Senior Baseball Player Highlights

The following seniors are graduating this year from the baseball team: Kevin Valerio, Nathan Johnson, Eric Anderson, Michael Taylor, Ben George, Liam O’Brien, Nick Ashley, Kittrick Kane and Kyle Krustangel. Valerio an outfielder from Kennewick, named All-NWC Honorable Mention as a junior, when he hit .340 as an outfielder. As a senior, he has hit .295, while scoring 35 runs and hitting 26 RBI’s. He also has two home runs this season.

Johnson, pitcher from Colfax, started in at least seven games in all four of his seasons at Whitworth. As a junior, he also played in 20 games as an infielder and batted .323. As a senior he posted a record of 5-4 with an ERA of 4.14. He led the team in strikeouts with 33, as well as in complete games (3), and shutouts (1). He also batted .247 with seven RBI’s.

Anderson, a pitcher from Vashon Island, pitched his first two seasons of collegiate baseball at Green River Community College. As a senior, he started five games, and had a record of 3-1, with a 3.09 ERA. He had a .206 BAA, and also had three saves as a relief pitcher.

Taylor, a pitcher from Brewster, spent his freshman through junior years of college playing Division I basketball at Montana State University and Eastern Washington Unversity. As a senior baseball player, he appeared in six games, and started in three. He had a 2-0 record and a 4.12 ERA.

George, a pitcher from Vancouver, started five times with a 2-2 record as a junior. As a senior, he appeared in six games and started in two of them. He finished the season with a 0-3 record and an ERA of 6.75.

O’Brien, a pitcher from Prosser, started in six games as a junior. As a senior he started in seven games and had a 3-3 record. He completed the season with a team best 2.45 ERA, as well as a team best .195 BAA.

Ashley, an outfielder from Lind, played his first two seasons at Wenatchee Valley Community College. As a junior he played in 28 games and batted .272. As a senior he batted .310 and had 24 RBI’s and two home runs. He started in 37 games this season.

Kane, a pitcher from East Wenatchee, spent his first two seasons playing at Walla Walla Community College, and had a 3.60 ERA in 10 appearances for Whitworth as a junior. As a senior, he has played in two games, with a 7.71 ERA.

Krustangel, a senior from Spokane, was named to the All-NWC Second Team last season when he led the team in home runs with eight. This season he has batted .231 in 33 games. He had two home runs and 12 RBI’s.

Story by Kyle Bohigian

Pirate tennis senior players

The two seniors on the Whitworth women’s tennis team finished their ca­reers with three Northwest Conference regular season championships, two NWC Tournament Championships, two appearances in the NCAA Tournament and an overall four-year record of 74-18. Rachel Burns has had an award-filled tennis career at Whitworth, hav­ing been named first-team All-NWC all four years, the NWC Sportswoman of the Year in 2010 and the Northwest Conference Player of the Year in 2011. She finished the 2011 season with a 16-4 overall singles record and 11-3 record against NWC opponents.

Katie Staudinger, from Yakima, has been one of the most successful players ever for the Whitworth tennis team. She received three All-NWC honors in her four years and is the most successful player to ever leave Whitworth having compiled 152 total wins. As a senior, she finished with a 13-5 singles record and a 15-1 doubles record. As a freshman she went 21-1 playing at the No. 4 singles spot and has since helped the Pirates win three consecutive NWC regular season titles.

“Katie [Staudinger] has won more tennis matches than anyone in Whit­worth history and Rachel [Burns] was the Northwest Conference MVP” said Jo Ann Wagstaff, the Pirate women’s head coach. “Their play and leadership on and off the court will be greatly missed.”

The men’s tennis seniors cut a path and led the way as the team finished the 2011 season as one of the most success­ful men’s tennis teams that Whitworth has seen in 20-plus years. Whitworth finished third in the conference with an 8-4 regular season record and an 11-8 record overall. In four years, these seniors have compiled a 45-49 overall record and a 36-24 conference record, but on the way led Whitworth to its first third-place finish in the NWC Tourna­ment since 1996.

Colin Barrett has been a steadfast tennis player for the Bucs for four years. He finished his senior season with a 10-9 singles record playing at the No. 5 singles spot, also spending time switch­ing between the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles duo that went 7-12 this season.

“Colin hit the single most important shot this tennis season versus Linfield, sparking a come-from-behind victory after being down 5-2” said Mike Shanks, the Whitworth men’s tennis coach.

Brian Lays from Denver, Colo. Al­though he played sparingly as a senior (2-1 in singles play and 1-2 in doubles) he pushed his teammates to be the best that they could be.

“Brian has the greatest passion for tennis than anyone I have ever known” Shanks said. “He is also probably one of the funniest characters in the history of Whitworth.”

