Western Washington University students are organizing a class walkout Wednesday morning, part of a planned nationwide protest of gun violence.
Organizers of the event urge participants to stage events at 10 a.m. local time, across U.S. times zones, according to media reports.
WWU Students Against Gun Violence are planning a walkout and “die in” just after 10 a.m. PDT Wednesday at Red Square on campus, said a faculty member who is advising the students.
“We’re trying to get everyone to leave class,” said Cat Armstrong Soule an assistant professor in the College of Business and Economics. “We’re having everyone lie down as if they have been shot.”
Soule said the timing marks one month since a gunman killed 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the latest in a 20-year string of shootings at schools and other locations.
“The hope is that this action will mobilize people so we can get some action” on the issue of gun violence, she said.
University spokesman Paul Cocke said no permit was required for what amounted to a “mobile” protest.
“Western Washington University is committed to academic freedom, freedom of speech, petition and assembly, and the university supports students’ exercise of free speech and the right to assemble and express themselves on the very important topic of gun violence,” Cocke said.
Meanwhile, Bellingham high school students who organized a February rally at Bellingham City Hall said they are working with the principals at Sehome and Squalicum high schools to hold school-sanctioned events.
“We decided that instead of doing an actual walkout, we should collaborate with the schools to have all-inclusive assemblies to honor the Florida victims and talk about love and community,” said Maggie Davis-Bower, a Squalicum High junior.
Bellingham Schools spokeswoman Jackie Brawley didn’t have an immediate comment Monday on the students’ planned action.
Davis-Bower – a survivor of the 2016 mass shooting at the Cascade Mall in Burlington – is among about two dozen students from all four Bellingham high schools who formed Students for Action using social media in the wake of the Feb. 14 Parkland slayings.
They plan to attend a nationwide rally March 24 in Washington, D.C.