Editorial Comment

Editorial Board

Lessons from WA Supreme Court

 

On Oct. 11, the Washington State Supreme Court officially ruled to invalidate our state’s capital punishment statute.

In the majority opinion, the court cited its reasoning for this historic decision as a recognition of the fact that “Washington’s death penalty is administered in an arbitrary and racially biased manner.”

While capital punishment has not been practiced in Washington since 2014, after Governor Jay Inslee placed a moratorium on the practice, the ruling still had a major impact on the eight convicts who were previously sitting on Washington’s death row.

While the eight men have a second chance at reforming their lives, the ruling provides an opportunity for reflection for us at The Falcon, and as members of our larger university institution.

Are there policies in place within our own mini-society that have drastic, unintended consequences?

Are there ways in which we should be implementing a similar practice of self-examination to eliminate ways in which we are not doing our job to support the students in our care?

Redemption should always be an open option, a concept that ought to translate into all organizations on campus.

Leaving room in our thoughts and procedures to fix brokenness within any policy is essential in creating a functional community.

Recognizing how certain practices might unfairly affect different groups is a continual process. Whether in administration, Residence Life, community outreach or academic services, we should constantly be reviewing our actions and ensuring that they do not have unintended consequences.

As stated in the court ruling,“While this particular case provides an opportunity to specifically address racial disproportionality,” there are broader lessons to be learned from the court’s bold decision to give racial disparity top priority in our larger state government.

There are certainly issues close to SPU that could benefit from the same courage the state Supreme Court displayed; a willingness to listen to and take criticism into account is essential in continuously improving any organization.

We are confident that there is unrecognized room for improvement within policies and practices in place in the various communities SPU is a part of.

These areas need to be re-examined in terms of their real impact, and considered in light of improving their purpose.

Those in positions of power and influence to impart similar change as the Supreme Court justices now have an excellent example to follow in taking risk to impart justice and right wrongs that may have gone long unrecognized.