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Western Washington University

Undergraduate School

Mailing Address
516 High Street
Old Main 200, MS 9009
Bellingham, Washington 98225
(360) 650-3440
Email address
School Information
"At Western, you will be encouraged to explore your academic interests, challenged to think critically, and will gain the knowledge and skills you’ll need to make your mark on campus and in the world. Western is an academically rigorous institution that is neither too large, nor too small. A 16,000-student campus with classes that average 27 students and 175+ majors to choose from, Western provides the benefits of a small liberal arts college with the academic opportunities and campus resources you would expect from one of the largest universities in Washington. You will receive a well-rounded and transformative education that thrives on curiosity and determination, and fosters close working relationships with faculty and other students" (Source: WWU was founded in 1893 as a school intended to train teachers. WWU holds a student to faculty ratio of 18 to 1 and is a publicly funded university.
General Information
Western Washington University has taken action by conducting various anti-racist initiatives. The university plans on providing a great deal of funding to the Ethnic Studies Program and already infuses CRT in general curriculum. WWU will require all students to take courses on anti-racism. The university currently requires all students to take part in anti-racist training and also provides training to faculty, leadership, and employees. The university has also hosted many anti-racism related events. WWU plans to feature Ibram X. Kendi, author of "How to Be an Anti-Racist," in 2022 in its annual MLK Day celebration. See developments below:

Actions Taken

Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
  • As of Spring 2021, WWU's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training was launched. The president announced that the university is "requiring all students to complete this training." The training focuses on "identity, bias, power, privilege, and oppression; the benefits of being part of a diverse community; how to be a better ally, perform self-care, and create inclusive spaces; and Western’s policies, resources, and reporting options regarding diversity and discrimination."
  • Michael Benitez Jr. spoke at an event in the WWU Library. This even was the kickoff of the WWU Campus Equity and Inclusion Forum. Benitez co-edited "Crash Course: Reflections on the Film 'Crash' for Critical Dialogues About Race, Power and Privilege."
  • WWU hosts the Campus Equity and Inclusion Training Series which comprise events and workshops aimed "to honor and endorse existing training and engagement opportunities for Western employees to expand their critical cultural consciousness" and "to provide a single portal for Western faculty and staff to register for diversity-related training and events." The workshops apply to faculty and staff for professional development. The Forum offers certificates in diversity related matters.
  • The university plans to provide training to leadership and employees by 2021-2022.
  • The Provost’s Diversity and Inclusion Hiring Initiative "assists search committees in applying more equitable and inclusive practices at every stage of the search process" which includes "examining implicit bias and applying learning tools to limit its negative impact."
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
  • WWU's BAE degree in Sociology focuses on "an anti-bias, anti-racist, social justice philosophy."
  • The university stated that, "The Faculty Senate has initiated a process, led by the Committee on Undergraduate Education, on reframing and updating the General University Requirements to include a set of courses to help students understand and grapple with issues of power, equity, and justice in the U.S. and in the broader world." This requirement would involved courses "focused on African American studies and structural anti-Black racism."
  • The Center for Law, Diversity, and Justice provides a curriculum that "emphasizes critical examination of how race, class, gender, sexual orientation and disability intersect with the legal system." The center offers a major in Interdisciplinary Concentration with a Law, Diversity, and Justice Emphasis. The center also offers a minor in Law, Diversity, and Justice.
Disciplinary Measures
  • The Structural Equity and Bias Response Team was launched in Fall 2020. SEBRT will "support people impacted by bias incidents and examine and offer alternatives to conditions at Western that give rise to such incidents."
Faculty/Staff Requirements
  • The Provost’s Diversity and Inclusion Hiring Initiative states that it would "[require] candidates to specifically address their experience and commitment to ensuring equity and inclusion in the classroom and workplace, during the application and interview process."
Program and Research Funding
  • The Multicultural Center was created in 2019 as a result of student advocacy. This resulted in "an expansion of Ethnic Student Center (ESC), the Student Advocacy and Identity Resource Centers (SAIRC) and programs of the Multicultural Services."
  • The Ethnic Studies curriculum will receive $1.2 million per biennium in 2021-2023.
  • The Diversity Recruitment and Retention Office "supports" the Woodring College of Education by providing "intentional and critical college access and student support services to prospective and current Western Washington University students of color through culturally responsive and purposeful outreach, pathway programming, and student engagement." Additionally, the office is "committed to dismantling unjust current conditions and practices that dehumanize and prevent our students of color from access to our college programs and resources."
  • Woodring College of Education's Center for Education, Equity and Diversity "serves as a resource center for students, staff, faculty, and community members interested in topics of educational equity, critical multicultural education, and Tribal sovereignty with an emphasis on social justice and critical conscious cultivation." Additionally it is an "academically supportive space for BIPOC" students and the "physical home for students in the Education and Social Justice minor...."
  • The Woodring College of Education offers the Education and Social Justice Minor which "integrates theory and practice (praxis) to equip students with the skills and knowledge for understanding the complex relations of culture, power, systems of oppression, and movements for social justice, particularly as it connects to children, youth, and schooling." The minor also "draws on a range of critical theories...."
  • Karen McLean Dade spoke at a 21 day conference at WWU in 2021. She is a professor at WWU who "focuses on engaging students across all disciplines on topics of cross-cultural studies and anti-racism education." She's published many books and articles such as her work, "Creating anti-racist education international partnerships."
  • The WWU Library provides numerous anti-racism resource, including "How to Be an Anti-Racist" by Ibram X. Kendi, an overview of the history of racism in the local region, and support for BIPOC individuals. This collection of resources "attempts to provide general information and a starting point to learn about anti-racism, inclusion, and privilege."
  • In Fall 2021, WWU will conduct a climate survey with the help of another institution.
  • On January 18, 2021, WWU "hosted a virtual MLK Day ceremony, attended by nearly 1,000 people, featuring New York Times bestselling author and WWU alumna Ijeoma Oluo (’07), as the keynote speaker." In the 2022 event, WWU will feature Ibram X. Kendi, the author of "How to Be an Anti-Racist."
  • WWU provides faculty with resources for anti-racist teaching, such as the Inclusive Teaching Toolkit and the Social Justice Toolkit.
  • WWU's Multicultural Center houses several programs and departments whose "services center students with marginalized identities." 
  • WWU's 2018-2025 Strategic Plan states that it would "[s]upport and strengthen curricula and other programming that engage issues of access, equity, power, and privilege in and across disciplines." Additionally, WWU strives to "expand and deepen our work to build a diverse, inclusive and equitable community and culture: in terms of access and success, curriculum, learning, shared experiences, embedded values and beliefs, and engagement opportunities to create enduring change."
Symbolic Actions
  • The president released a statement saying, "I stand with you in proclaiming that Black Lives Matter." This statement was made in response to the death of George Floyd. Along with this statement, he crafted the Accessibility, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Timeline.
  • The WWU Legacy Review Task Force was charged with reviewing the names of buildings and colleges. The Task Force submitted their report to the president on June 14, 2021.
  • The WWU Board of Trustees approved the naming of a new residence hall. The structure will be named after Alma Clark Glass who was the first Black student to attend WWU.
  • The Faculty and Staff of Color Council provides the president recommendations "on all matters pertaining to diversity, or issues that affect faculty/staff of color."
Last updated February 27th, 2024
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