WSU president reacts to assault on professor

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University President Elson Floyd has donated $10,000 to the reward fund to help catch whoever assaulted a faculty member near campus.

David Warner remains in critical condition at a Spokane hospital. Police said he was beaten about 2 a.m. on March 30 while intervening in a fight between an acquaintance and a group of college-age people in the parking lot of Adams Mall on College Hill.

“I strongly encourage anyone who knows anything about what happened that night or recognizes any of the individuals in the videos that have been publicly distributed to come forward,” Floyd said in a statement.

Pullman Police Lt. Chris Tennant said Wednesday that witnesses have been slow to provide information to police. Surveillance video showed up to 15 people in the area of the fight, but only about half have come forward, Tennant said.

“Leads are coming in, but not as rapidly as we would like,” he said.

The incident occurred outside a bar located near campus, he said. Warner was walking with an acquaintance who exchanged words with a group of young people. Warner stepped between them and was struck, police have said.

Warner, 41, is Native American and teaches in the WSU Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies. Police have said there’s no indication race was a factor in the beating.

But Floyd on Tuesday announced he was creating a Commission on Campus Climate to address what he called “an underlying fear and anger among some on campus regarding issues of race and marginalization.”

University spokesman Rob Strenge said Floyd does not necessarily believe race was a factor in the attack but is responding to members of the community who are speculating that race might be involved.

“Since the night of the attack there has been a great deal of concern among some students that it might be a hate crime,” Strenge said. “His intention is to address those concerns.”

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