Washington State University is facing criticism from a state senator, a former quarterback and advocacy groups for suspending football player Robert Barber after an off-campus fight over the summer that left one student with a broken jaw and another with a concussion.
But it's not only football players who have been disciplined following the brawl. Pedro Diaz, a WSU student who was at the party, tells the Inlander he has been suspended as well.
The university's student conduct process has come under fire in the past week following a story by the Seattle Times that questioned whether Barber was given due process. Barber was expelled in September but was allowed to keep playing in games as he appealed the decision. The university's appeals board reduced the expulsion to a suspension. Barber's WSU college football career is likely over as a fifth-year senior.
Barber's teammate T.J. Fehoko has also been expelled by the school.
Today, state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, joined by former quarterback Jack Thompson, held a press conference hosted by the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC) urging WSU and university president Kirk Schulz to review Barber's suspension. Baumgartner demanded that the school reinstate Barber and allow him to finish his degree, and he said publicly that he is offering Barber a job in his office if Barber's suspension is upheld. (He did not mention a job offer for Fehoko.)
If you've been wondering why I-90 has been filled with so many more terrible drivers than usual, I can tell you this: it's not just them — it's the weather.
This time it's not just Seattle that has been hit with a record-breaking downpour — 21 cities and towns across Washington and Idaho had record rainfall this month; for many it was the most rain since 1947.
Spokane also broke a record for the most monthly rainfall in recorded history, with 6.21 inches of total rainfall. This amount breaks the previous monthly record set all the way back in November 1897, of 5.85 inches, as well as the old October rainfall record of 5.41 inches, set in 1947. Normally, average rainfall for Spokane in October is 3.48 inches.
Spokane also set a daily record for rainfall this past Sunday, Oct. 30, with 0.91 inches compared to the last record of 0.70 inches in 1990.
Priest River, Idaho, had the most rainfall with 9.26 inches this month, breaking the 1947 record of 8.31 inches; St. Maries set a record with 9.19 inches compared to 6.31 inches in 1955; and Boundary Dam had the largest increase in record rainfall, increasing from a high of 3.97 in 1968 to a high of 8.76 inches this October. Olympia, Colville, Pullman, and Ephrata are also having their wettest months in recorded history.
Meteorologists have reported that this rain is caused by two separate low-pressure systems along the Pacific Coast, off the coasts of Washington and California. The rain is supposed to slow in coming days, but NWS did post a warning to look out for winds that could reach 40 mph in Spokane County and the Palouse this Halloween night.
Whether or not this weather will continue is up in the air: with only a 30 percent chance of rain tonight, trick-or-treaters shouldn't be deterred but may want to bring an umbrella just in case. And even if it does keep raining, there's absolutely no reason to go 50 in the left lane on the freeway.
It's almost Halloween night for local Spokane celebrities.
Picking out candy, of course, is easy. The tricky part, of course, is finding the right Halloween costume on such short notice, especially when you eliminate the potentially racially insensitive costumes from the mix.
Fortunately, the Inlander is here to help by revealing a last-minute tip: Many of you already look like other local or national celebrities. By feeding the region's facial architecture through rigorous doppleganger regression analysis, the Inlander has identified some of the region's top look-a-likes. For them, Halloween shopping is simple.
For example, all Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell has to do is to throw on a bow-tie and a beaming smile and he's...
Kirk went missing last weekend after leaving work in Post Falls.
Authorities have arrested two men in connection with Bo Kirk's death; however, investigators have yet to say how they connected the men and what possible motive they may have had in killing the Hayden, Idaho, man.
THE CUBS WINS! Chicago last night beat the Indians 3-2, sending the World Series back to Cleveland for Game 6 on Tuesday night.
TIRED OF THOSE DAMN EMAILS? It's not over yet: The FBI has reopened the case examining Hillary Clinton's emails and her use of a private server while secretary of state. That news, of course, sparked a variety of responses: outrage from the Clinton campaign, jubilation from Donald Trump and vexation from the Justice Department, which had advised the FBI to keep the renewed investigation under wraps until investigators knew if there was anything significant. If you aren't tired of the emails yet, check out the New York Times' FAQ on the matter.
The forecast calls for a cloudy, rainy day. Tonight, trick-or-treaters will face temps in the mid-40s and a slight chance of rain (about 20 percent). The Spokesman has the candy offerings of a few prominent folks on A1 today. Spokane Mayor David Condon, who apparently ate the good candy already, is planning on handing out "organic gummy bears from Costco."
