Ah, the beauty of our nation’s college campuses, the traditional hotbeds of free speech and open debate. I wonder what ever happened to those? Out in Washington State, some students at Western Washington University have come up with interesting new techniques in the field of debate. For example, one of their state senators, Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) was found by the upset underclassmen to be a heretical non-believer when it comes to the issue of global warming. Ericksen, as it turns out, is an alumnus of WWU, so rather than debating him on the hot topic, they have issued demands to have his diploma revoked.

This isn’t an election year for state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, but challengers do seek to wrest something from him — not his elected office but rather one of his college degrees.

A group of students with ties to Huxley College held a meeting at 5:30 p.m. today, Thursday, May 7, on campus, to start what promises to be an uphill — if not Quixotic — battle to convince university administration to strip Ericksen of his diploma.

“We’re framing it in a more radical way,” D’Angelo said. “We’re not just trying to have a conversation with him or hold him accountable. We’re trying to revoke his degree and get people to pay attention.”

The Republican senator has been at odds with Democrats over how to craft policy on climate change and carbon reduction. He butted heads with Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, on the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup. Ericksen removed language in the bill creating the workgroup that mentioned “climate change” and the threat it posed to the state.

While Ericksen may have stripped the phrase “climate change” out of a bill, upsetting the young Democrats, he had primarily worked to prevent any tax increases which were supposed to pay for carbon capping. But but does that make him a “climate change denier” in the full sense of the word? Not exactly.

The students refer to Ericksen as a “climate denier” on their Facebook page. He told this blogger a couple years back he was a “climate agnostic,” which may be more accurate. While he stripped the words “climate change” from the 2013 Climate Legislative and Executive workgroup bill, he at least conceded the possibility of human-caused climate change in 2015 legislation that would give utilities more flexibility in meeting state-mandated alternative energy goals. (Ericksen’s bill, SB 5735, passed the Senate on March 9 but has not yet made it through the House.)

In an amendment Ericksen introduced, the bill’s intent section reads, “The Legislature finds that climate change is real and that human activity may contribute to climate change.”

This is apparently the bar which must be met when dealing with college campus activists. Publishing legislation which says that climate change is real and human activity may contribute to it isn’t going to cut the mustard, folks. You’re going to have to do better than that. And if you don’t, your opponents will work with the university to strip you of your credentials. So I take it Doug was a scientist and these positions demonstrate some lack of technical savvy in his field? Nope. He studied Political Science and Environmental Policy.

But don’t let that stop you. The point here isn’t whether or not he earned his degree or is an authority in his own field. Nor is it whether he is serving the interests of his constituents. The purpose is to punish him for disagreeing with the new herd. After all, by your own admission you said that you were “not just trying to have a conversation with him or hold him accountable” … you wanted people to “pay attention” to you. So I suppose that justifies everything.

We need to just start walling off some of these schools. And flooding them. And filling them with sharks. With lasers.