Mount Hood

Tips for a safe winter at Western

Residents should prepare for cold weather, including hazardous winter conditions, by keeping up to date with weather patterns and forming plans for how to deal with potentially hazardous situations.

General tips:

An emergency supplies kit should include: a three days’ supply of water and food for each individual, spare batteries, medical supplies and flashlights; it may also contain additional blankets and extra warm clothes. The National Weather Service provides up-to-date information; battery-operated radios are useful for keeping informed about weather conditions and forecasts.

Pedestrians should wear shoes with good traction, and especially be aware while walking, including watching for slippery patches, and avoiding uneven surfaces or unfamiliar areas.

Travelers should check other locations’ weather before departure and arrival, to be mindful of potential trouble spots, as well as packing to fit the situation they will be entering.

Drivers should check the condition of their cars, including tires, and check for maximum visibility before driving. Every vehicle should be stocked with emergency supplies, such as water, food, a first aid kit, a flashlight and a blanket. In addition, a candle may provide a small but crucial source of heat and light.

Oregon Department of Transportation’s TripCheck provides a free service for travelers to keep up-to-date with road conditions and the local weather conditions and forecast.


Notifications of current campus conditions, such as closures or delays in opening, will be made on the school website, over local radio stations, on television, and through the Campus Inclement Weather Hotline.

During a closure, Hamersly Library, the Werner University Center, Valsetz Dining Hall, the Health and Wellness Center and all University Residences (dorms) will remain open with essential staffing only.

Debut Turkey Chase offers introduction to new WOU Running Club

What: Turkey Chase Run/Walk
Where: Registration at WUC Plaza. Race begins on Church Street and ends on Western’s track.
When: Nov. 22, check-in at 9 a.m.; walkers begin at 9:45 a.m.; runners begin at 10 a.m.
Cost: $4 or three non-perishable food donations with preregistration, or $6 day of race
Contact: Courtney Greif
More information:

By Amanda Clarke, Freelancer

The WOU Running Club will host the 5k (3.1 mile) Wolves Turkey Chase Thanksgiving Run (and walk) Nov. 22, with check-in beginning at 9 a.m. at Werner University Plaza.

“This is our first event as a club,” said Courtney Greif, co-founder of the WOU Running Club. “We hope to make it a race that happens every year.”

The event is also supported by Weekend Wolfpack and Campus Recreation.

The WOU Running Club is a running/fitness club that is open to the general public on campus. It was founded by Grief and Jacob Howard in spring 2014.

Walkers and runners are welcome to participate. Animals are also allowed on the course, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. People are also welcome to line the course to watch and cheer on the participants.

Preregistration is $4 or three non-perishable food items. The non-perishable food items will be donated to the WOU Food Pantry, and the registration cost will help the WOU Running Club take field trips to nearby trails. The cost is $6 the day of the race and canned goods will no longer be accepted.

The preregistration form is available at the front desk of the Health and Wellness Center, which is also where paperwork and payment can be submitted. Cash or checks made out to WOU Running Club are accepted.

“The course will be well marked, and will also have lovely volunteers from Hall Government along the way to help direct athletes on the course,” Grief said.

After the race, refreshments will be available to all participants and there will be a raffle for gift cards and items from local Monmouth businesses. There will also be an award for top male and female runner.

“The real purpose of WOU Running Club is to foster a culture of running here at Western and connect a community of runners here at WOU,” Howard said. “We want to promote running in whatever they do.”

According to Grief, the WOU Running Club is focused on giving people a place in which they can engage in physical fitness as well as participate in local events as a representative of Western.

“I want people to enjoy the great physical ability that we are given during our college years,” Howard said. “I want people to push themselves to their own personal and physical goals, and reach that and know that they can use this ability anytime and in any place.”

WOU Running Club meets weekly for group runs every Wednesday and Thursday at 4 p.m. outside the Health and Wellness Center.

Students urge foundation to divest from fossil fuels

By Laura Knudson

Students campaigning for campus divestment from fossil fuels have been met with disappointment from lack of action taken by the Western’s Development Foundation.
Members of the environmental club spent the last week collecting over 350 signatures from students, faculty and alumni. They hope to reach at least 600 signatures, demonstrating student support to the foundation, a private, nonprofit organization that financially assists the college.

“Last year, Oregon State University attempted divestment and was rejected, which spurred us to take up our own campaign at Western,” said Beth Bello, creator and president of the environmental club. “Divesting from fossil fuels is so important because, as many of us are aware, global warming is now a scientific fact.”

