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Racism drives environmental inequality — but most Americans don’t realize

Survey finds that most people think poverty is why pollution disproportionately affects Black people, despite evidence that racism is the major cause.

Most Americans do not think that Black people are any more likely to be affected by pollution than white people, despite significant evidence that racism is a root cause of environmental injustice in the United States, a survey has found.

Dylan Bugden.
Bugden

Numerous research papers over the years have shown that people of colour and poor people are significantly more likely to live in areas of high pollution — a result of the deliberate construction of polluting industries in these communities, says Dylan Bugden, an environmental sociologist at Washington State University in Pullman.

But Bugden found that respondents to the survey were more than twice as likely to identify poverty as the main cause of environmental inequalities, instead of blaming structural racism. This is despite scientific evidence clearly demonstrating that “race, rather than poverty, is the primary factor behind environmental inequality”, notes Bugden in his study, published in Social Problems. Additionally, many people suggested that a lack of hard work and poor personal choices were responsible for increased exposure to pollution.

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Nature
Scientific American
WSU Insider

Transgender women found and created community in the 1980s internet

The internet has played an outsized and very visible role in the massive political and social gains of transgender people over the past two decades. But while it’s easy to point to modern-day social media and smartphones as instrumental tools for the trans community, trans people have actually been utilizing the internet to connect, learn, and organize since the 1980s.

Avery Dame-Griff.
Dame-Griff

Dr. Avery Dame-Griff, PhD, is a lecturer in Women’s and Gender Studies and assistant professor of Digital Technology and Culture at Washington State University. He’s also the founder and primary curator of the Queer Digital History Project, an independent project tracking queer* digital culture from the 1980s to the 2010s. His forthcoming book focuses on the relationship between the “two revolutions” of the transgender political revolution and the computer revolution.

Dr. Dame-Griff’s research and archival work digs extensively into the earliest communities of trans people online: BBS or the “Bulletin Board System.” The BBS was a precursor to the modern world wide web and social media. Launched in the late 1970s by computer hobbyists, BBSs allowed users to dial a number through their modem and access an online, text-only “bulletin board” where users could post messages. By the mid-to-late 1980s, as the technology needed to access BBSs became more affordable and accessible, BBS groups focusing on niche interests — including transgender communities — were popping up across the US and, soon, the world.

These early online trans communities were secretive and ephemeral by necessity, Dr. Dame-Griff tells Avast. Trans women in the 1980s were likely to be presenting publicly as men, oftentimes with wives and families, and exposure could result in them losing everything — their jobs, their families, and even their lives. Some lived as “crossdressers,” allowing themselves to dress in women’s clothing at home (maybe with their spouses) but rarely, if ever, in public.

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Security Boulevard

WSU students land three Goldwater Awards to support STEM research

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation has announced that Washington State University students John Bussey, Kalli Stephens, and Thomas Ballinger have received $7,500 awards to support their education.

Prestigious, nationally competitive Goldwater distinguished scholarships are given to high-achieving undergraduates intending to pursue careers in math, the natural sciences, or engineering (STEM). These latest awardees bring WSU’s total number of Goldwater recipients to 48 since the first in 1990.

John Bussey

Bussey, a sophomore from Olympia, is an Honors College student majoring in materials science and engineering, minoring in environmental and resource economics and mathematics, and seeking a nuclear materials certificate.

Ballinger, a junior from Reno, Nevada, is majoring in genetics and cell biology as well as music. He is in SMB’s Students Targeted Toward Advanced Research Studies (STARS) program, which allows undergraduates to earn an accelerated Bachelor of Science degree in three years—including research rotations and mentorship–and move into a doctorate path. He envisions a career investigating aging as well as synthetic biology.

A National Merit Scholar, he said he chose WSU for his education because of its genetics and cell biology program, the SMB STARS program, and the music program in piano.

Thomas Ballinger

His mentors include SMB’s Cynthia Hazeltine, Vice Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Achievement William B. Davis, the Institute of Biological Chemistry’s Philip D. Bates, the School of  Music’s Yoon-Wha (Yuna) Roh, and his Reno piano teacher Jeff DePaoli.

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WSU Insider
Big Country News

Ozette: The US’ lost 2,000-year-old village

Richard Daugherty examining an artifact shaped like a whale fin.
Daugherty examining an artifact.

In 1970, a violent storm uncovered a Makah village that was buried by a mudslide more than 300 years earlier. A newly re-opened museum tells the fascinating story of the ancient site.

Due to the suddenness of the event and the exceptional levels of preservation, scientists hailed the find a “Western Pompeii” and the Washington Post called it “the most comprehensive collection of artefacts of a pre-European-contact Indian culture ever discovered in the United States.”

Anxious the material might be engulfed by the sea and lost, the tribe called in Richard Daugherty, an influential archaeologist at Washington State University who’d been involved in fieldwork in the area since the 1940s. Having good connections with Congress, Daugherty helped secure federal funding for an exhaustive excavation.

“Dr. Daugherty was instrumental in the excavation work,” recounted Rebekah Monette, a tribal member and historic preservation programme manager. “He was very progressive and interested in working alongside the tribe in the process. He worked to gain financing for 11 years.”

The Ozette dig lasted from 1970 until 1981 and ultimately unearthed around 55,000 artefacts from six beachside cedar houses covered by the slide. The Makah, like many indigenous groups, have a strong oral tradition, with much of their history passed down through storytelling, song and dance. The evidence unearthed at Ozette affirmed these stories and added important details.

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BBC.com

Barry named vice provost for graduate and professional education

Tammy Barry.
Barry

Psychology Professor and Graduate School Associate Dean Tammy Barry has been named vice provost for graduate and professional education at Washington State University. She will assume the new position, which was formerly titled Graduate School dean, effective July 1.

Barry, who holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, also has served as the director of WSU’s clinical psychology doctoral program. As associate dean, she oversaw the Graduate School function of program assessment and review, represented the Graduate School on the Committee on Institutional Accreditation and Program Assessment, and worked with the Provost’s Office to meet the needs of institutional accreditation processes.

“I am am thrilled to welcome Dr. Barry to the academic leadership team, and I know that she will bring a renewed energy to graduate and professional education across the WSU system,” said Elizabeth Chilton, WSU provost and executive vice president. “Dr. Barry’s commitment to collaboration and strong leadership was apparent throughout the interview process. It is clear that she has a firm understanding of graduate education at WSU and is well respected by the Graduate School’s staff and members of the University community.”

In her new role, Barry will be charged with creating a vision for dynamic growth and excellence in WSU’s graduate and professional education programs.

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