Washington state lawmakers band together to ask for WWU president’s resignation

Kaitlyn Schallhorn

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  • WWU president Bruce Shepard has repeatedly said his university needs to be less white in the future.
  • Shepard's words gained national attention and controversy.
  • State Representative Jason Overstreet (R) and at least four other lawmakers are calling on Shepard to resign.
  • Several Washington House Republicans have called for the president of Western Washington University (WWU) to resign after he made controversial comments about the racial makeup of the university.

    Rep. Jason Overstreet led the charge last week as he issued a press release and made the rounds on the local media circuit demanding Bruce Shepard’s resignation. This week at least four other lawmakers pledged their support including Cary Condotta, Elizabeth Scott, David Taylor and Matt Shea.

    “Western President Bruce Shepard has repeatedly made it clear that he holds unflinchingly to this archaic, intellectually void ideology of assessing people by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character."   

    Taylor sits on the Higher Education committee for Washington’s House.

    “Representative Shea is totally supportive of Representative Overstreet’s call for the resignation of Western Washington’s president,” a spokesperson for Shea confirmed to Campus Reform.

    Overstreet called Shepard’s comments “unbecoming” of a university president, saying he needs to apologize as well as resign.

    “Western President Bruce Shepard has repeatedly made it clear that he holds unflinchingly to this archaic, intellectually void ideology of assessing people by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character,” Overstreet told Campus Reform. “President Shepard should apologize to the students, potential students and taxpayers who fund Western, resigning immediately.”

    For his part, Shepard has stood by his comments, saying he wanted to “provoke some attention” as it is “really important to understand the issue facing a lot of American higher education and that is, our country is changing.”

    “We will not waste a moment’s time responding to extremist media and the hate mongers they pander to,” Shepard continued in his statement, released both online and in an email sent to the Western Washington University community.

    The Washington state lawmakers are not alone in their plea for Shepard’s resignation as an outpouring of concerned parents, students and community members have taken offense.

    “That’s really ridiculous to group everyone with the same skin color to the same culture or background,” Andrew Jernberg, a sophomore at WWU told Campus Reform. “I think there is a lot of factors that go into [diversity]. I don’t know if [Shepard] should generalize according to skin color.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @katie0509

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn


    Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a reporter with Campus Reform. Prior to joining Campus Reform, Kaitlyn was a reporter at Red Alert Politics and covered business and restaurants for the Alexandria Times.  

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