeting with the Attorney General's Office, has spoken on several public panels, and has educated and rallied student press colleagues around the state."

Opponents of the bill argue that newspapers at public schools are sponsored by state money, so the administrators of those schools have the right to control the content. Schraum argues that newspapers are public forums, even at high schools.

"There's no knowledge requirement for the First Amendment," Schraum says. "I don't think it's a matter of maturity, for me anyway, it's a fundamental rights matter.

"I don't think we ought to put this qualifier—'well you have to reach this age' or 'you have to have this level of education or maturity'--to be protected by the Constitution."

Schraum's work is important, because students can't learn editorial judgment if they have principals and other authorities making their decisions, says John Irby, WSU associate professor of communication. "In the real world, the publisher—who I would equate to the administrator—in most cases does not get down to reading copy in advance," Irby says. "The best publishers leave it up to their editors to make editorial decisions."

The only way to teach responsibility is to put it in the hands of the students, he says.

Many student journalists attended the hearing in January to support the bill—so many, in fact, that a partition in the committee room had to be removed to make space. "I think the number of students who showed up probably spoke louder than any testimony," says Schraum.

He also credits the help of Mike Hiestand of the Student Press Law Center, a national nonprofit agency that provides legal support for student journalists.

"So there's a lot of people that are supportive, but it's not a WSU effort. It's pretty much Brian's efforts," Irby says. "I wish it was a WSU effort."

While most first-year WSU students are out socializing and studying, Schraum has been meeting with legislators and giving interviews to news organizations across the country. USA Today wrote an editorial in support of the bill and praising his efforts. The Seattle Times has editorialized against it.

Schraum has made numerous trips to Olympia during the process—he says he pushed for legislation and put the time into it because he wasn't sure anyone else would.

"It's important to me," Schraum says. "This whole movement has been the single most valuable thing that I've ever been a part of."

Editor's note: Since this story has gone to print, House Bill 1307 was amended to exclude public high schools. For a statement from Brian Schraum, click here.

Categories: Public affairs, Communication | Tags: Journalism, Free press, State government

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