Known as “The Outlaw - Josey Wales” by his teammates and coaches, Joe Wales has been an exceptional Pirate tennis player from the get-go. After a 13- 10 season his freshman year, Wales went on to finish 9-9 in No. 3 singles and 12-8 splitting time as No. 1 and No. 2 doubles in his senior season. Along the way, Wales, who is from Salem, Ore., earned second team All-NWC as a sophomore and the Northwest Conference Sports­man of the Year as a junior.

Mike Shanks considers Wales “one of the five best doubles players in the NWC and the biggest tennis gym rat he has ever seen”.

Henry Williams put up a 9-13 singles record his freshman year and has been a reliable Pirate ever since. In 2011, Wil­liams, a kinesiology major from Olym­pia, posted a 5-5 singles conference record and a 5-4 doubles conference record.

“He poured his entire heart and soul into Whitworth tennis for all four years,” Shanks said.

“From walk-on to second-team all-conference, Colin was absolutely criti­cal to the most successful tennis season Whitworth has seen in 20 years,” Shanks said.

Zalewski finished his senior year as the No. 2 singles and, with fellow se­nior Wales, No. 1 doubles tennis player, finishing with a 9-8 singles (8-3 in the NWC) and 13-7 doubles (10-5 in the NWC) record.

Story by Nathan Webber

Campus censorship prevents growth

The PostSecret posts were recently removed from the wall in the Hixson Union Building. In their place is a poster with the Winston Churchill quotation, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak.” Attached to the poster is a statement written by Brittany Roach, special events coordinator for ASWU. In this she writes that due to several concerns, “the administration asked to have the more offensive secrets removed.”

Her response is as follows: “to maintain the integrity of the project I chose to remove all of them, so as not to censor some.”

I applaud Roach’s decision and response to the situation. It has brought me to question other forms of censorship on our campus, though. Does it exist? Who imposes the filter? Are there benefits? Disadvantages?

The most obvious form of censorship on our campus is Safe Connect. This blocks students from accessing websites deemed inappropriate. Is this wrong? Is it necessary?

There is no clear-cut answer. At the most basic level, it restricts students. The limited access becomes an issue when it prevents access to information for research assignments.

This was an issue for a friend who was unable to access websites with profanity while researching for a Core 350 paper on the use of language in film. Another friend was unable to access a foreign site she needed for a class project. But we must consider another aspect of the issue, is censorship necessary to uphold our Christian heritage? Should we relinquish some of our rights in order to uphold the values of our institution? Does it help to hold one another accountable? It is naturally understood that censorship serves to maintain the values of the university, but does it contradict the residence life mission of growing adults?

The majority of censorship on campus, however, seems to be self-imposed. There is a clear dominant culture on campus with known taboos. Students routinely filter their language and content of speech to operate in accordance to the spoken and unspoken standards. This is worrisome. Lives lived in fear of saying the wrong thing, of being labeled as dirty or below an arbitrary standard is wrong. Our campus cannot be an environment that generates this anxiety. Am I advocating continuous belligerent behavior on campus? Absolutely not, but I think it is necessary to take the time to evaluate the message we are projecting to our peers.

The last half of the Churchill quote is, “courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

This is an area in which we need to improve as a community. Among the secrets posted on the wall were deep and serious issues. These were the voices of individuals dying to tell their stories. There must be a space on our campus for conversations of this nature to be had. But this cannot be limited to a sanctioned program. Cultural diversity advocate Macy Olivas said, “Students will talk about sexuality or racism, but an FRF (Facilities Request Form) has to be filled out first; if it’s not an organized event, the conversation won’t happen.”

If we were willing and able to authentically engage without the need of a Courageous Conversations banner our campus would thrive. We would be a people of honest exploration, of respect and genuine love.

Far too often, issues of respect arise with vulnerability on campus. Students who think and live beyond the reaches of the Whitworth norm are pushed to areas of isolation and questions of belonging on our campus. Issues that arise on our campus are therefore silenced instead of being appropriately addressed. The spectrum of students on our campus is one of its strengths. We cannot allow our backgrounds and preconceptions to threaten its presence.

I believe especially as a Christian community, we must be aware of the tone we set. It is known that hypocrisy runs rampant in the church, but we cannot use this to dismiss our actions, continuing to generate divides. We must actively work against our natural inclination to judge differences. We must strive as a community to push past tolerance toward love, to become a people who are comfortable with honesty.

