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Washington State Magazine launches podcast

You’ve read the stories of Washington State University for almost two decades in Washington State Magazine. Now you can listen to them, too, in a new monthly podcast.

Episodes of the podcast, Viewscapes, run about 15 minutes, with three different stories covering a wide variety of topics from around the University.

Greg Yasinitsky.

The first episode has a summer flavor with music, cherries, and those frequent visitors to barbecues: wasps. It features Regents Professor and composer Greg Yasinitsky talking about how he creates and performs music. Yasinitsky also wrote the jazz tunes for the podcast. Other segments uncover the truth about wasps with entomology doctoral student Megan Asche, and dive into a bowl of WSU’s own Rainier cherries with executive chef Jamie Callison.

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WSU Insider

Opinion: Improving conditions of race and poverty require proactive policies

By Mark Mansperger, associate professor of anthropology and world civilizations, WSU Tri-Cities
There doesn’t need to be as much strife and poverty as exists in contemporary America. In some nations, such as New Zealand, city residents will not understand a question about avoiding the “bad part of town,” for they have no such areas.

Mark Mansperger.

Economic inequality in the U.S. has soared over the past 45 years. What sense does it make to fault people for being poor while at the same time supporting policies that transfer increasing amounts of wealth to the richest Americans? Governmental policies need to structure a more equitable social environment and encourage more generosity among the aristocracy.

Our approach for too long has been to use the police to hunt down those who don’t behave lawfully, to ignore racial inequities, and to blame people for their own impoverishment, without realistically evaluating the underlying causes. Providing good schools, jobs, and addressing the issue of rising economic inequality can vastly improve matters. There’s plenty of wealth in America, among high-income individuals and corporations, to attain the same beneficial social results that citizens in other countries achieve.

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Tri-City Herald

Spokane County undersheriff received suspension for saying ‘ex-wives should be killed’

A Spokane County undersheriff received a four-week unpaid suspension in January after he joked to a member of the Spokane Valley Precinct staff that “ex-wives should be killed.”

Policy violations by leadership in law enforcement can often create the precedent that the behavior is acceptable unless swift action is taken by the chief or sheriff, said Richard Bennett, professor of justice at American University who earned his doctoral degree in sociology/criminal justice at Washington State University.

“Leadership sets the tone,” Bennett said.

Bennett researches police organization and procedures along with comparative criminology, and comparative criminal justice. “If the leader shows no regard for abusive language or racial slurs … the consequences are there,” Bennett said.

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New collaborative to study impact of COVID‑19 on moms, babies

Having a baby is a life-changing event that brings joy, but for many women also comes with stress and anxiety. The restrictions and uncertainties associated with the current COVID‑19 pandemic are undoubtedly adding to those fears and worries, so more than a dozen WSU researchers recently joined forces to form the WSU COVID‑19 Infant, Maternal, and Family Health Research Collaborative.

Courtney Meehan.

“We are exploring how maternal COVID‑19 infection is related to overall breastmilk composition and infant health and wellbeing. Specifically, we are interested in potential protective effects of breastfeeding during this time,” said WSU lead investigator Courtney Meehan, an associate professor of anthropology and associate dean of research and graduate studies in the WSU College of Arts and Sciences. “It is essential that we get this information quickly and accurately so we can better inform the public, as well as those who create policy,” she said, pointing to the varying recommendations that are currently being put forward by agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and UNICEF.

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WSU Insider


Flattening the curve with jazz

The WSU Jazz Big Band isn’t letting the global pandemic get in the way of delivering excellent big band entertainment.

Greg Yasinitsky.

The award-winning group, directed by Regents Professor Greg Yasinitsky, put technology to the test to produce a YouTube video of the aptly titled composition, “Flatten That Curve.”

Apart from the quality of the music, what makes the performance fascinating to watch is the fact that the band members recorded their parts and video individually using whatever technology they had available. Yasinitsky then mixed, mastered and assembled the performance together.

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WSU Insider