Facing threats to med school from washington state legislators, WSU disavows wolf researcher

 

Dr. Robert Wielgus, protect the wolves

We need to expose these lawmakers threatening funding cuts to WSU to further their own political agendas…

Mittelhammer we have a news flash for you… Dr. Wielgus actions didnt negatively impact any individuals on WAG. They successfully did that all on their Own!

For Instance:  WAG members attempting to discredit Dr Wielgus at the September meeting, and niether Martorello, nor their Facilitator Madden told them to stop, Donny Martorello inviting Protect The Wolves™ to join the WAG as the first Native American Voice, then when we show up to their September meeting he lied and said he did not say that…. Martorello needs to remember that we had two people on the phone conference. Martorellos, lies, failure to follow through on promises regarding learning about Our Treaty and Religious Rights, his blatant disregard for the Mandates upon him under the Indian and Public Trusts, Martorellos continued refusal to communicate with the BIA, his allowing of special Interest on the WAG amongst many other things is what is causing the issue. Stop trying to change the facts… it does not work, we have been documenting them this entire time. This crooked regard for what is legal in Washington State by its government officials, elected individuals makes its very own citizens ashamed.

 

Mittelhammer Said:

“That said, on a more individual and personal basis, it did also appear that Dr. Wielgus’ actions did negatively impact a number of individuals in the room who felt that the document reinvigorated negative feelings toward ranchers by wolf protectionists.”

We also need to locate which highly ranked senators have said

“the medical school and wolves are linked.”

CODY COTTIER, Evergreen reporter

University officials worked to suppress the findings of a prominent WSU wolf researcher amid fears that conservative state lawmakers would retaliate by cutting funding to the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, according to a report by The Seattle Times.

Dan Coyne, a lobbyist for WSU, wrote in an email that highly ranked senators have said “the medical school and wolves are linked.” Soon after WSU wolf researcher Robert Wielgus published his finding that killing wolves increases livestock depredation, Coyne wrote a colleague to express his concerns, according to the Times.

“If wolves continue to go poorly, there won’t be a new medical school,” he wrote to Jim Jesernig, another WSU lobbyist.

Jesernig, former director of the state Department of Agriculture and former member of the state House and Senate, replied with agreement.

“That’s my assessment as well,” he wrote. “We are making the med school not doable.”

Faculty Senate Chair A. G. Rud, who has a background in education, told the Evergreen that university administrators often find themselves in situations in which lawmakers threaten funding to leverage their own goals.

Though he does not know all the details of the situation, he said he was alarmed by the lobbyists’ exchange. He added that Wielgus is a highly respected wolf researcher.

“That was quite concerning for me to see that,” Rud said, “because I think faculty members have a right to express themselves and conduct their research.”

In the past year, WSU has disavowed statements Wielgus’ made to media, removed funding for his research and launched misconduct investigations into his actions. He was later cleared of wrongdoing.

Donna Potts, president of WSU’s chapter of the Association of American University Professors, a national advocacy group for academic freedom, shared Rud’s sentiment, saying it is a clear violation of Wielgus’ rights to suppress his discussion of his research.

“I sincerely wish the administration would openly support academic freedom and shared governance,” Potts wrote in an email.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a nonprofit that works to protect scientist whistleblowers, alleged in April that the university silenced and retaliated against Wielgus for his statements in an effort to appease state ranchers and legislators.

Matt Haugen, news and social media manager with university communications, said WSU would not comment due to pending litigation. Wielgus was also not immediately available for comment.

He said in June he was planning to sue the university for defamation and damages, including six years of salary and benefits. But Adam Carlesco, Wielgus’ attorney, said they are now negotiating with WSU and will soon send them a demand letter.

After Wielgus published his findings, he was removed as the principal researcher, Carlesco said. He also lost two years of summer funding, and his grant money was redirected to another researcher in his lab in order to keep his name as far removed as possible.

Hans Dunshee, a former Snohomish Democrat and top budget writer who retired from the Legislature last year, confirmed to Times he found a way in 2015 to give WSU the grant money without attaching it to Wielgus

“It was our way of sanitizing it while still keeping the money flowing,” Dunshee said. “I thought he was going to be OK.”

