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Saturday, April 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Profs didn’t cancel classes to protest election, WSU says

Washington State University students gathered on the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall on November 9, 2016  in protest and in support of Tuesday night’s presidential election results. (Courtesy of Taehlor Crim | Murro)
Washington State University students gathered on the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall on November 9, 2016 in protest and in support of Tuesday night’s presidential election results. (Courtesy of Taehlor Crim | Murro)

No classes were canceled at Washington State University last week because of the election, school administrators said Monday.

Responding to inquiries sparked by comments last week from state Sen. Mike Baumgartner on Twitter, WSU Provost Dan Bernardo surveyed academic deans and concluded the campus was “operating as usual last week” despite the election.

“At a university the size of WSU, there are some classes canceled almost every day for a variety of reasons,” Bernardo said in an email. “But, after surveying all of our academic deans, I have found no evidence of any classes being canceled last week due to the election.”

Students did organize protests supporting or opposing the election results, he added.

That didn’t satisfy Baumgartner.

After told of Bernardo’s conclusion, the Spokane Republican said he was still going to ask the state’s six four-year public universities for a list of all classes canceled last Wednesday and Thursday, and the reasons. All were closed Friday because of Veterans Day.

“My intention is to get a list of how many classes were canceled and how many students were affected,” he said. Getting that information would clarify that such cancellations shouldn’t happen, but he did not plan to release the lists of classes and instructors.

The request to the public universities will probably be sent Tuesday, he said.

“We’ll respond, of course,” said WSU spokesman Rob Strenge.

While he called Bernardo’s report “great to hear,” Baumgartner insisted he had what he termed “credible sources” on WSU campus who told him classes were canceled because of the election, either in protest or because the instructors were angry or upset. He wouldn’t identify the sources or give an estimate of the number of classes.

“We’ll just leave it at multiple,” he said, reiterating the term he used last week when asked about numbers.

He also pointed to a comment he received on social media from a Spokane resident who said his son had classes canceled Wednesday and Thursday at Eastern Washington University, reportedly because the instructor was angry about the outcome.

Dave Meany, an EWU spokesman, said he hadn’t heard of any classes being canceled due to the election.

However, “if nobody in the class complains about it, we would have no way of knowing,” he said.

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