The issue first gained campus attention at the Oct. 28 Faculty Senate meeting with a presentation by Dr. Mark Van Steeter, associate professor of geography.

Divesting entails the foundation getting rid of stocks, bonds or investment funds that are part of the fossil fuel industry, according to a written proposal distributed at the meeting.

It’s “when you take the money you have invested into fossil fuel companies, and invest into a more ethical company like renewable energy,” Bello said. This does nothing to stop the oil companies, she added, but it makes a symbolic statement.

The proposal also stated, “Unlike some large universities that receive significant funding for research from the fossil fuel industry, we do not.”

The goal of divestment, Van Steeter said, is to send a social message. Industries should use its resources and innovation to transition toward a low carbon economy, he explained.
An added benefit includes landing Western as the 14th school in the nation to divest.

“I see this as a real possibility to get positive PR and put us on the map,” Van Steeter said. “It really makes sense for Western.”

The presentation sparked debate with university President Mark Weiss weighing in.

“In my view, it’s pretty hypocritical to take this position,” he said. “How many of us don’t live locally? How many of us get on an airplane to go to conferences every year,” he said.
Vansteeter responded saying, “There’s always a reason to be found not to act.”

In a guest column authored by Weiss appearing in the Nov. 13 issue of the Statesman Journal, he said, “From the beginning of the industrial age, American’s simply neglected to consider the consequences of burning fossil fuels.” Titled “The world crisis we’d rather ignore” Weiss’ column also states that divesting in oil and gas companies may provide satisfaction that something is being done, but “it is not apparent this action would contribute to solving the problem.”

As the discussion heated up during the senate meeting, other senate members chimed in.

“Just because you can’t do everything, doesn’t mean it’s hypocritical to do something,” said Michael Baltzley, faculty senate member and associate professor of biology.

Also in attendance at the meeting was Tommy Love, executive director in the Office of University Advancement and WOU Foundation. Love said divesting is a complicated issue and the foundation wants to make sure they do what’s right.

One environmental club member has made it his mission to raise awareness by visiting more than 15 campus club meetings.

“By demonstrating large scale student support for divestment, the foundation will listen to student voices,” said Karl Amspacher, senior geography major.

Amspacher was disappointed when the foundation declined his request to speak about divestment at their upcoming December meeting.

In a Nov. 10 email to the foundation, Amspacher asked for five minutes to present on divestment.

His request was met with a reply from Love which said he had already spoken with Van Steeter about divestment and “the specific topic of divestment is not planned for the agenda at the December board meeting.”

“It’s a brush off,” Amspacher said.

An earlier request submitted via email by alumnus Zander Albertson’s was also denied by the foundation.

“It’s difficult to believe that the foundation takes divestment seriously given that it has been given no further consideration,” Albertson said. He was also disappointed in the foundation’s unwillingness to put divestment on the agenda.

“I wish they would have just opened the discussion,” he added.

Prior to the start of school, Van Steeter requested five minutes to present the issue to the foundation. He met with the finance and planned giving sub-committee.

“We wouldn’t lose anything by divesting,” Van Steeter said in an interview. “We could do the right thing and not pay a price for it.”

Apart from the meeting and Van Steeter’s presentation to the faculty senate, no other formal forum has taken place between the foundation and the environmental club.

When asked in a Wednesday interview if he felt this was fair and sufficient, Love said, “I think it is for where we are at this point.”

The other side has had time to think and plan regarding divestment, he said. “The topic and issue recently came to us. We’re trying to get our arms around this.”

And there is much to consider when discussing investments, Love said.

For starters, moving investments from fossil fuels into green energy does not necessarily guarantee things will stay the same in terms of revenue.

“There’s always risk in that,” said Love. “That’s the stock market in general.”

For 2014, the foundation’s total revenue was $4,302,690 according to the foundation’s audit report, available on Western’s foundation webpage. Realized gains from investments, the amount received from the sale of investment holdings, was $673,045. Unrealized gains or the current value of those investments was a reported $564,593.

The foundation does not disclose what they invest in.

Albertson said this is concerning because it leaves one to conclude the foundation portfolio contains a fairly significant amount of carbon-based investments.

“As a private foundation, we have not released those holdings,” Love said.

But, aiding in what Love calls the “complex layers” of divestments, are mutual funds.

“There are components we have that are related to fossil fuels because we have mutual funds,” he said.

Mutual funds refer to professionally managed investment programs funded by shareholders that trades in diversified holdings.

