LECTURE: WWU journalism instructor delves into university’s political history

Veteran Seattle Times reporter Ron Judd will discuss the successful 1939 “Red Scare” political campaign to remove Western Washington College of Education President Charles H. Fisher from office, at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, in Western Libraries’ Wilson Library Reading Room, as part of Western’s ongoing Heritage Resources Speaker Series.

Judd’s talk, “The Liberal Arts on Trial in Bellingham: The Inside Story and Legacy of the 1939 ‘Red Scare’ Firing of College President Charles H. Fisher,” explores Fisher’s ousting in the context of local and national anti-communist and super-patriot political trends of the times, which placed Fisher in the crossfire of a bitter political war between New Deal liberals and old-guard conservatives in Bellingham.

Judd will also examine whether such action by radical political operatives could happen in Washington today.

Judd’s research is based extensively on primary documents in Western Libraries Heritage Resources’ collections. The University Archives, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, and Special Collections each house archival collections of pamphlets, news stories, detailed notes, letters, transcripts, and other accounts of assemblies, lectures, and college events documenting Fisher’s career and demise, including what may be the only copy of a transcript of a 1935, closed-door meeting in which Fisher, his accusers, and the board of trustees met face-to-face.

Judd is a journalism instructor at Western, a Western alumnus, and a 2015 James W. Scott Research Fellow at the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies. The author of several works of nonfiction, his work includes outdoor guides and a history of the Winter Olympics. He has 25 years of experience as a journalist, and currently writes a news column, The Wrap, for The Seattle Times .

Details: Tamara.Belts@wwu.edu, 360-650-3193.