Haley Atkinson

Reacting responsibly to bin Laden's death

On the evening of May 1, President Barack Obama went on national TV to break the news that Osama bin Laden, the face of international terrorism and mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, had been killed by American special forces after a 10-year manhunt. Aside from a few relatively minor snags, the operation was executed flawlessly. Few would argue the significance of bin Laden’s demise. While his death may very well inspire terrorists to conduct retaliatory attacks, he will no longer be able to serve as a motivating figure for international terrorism. Furthermore, valuable intelligence was seized in the raid on bin Laden’s Pakistani compound that will undoubtedly prove useful in fighting global terrorism. Lastly, the man’s death was a highly symbolic victory for the U.S. However, as Christians it is difficult, but not impossible, to determine the proper position to take on bin Laden’s death.

There have been two primary responses to bin Laden’s death. The initial response was one of euphoric celebration. Writing for the New York Daily News, Irving Dejohn, Joanna Molloy, Matthew Nestel and John Lauinger describe the scene in New York after Obama’s announcement:

“New Yorkers took to the streets Sunday night, rising up in a passionate chorus of patriotic pride over news that America’s most wanted man was dead. People crowded into Times Square and in the streets around Ground Zero, fists pumping and flags waving.”

However, in the days after the announcement, criticism of the celebrations began to arise. Indeed, my Facebook news feed began to fill with references to Ezekiel 33:11: “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.”

The obvious argument was that as Christians we should not rejoice in bin Laden’s death. Some seemed even to question the justness of his death.

Initially, I was torn between the two reactions. I streamed the President’s announcement live from CSPAN and, I have to admit, my initial reaction was one of satisfaction and pride in the excellent work done by the members of Navy SEAL Team Six. Yet, at the same time, I felt guilty about taking pleasure in someone’s death. Upon consideration however, I believe there is a healthy way to look at it.

First, did bin Laden deserve to die? Was his death just? Well, was he responsible for the death of many innocent people? Yes, indeed he was. By any moral measure, bin Laden certainly got what he deserved. Furthermore, reading all of Ezekiel Chapter 33 indicates that, though the Lord desires all to be saved, the wicked will certainly perish if they do not turn from their wicked ways.

Yes, God wanted bin Laden to be saved, and bin Laden could have been saved, despite the gravity of his brutality, had he turned to Christ.

While I can’t say that this didn’t happen, it appears highly unlikely that this was the case. Consequently, from a biblical standpoint, his death was perfectly just.

However, this still does not give us an excuse to rejoice in his death. The real question is, are any of us really better than bin Laden? While we’re quoting scripture, Romans 3:10 says, “There is no one righteous, not even one.”

What, if anything, separates any of us from bin Laden? Jesus says in Matthew 5:21-22: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.”

I think we can recognize that bin Laden’s death made the world a better place and that he certainly deserved to die, and I think we can applaud the bravery and skill of the American armed forces involved in the operation. At the same time we can recognize that the death of anyone apart from Christ is tragic.

Yes, bin Laden was a mass murderer and his death was just. This, however, should cause us to consider the true nature of evil. In light of that, we should consider ourselves, lest we too get what we deserve.

Max Nelsen

The slow but steady erosion of conviction at Whitworth

Our campus’ conception of diversity is slowly but surely eroding everything this university claims to stand for. Don’t burn me at the stake just yet - allow me to explain.

Diversity as a concept is a vital part of a thriving community. Allowing people from all walks of life to have a voice and to have a place to call home is a good, praiseworthy thing - especially when those people have views and values that clash with our own.

I have genuine respect for the efforts Whitworth University has made to increase the level and quality of diversity on campus. Bringing in students of other faiths, nationalities, backgrounds, social classes, etc., is a non-negotiable element of a complete liberal arts education.

Why is this the case? Simply because no one ever learned anything by talking to him- or herself. Fill up a room with similar people and, surprise surprise, they’ll all leave looking about the same as when they went in.

You can’t build bigger biceps without the challenge of a free weight or two. By the same token, we don’t grow as people if we’re not challenged and pushed out of our comfort zone by new experiences, differing viewpoints and foreign lifestyles.

That’s a concept that probably won’t shake up too many people here - we’re a campus that, in general, values diversity of people and opinions. Whitworth FM has a radio show every Thursday where a dedicated conservative and a passionate liberal go head to head in a program called “Civil Disagreement.” And not only are they able to carry out their discussion in a genteel manner, they happen to be close friends off the air. Not something you’d expect to find in the “real world,” where the likes of Glenn Beck rule the airwaves. But we have it here, and it’s a good thing.


I fear that in our passionate pursuit of diversity, we have forgotten, or are starting to forget, our convictions. I fear that we have confused the concept of “tolerance” or even “love” with that of “acceptance.” And I fear that if we become a campus that accepts everything, we will become a campus that stands for nothing.

When I speak of tolerance, I refer to its classic definition and not to the popular, modern definition. By the classic definition, it is possible to tolerate an idea or a person without having to agree. Put in blunt terms, the concept of tolerance is “live and let live.”