Because these investments are managed by a company, they change all the time, even daily, Love said.

Furthermore, “if we divest, someone else is going to buy those stocks,” he said. “Divestment in and of itself is not going to make a true impact.”

The foundation is interested in looking at the bigger picture of climate change, he added.

“I don’t want students to think that the foundation and myself do not recognize the issue of climate change,” Love said. Divesting is “one way to do it, but let’s have a campus-wide conversation to address global climate change.”

For example, “Not commuting in [to campus] I think would have a bigger impact,” he said.

Ultimately, Love said aside from the “moral obligation” concerning climate change, “we also have an obligation as a foundation.”

“We don’t want to make any rush judgments,” he said. “Especially when we have to think about other things outside of fossil fuels.”

“I make no commitment [to either side],” he said. “I do commit to continuing dialogue.”

Love encourages interested parties to contact the foundation with comments.

The social science division will vote on fossil fuel divestment resolution of support Dec. 2, Van Steeter said. If approved, “it will be a template for other divisions to follow,” he said.

The environmental club will be protesting outside the building during the Dec. 6 meeting, Bello said.

“This is a movement to improve our school,” Amspacher said. “We’re doing this to make Western a better place.”

How to get involved:

WHAT: Environmental Club
WHEN: 4:30 p.m. every Wednesday in HSS room 230
MORE INFO: Contact club president Beth Bello at or call 503-798-7763


Direct questions or comments for the foundation to Tommy Love, executive director in the Office of University Advancement and WOU Foundation. He can be reached at or 503-838-8134.

Campus Blotter: Week 7

The following information is from the public records of Campus Public Safety.


At 6:12 p.m. Nov. 4 in Noble Hall, Public Safety was contacted in regards to a mental health/roommate dispute.


At 12:05 a.m. Nov. 5 in Spruce Hall, Public Safety responded to an alcohol violation involving a non-student.

At 2:07 a.m. Nov. 9 in Heritage Hall, Public Safety discovered an alcohol violation.


At 10:39 p.m. Nov. 5 in the Ackerman smoke shed, Public Safety was contacted in reference to a weapons violation involving a stun gun. The weapon was moved off campus.


At 12:22 a.m. Nov. 6 in Barnum Hall, Public Safety was contacted about a marijuana violation.

At 9:08 p.m. Nov. 7 in Butler Hall, Public Safety responded to a marijuana violation.


At 9:25 p.m. Nov. 6 in Heritage Hall, Public Safety responded to a medic assist.

At 5:46 p.m. Nov. 7 in Spruce Hall, Public Safety responded to a medical/mental health issue.

At 3:37 p.m. Nov. 8 in the Health and Wellness Center, Public Safety responded to a medic assist.

At 11:38 p.m. Nov. 9 in Barnum Hall, Public Safety responded to a medical assist.


At 8:40 p.m. Nov. 7 on Stadium Drive, Public Safety responded to a domestic fight near J-Loop and the Sequoia Commons.

Trench warfare


Dr. Edwin Dover, professor of political science at Western, compared the national division of political parties to the trench warfare of World War I in an analysis of the recent midterm election.

“We have more or less a 10 mile trench where we fight our partisan battles,” Dover said of this country’s political divisions. “Both sides probe around for a soft spot, both sides mobilize massive levels of resources to gain a few miles.”

According to Dover, the dividing line is in the suburbs, which is where the battles are found, state after state. The Democrats dominate major urban areas he explained, while the Republicans control rural territories around the country.

“We don’t really have blue states or red states, what we have are Urban vs. Rural,” said Dover.

Dover broke down his analysis into three parts, commenting on the local, state and national elections.

Dover uses the aftermath of the election to illustrate the use of trench warfare in local, state and federal races across the country. He explained that the Democrats won one seat, the local race in District 20, in the Oregon House of Representatives, while the remaining seats in the Oregon House went to the same party that held them before.

The local race in District 20 took place between Paul Evans and Kathy Goss. Dover was involved in Evans’s campaign and he followed the race closely.

“This was a hard fought battle because it is where the suburban fault line rests,” Dover said. “This was the most expensive campaign for the state legislature in Oregon.”

Evans and Goss each spent about $500,000, and both campaigns received support and contribution from their respective parties. Evans defeated Goss by a three percent margin, and Dover thinks Goss was defeated mainly because her campaign made a couple of fundamental mistakes.

“Sometimes that three percent may not be part of the national trend,” Dover said. “It may be something esoteric to a campaign.”

