We Begin the New Academic Year with a Heavy Heart

October 02, 2018 / Sabrina Balderama

We Begin the New Academic Year with a Heavy Heart

We Begin the New Academic Year with a Heavy Heart

On behalf of our over 1,200 members —faculty and academic professionals — the Executive Council of PSU-AAUP, express our deep condolences to the family of Jason Washington — the man, father, grandfather, and member of our community whose life was tragically taken this summer.

We join PSU students, everyone who labors at PSU, and the campus community at large, in mourning this senseless loss of life.

One of our colleagues has prepared pins of remembrance for all faculty and academic professionals to join in a respectful “walking memorial” of Jason Washington. If you would, please join us in this memorial. Stop by the PSU-AAUP office to pick up a pin that you can wear on campus this fall.

When our previous PSU president, and the Board of Trustees, first considered shifting responsibility for armed campus policing from the Portland Police Bureau to an armed campus police, between two thirds and three quarters of our faculty expressed opposition (in the floor of the Faculty Senate, and in an online AAUP survey). The most common concern was that a tragedy like the one that befell Jason Washington and his family might happen. Colleagues (and students) presented evidence raising serious doubts about the claim that arming campus police was necessary, or that it would make ours a more secure university. A caucus from the School of Social Work made a heartfelt plea on the floor of the Faculty Senate. Faculty of color expressed their concerns as well. All these concerns were not considered seriously enough at the time.

We are encouraged by messaging from President Shoureshi’s office in the aftermath of Jason Washington’s death, for it shows a willingness to rethink the serious matter of an armed campus police and to reopen the conversation with a due sense of humility.

José Padín, President

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