FILM | You have a lot of options for your Halloween frivolity, but if you don't want to walk the neighborhood or hand out candy, let me suggest hitting the movie theater for RiffTrax Live as the funny dudes tackle creepy classic Carnival of Souls. Here's a trailer of the flick that will be mocked heartily on Monday:
Tuesday, Nov. 1
LIVE BANDS | Robbie Fulks is a mighty fine songwriter out of Chicago, capable of blending rootsy blues and folk into compelling tales of life on the fringes. A real treat having him come to town, where he'l be joined at the Bartlett by Marshall McLean. Here's a taste of Fulks:
WORDS | Washington state Poet Laureate Tod Marshall hosts "Poetry to Inspire" at the South Hill Library. Expect some readings and intriguing discussion of the form.
Wednesday, Nov. 2
WORDS | Bestselling author Jack Weatherford shares knowledge gleaned while writing Genghis Khan and the Quest for God, his latest book on the ruthless leader, at a free chat at The Fox. While on one hand calling for the atrocious slaughter of the civilizations he conquered, Khan also was a champion of religious freedom; some of his ideas on the subject later influenced Thomas Jefferson.
First, the Pullman Police Department was questioned for allegedly targeting Washington State University football players.
Now, the university's own disciplinary system is being scrutinized after suspending a player and potentially ending his WSU career.
Yesterday, the Seattle Times published a story examining Washington State University's student conduct process. The article centers around WSU football player Robert Barber, who was expelled for allegedly knocking a student unconscious at a party this summer. Barber appealed the decision, and it was reduced to a suspension, meaning it's likely the end of his football career at WSU unless president Kirk Schulz overrides it.
The Times article hinges on two Asian-Pacific Island advocacy groups that claim WSU's student conduct process did not grant Barber adequate due process rights. What follows is a thorough examination of WSU's process as compared to other Pac-12 schools, including the University of Washington. Samantha Harris, director of policy research at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, analyzed WSU's procedures and found that it affords students "more due process than we see at a lot of universities," but she also pointed out potential flaws, including not letting students have representation, cross-examination limitations, and the fact that a student can be expelled by a majority vote by the student conduct board instead of a unanimous decision.
And they aren't the only ones who have questioned WSU's conduct policy as it specifically relates to Robert Barber. State Sen. Michael Baumgartner told the Spokesman-Review in September that he didn't think WSU's student conduct board is qualified to decide if someone accused of a crime should be expelled. The Asian Pacific Islander Coalition, according to Cougfan.com, called Barber's expulsion "unjust." Since the Times story yesterday, the fan site also quoted a legal expert supporting that conclusion.
Now WSU is hiring an independent firm to review the conduct board's processes.
CHANGING THE SYSTEM
There are valid arguments for and against the idea that criminal matters should be be left to the court system instead of schools. Colleges use a lower standard of evidence than criminal courts — instead of having to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, it only has to be proven that it's more likely than not that a student did whatever he/she is accused of. And if the school decides to expel a student, there's no doubt that it can have profound implications on his education, career, and potentially his reputation.
A tow truck attempts to yank out a semi-truck that got wedged under a bridge on Post Street downtown in September, as billboard woman chuckles at the truck driver's plight
In the game of high-stakes limbo that is our local transportation network, a number of truck drivers have learned an important lesson about the hubris of mankind. One moment they're driving happily through the beautiful urban landscape of economic vitality that is downtown Spokane, the next they're clotheslined by a railroad bridge while going under an underpass.
Sometimes it wedges them in there. Sometimes it knocks their entire cargo container of the truck, or just totally destroys the truck bed. Either way, along with destroying the truck, it can create huge traffic jams for hours. If it hits a railway bridge, trains have to be stopped and the bridge inspected for damage as well.
The problem of too-tall trucks trying to squeeze through too-short underpasses have become somewhat of a trend this year. Here's a few just the last couple of months:
— April: In a week, three trucks get stuck under the railway bridges in Spokane.
— May: A truck gets jammed under the underpass on Stevens street. Two other trucks get stuck under the same railway bridge in the span of two weeks.
Yet, with some law enforcement officials claiming a "war on police," both politically and on the streets, a recent Gallup poll shows that respect for local law enforcement is as high as it's been since the 1960s.
According to Gallup, 76 percent of people said they have "a great deal" of respect for "police in their area." That's a 12 percent jump from 2015's numbers.
Gallup also broke down the results by race. Despite heightened racial tensions, seemingly exacerbated by police shooting and killing unarmed black men, Gallup found that respect for police has increased for both white people and nonwhite people.