According to Dover, the first mistake Goss made was her reluctance to debate Evans on numerous occasions. She was also not able to capitalize on advertising, while Evans was able to build both positive advertisements toward himself and attack advertisements aimed at Goss.

The Democrats gained two seats in the Oregon State Senate.

Dover said Washington County, Marion County and Clackamas County are the three areas that more or less decide State elections in Oregon, and these counties are primarily suburbs.

Other states have similar political scenes to Oregon, and Dover expanded his idea about the division of politics in regards to suburban battle lines to a national context.

All of the races for seats in the House of Representatives were fought in suburbs of various cities and states such as Miami and New Hampshire. Dover analyzed the recent changes in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“The Democrats gained 11 seats in 2012 and lost 12 seats this time,” Dover explained, adding that, over time, most of the seats remained the same. Overall, neither party gained any ground in the House of Representatives.

On the other hand, the Senate “is where the Republican Party made significant gains,” said Dover. “The Republican Party so far has gained eight seats and probably nine – the ninth seat is Louisiana.” The advancements made by the Republicans gave them 54 seats, and control of the Senate.

The races for Senate were in Republican states or battleground states which is favorable terrain for them.

“In the next election, there will be 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats up for Senate in 2016, and many of the Republicans are in very Democratic states,” said Dover. “So the Republican Party will have a little trouble keeping this majority.”

Dover discussed the difference of turnout between Presidential elections and off-year elections, explaining that people over 60 tend to have a greater turnout for off-year elections, while people younger than 30 do not have a significant turnout for off-year elections.

R.E.A.L. Fair advocates social justice



Students from Dr. David Foster’s Psychology of Leadership class are gaining real-life experience with teamwork, promoting social justice through their project, a resource fair which will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 18 in the Werner University Center Pacific Room.

The second-annual Responsibility, Equity, Accessibility and Leadership (R.E.A.L.) Fair will create a space to promote the services of attending organizations, said Foster, who taught the course that started the first R.E.A.L. fair last fall, and urged his students to take up the challenge again this year.

This event is a chance to explore social issues facing the larger community and find help from the right source if they need it, as well as find a cause they may wish to support themselves through volunteer work or other support.

“Having the hands-on experience, taking it out of theory and into practice, has been really useful,” said Kristin Osborne, a student in the class and member of the event leadership team.

Foster explained that people are graduating college, but still lack the skills companies need. These skills include abilities like communication and getting along with other people. Training in leadership and teamwork sets students ahead of the game, he added.

“Organizations are having a huge leadership crisis right now,” Foster said. “I think these classes are good for anybody.”

The event is sponsored by Abby’s House in addition to the psychology students. Other organizations represented will include Stonewall Center, Green Dot, the Multicultural Student Union, the Office of Disability Services, Campus Public Safety, Peer Mentors, as well as over half a dozen others. According to Foster, this is a greater number than attended the previous fair.

“A side benefit would be that those organizations could network among themselves,” Osborne said. The event includes a food drive to raise donations for and awareness of Western’s resource for hungry students.

“It highlights the WOU Pantry, which a lot of people don’t know exists,” Foster said.

A drawing for gift cards to local food businesses will be held at the end of the fair. Students may enter both by donating to the food drive and filling out a survey about the fair.

Since the first program was a full year ago, Foster said, there was little left to work with, so this year’s group resurrected the event nearly from scratch in many cases.

“It kind of organically came about,” Osborne said of the process. She called this a fully collaborative effort. “We all walk around in a little pack.” There haven’t been many big issues, Osborne added, because “all the people in the group have the same objective.”

They brainstormed a list of organizations they wanted to invite, including some that were present last year as well as several new ones, narrowed that list down, and divided up the call list.
“People have had lots of good ideas and we narrowed that down,” Osborne said of the list.

The group has been working on this project since the second week of term.

“We’ve got some people and some talents that really fit,” said Foster, adding that the group members are doing very well.

Some psychology courses (including Foster’s classes), may offer extra credit for attending the fair, as well.

“These guys are doing a really good job of reporting, advertising already,” Foster said. “My goal after the first R.E.A.L. Fair was seeing it continue.”

Controlled burn sparks neighborhood interest

A controlled fire offered hands-on experience for trainees of Polk County Fire District No. 1 in the evening of Sunday, Nov. 9, drawing attention from locals.

