University announces investigation into College Republicans meeting, raises concerns of bullying
The Associated Students of Willamette University (ASWU) Executive branch and Dean of Students for Community Care and Inclusion Abbas Hill will conduct an investigation into the Oct. 19 meeting of College Republicans that resulted in their [disaffiliation]. The Executive branch includes: President Giovanni Bautista (’22), Vice President Angel Park (‘22) and Treasurer Michael Burke (‘23). The investigation was announced in an email from Vice President of Student Affairs Lisa Landreman, who also raised concerns regarding harassment in the community. The email stated the goals of the investigation are to understand what occurred, see what needs to be revised regarding reviewing guests for student groups, address concerns and find the best ways to remedy the impact of the Oct. 19 meeting. The investigation is expected to be done before fall break, which starts Nov. 22.
Landreman said the email was due to concern for the Salem campus community following the events of the past week, including the College Republicans inviting a guest speaker, Ray Hacke, who is an attorney for the Pacific Justice Institute, an organization designated a hate group by the [Southern Poverty Law Center]; and the [ASWU meeting] where College Republicans was disaffiliated. Landreman added: “This guest was not vetted in advance, and the organization leaders expressed regret for this oversight. Regardless of the intention of the invitation or the speakers’ remarks, members of our community experienced harm as a result of this meeting.”
Landreman did state that two concerns regarding the guest speaker have been addressed: College Republicans did not pay Hacke and Hacke is fully vaccinated.
The email pointed to the [Student Code of Conduct], reminding students to be respectful of other student’s rights to a full educational experience, and avoid the [harmful behaviors] that interfere with these rights. These behaviors include: Bullying, harm to person or property and harm to reputation. Students who believe themselves to have been harmed can submit a [community concern/ incident report] or conduct student affairs at <student-affairs-office>.
Landreman acknowledged that the events and responses concerning the College Republicans’ guest speaker did not exist in a vacuum, and brought up larger concerns of safety on campus. Landreman closed the email stating: “I am grateful to be part of a community that is passionate about creating a culture of inclusion grounded in respect for diverse opinions and world views and where all members of our community are valued and are treated with respect and dignity” and added that the university will partner with students following the review to identify needed actions moving forward.