In recent years, the meaning has shifted to something more along the lines of “we may disagree, but that doesn’t matter because we’re both right in our own way.”

This modern definition of tolerance falls more in line with my definition of “acceptance,” the idea that personal choices (whether they be about faith, lifestyle, sexuality or anything) can’t be criticized, and the person that does criticize is automatically wrong.

I don’t believe that “different” always means “wrong.” Neither do I believe that I have a complete grasp of what is “right” or “correct,” but there is a standard of Truth that everyone should strive for, regardless of subjective opinions.

The cry often goes up that students who don’t fit the “Whitworth norm” feel like they are not accepted. And while there are some legitimate problems that need to be dealt with (racism and bigotry do happen here, and it’s a tragedy), I have to wonder why, for example, an atheist student who sleeps around and gets high on the weekends expects to feel completely accepted here. Or why a Mormon student would expect to feel no tension at a school that holds to beliefs different than his or her own.

It’s like traveling to another country and demanding the people there to speak English as their primary language. It’s arrogant and insensitive, but more than that, it’s just kind of ridiculous.

Students know what they’re signing up for when they come here. It’s not hidden. This is a Christian university. If students don’t want that, there are three or four state schools within a day’s drive of here that won’t present Christ to you ... all for a fraction of the cost.

This extends beyond the faith debate, as well. Classes like Core 350 present their material via a method I have dubbed the “throw it all against the wall” method. A wide variety of thinkers are brought forth, their ideas laid out … and then left behind. There is little criticism, little examination, and rarely, if ever, a comparison to the views of the book this university claims to be founded on.

Students are implicitly encouraged to take their pick of whichever thinker makes the most sense to them and then run with that. Criticizing that choice is then taboo for faculty and other students.

I recognize that these are generalizations - there are classes and faculty who don’t line up with what I have described above. But regardless, it is still a trend.

Criticism does not have to be a negative thing. Debate should be encouraged. All ideas are not created equal, and if faculty members treat all viewpoints as if they have equal merit, then student development is severely hampered. No student is aided by being allowed to maintain a system of thinking that doesn’t work in the real world.

Whitworth claims to be a place that follows Christ and serves humanity. Sadly, between the blind pursuit of diversity and the rather nonsensical pressure to make all students feel “accepted,” it seems to be becoming less a place that honors Christ, and more one that tacks his name to our literature for the sake of tradition.

Jerod Jarvis

Poverty and race play into state child welfare

Native American children represent 7 percent of Washington State’s child population and are roughly five times more likely to be victims of abuse or neglect compared to white children, according to data from Child Protective Services. Statewide, Native American children are three times more likely to be referred to child welfare than their white counterparts. Census figures show the city of Spokane alone holds the eighth-largest Native American population in the nation.

Alaska native Tara Dowd, who grew up in Washington’s child welfare system for most of her early life, said there’s a saying among foster kids: those who make it out call each other alumni.

“An alumni means you’ve earned something,” Dowd said. “I’ve lost more than I’ve gained in the child welfare system.”

The Spokane local who is critical of the state’s compliance with the federal Indian Child Welfare Act said the child welfare system is particularly unfit for Native American children.

“Our system is not set up to do any other color but white,” Dowd said.

The federal law enacted in 1978 restricted government jurisdiction to tribal courts in response to the high rate American Indian children who were taken out of their homes by child welfare. A Washington State Indian Child Welfare Act was passed by the legislature in April and, at the time this story was written, is currently waiting signature by the governor.

Prevailing research reports poverty and single-parent upbringing are major contributors to increased likelihood of child maltreatment.

Spokane’s 99207 ZIP code in the Hillyard neighborhood, where the annual median family income is $30,000 and 18 percent of families live in poverty, received 993 CPS referrals in 2008 according to most recent available data from the Department of Social and Health Services.

The 99203 and 99223 ZIP codes that are part of the more affluent South Hill area had 343 CPS referrals reported in the same year. The South Hill neighborhood had about double the median income compared to Hillyard with 3 percent living in poverty, according to census data.

The referrals by ZIP codes represent raw reports and do not reflect only investigated cases screened for qualified maltreatment.

Lily Haken, who works for Children’s Administration for Spokane County and much of Eastern Washington, could not be reached for comment.

Children living in families with an annual income less than $15,000 are 22 times more likely to be abused or neglected than children living in families with an annual income of $30,000 or more, according to the Children’s Defense Fund, a national non-profit child advocacy group.

The most over-represented racial groups in the child welfare system are also the most likely to be raised in low-income, single-parent households.

