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WA troopers still more likely to pull over Native American drivers

Two years after InvestigateWest reported that the Washington State Patrol was searching some racial and ethnic groups at a rate one researcher called “disturbing,” the agency has released a new analysis of its stop-and-search data. The headline: “No systematic agency bias.”

In a news release announcing the study, WSU said researchers didn’t find “intentional, agency-level racial bias.” Statewide, they found no evidence that members of Black, Indigenous, Latino and other communities of color were being stopped at a rate higher than their populations and noted “minimal” differences between day and night stops, the latter a more widely recognized metric for determining bias. But WSU’s analysis of more than 7 million State Patrol interactions with the public from 2015 to 2019 found that state troopers stop Black drivers at a rate disproportionate to the Black population in King and Pierce counties, and found a similar disparity for Latino drivers in Benton County.

Clayton Mosher.

Clay Mosher, a WSU sociology professor who was not involved in the most recent study but conducted similar analyses in the past, said it’s “a good thing” the state is renewing the studies. He agreed with the finding that there’s no evidence of statewide discrimination by troopers. Still, Mosher acknowledged, the State Patrol is more or less where it was almost 15 years ago, when he and colleagues recommended investigating the search-rate disparities. Loftis, the State Patrol spokesperson, said the agency abandoned those studies in 2007 because of lack of funds.

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Climate crisis forcing polar bears from Alaska to Russia

Climate change is forcing polar bears to ditch Alaska for Russia, according to American scientists.

In recent years, polar bears in the Beaufort Sea have had to travel far outside of their traditional hunting grounds which has contributed to an almost 30 per cent decrease in their population, according to a recent study by Washington State University.


Anthony Pagano, a postdoctoral researcher in Washington State University’s School of the Environment, said: “Having to travel farther means these bears are expending more energy which can threaten their survival.

“If we want to preserve the habitat of these amazing mammals, then we need to focus on the root of the problem, which is slowing global climate change.”

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WSU Insider
The Spokesman Review

Noah Matteucci and gallerist Jamie Wilson

Joseph Gallivan interviews artist Noah Matteucci and gallerist Jamie Wilson about Matteucci’s show “Random 8” at Agenda Gallery.
Noah Matteucci

Matteucci has covered the walls with thousands of colored squares of paper, like pixels in a glitching digital image. However, the squares are made with wood block prints using the four-color ink process called CMYK. The artist explains his position on the threshold between the digital and the analog.

During the day you can find Noah working in the Fine Arts Department at WSU Vancouver.

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Air pollution from wildfires, rising heat affected 68% of U.S. West

Large wildfires and severe heat events are happening more often at the same time, worsening air pollution across the western United States, a study led by Washington State University researchers has found. In 2020, more than 68% of the western U.S. – representing about 43 million people – were affected in one day by the resulting harmful-levels of air pollution, the highest number in 20 years.

“We have seen an increasing trend in the past 20 years of days when high-levels of both particulate matter and ozone are occurring simultaneously,” said lead author Dmitri Kalashnikov, a WSU doctoral student. “This is tied to two things: more wildfires and increases in the types of weather patterns that cause both wildfires and hot weather.”

Deepti Singh.

“From every indication we have, the hotter, drier conditions projected for this region are likely to increase wildfire activity and contribute to more widespread, severe heat, which means we can expect to see these conditions happen more often in the future,” said co-author Deepti Singh, a WSU assistant professor. “Preparing for these events is really important. We need to think about who is exposed, what capacity there is to minimize that exposure, and how we can protect the most vulnerable people.”

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WSU Insider

Student-created identity stories air on community radio and online

What advice would you give to your younger self? How do you know if you’re gay? Which expressions in other languages endure in English speakers’ hearts?

Exploring answers to these questions and more was the creative basis of a WSU student-led digital storytelling and technology skills-building project that recently aired on community radio station KRFP and is now accessible online.

June Sanders.

Seven students in digital technology and culture (DTC) Assistant Professor June T. Sanders’ class last fall conceived, developed and produced the project, applying what they learned about interviewing, scripting, framing and other aspects of creating nonfiction stories while gaining hands-on experience with audio recording and editing equipment.

“We were thinking of solid foundations of identity, foundations of our community, what holds us up, what creates us and what affects how we move through the world,” Sanders said.

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WSU Insider