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Washington State University
Washington State University Constituent Concerns

WSU Leadership’s Statement on the Overturning of Roe v Wade

Concern

On Friday, 6/24, SCOTUS overturned Roe v Wade, essentially removing a longstanding precedent and what was interpreted in 1973 as a constitutional right to abortion under the 14th amendment’s due process clause.

I am sure our university leadership will be providing more comprehensive information and statements this week, but it cannot come too soon. In the meantime, I know many of us are very concerned about the recent SCOTUS decision.

While one’s own convictions and feelings about abortion are a separate, complex and personal issues — especially for women, girls, and all people with uteruses– this is also a serious and pressing professional issue for psychologists like myself. Friday’s decision immediately removed a long-standing right for over 50% of our nation’s population. This will disproportionately negatively impact women, children, Communities of Color, the LGBTQIA2+, rural and socioeconomically marginalized populations due to preexisting systemic racism and other health inequities, reduced resources, a pandemic-stressed healthcare system, lack of consistencies across systems, a poor social safety net, among other issues.

In his concurring opinion, Justice Thomas also left an open door to curtailing more constitutional rights — especially targeting minoritized and marginalized communities — in the future. This sends a frightening message to many of our clients, students, and community members in and of itself. The end of this constitutional right will also bar access to necessary healthcare clinics and procedures to over half of the population in at least 16 states within the next month, including a state directly across our border. In 11 of these states there are NO legal exceptions for rape or incest. Many of us are healthcare professionals, and the psychological, medical and health equity impacts of this decision are and will be profound.

As Dr. Frank Worrell, president of our national accrediting and licensing body, the American Psychological Association, noted on Friday: “This ruling ignores not only precedent but science, and will exacerbate the mental health crisis America is already experiencing. We are alarmed that the justices would nullify Roe despite decades of scientific research demonstrating that people who are denied abortions are more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety, lower life satisfaction and lower self-esteem compared with those who are able to obtain abortions.” He added: “The fact that at least 13 states have ‘trigger laws’ automatically implementing abortion restrictions puts people in immediate jeopardy.” Again, one of those states is right across the border from Pullman and Spokane.

I have been heartened by the strong push-back from APA, our more local APA Division 50 leaders on their listserv this past weekend, as well as our fellow scientists and healthcare professionals in the American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers, all of whom have “condemned” and “decried” the decision as, in the AMA’s words, “an egregious allowance of government intrusion into the medical examination room, a direct attack on the practice of medicine and the patient-physician relationship, and a brazen violation of patients’ rights to evidence-based reproductive health services.”

I call on the WSU leadership –albeit belatedly — to step up as have UW President Ana Mari Cauce and UW Medicine CEO Paul Ramsey to condemn the ruling, confirm the right to abortion in WA state, and support the rights of women, girls, the trans community, and all people with uterus’s to adequate healthcare, bodily autonomy, and psychological well-being.

This is not about political leanings or personal convictions. This is about:

a) Ensuring our commitment as a public institution — one with a medical school, a nursing college and a psychology department — to supporting safe, legal access to abortion care as part of a full continuum of reproductive healthcare services.

b) Helping students, staff and faculty understand their rights.

c) Providing care and counseling to help WSU constituents manage the stress of this transition time.

d) Helping WSU constituents push back as have our fellow institutions of higher learning and our accrediting and licensing bodies.

Susan Collins
Psychology Department

 

Response

Please see the following statement from WSU leadership: https://from.wsu.edu/wsu-system/2022/reproductive-rights/email.html

 

Comments

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WSU IT Security Decision Transparency

It is difficult to read emails with the latest implementation of the ‘[EXTERNAL EMAIL] DO NOT CLICK’ before the body of emails. Please request IT survey faculty before implementing changes that affect the everyday lives of Faculty. For example, a faculty survey may have identified an alternative, more preferable, placement of such warnings. Furthermore, IT should present evidence that such changes will actually reduce the number of phishing impacts on WSU faculty. There was also insufficient transparency when WSU IT forced WSU faculty to use outlook and 2-factor authentication.

Where is the academic rigor, data or research behind these decisions? Faculty in other universities (e.g. UW) have more IT freedom (e.g. can choose email clients) and do not have read CAPITALIZED warnings at the start of each external email.

Anonymous Constituent

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Global Hiring of Faculty

Hi all,

All hiring of faculty should be done by the subject matter department and within disciplines. Faculty in departments know the requirements and the qualifications necessary to teach in their discipline in a way that Global campus does not and cannot. Should any monies be allocated for hiring to bolster teaching in Global, those monies would be best spent by faculty and on faculty within departments whose classes are affected.

