WSU teaches students how to handle College Republicans at bias training

Washington State University's Bias Advisory Response Team planned two de-escalation trainings in late March and early April with the purpose of trying to help students learn how to manage public encounters like a recent College Republicans event.

WSU Police Sgt. Dawn Daniels helped set up the event because she thought it was necessary given the rise of "programs that are controversial," The Daily Evergreen reported.

“We are starting to see more programs that are controversial, and we think this would help students navigate through these kinds of situations in school and in life,” Daniels told the Daily Evergreen

Charlie Powell, the WSU college of veterinary medicine public information officer, spoke at the training about identifying potentially violent situations. Powell held the late March session to address the WSU College Republicans’ plan to host a border wall replica event, an event they previously did in 2016. 

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WSU College Republicans President Amir Rezamand suggested to Campus Reform that his group was being blamed for people on the left not being able to act in a civil manner: “The implication that we are somehow linked to possible violent situations is especially egregious. We have been assaulted at our events, never the other way around.”

Rezamand warned that these types of trainings would only foster a more polarized campus environment that could lead to even more dangerous situations.

“This is dangerous rhetoric, and lends itself to the climate on campus that nobody is willing to engage in frank discussion about controversial topics,” the College Republicans president said. “They could very well change our minds on any number of issues, and I know for a fact that we can do the same. That's the whole point of these events.”

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“It seems odd that such an extreme is being taken for the event,” Alana Bannan, a sophomore at WSU, told Campus Reform. “The same way I would see the training as unnecessary for a commonly held democratic belief being demonstrated by the college Democrats.”

Campus Reform reached out to WSU and Powell but did not receive comment in time for publication.

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