But Carlesco said this is a red flag for future institutions Wielgus could work at, and can make it hard to get hired.

“That’s kind of what they do to make people behave,” Carlesco said. “Death by a million paper cuts — these little nudges here and there to make it miserable enough that you want to play the game.”

The university also disavowed Wielgus’ public statements regarding an incident that resulted in the state killing a wolf pack for livestock depredations last fall. Wielgus said the rancher in question, Len McIrvin, had deliberately placed his cattle near a den site, and therefore the cattle and wolf deaths could have been avoided.

In a letter of concern to Wielgus at the time, Ron Mittelhammer, dean of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, directed him not to communicate with media before clearing his statements with the university.

Then, in March, Wielgus emailed his latest research to the state Wolf Advisory Group (WAG), after clearing the news release with communications staff and Mittelhammer. The release, presented as his personal opinion rather than as a faculty member, included his finding that wolf killings of livestock were rare and acute, not a widespread problem.

In the release, he also recommended that the WAG restrict lethal control for wolves only to ranchers and farmers who followed requirements established by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, to give incentive for non-lethal measures.

Some objected to the decision to release the research as a private citizen, when it received public funding. Tom Davis, the director of government relations for the Washington Farm Bureau and a WAG member, said he would not participate in a WAG meeting if the group let Wielgus speak.

Documents obtained by The Daily Evergreen show administrators’ response to backlash against Wielgus’ findings. Mittelhammer, in a letter to angered legislators, said that “while an irritant, the deliberations of the WAG were fortunately not significantly affected by Dr. Wielgus’ attempt to influence the group’s deliberations through the dissemination of his so-called “press release” document.

“That said, on a more individual and personal basis, it did also appear that Dr. Wielgus’ actions did negatively impact a number of individuals in the room who felt that the document reinvigorated negative feelings toward ranchers by wolf protectionists.”

Mittelhammer wrote another letter of concern to Wielgus, and the university initiated an internal investigation into whether he had illegally lobbied and sent the press release with his university email account. He was later cleared of wrongdoing. Mittelhammer could not be reached for comment.

Carlesco noted that while the university has been “actively suppressing the top carnivore researcher in North America,” they have been receptive to the concerns of ranchers.

In an email chain in May, Mittelhammer and WSU President Kirk Schulz discussed ways to improve the university’s relationship with ranchers through faculty hires. “I feel that they need an internal champion or person that they can work with,” Schulz wrote.

Those emails also include plans for WSU representatives to visit a ranch over the summer, and other ways to ease the concerns of ranchers. Carlesco said this creates a difficult situation for a carnivore researcher.

“It strikes me,” Carlesco said, “as not exactly an optimal environment for a scientist.” He noted that the premise of Wielgus’ work was to find the best ways to reduce livestock depredations, and that Wielgus worked with ranchers to do so.

Carlesco said that in another email, between then-university communcations director Kathy Barnard and Chris Mulick, WSU’s director of state relations, the two discussed the source of outrage among legislators and ranchers.

In the emails, Carlesco said, Mulick wrote that they were upset not only about the national coverage of Wielgus’ study, but also about the implications of the finding itself — that wolf killings increase livestock depredation by destabilizing pack dynamics.

This, he said, reveals a motive to subvert ethics law and silence research, adding that he has heard from other carnivore researchers who have experienced similar problems.

“It’s showing a concerted effort from interested parties to suppress science,” Carlesco said. “Those with the gun put a lot of pressure on to make sure that [research] doesn’t come out.”

Source: The Daily Evergreen : Emails: Facing threats to med school, WSU disavows wolf researcher

Former deputy director at Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is awaiting trial

 

Protect The Wolves™ will be soon adding a recent bit of  news to this Story from a Confirmed Source, that used to work for wdfw. Once we get a signed Release statement from the Source We will be adding the story. It is very sad that the WDFW allows this form of thing below to happen at the Taxpayer Expense. This inappropriate behavior in the WDFW workplace needs to be addressed immediately to Protect the women presently there as well as those to come in the future!

WDFW paid that individual your taxpayer dollars while they were investigating the charges against him…. Pretty sad that state employees that commit crimes get paid leave…. wdfw Police, etc….

