The Writing on the Wall

Women's BathroomBy Jessica Daniel

Horizon Reporter

Swastikas, racial insults, sexist comments. All of these have appeared as graffiti in campus restrooms, particularly in the men’s room in Syre and Laidlaw.

Graffiti has been an issue for many years on Whatcom’s campus, said Brian Keeley, director of facilities. Found in both the men’s and women’s restrooms, graffiti is mainly seen in the men’s and consists of any words or images etched into the bathroom walls.

“It varies from childish poems, to very serious racial rhetoric,” said Leon Scott, a student who is also part of Whatcom’s safety committee. The graffiti often involves chain messages between students who are trying to get their point across to others.

Vol. 36 Issue 2 Graffiti - Fort JamesAn example is in the upstairs woman’s restroom in Syre, where a chain conversation took place about how the world was going to end, even bringing Jesus into it.

“I’m not against expressing yourself, just don’t do it where you’re not supposed to,” said Nancy Khoury, a Whatcom student. “It’s stupid.”

“Some of the graffiti is nasty, but some of the graffiti are downright hate crimes,” said Carl Adams, maintenance supervisor for the facilities department at Whatcom, in an e-mail. He added that restrooms are not the only places graffiti is dealt with.

“We deal with classroom desks being written on all the time,” he said. Study carrels (partitioned study areas) in the library are also vandalized.

Keeley said it is difficult to prevent graffiti. “The most effective method of graffiti control has been to clean it up as soon as possible,” he added.

“When the graffiti is etched into a surface, the school has to prep and paint the partitions or walls,” Keeley said. This process is usually completed during the summer, but the school is currently working on the stall partitions in the men’s restrooms in Heiner.

Adams said that working on the partitions is not only an on-going process, but also a major undertaking due to the time involved in sanding, masking, and painting them.

He also mentioned the issue of replacing supplies that have been carved into, such as paper towel and toilet paper dispensers.

Even with the new paint, Adams said the men’s room in lower Syre was recently defaced in two different areas, forcing it to be re-painted yet again.

“We didn’t even have our masking removed,” he said. “I could write a book on how many hours have been wasted on covering graffiti.”

As for when the painting will be completed, Adams had a simple response: “That’s a loaded question,” he said. “We are just trying to keep up with the worst of it.”

Keeley said that if any student is found to be vandalizing school property, they will be expelled and charges brought against them.

“Students need to know that we all have a responsibility for campus safety and the respectful use of the college property,” he said.

If students see something they feel is concerning or destructive, they can report it directly to the administrative services office in Laidlaw 144, or by calling 383-3350.

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International Friendship Club

By Jorge Cantu

Horizon Reporter

Germans, Koreans, Japanese, Africans, and Americans all come in with smiles to the Tuesday meetings in room LDC 215 A for the International Friendship Club.

“Students don’t realize that anyone can join, and it is encouraged because it is such a fun program,” Ulli Schraml said.Mt. Baker Hiking

Schraml is the head of this club, which includes all of the international students, as well as any other Whatcom students who may want to join. There are about 20 active members who attend the meetings.

The International Friendship Club is a government funded program to help students from other countries get involved with Whatcom and other students.

“We host trips almost every other week, and usually they cost about $5,” Schraml said.

The trips include going to cities like Seattle and Vancouver, and activities can be kayaking, hiking, snow shoeing, ice skating,  and attending sports events.Kayaking

“We just went to the Huskies’  game last weekend, and we used to go to basketball games when the Sonics were around,” Schraml said. The club also attend Mariners games.  Schraml tries to get them to do things they wouldn’t normally do.

Schraml stressed that any student can sign up to go on any trip, and the cost is usually a lot cheaper than if a student were to go alone without the school.

The biggest event they hold is ‘International Night’ which is a talent show for performances by the international students (as well as any other Whatcom student). It is in the Spring Quarter and the date is still being determined. Every student is encouraged to bring food, and gets in for free if they do.

“It is a giant potluck,” Schraml said. Space is getting limited in the auditorium though due to the increasing number of people attending every year. Last year about 250-300 people attended International Night.

The International Friendship Club is only increasing every year, and everybody is encouraged to join.

