Rowson still shakes things up

August 23, 2010

Alexander Rowson is no less passionate about political topics since the events of last spring, but said he has learned better outlets for it.

"I want to shake things up in the area, but there are better ways to do that and that is what I am going to try to do," Rowson said.

Rowson made political comments at the Cesar Chavez and "Take Back the Night" events last spring and was initially charged with harassment and discrimination by the university. The university dropped those charges after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education wrote the dean and argued that Rowson’s statements were neither harassment nor discrimination, and "the charges against Rowson violate his First Amendment right to free expression.

The remaining charges were for intimidation and interrupting the two events.

"I did not expect to be contacted by the dean," Rowson said, "and I did not expect people to know who I was and trace me back to my name."

Rowson, however, said the intention was to create a stir.

"But I think there are better ways to get information out there," Rowson said.

Rowson has been in contact with a WSU student involved in a group called Youth for Western Civilization. Together they want to start a Palouse newsletter about political topics such as immigration, foreign wars and other social and political issues.

"I wanted a way to raise awareness about these issues," Rowson said.

Rowson is also working on starting a YWC branch on Idaho’s campus, and he is continuing to work with his volunteer group that cleans up trash on Moscow’s streets. Rowson said he hasn’t been in contact with FIRE since they issued their press release in May or June. The case of last spring is closed.

"It’s all over," Rowson said. "It was hanging over my head for a while, but I finished my community service this summer."

Rowson said he completed his hours this summer with Moscow Parks and Recreation. He said he was afraid he would be expelled at first, but he thought the administration was "pretty fair" overall.

"(Dean Hutchinson) reduced the community service to under 30 hours," Rowson said, "and I was happy to do it."

Rowson said he hasn’t received many negative reactions from people he knows.

"Most of my friends thought it was an interesting thing to do at least," Rowson said.

Rowson said students interested in the YWC club could contact him at Alexander.rowson@gmail.com.

"I encourage other students to make their opinions known without fear of social stigma," Rowson said, "because that’s what makes life interesting."

Schools: University of Idaho Cases: University of Idaho: Student Charged With Discrimination and Harassment for ‘Offensive’ Speech