Seattle: A former deputy director at Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is awaiting trial on charges he broke into the home of a co-worker and raped her while she slept.

The case has revealed a sexually-charged culture within the agency that one employee described as “a pattern of behavior that was not hidden.”

The alleged rape happened on the evening of December 17, 2014. Earlier that evening senior managers from the Fish and Wildlife department had gathered for their annual holiday party at an Italian restaurant in Olympia. After dinner a small group went out to the bars, including the victim and her alleged attacker.

The next morning the victim called police and reported that she had found signs of a break-in at her house and had intermittent memories of being sexually assaulted while she slept.

Soon the name of a possible suspect surfaced: Greg Schirato, the deputy assistant director of the Wildlife program at Fish and Wildlife. In April 2015, Schirato was charged with second-degree rape and first-degree burglary.

By then, Schirato was on paid leave while an outside law firm hired by Fish and Wildlife investigated dueling allegations of sexual harassment by Schirato and his alleged victim.

Public radio’s Northwest News Network, The News Tribune and The Olympian obtained that report through a public records request. The 29-page report described Schirato as an “influential member” of the executive management team who often talked about sexual topics at work and even tried to recruit co-workers to engage in sex.

Schirato described his life as “unorthodox” but told investigators he “maintained a ‘bright line’ and did not discuss sex or use sexualized language at work.”

Co-workers told a different story. One manager said Schirato regularly talked about “getting naked at parties.” Another employee said Schirato told her about meeting a couple and going up to their hotel room to watch them have sex.

Deputy Director Joe Stohr, the number two in the agency, recalled Schirato telling him at work about a birthday party in Las Vegas that involved women in a hot tub.

“It was just kind of a passing comment and I thought, ‘oh, that’s kind of odd,’ and just kind of kept going,” Stohr said in an interview.

In fact, the report shows a pattern of letting Schirato’s behavior slide. For instance, his workplace conversations had triggered two previous complaints. But in both instances they were not reported to senior managers or human resources and no action was taken against him.

“When you have managers and supervisors who don’t respond right away or at all, that inaction has the outcome of normalizing an environment that can become completely dysfunctional,” said Kristen Houser with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

She said inappropriate behavior in the workplace needs to be addressed immediately.

Women in the agency found different ways to deal with the sexualized environment. One said she put up with it because she didn’t want “make mountains out of molehills.” Another said she focused on improving her relationship with Schirato because he was part of her “work family.” A third described herself as a “consensual and active participant” in conversations about sex.

“When supervisors aren’t addressing these behaviors that means that your employees end up suffering in silence, or they can take another job, or they can join in,” Houser said. “And when people join in it becomes toxic.”

In addition to describing Schirato’s behavior, the report describes an after-hours group of “up and comers” at Fish and Wildlife who would go out for drinks a few times a year. The report says the group was known as the “T-dub group.”

The report says that name was short for “teamwork,” but Schirato told investigators it was also short for a vulgar term used to describe a woman’s private parts.

Schirato was ultimately fired, although he’s appealing to get his job back. His criminal defense attorney, Richard Woodrow of Olympia, said the culture at Fish and Wildlife was a factor in the alleged rape case.

“I think that set the background for the accusation to be made,” Woodrow said.

Woodrow said he’s confident Schirato, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, will be found not guilty at trial. He suggested Fish and Wildlife is culpable for not better policing the line between professional and personal lives.

“Not only did people cross that line, but other people saw it and nobody seemed to feel that that was an issue,” Woodrow said.

The investigation commissioned by Fish and Wildlife, at a cost of $47,629, concluded that there was no evidence upper level managers at Fish and Wildlife “condoned inappropriate workplace conduct.”

Fish and Wildlife hired the firm to determine whether Schirato and his alleged victim sexually harassed each other at work; it concluded that they did not.

Investigators determined they had previously had a consensual relationship, and that Schirato may have said things to his alleged victim at work that were inappropriate but, they determined, not unwelcome.

However, the alleged victim disputes that characterization of their relationship. She no longer works for Fish and Wildlife and declined to be interviewed for this story because of the pending criminal trial.

The investigators did find that Schirato sexually harassed a different, subordinate employee with comments like “I can’t believe how beautiful you are; you look so amazing.”

