Whatcom County Council member Barbara Brenner has cancelled her meeting with the Western Washington University vice president for university relations, after information fair organizers last week asked her to stop campaigning for re-election. She is running against Alan Black, a Blaine City Council member.
Brenner, in an email to Steve Swan, vice president for university relations, said she isn’t partisan and doesn’t have an off-shoot organization at WWU, so there’s no way she could have know she was supposed to register beforehand for the event.
She was scheduled to meet with him to discuss ways to bring the campus and community together. Click here to see my previous post on that.
Click here to see my previous article on this topic.
Here are the emails:
From: BBGUN1010@aol.com [mailto:BBGUN1010@aol.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2011 12:29 AM
To: Steve Swan
Cc: Lorie McNeill; As.Student@wwu.edu; Meyerjs@students.wwu.edu
Subject: Brenner at Red Square
I think it would be best to cancel our meeting. I am very disappointed in what happened last Tuesday at Red Square and after just reading the misrepresentations made by university about what happened, which were very blatantly not correct, I think it would be better for me to focus my attention on more realistic issues.
I had planned on going up to Red Square for the informational fair and mentioned it to you at the York Neighborhood meeting when I asked for your card the week before the fair. I also mentioned it to Kendall and Joe, both involved in student affairs, at the same meeting. They seemed very pleased I was coming. They didn’t say anything about having to register for the information fair. I had a delightful time on Monday. I was there for hours. Then I was told to leave on Tuesday almost immediately upon my arrival. I did leave after the fourth or fifth time of being told, not because I thought I did anything wrong, but because I felt the young people telling me had gotten pretty uncomfortable with me being there and my purpose in going was to communicate, not to fight with them. I still don’t know what rules I violated. I offered to register when one of them told me I wasn’t registered. The person said I couldn’t, that it was too late. I spoke to Kendall before I left. He said he didn’t know what rules I violated. It seemed there were many less people and booths on Tuesday than Monday when I was there for hours, so there was space for me even though I was just walking around with my dog giving out flyers to anyone who wanted them. Contrary to the comments from the university there were a number of people walking around giving out information. Another young person approached me shortly after and said I had to leave because I wasn’t allowed to do political campaigning. I said many of the people there were doing political campaigning so I couldn’t understand that either. It was hard to answer when another person from the same group came up and said I had to leave because there had been a complaint. I asked what was the complaint and he wouldn’t tell me. I decided to leave because I could tell I was making the young people who were telling me to leave so uncomfortable. Some people at a couple of booths were listening and said I could leave flyers with them. I did but as I was leaving another one from the group who told me to leave said I had to take my literature. So I went and got it. Also, what was not reported was the people at the political science association booth said I could be their guest. But then I was told I couldn’t do that. I had gone to the information fair (or whatever it was called) at Red Square in the past and no one ever told me I couldn’t be there or that I had to register. I still don’t understand why anyone would think I would know there were some restrictions regarding being in a legitimate public space where people congregate. I was informing students at an informational fair of my candidacy. I was encouraged to come by some students weeks ago. So I went.
I left. I think I was there less than a half hour.
Monday I thought the people seemed really glad I was there. I am a county resident who had no idea I was supposed to register to provide information at an information fair and was willing to do it and pay. I told them that.
I doubt very many people outside of the university or political organizations that have offshoot student groups would know this was a restricted information fair or that registration was required beforehand or at all. As a non-partisan, I thought it was simply a public opportunity to share my information as I had done in the past. I don’t believe at this time a county resident who does not belong to any political organization, and therefor would not have an offshoot student group that would know about your rules, would do very well.
I do appreciate you were willing to meet with me. It is just that if the university didn’t think there was a problem with what happened, I don’t think there is anything more I could say.
CC: Lorie.McNeill@wwu.edu, As.Student@wwu.edu, Meyerjs@students.wwu.edu
Sent: 9/22/2011 11:26:36 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time
Subj: RE: Brenner at Red Square
Thank you for the message. I feel bad about the situation that occurred at the AS Information Fair, and I while I am disappointed, I understand your desire to cancel our meeting. Iris, Joe and I looked forward to hearing your thoughts on building and extending relationships in the community and county. Perhaps sometime in the future you will re-consider and we can hear your good thoughts.
Thank you for your good work on behalf of the people of Whatcom County and best wishes in your campaign.
Vice-President for University Relations
Western Washington University