In response to a question put forth by a member of the Western community, University President Bruce Shepard posted this statement to his official blog.
The following exerpt is from a letter he sent out back in January:
While our faculty, students and staff may take positions on matters of pending legislative action as they see fit, Western Washington University only takes positions when there is a direct connection to Western’s capacity to fulfill it’s publicly purposed mission. That mission, of course, is to apply our considerable strengths to address areas of critical importance to the state of Washington.
Where we see a clear link between pending legislation and that commitment to serve Washington, it is our obligation to take a position and inform you of it. We believe it self-evident that passage of the Marriage Equality legislation will improve Western’s capacity to fulfill its mission of service to the State of Washington.
This is really cool, but the part of his post that I find most interesting is the ending:
And, to conclude this blog, please do note, again because it is the law and a law we take very seriously, that the statement above (and this blog posting) does not advocate that you vote in any particular way. It restricts the content to consequences as we see them for Western and explicitly acknowledges both that there are any number of other dimensions for folks to consider and that we at Western are not of one mind on the matter.
In a university setting, while I’m a strong advocate of free speech and taking a stance on an issue with valid reasoning, the fact that President Shepard maintains and reminds us that people disagree is hugely important to me. Marriage equality is not a simple issue and I don’t think either side is necessarily “right” in their stance.
I love going to such a supportive university.