Best to you,

Anonymous Constituent

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Global Campus Hiring Faculty?

I understand Global Campus may soon be allowed to hire the faculty to teach online classes. Why would departments allow those without expertise in the subject area to hire faculty to teach classes? This is taking away control of the subject matter from departments.

Anonymous Constituent

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HB 1051 question

I know that the Washington State House has passed Bill 1051, which adds a faculty member to the Board of Regents. I have not, however, seen this among Senate discussion items. How will WSU decide on the designated faculty member? Will people of color have a voice in this determination? Thanks.

John Streamas
SLCR, College of Arts & Sciences

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Historical WSU COLA Salary Adjustments vs. Consumer Price Index

Hi!  My constituents are continually concerned about the differences in inflation vs. WSU cost of living adjustment (COLA) increases.  I know we are subject to what the legislature allocates, but WSU administration also obviously has a large amount (50% ?) of control over this.  To show historical differences, I used COLA increases from my own salary history and compared that with the consumer price index (CPI) from the US bureau of labor statistics data (https://www.bls.gov/cpi/).  For reference, I have been with WSU for 16 years, have been promoted on time, and my annual review averages about 4.1.  The two graphs listed show the continued departure of WSU COLA increases with the CPI.

Another way to look at it is to compare the buying power of $100 worth of goods and services 16 years ago up until today (Figure 2).  Someone promoted to full professor 16 years ago and given typical COLA increases would only be able to buy 86% of the goods and services today that they would have been able to buy 16 years ago.

 

Troy Peters, P.E., Ph.D.
Professor and Extension Irrigation Engineer

 

 

Constituent Concern: Athletics’ deficit-spending

Despite the President’s pledge last September, there is still no university plan for the Athletics Department to repay the over 80 million dollars it currently owes WSU for covering years of Athletics’ deficit-spending ways.

At the September 23, 2021 Faculty Senate meeting, President Schulz agreed that it was important for the university to put in place an enforceable plan for the Athletics Department to repay over 80 million dollars of debt to WSU. This debt has accumulated over the last 8-10 years as WSU has used profits from other units to cover the annual deficit spending by the Athletics Department so that the university can balance its books each year. Surprisingly, we learned that all of that money was floated to Athletics without any formal or binding agreement for repayment. He seemed to agree that wasn’t good policy and vowed to announce a repayment plan by the end of the fall semester. The end of the fall semester has long come and gone, and there has been no public announcement of a repayment plan.

Perhaps there are some who get a kick out of gazing up at empty luxury skyboxes in the football stadium in Pullman, but they shouldn’t forget that this debt-fueled expansion by the Athletics Department years ago has real-life costs today. 80 million dollars would surely go a long way in covering the costs of regular COVID testing for faculty, staff, and students across the entire WSU system. That money could buy quite a few N95 masks for our instructors and graduate student TAs all over the state. Students’ tuition was raised in part to help pay for the costs of student medical care (including mental health), which has been lacking on our campuses. That crucial care could have been provided by the money that covered the Athletics Department’s deficit-spending instead. Or that money could put a big dent in the gender-based disparity in faculty salaries. The list could go on and on.

We need a publicly available and enforceable plan that details how and when the Athletics Department will make WSU whole again by repaying over 80 million dollars of debt to the university while at the same time making its annual debt payments to external bondholders so that the internal debt doesn’t continue to balloon over the next 20 years. The WSU resources that were funneled to Athletics to fill in their deficits year after year are now needed to support the health and well-being of WSU staff, faculty, and students across the state. The President has missed his own deadline for announcing the plan he said was an important priority when it was raised at the Faculty Senate meeting last fall. In fact, it seems there has been no movement on this issue over the last 6 months. In the face of this, it isn’t illogical for members of academic departments that have experienced years of significant budget cuts to conclude that recovering what amounts to an 80 million dollar (and counting), no-strings-attached, interest-free “loan” from WSU to the Athletics Department to cover annual payments to the external bondholders who financed the new sports-only buildings and facilities–construction that, as it turns out, the Athletics Department doesn’t bring in sufficient revenue to pay for on its own–isn’t much of a priority to the administration, despite what faculty are told when we raise this serious issue publicly. The administration would be wise not to ignore the growing frustration over this double standard, whereby academic departments are forced to cut staff, freeze hires, and pay graduate students next to nothing while Athletics spends beyond its means year after year after year with no repercussions and no plan for repayment.

When will WSU get that money back from Athletics?

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