“While low income is the best predictor of child protection racial disparities, the disproportionate poverty levels among minorities are key factors in explaining the racial/ethnic disparities seen in the child protection system,” according to the committee’s racial disproportionality report.

Poverty and child abuse is the chicken or the egg question: which causes which, said Toni Lodge, executive director of the NATIVE Project/NATIVE Health Clinic of Spokane and member of the Local Indian Child Welfare Advisory Committee.

Lodge says racism in the welfare system should be the focus.

“Poverty is an issue but it’s not the [main issue],” Lodge said. “No one race is more screwed up than the other.”

State legislature, aware of overall disproportionate racial breakdown in the state’s child welfare system commissioned an advisory committee in 2008 to report on the issue.

Although the report showed Native Americans and blacks are generally the most disproportionate groups, it could not conclude with a clear answer as to why.

“It’s a complex constellation of things that contribute to child maltreatment,” said Marna Miller, senior research associate of the Washington State Institute for Public Policy and head analyst for the report.

There is a strong relationship between race, poverty and single-parent households but that relationship is very complicated and related to other factors such as parental substance abuse, mental illness or domestic violence in the household, she said.

It is impossible to safely conclude from available national data that the child maltreatment reporting system is racially biased due to similarity in actual and reported maltreatment numbers, according to the 2011 Children and Youth Services Review. The study looked exclusively between blacks and whites.

Although the review acknowledges the likely existence of racial bias across any system of government, it maintains that poverty is overwhelmingly important in the correlation of child maltreatment across all races.

But for Dowd, individual and institutional racism remains clearly the source of the problem.

“Child abuse knows no color, no economic status,” Dowd said. “Poverty doesn’t mean you’ll abuse your children. I think poor people are happy people.”

Story by Kyle Kim

Science construction update

Breaking ground for the William P. and Bonnie V. Science Hall took place on Nov. 12, 2009. State officials, Spokane business representatives as well as families and friends watched as the $31.7 million project began.

The three-story, 63,000 square-foot building will house primarily biology and chemistry and is expected to be opened in the fall for classes. This is the beginning of Whitworth’s $53 million project to sustain the sciences.

Donors were not the only ones responsible for making the science hall happen.

“It was also done through a bond issue which is handled in the business office and approved by the Board of Trustees,” director of development Holly Norton said.

Bouten Construction Company is the contractor for this project and is helping Whitworth meet the Green Building Council’s LEED Silver Certification for the facility.

The classrooms can be converted to labs, and are expected to meet the needs of science students for the next 20 years.

“This building will make Whitworth more competitive in the sciences,” director of camaign planning Tad Wisenor said.

A planned 16,000-square-foot addition to the Eric Johnston Science Center will cost another $16 million, Wisenor said.

Remi Omodara

PostSecret censorship an unneccesary overreaction

If you’ve been in the Hixson Union Building recently, you may have noticed that the PostSecret wall has come down. A sign left by special events coordinator Brittany Roach, the campus coordinator for the program, explains that the project was taken down due to “a complaint in The Whitworthian” and concerns from the administration. Alledgedly, Whitworth administration instructed Roach to remove the more offensive secrets from the project; Roach elected to take the entire project down rather than selectively and subjectively censor the voices of some. First, the board would like to make a brief clarification: the complaint referred to on the sign was not in an article authorized or written by a Whitworthian writer. It was a letter to the editor from freshman Daniel Thomas, printed in the April 19 issue. The opinions expressed in the letter to the editor are those of its author and not necessarily those of the members of the editorial board, nor any other staff member of The Whitworthian.

We feel that the response from Whitworth administration is an overreaction and an act of needless censorship.

The PostSecret program has been popular on campus because it provides an outlet for students to voice personal struggles without fear of negative reciprocation. Even voicing something anonymously can be an important, therapeutic first step on the path to dealing with painful issues.

The confessions through the project served an important secondary service – bringing awareness to the fact that Whitworth students have problems, too. It seems like an obvious statement, but it can be easily forgotten, especially in light of the face the university portrays to the public. Students, especially new students, often have the conception that everyone at Whitworth has a good life, is a Christian, doesn’t have real struggles, etc.

The realization that problems like sexual and substance abuse, pornography, depression, religious struggles and a wide variety of other issues that exist on campus can be uncomfortable, but it is crucial that students and faculty alike do not close their eyes to the struggles of people around them.

It seems one of the primary reasons for the actions taken against PostSecret was concern over the impression the project might give to visiting prospective freshman.

Issues of hypocrisy and white-washing our image aside, we feel that censoring and removing the board is throwing the baby out with the bath water.

We suggest that instead of censoring PostSecret, the project be moved to an area highly frequented by current students, but not as much by prospective freshman. One likely place would be next to the Post Office in the HUB. It’s not a location at which prospective freshman have any reason to spend much time, but full-time students are often there checking mail.