“We have over 26 countries represented here at Whatcom this year, and it is a great way to meet people all over the world,” Schraml said

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Who is Ulli Schraml?

By Jorge Cantu

Horizon Reporter

At an early age one of Ulli Schraml’s friends told him “You’re an American soul trapped in a German’s body.” Always having a strong connection with some American friends while living in Germany, Schraml, as of 1996, is now over-seas here in Bellingham. He is the head of International Affairs here at Whatcom and also teaches a history class.

Born in Augsburg, Germany, Schraml was determined to join the military straight out of high school, and at age 17, he joined the German military. He was part of the tank batallion there, as well as working in personnel. He did this for four years until his contract was done.

“I then worked in the economy, working different regular jobs for about five years,” he said. The Cold War called for more Germans in the air force, and Schraml answered the call.

“Joining and serving in the air force was the most interesting of my military experience,” he said. “It is unusual for a German to serve both in the military and the air force.”

He always wanted to fly, but his eyes were too poor for flying, so he went to work as a non-commissioned officer for an American unit in Augsburg, Germany.  Although he did get to fly as a co-pilot a couple of times, Schraml mainly worked as part of the ground personnel.

He was in the air force for nine years,  where he was honored as air force sargeant  of the year by the USO (United Services Organization). He made several connections through his work with the American Unit in Germany, and one of his friends lived in Bellingham.

“I visited Bellingham several times before moving here,” said Schraml.

Always wanting to teach history and English, the Germany military provided money for him to go to school. Having a contact in Bellingham, he moved here in 1996, and attended Whatcom, then transferred to Western Washington University.  He obtained a degree in history, and later went on to get his masters in history too.

“I always wanted to teach history,” Schraml said. Although he taught English and training skills in the military, he taught his first class at the college in the summer of 2009.

When making the move to Bellingham in 1996, Schraml made a good contact immediately at Whatcom with Linda Cooper who works here at Whatcom. With his background, he has worked in the International Programs office for more than 12 years as a coordinator for various things, including Study Abroad and Special Programs.

He did not leave his military career, though. Every summer Schraml has been serving in the German air force unit in Washington, D.C. “It’s a military unit, but it’s more like helping German officers take courses in America and get used to the U.S. and find housing and stuff for their family,” Schraml said.

Now settled here at Whatcom, he teaches a Western Civilization class and is the head of the Study Abroad Program, the International Friendship Club, and all International Affairs.

“I love Bellingham, and I love Whatcom Community College,” Schraml stated

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Reflections on LaRouche


By Emily Huntington

As a journalist representing the Horizon, and therefore representing the college, the biggest part of my job is to stay objective. In other words, my opinions have to stay out of my writing and my interviews.

It gets difficult, because I have a lot of opinions. When there are demonstrations on campus that display huge signs against abortion, I want to speak up. When the LaRouche men came with the Obama/Hitler mustache poster on October 28, I was angry…but all I could do was shake my head as I walked past them. That was until about 1:30, when myself and a classmate decided to take our notepads down and talk to them. Not to do a story, but just to see why they were there and what they had to say.DSC_0879

The first thing they said to us was “Hey, did you see our poster?” Now, what I responded probably could have gone unsaid, but I feel that doing something like that to the president of the United States – whether you love him or hate him – is unacceptable. Besides, I find it ironic that one of the men looked like a carbon copy of a younger version of him! After I said what I said and they realized that we were with the paper, they wouldn’t talk to us. “We don’t give interviews,” one of the men said. He also said that because I “insulted” his friend they weren’t going to talk… had we been “normal” people (not student journalists), they would have answered our questions.  Since we weren’t, however, all they did was hand us a magazine with a number on the back. “Call this number if you want an interview,” he said. They were downright rude.

Unfortunately, no matter how offensive or rude some demonstrators are, the college cannot disallow them to come to campus. There is a form they have to fill out and they can only be on certain areas, but as long as they are keeping their hands to themselves and not following students with propaganda, they can be there. No matter what kind of demonstrations come, whether it be anti-abortion posters, or if the LaRouche men come back, I have to keep my cool and refrain from saying what is really on my mind, even if they return with the same poster or something more offensive.

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The official student newspaper of Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington