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WSU Tri-Cities: Future of WSU Tri-Cities includes housing, expanded educational offerings and growing world-class research

Washington State University Tri-Cities realized an average enrollment growth of 12 percent annually throughout the last four years. As that upward trend continues, so does our expansion of on-campus housing, program development, world-class faculty and specialization in research.

Among the many WSU Tri-Cities faculty accomplishments this year:

Paul Strand

Paul Strand, professor of psychology, is one of a team of WSU faculty leading the online implementation of a k-12 truancy prevention program that benefits schools statewide. WSULearning and Performance Research Center houses the online implementation of the Washington Assessment of the Risks and Needs of Students.

Peter Christenson

Peter Christenson, assistant professor of fine arts and digital technology and culture, developed a scholar residency program at WSU Tri-Cities that welcomes artists, engineers, urban planners and more to campus, where students and community members learn first-hand from their expertise.

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At 94, WSU’s famed gang researcher continues work

James "Jim" ShortFlipping through the pages of a dusty, yellowing paperback in his office, James “Jim” Short, Jr., WSU professor emeritus of sociology, pointed to a black-and-white photograph.

“That’s on the westside (of Chicago),” the 94-year-old gang researcher said as he pointed out several well-dressed figures in the photo. “That’s where the Vice Lords were located.”

The photo depicts several young men walking their dogs down a bustling street. All were members of one of the many street gangs Short studied in the 1950s and 1960s. His research, half a century after his historic study on the rise of supergangs like the Vice Lords, is still impacting sociology today.

Short remains as interested as ever.

“That’s why I became a sociologist,” he said. “I was curious about the world around me.”

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KREM 2 News

US teens often ride with impaired drivers

Jennifer SchwartzIn a US study, about one-third of youths just out of high school admitted to riding with a driver who was under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs. That raises their already high risk of being in a crash—not just as a passenger, but later as a driver, too, researchers say.

“Whereas driving drunk has become more and more stigmatised since the 1980s, the social prescriptions against riding with (other types of) impaired driver are not as strong,” said Jennifer Schwartz, a sociology researcher at Washington State University in Pullman, who wasn’t involved in the study. “As researchers, we understand less about why someone would choose to ride with an impaired driver.”

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FMT News

David Leonard on “playing while white”: intersection of race and athletics in America

David Leonard

Dr. David Leonard, an author and associate professor in comparative ethnic studies at Washington State University, spoke about the intersection of race and narratives about athletes Monday, March 26. This is a topic which he wrote about in his most recent book, “Playing While White: Privilege and Power On and Off the Field.” This event was a part of the Sawyer Seminar Series, sponsored by the Penn State African American Studies department.

Leonard began the talk by explaining how he came to write “Playing While White,” which he said he “really started in 2012.” He said that he had been a writer for online publications, and noticed that he had written articles in three main fields: The intersection of whiteness and mass shootings, police shootings, and the Black Lives Matter movement, specifically, “black bodies being criminalized.” Considering this narrative combined with athletics led him to ask, “what sort of profiling is happening in our sports world?”

One central concept Leonard talked about is how white athletes are “routinely forgiven,” or “being afforded the opportunity of second, third and fourth chances.” White athletes, he said, are imagined as the underdog, and that translates to terms used to describe them, such as “grit, hard work, determination, perseverance.” He said that this profiling also, by extension, comments on blackness at the same time. “Playing while white means being described as the leader, being described as intelligent,” Leonard said, and that these aforementioned types of positive framing are not used to describe black athletes.

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The Underground

New book claims video games ‘perpetuate injustice’

David Leonard
David Leonard

Two professors are warning in a forthcoming anthology that video games and gaming culture “perpetuate injustice” and hurt “marginalized bodies.”

“Woke Gaming: Digital Challenges to Oppression and Social Justice” is edited by Kishonna Gray, a professor at Arizona State University, and David J. Leonard, who teaches classes on social justice and black studies at Washington State University.

“From #GamerGate to the 2016 election, to the daily experiences of marginalized perspectives, the ways gaming is entangled with mainstream cultures of systematic exploitation and oppression is clear,” Gray and Leonard write in the book description.

“Video games perpetuate injustice and [mirror] those inequities and violence that permeate society,” they continue, explaining that “video games encode the injustices that pervade society as a whole.”

However, while the book is premised on the contention that video games reinforce racism and sexism, it ultimately seeks to shed light on gamers’ strategies for breaking this paradigm.

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Campus Reform