Another possibility would be to move the project to an online format, though at the cost of visibility and public awareness that foot traffic brings. A possible solution to this problem could be the placement of select PostSecret confessions in a highly visible area as a way to promote students to go to the website.

However, this could have the potential to raise issues of censorship and selectivity once again, so caution should be used if this solution is implemented.

Finally, we would like to offer a suggestion to the PostSecret program. This board feels that the program, while a wonderful concept, needs to include some method of follow-up with those that leave confessions on the board. Follow-up need not be mandatory; but we feel that while confession is an important first step in dealing with serious problems, it cannot be left there. If there was an advertised channel by which contributors could get help, if needed, the program could serve as an even more effective means to improve the lives of students involved. Providing mentors or counseling, or a support group that could be available to those who contribute to the project would be an improvement on the current program.

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, which is made up of six editors.

Local graduate writes what he loves

When Tyler Tullis was a 15-year-old working on a school project, he never imagined in less than 10 years he would be publishing his fifth novel. Tyler Tullis is a local author, and graduate from Gonzaga University who is invested in writing his own science fiction novels.

"I love science fiction because it accentuates humanity and it is hopeful," Tullis said.

Getting Started

Tullis began writing at the age of 16 in 2004 while still in high school.  His teacher assigned a project where each student would create his or her own fantasy land.  Shortly after, Tullis became sick and was stuck inside for a week.

"I started working on it out of boredom," Tullis said.

He soon had written 40 pages and decided he would keep writing and make it into a book.  Initially everything had been named after him, the main city, characters, even the names of weapons.  Soon though Tullis renamed everything.

Later that year, Tullis had written his first book.

Looking back, Tullis admits the book was not the best story out there.

"One word to describe it would be derivative," Tullis said.

Tullis decided he would try to publish his book, and sent query letters to hundreds of publishers and agents.  After getting all negative feedback, he decided he would publish it himself.

Tullis first thought of a vanity press, where a writer fronts the money for the publishing, distribution and publicity, and receives some of the royalties from sales.  This process is usually costly and doesn't often bring good results.

After looking at other options, Tullis decided to self-publish.  He found Authorhouse, a self-publishing company that gives rights to the authors.  Tullis liked Authorhouse because he keeps the rights to all his books, yet they are registered with the Library of Congress and have their own ISBN.

Through this process, Tullis has enjoyed watching where his books sell.  There are a number of sales in Washington, but also in Nashville, Tenn. and Liverpool, England.

A Passion for Writing

Tullis focuses on how he can improve with each new book.

"You really can't make money in indie publishing," Tullis said.  "Each time I write a book, I see myself getting that much better."

To distribute his novels, Tullis usually orders a bulk number of his books and sells them through book signings and other events.

For artists, inspiration can strike anywhere.

"Every time I've thought of a book, it has been in the shower or on the ski lift," Tullis said.

Once the inspiration has hit, Tullis begins his writing process.  He first comes up with some core concept for the story then decides what a good beginning would be.  He then writes a brief one to two page summary of the book.

"Once I have that blueprint I can start," Tullis said.

After that point Tullis maps out his characters and writes a 10 page master summary of the book.  From there it is just a matter of summarizing each chapter and filling in the blanks.

"It's so easy to write a book," Tullis said. "Characters are ultimately a reflection of yourself, you know how you would react so you know how your characters will react."

Since Tullis has started working a separate job, it usually takes him between three and four months to write a book.  But sometimes it comes quicker.

"If I could write non-stop, I could write a book in two months," Tullis said.

Once the book is finished he sends it to friends, colleagues and professors to edit for content and grammar.  This process usually takes about twice as long as the actual writing of the book.  From there Tullis just has to send it to Authorhouse and begin promotions.

Magnum Opus

Ever since Tullis was a senior in high school he has considered writing a grand space opera.  This is a series of science fiction novels that take place in outer space.

Tullis' space opera will one day be called "Amalgamation." Tullis is wating to start writing until  he knows his writing is adequate; he wants to do the story justice.  Tullis hopes to start writing "Amalgamation" later this year.

Before embarking on his writing of "Amalgamation," Tullis wanted to improve his writing skill.  Instead he decided to write his successful series "Sophie."  "Sophie" is set in the same universe as Amalgamation, but is a different story line.

As Tullis started writing "Sophie" he realized the story couldn't be contained in one volume so it turned into a trilogy.  The first book was published in February 2010 during Tullis' senior year at Gonzaga University.  The second book will be published this summer and the third book hopefully by Christmas.