Another Gallup poll from earlier this summer also found that a narrow majority of Americans have "confidence" in police. In 2016, that number actually increased from a 22-year low in 2015.
This year, 56 percent of the 1,027 adults polled said they had confidence in the police. Unlike those asked if they respected police, this confidence poll saw a more pronounced split between white people and nonwhite people.
According to Gallup, confidence in police among white people increased, while among nonwhite people, confidence in police remained the same.
Additionally, the respect for police poll in October 2016 asked about local police. The confidence poll from June 2016 did not.
At least one local survey also indicated that "trust and confidence in the police department has increased from 66 percent to 94 percent since 2013." Other research indicates that SPD's use of body cameras could mean citizens' believe that they're being treated fairly.
Over in the Seattle Police Department, a recent public survey shows that 72 percent of Seattleites approve of the department's performance in 2016 — up from 60 percent in 2013. The survey is part of Seattle PD's consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Trying to dress up like a no-longer-with-us music idol? Make sure to keep it classy. (RIP Prince and Bowie and Merle and so many more.)
If you're like me, you're throwing together your Halloween costume sometime tonight (Minnie Mouse for the 10th time? Who knows?), but for those who've poured countless hours and dollars into their outfits, I salute you. Here are some of the music shows going down this Halloween weekend — because yes, Halloween is an entire weekend — that you are more than encouraged to dress up for. Many of the shows also feature costume contests for those with creativity to actually cash in on.
Spokane’s own community radio station finally becomes a teenager this year. To celebrate, KYRS hosts its own Halloween bash at the Big Dipper Friday night at 7:30 pm. Along with a costume contest and raffle prizes, musical guests include Everett rockers the Moondoggies, Seattle rockers the Hoot Hoots and Seattle Americana band Evening Bell. Cover is $10
The Monumental Halloween Cover Show is back this year at the Pin! with a whole new slew of local rock and hip-hop groups like Foxtrot Epidemic, Still No Pickles, Raskl, Rot Monger, Morlok VonGrimorog, Heart Of An Awl, CXMagik and Shoelaces covering acts including Michael Jackson, Logic, A Day to Remember, Nick Jonas and Cage the Elephant. Pretty frightening. The show starts at 6:30 pm and is $7 with costume and $10 without.
This Friday, you’ll need to head north to get funked up. That’s right, the Palomino brings in Spokane’s own funkified act Soul Proprietor to help get your groove on. The band’s three spooky sets will include a fine mix of funk, soul, blues, Motown, R&B and classic rock (just don’t expect any Elton John covers here). The 21+ show starts at 8 pm and is $10 at the door.
It's been seven years since Ra Ra Riot was last in the Lilac City, but Saturday the indie-pop five-piece takes over the Bartlett. As the band told theInlander in this week's preview story, they plan on playing a lot of their new songs off of February's Need Your Light: "The best feeling about [this tour] is that we have a couple songs we close the show with — for the longest time we were closing with old songs, but now we have songs that are so much more powerful and fun for us to play, too. And I think people can really tell." The show starts at 8 pm and is $22. Local favorites Mama Doll open.
Piano players are a dime a dozen, but Ben Folds makes the instrument seem not so stodgy. Saturday, the indie singer-songwriter shows up at the Knitting Factory to play all by his lonesome. Expect the hits but also tunes off his most recent album So There. The show starts at 8 pm and is $32.50. Read our interview with Folds right here.
Check out a whole host of other Halloween music listings in our calendar right here.
Police released some new photos that might help the investigation into the murder of Post Falls man Bo Kirk, whose body was found a few days after he went missing after work and his truck was spotted at a couple of North Idaho ATM machines. (KXLY)
A new report says that more than half of Washington state homes considered at risk from wildfires are in the Spokane area. (Spokesman-Review)
A federal judge ruled that the city of Spokane's lawsuit against agrochemical giant Monsanto can proceed. The city is trying to get relief from the company whose chemicals polluted the Spokane River for decades. (KREM)
Say what now?
Seven of the men led by the Bundy bros who occupied the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, bringing a large amount of guns and booze with them, were acquitted in a Portland courtroom Thursday. And still, they did not go quietly despite their legal victory. (New York Times)
As forces from various countries and tribes work to expel ISIS from Mosul in Northern Iraq, the group is going to ever-harsher lengths to defend their turf, including executing 232 people and reportedly using townspeople from the region as human shields. (CNN)
Quite a fall
Could the strange relationship between GOP nominee Donald Trump and GOP Speaker of the House Paul Ryan result in Ryan losing his leadership spot after the election? (Washington Post)