Surprisingly, near the end, the report mentions complaints colleagues had about how the alleged victim dressed at work and behavior they viewed as “flirtatious.”

Asked why the report examined the attire and conduct of an alleged rape victim, Stohr said the Fish and Wildlife investigation was focused on evaluating cross allegations of sexual harassment.

“There were counter accusations so the investigator, I think, was looking at both sides,” Stohr said. “‘He said, she said,’ and that was part of the evaluation.”

No one besides Schirato was fired or disciplined as a result of the report’s findings. Nor did the findings prompt the agency to undertake a broader effort to assess or change the workplace culture.

The director of the Fish and Wildlife, Jim Unsworth, did remind staff of the agency’s policies on maintaining a safe and respectful workplace. In the wake of the alleged rape, the agency also made counselors available and brought in the Thurston County Dispute Resolution Center to lead group discussions on creating a safe work environment.

Employees were also urged to come forward if they witness or experience harassment or inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

To this day, Stohr insists the sexualized culture involved a small group of employees and was not reflective of the agency at large.

“I can understand how people would think that if that’s the way they behave, that’s a widespread problem. That’s not my sense,” Stohr said.

Source: After Alleged Rape, Investigation Reveals Sexualized Culture At Washington State Agency | KUOW News and Information

Did Rich Landers get bought off by the Ranchers? He Certainly didnt check with the BIA

 

Rich Landers

Poor Photoshop job by the source Rich Landers FB page

Protect The Wolves™ has to question if Rich Landers now has Ranchers in his front pockets steering him about…. His stories are beginning to look alot like those on SCCA’s Website…. who are trying to lead the public to believe all the allotment nepas are done, when in fact we know first hand that they are not….

Just Goes to Show what Rich Landers doesnt have a clue about also….. be nice if he actually printed the truth 😉 We have news for you Rich…. prior to printing, you probably should have consulted the BIA like we did 😉 Just sayin….

We have a nice article coming here pretty soon… When Our Colville Elder friends that are tired of their own “Clowncil” give them as they refer to them get an eye opener…

Article Below by Rich Landers Spokesman Review,

ENDANGERED SPECIES – While animal advocate groups write letters and court the media and public for more “transparency” in managing Washington’s recovering wolf population, Native Americans are expanding their options for wolf hunting.

Animal groups seem to go frantic every time a wolf is threatened or removed for killing livestock, as though wolves are sacred. State and federal endangered species rules protect wolves but make provisions for managing animals that threaten people or livestock.

The Tribes aren’t bound by state and federal rules and can hunt wolves under rules set by their tribal wildlife officials.

Wolf experts and recovery advocates say limited hunting of wolves is necessary in the long run to make sure wolves maintain their wariness of humans.

Animal advocates stumped the media and generated a lot of press in the past week, including Northwest Public Radio and the Seattle Times, for demanding that the Washington Department of Wildlife provide the public details of wolf management activities virtually in real time.

Here’s the deal: Wolf management shouldn’t be reduced to a play-by-play like a tennis match.  Pro-wolf groups’ claims that killing  a wolf here or there will ruin pack dynamics and set back wolf recovery have been proven false.  Hysteria and headlines might make their “donate now” buttons light up, but it doesn’t serve the future of wolves meshing with humans on public and private land.

The same day that wolf-lover campaign was released last week, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation approved wolf hunting for tribal members in land off its reservation in northeast Washington state. Since 2012, the tribe already has allowed a wolf hunting season on the reservation within Washington, where wolf hunting otherwise is prohibited.

This is not a slaughter. Last year, the tribe reported one wolf being killed by a member who shot the wolf incidentally while he was hunting deer. The quota of wolves tribal members can kill during the Aug. 1-Feb. 28 seasonson the reservation is three.

The tribes on Thursday voted to expand wolf hunting in land north of its reservation to the U.S.-Canada border, on mostly national forest lane where the tribes retain hunting and fishing rights. The quota on the “north half” of the tribes’ territory is three wolves a season.

Colville Tribal Fish and Wildlife Director, Randy Friedlander, says creating regulated seasons ensures tribal members have the opportunity to legally shoot a wolf if encountered at certain times of the year, the Seattle Times reported.