"Sophie" is the story of Ethan Collins, a student at University of Oregon, who one day finds a space pod after a meteor crashes into the earth.  Inside the pod is a woman with amnesia.  Ethan takes her home and nurses her back to health.  He calls her Sophie.  Slowly she regains some memory, just in time to stop an impending threat.  "Sophie" focuses heavily on the meaning of identify and where it can be found, Tullis said.

All Tullis' work can be purchased through as both print or eBooks, through Authorhouse on a print-on-demand basis, or directly through Tullis.

Tullis says to check out the "Sophie" trilogy.

"I can recommend it to so many different people, because it is so many different things," Tullis said. "I will always be writing because it is my favorite thing to do"

Story by Andrew Keyser

Staying Competitive or Falling Behind: The Importance of High Speed Rails

The United States of America is in dire need of long-term, affordable, safe, and energy efficient transportation.  Politicians on both sides of the aisle agree that the U.S. can no longer afford to keep feeding her oil addiction.  Although this problem is a large and complex one, high speed rail can be a key piece of the puzzle.  Europeans and the Japanese have been enjoying the benefits that high speed rail has to offer for decades, yet efforts to establish high speed rail lines in the United States have been universally unsuccessful.  Despite our past failures to adopt high speed rail, President Obama’s support of high speed rail lines to link Americans everywhere is a promising one.  President Obama envisions a network of rails that would link 80% of Americans via high speed rail lines by 2030 at the cost of $500 billion, a fraction of what is currently being wasted on our outdated, overcrowded, and dilapidated highway system.

There are extremely clear benefits to establishing a high speed rail network in the United States that make it easy to recommend.  High speed rail is far more efficient than passenger jets or personal automobiles, in terms of energy, time, and resources.  High speed rail lines do not require foreign imported oil and are far more environmentally friendly than other popular forms of transportation.  The U.S. High Speed Rail Association estimates that more than 2.8 billion gallons of expensive gasoline are wasted on American roads every year by idling vehicles.  In addition, the U.S. loses $87.2 billion a year to automotive gridlocks, which in turn leads to Americans spending 4.2 billion hours a year sitting in traffic unnecessarily.  A high speed network of trains could reduce these gridlocks and preserve precious time and resources.

Not only would the establishment of a high speed rail network reduce our dependency on foreign oil, it would also take cars off of the highway which would reduce traffic deaths and congestion, and would increase the reliability of the transportation system.  High speed trains are far more reliable than traveling by air, and would prevent passengers from being stuck in airports facing delays, long security lines, and cancelled flights.

Additionally, the construction of a high speed rail network in the U.S. could create as many as 150,000 new jobs and lead to the development of $19 billion per year in new businesses.  Many of these jobs would be in the construction industry that was one of the hardest hit by the ongoing economic recession in the United States.  These jobs are desperately needed and would greatly benefit Americans all across our nation.

In the last few years, China has spent over $360 billion to develop a new national high speed rail network, which has created millions of jobs in China and led to the development of 2,000 new miles of rail networks.  If the United States wants to stay competitive in the world economy, reduce its dependency on foreign oil, and improve the efficiency of its transportation system, high speed rail lines are a must.

However, it is important that we do not become lost in the numbers, statistics, and dollar counts—no matter how compelling they may be.  Ultimately, it comes down to the everyday people whose lives will be transformed by efficient, safe, affordable transport.  What matters is the human factor.  It’s not about gauges, engines, and crossings; it’s about fellow citizens, friends, and families.

High speed rails will create thousands of jobs, providing welcome relief to a multitude of people who find themselves trapped in a currently fallow job market. Our nation’s unhealthy reliance on foreign oil will be alleviated considerably, and our children’s children will experience a healthier planet and breathe cleaner air.  Families torn apart by distance will be able to reunite affordably, without the expense and inconvenience associated with flight.  The hardworking commuter will reclaim countless, precious hours which would otherwise be frittered away in gridlock traffic.  Auto collisions will claim far fewer loved ones when they are seated comfortably in trains.  Millions will be given the opportunity to crisscross the states, watching the beautiful countryside fly by their windows.

America has a strong, prestigious railroad legacy.  For a hundred years, our country was held together by railroad tracks and spikes.  The construction of high speed rail lines will be the crowning culmination of this fine tradition, and we as the American people will benefit and our lives and relationships will be enriched.

