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Two Fulbrights, one family

Around 800 people in the United States received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award for 2022-23. Two of those are married Washington State University professors.

“We were expecting neither of us to get a Fulbright; we hoped one of us would get it,” said Carolyn Ross, professor in WSU’s School of Food Science. “We didn’t think there was a chance we would both receive one. But here we are and we’re excited.”

Travis Ridout.

Ross and her husband, Travis Ridout, professor in WSU’s School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs, will spend the first six months of 2023 in Australia working on separate projects primarily funded by the U.S. Department of State program.

“There’s tremendous prestige applied to the Fulbright Program,” Ridout said. “We’ve had colleagues receive them and they talked about what a great experience it was. Part of the program is acting as cultural ambassadors for the U.S., which our family won’t take lightly.”

The couple have three children, ages 14, 11, and 9, who will re-locate with Ross and Ridout from Pullman to Melbourne.

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WSU Insider
Western Farm Press

The NRA has weakened. But gun rights drive the GOP more than ever.

GOP politicians are taking more-uncompromising positions on guns even as lawsuits and infighting have dragged down the flagship gun lobby.

Nearly a decade ago, the massacre of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school threw the politics of gun violence into a state of suspension for a full week, as conservative politicians waited to hear from the powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, before taking a stand.

This week, after another rampage, at a Texas elementary school that left 19 children and two teachers dead, Republican lawmakers didn’t wait for the NRA as they lined up within hours to rebuff any proposed gun-control measures.

Travis Ridout.

“The NRA is not a big player when it comes to spending on political advertising, but guns are still an issue that a lot of candidates are talking about,” said Travis Ridout, a politics professor at Washington State University and co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks political ads. “A lot of it is by virtue of being pictured with a gun, and that sends a message that the candidate is not hostile to gun rights.”

In another sign of how the party has moved since the Newtown massacre, the baseless claim spread by Alex Jones that the shooting was staged has turned into a knee-jerk response for some Republican elected officials after new mass shootings. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, before she was elected to Congress, endorsed a false claim that the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., was staged, leading the House to remove her from her committee assignments. On the day of the vote last year, Greene acknowledged school shootings were “absolutely real.”

This month, the Arizona state Senate opened an ethics investigation into Sen. Wendy Rogers for a social media post that falsely suggested the May 14 mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket, which authorities have said was motivated by the gunman’s white-supremacist beliefs, was done by a federal agent. Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday tweeted and then deleted false information blaming the Texas shooting on a “transsexual leftist illegal alien.”

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The Washington Post

We the People: Many factors influence political participation

Today’s question: What are two examples of civic participation in the United States?

By Michael Ritter, assistant professor of political science at Washington State University in Pullman

Michael Ritter.

Civic participation refers to various forms of political engagement. Perhaps the most straightforward is voting. But civic participation is more than just submitting a ballot. For example, the acceptable answers to this question on the U.S. Citizenship Test include not just voting, but also running for office, joining a political party, assisting with a political campaign, joining a civic or community group, contacting and expressing one’s concerns or viewpoints to an elected official, supporting an issue or policy, and writing to a newspaper.

The ability to participate in politics in so many ways is one of the cardinal features of American democracy, yet another important consideration is the extent to which one’s ability to participate is structured by individual as well as state-level institutional factors.

In their 1995 work “Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics,” political scientists Sidney Verba, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady developed a theoretical framework of political participation known as the civic voluntarism model. A key premise, supported by extensive empirical testing, is that individual political participation choices are shaped by how many politically relevant resources someone has (factors that have a causal impact on a person’s likelihood of engaging in various forms of political participation).

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The Spokesman-Review

Ten seniors recognized for excellence

Each year, 10 graduating seniors from Washington State University are recognized for excellence in several areas: academics, athletics, campus involvement, community service, and visual and performing arts. Six students in CAS are among WSU’s top 10 of 2022.

The WSU Alumni Association and Student Alumni Ambassadors coordinate the 80-year tradition of honoring these outstanding students, who are nominated from across WSU’s six campuses.

A selection committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students chose the winners based on criteria that fit each category.

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WSU Insider
WSU Features

Political Ads Mentioning Abortion Jump After Supreme Court Leak

The mention of abortion in political television advertisements has surged since a draft US Supreme Court opinion on Roe v. Wade was made public.

In US House races, 22% of pro-Democratic ads and 24.5% of pro-Republican ads that ran since the May 2 leak mentioned abortion, according to a report from the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks campaign spending. Previously, 6.2% of Democratic and 13.5% of Republican ads mentioned the issue.

Travis Ridout.

“Clearly, the country’s attention has turned to abortion rights, and we’re seeing the shift in political advertising as well,” Travis Ridout, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, said in a report released on Thursday. “Abortion is an issue that not only separates Democrats and Republicans, but the issue could matter in primary races as well.”

The increase in abortion mentions also has shown up in Democratic Senate and gubernatorial ads, and in Republican gubernatorial spots, the report showed.

Politico first reported the leaked draft opinion that potentially could overturn the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion.

TV ad spending for the crucial midterm elections is climbing as candidates bombard voters weighing inflation and abortion before deciding which party will control Congress and dozens of state offices.

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BNN Bloomberg