“This is the closest thing that we have to the real deal,” said Lieutenant James Nisbet. “The biggest thing was that we got some of our newer members on the department some good experience from it.”
“We try to notify the neighbors and be friendly and courteous,” said Neal Olson. “We usually send out a letter.”

The hand-delivered letter was delayed until one day prior to the burn this time. “I didn’t put this one in the newspaper because it came on so quick.”

As a precaution, neighboring buildings and plants were thoroughly soaked prior to the first fire being lit just before 4 p.m. Water was continually applied, though everything was already wet thanks to a good rain, which, according to Nisbet, helped.

“They weren’t in a huge, major threat,” Nisbet said of the local buildings, adding of this particular fire, “Really that one wasn’t too concerning.” The structures were distant enough to be protected from the blaze.

“It is real fire, it’s just a little more controlled and regulated.”
A property is also thoroughly evaluated for safety before a burn. Once a structure has been deemed safe, Polk County Fire District No. 1 assumes control of the property, and crews use it for a variety of exercises.

“This is super valuable to people who don’t have a lot of experience,” said Nisbet. This particular property was employed all summer for various training exercises; it couldn’t be lit up because of a burn ban.

“We can use that structure for quite a while ahead of time; there’s lots of things that we train on outside of the actual live fire,” said Olson. “We were probably in that building, doing drills, for probably close to 30 hours over the summer.”

With between 10 and 20 people in each crew, he added, “Thousands of training hours were received by us having that structure, which was really good.”

Practice scenarios include ventilation, forcible entry, and search and rescue among other drills, according to Olson. For ventilation, crews must climb ladders to cut holes in the roof with chainsaws.

Forcible entry is needed when a door must be broken down in order to enter the building or the room. By filling the house with smoke or simulating the collapse of a roof, crews also gain experience with realistic situations.

Everyone on site had a specific job, and a crew to which they were assigned. This is the group they practice with, shifting duties so everyone gets a chance to experience it.

“It’s a real detailed plan as to how we’re going to rotate the crews,” said Olson. “We do all of that training based on national fire protection association guidelines.” He added that he referenced at least 17 pages of material on how to handle every aspect of the controlled burn.

Five fires were planned for the building, in which crews would be able to see how the fire behaved, and gain valuable experience working in realistic conditions. After the fourth lighting, the fire got into the attic. Based on the condition of the attic, this wasn’t a surprise, according to Nisbet.

“Once we got to that point, we just went immediately into free burn,” Olson said. Everyone was ordered out of the building, and firefighters monitored it as they let it burn to the ground.
Nisbet facilitated the lightings, including observing the interior fire conditions while crews rotated through, to make sure the fire stayed contained.

“For the condition of the structure and just kind of time frame, that was more than we were anticipating,” Nisbet said. “We were very happy that we were able to get as many out of it as we did.”

In addition to training individual firefighters and improving their experience, Olson said that the exercises helped to build team cohesion. According to him, the burn also served as a kind of neighborhood cleanup, as the building was not very appealing. “We come away with a lot of training,” Olson said. “Everybody has a place and it’s really detailed.”

Extra vehicles – ambulances and fire trucks – were brought to the scene of the controlled burn. Nearly the entire force on duty was present last night, according to Olson, so if a real call came in, they had to be prepared to mount a response from the field.

“We still have to provide our service to the remainder of the community,” Olson said. This time, he added, they were lucky; “We didn’t have any interruptions.” Other practice burns have been complicated with actual emergencies. “It can be really exciting at times,” he said; with different calls coming in at the same time, there can be a lot going on, which detracts from training.

“A majority of our force are volunteers,” Olson said. On a daily basis, Polk County Fire District No. 1 maintains three full-time firefighters on duty; there are nine career individuals to respond to any incident. The remaining 65 firefighters are volunteers, such as those who received training Sunday.

“If we were able to do it three times a year, that would be great,” said Olson. “We need to have them twice a year,” but he acknowledged, “It doesn’t always work like that.” On average, they are usually able to practice controlled burns once or twice a year.

Spectators gathered to watch the flames for several hours. Rebekah Degner, Nisbet’s girlfriend, watched the fire from a camp chair for over an hour. Other people came and went well into the night, when the fires began to die down.

“You don’t see that every day,” said Elder Lima of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who, after seeing the smoke, stopped by with Elder Goff to make sure everything was alright and if they could help.

Many watchers that night commented that they initially thought that this was an actual fire. After the building had been burned, it was returned to the control of the owner. Olson said that an apartment building with 22 units will be constructed on the property.