By Peter Dolan, Pierre Biscaye, and Taylor Zajicek

In Every Town

Last semester I wrote an article regarding the decline in Whitworth’s music scene. This article was before the famous all-ages Empyrean was closed because the owners just weren’t making money. From playing in many local venues over the last couple years, I know, just as well as the venue owners, underage shows don’t bring in the dough.  Even if they bring in more people, the bar is the money maker. However, in true indie fashion, it isn’t about the money. And yet, it is about the money. If the venue can’t make money to support itself, it can’t pay the band, and further, can’t even book the band. Something has to give, and for Spokane, it was its most popular all-ages venue. Music is something that everyone in general, and the youth especially, value. We listen to it when we’re sad, when we’re happy, when we need a pick-me-up, when we’re sleeping, when we’re doing homework, when we’re driving, when we want to dance, or when we are simply doing nothing at all. For a lot of us, music is a constant part of our lives. I think that because of universality of music, it is important that the youth have an opportunity to engage and be a part of the music scene, which is definitely difficult when your town’s music scene is relatively non-existent. Art in all forms is a way for kids to escape, and as we all know, sometimes you just need to get away. Music in this regard has been a relatively untapped source. Many are turned off of going to music for comfort because they are not musicians. However, if kids were exposed and introduced to music, they would find that the catharsis musicians experience while playing, can be the same as someone who is just listening.

An inspiring book was brought to my attention by a writer from another publication who read my previous article. The book is called “In Every Town, An All Ages Manualfesto.” In this book, author Shannon Stewart, co-founder of The VERA Project in Seattle writes, “It is easy, and even clichéd, to make the argument that music is a universal language that permeates everyone’s experience. It’s also true”(xi). Growing up in a neighborhood where her three options for past times were either sports, God-related activities, or drinking, drugs, and gangs, she openly admits that if you didn’t belong to the first two, the latter was your only option.

Stewart understands the importance of music, especially for the youth. Bursting with energy, our youth need an outlet, and they don’t all need the same one. Her book is a guide to everyone, no matter what your age, on how to create a creative and successful environment for more than just music. She breaks down what it takes to harvest, promote, and create a music scene. Projects such as The VERA Project are dedicated to understanding and working with the youth, without trying to cash in.

We put a lot of blame (me too!) on our cities, our counties, our states, for not providing the youth with other outlets, for not supporting music venues, and for blaming venues for violence, drugs, alcohol etc. However, Stewart takes a different stand with her book and instead puts the ball in the youth’s court. By creating this guide to get involved with music, she is empowering youth (and adults!) all over the nation to make a change. All of a sudden, the ball is in the youth’s court, and they can do what they please with it.

I say go Stewart! If anything is going to change the music scene in any town, the answer is to be proactive. If you can create a space that is a safe environment, is affordable for young kids, and college students, and also treats the bands right, you can be successful. I know it’s easier said than done, but it isn’t impossible either. Creating a venue is one step, while harvesting a music scene in your town is another.

In order for a music scene to flourish, the environment, as aforementioned, must be conducive and inspiring to other artists. You’d be surprised how much talent goes unnoticed at Whitworth, and how many people lock themselves in the practice rooms in our music building so that no one will hear them. Once a place is established, then other people can start getting inspired to share their talents as well. Even with the Empyrean closing, there are still many ways to get involved and support the music scene. A good first step is to branch out your musical tastes, and support local bands, go to a show of someone who you have never heard of. A music scene depends on musicians as much, if not more, as it depends on the people.

You can get a copy of “In Every Town” at Or at the local independent bookstore!

Story by Andre Gjefle

'You Know Who You Are' surprises and inspires readers

You Know Who You Are” is the epitome of coming-of-age stories.  The book follows Jacob Vine, a middle school student just trying to survive adolescence.  Jacob must cope with meeting and losing friends, trying to compete with a “perfect” older brother and dealing with the loss of a family member. “You Know Who You Are” is author Ben Dolnick’s second book.  Generally authors’ early novels are rough, but Dolnick’s book was a pleasant surprise.  The novel had thoroughly developed characters with complex ideas woven around them.

Dolnick handles very sensitive issues such as death, with grace and simultaneously revealing the true nature of adolescence.

Other funny and quirky things happen at the perfect time to lighten otherwise somber moments.  Jacob and his friend discover one day a dirty magazine in the house.  They read through it, and soon are writing naughty stories of their own.  One day Jacob’s friend’s mother discovers their stories, and the boys quickly blame each other and have a falling out, vowing to never speak to one another again.  Soon though, they are back to being friends and closer than ever.

It is instances like these that make “You Know Who You Are” a book worth reading.  The appeal is not limited to boys.  There is an altruism throughout this book that would speak to men and women alike.  Dolnick’s inclusion of both poignant memories and hilarious breaks makes “You Know Who You Are” a book everyone should read because there are parts each age group and gender can relate to.

Although the characters are engaging, the narrative seems to move slowly and not grip readers.  I often found myself rereading the same paragraph three or four times because I couldn’t remember having just read anything.  Unfortunately the high points of this story are found with the characters, and rarely anywhere else.

Story by Andrew Keyser