Critics worry that increasing the hunt will lead to more poaching and trapping, which is highly debatable. It could be just the opposite.

Meanwhile, other groups including cattlemen applauded the move as a way to reduce livestock kills.

Source: Colville Tribe expands wolf hunting off reservation while pro-wolf groups wail | The Spokesman-Review

WDFW needs reminded it appears, Per Their Own Policy their window is rolling….

profanity peak pack, smackout pack, sherman pack

WE will Speak out for you !

WDFW, you state your window is a “Rolling” Window….

Producer 1 now only has 1 depredation…. Anything Prior to October 3rd can no longer be included in your Count per your own Policy.

Producer #2 does not have a countable depredation now.

Producer #3 has just 1. Further, there were no deterrents present on our first 5 visits after you claimed  a confirmed depredation.  Pull the Ranchers out of your Front Pockets Donny Martorello…..

Update on Washington wolves

Latest reports on key wolf activities, conservation efforts, and management actions.

Weekly update on Smackout Pack August 3, 2017 Producers continue deterrence efforts during Smackout evaluation period Background WDFW’s 2017 Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol describes tools and approaches designed to influence pack behavior with the goal of reducing the potential for recurrent livestock depredation while continuing to promote wolf recovery.

On July 20, WDFW notified the public that non-lethal deterrence measures were not achieving that goal in the Smackout pack territory, and that the department’s director had authorized incremental lethal removal of wolves as another tool to address recurrent depredations.

Between July 20 and 30, the department removed two wolves from the Smackout Pack and as of August 3 was continuing to evaluate the impact of the removals on the pack’s behavior. Protocol and management action The department’s approach to incremental removal consists of a period of active operations followed by an evaluation period to determine if those actions changed the pack’s behavior. The protocol states that once a removal operation has begun, the department will update the public weekly on the number of wolves removed. This is the second weekly update related to this management action.

Evaluation The department began the evaluation period on July 31. The duration of this phase is largely dependent on the behavior of the wolves. If depredations continue after the removal period (in other words, a fresh depredation, not one that likely occurred during or before the removal period), the department may initiate another lethal removal action.

No additional wolf depredations have been documented since the depredation on July 22. Continued deterrence efforts The livestock involved in the five Smackout pack depredations documented by WDFW since September 2016 belong to three producers.

Producer 1 – Wolf depredations to livestock occurred on Sept. 21 and 29, 2016, and July 18, 2017, on a federal grazing allotment. The producer continues to:

• Use a range rider, who is on the allotment daily and has a data sharing agreement with the department that enables her to track the movements of collared wolves in the pack. The producer has additional range riders who can fill in as needed. Range riders have firearms and pyrotechnics to haze wolves found near livestock.

• Maintain sanitation in the area. The range rider is removing sick or injured cattle from the range and securing or removing cattle carcasses from areas near livestock.

• Use fladry and other deterrence measures. The cattle are currently enclosed in a fenced pasture surrounded by fladry (a fence with streamers designed to deter wolves).

 

Producer 2 – Wolf depredations to livestock occurred Sept. 28, 2016, on a federal grazing allotment. The producer continues to: • Use a range rider under contract to WDFW, who also has a data sharing agreement.

• Maintain sanitation by removing sick or injured cattle from the range, and by securing or removing cattle carcasses from areas near livestock.

 

Producer 3 – A wolf depredation occurred on July 22, 2017, in a private, fenced pasture near the producer’s residence.

The producer is:

• Using Fox Lights (a type of strobe light designed to deter wolves and other large carnivores) around the pasture where the depredation occurred.

• Continuing to check the cattle daily. July 31, 2017 Second wolf removed in Smackout pack; WDFW evaluating impact on pack’s behavior Background WDFW’s 2017 Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol describes tools and approaches designed to influence pack behavior with the goal of reducing the potential for recurrent livestock depredation while continuing to promote wolf recovery.

On July 20, WDFW notified the public that non-lethal deterrence measures were not achieving that goal in the Smackout pack territory, and that the director had authorized incremental lethal removal of wolves as another tool to address recurrent depredations. Protocol and management action The department’s approach to incremental removal consists of a period of active operations followed by an evaluation period to determine if those actions changed the pack’s behavior.

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