(Washington, DC) – On Thursday, Nov. 29, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) will bring its acclaimed program, the American Whistleblower Tour: Essential Voices for Accountability, to Whitman College. The stop will feature prominent Hanford Nuclear Facility whistleblower Walt Tamosaitis and Hanford cleanup advocate Liz Mattson.
GAP's Tour is a dynamic campaign aimed at educating the public – particularly university students – about the phenomenon and practice of whistleblowing. This event will feature a moderated discussion and is free to all. A full description of the Tour can be found at www.WhistleblowerTour.org.
This Tour stop is sponsored by GAP and the Whitman Events Board, in collaboration with the Student Engagement Center, the Politics Department and the Environmental Studies Program. The event will last from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the College’s Maxey Auditorium.
Walt Tamosaitis was the Deputy Chief Process Engineer and Research & Technology Manager for the Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) at the Hanford Nuclear Facility in Eastern Washington – the nation’s biggest environmental remediation project and most contaminated facility, containing two-thirds of the country’s high-level nuclear waste. Dr. Tamosaitis alleges that he was terminated from the site’s cleanup project by Bechtel, a contractor, after raising concerns about the safety and design of the nuclear waste processing plant as well as the hostile safety culture at Hanford. He has filed suits in Washington State against Bechtel and in federal court against another contractor (URS), both of which are now in the appeal stages. Meanwhile, reviews by Congress, the Department of Energy, and others have validated Dr. Tamosaitis’s concerns as a result of his whistleblowing, along with a flood of new high-level employees who have come forward with other safety issues.
Liz Mattson is the Program Coordinator with Hanford Challenge, a GAP spin-off organization that works to protect employees of the Hanford Nuclear Facility and educate the public about issues regarding nuclear waste (more at HanfordChallenge.org). Mattson works closely with Hanford workers to address safety and health problems, and meets with state regulatory agencies and site management to influence their approach to safety issues. She is also a founder of Inheriting Hanford, a regional Hanford mentorship community, empowering young people to become dynamic participants in Hanford cleanup.
The presentation will be moderated by Dana Gold, a GAP Senior Fellow and the Director of the American Whistleblower Tour. Gold stated: "We’re excited to share with Whitman students and the surrounding community the important topic of whistleblowing, and the risks workers face when they speak truth to power."
The Whitman Events Board stated:
In bringing the Whistleblower Tour to campus we get a two-fold benefit: we provide Whitman students and the greater Walla Walla community with the opportunity to learn more about integrity in the workforce, and we have a chance to better understand the national controversy in our backyard. As young adults on the brink of joining the workforce, it is beneficial to learn from those who have challenged the status quo in their careers. Plus, Hanford is an ongoing issue that will require the informed attention of our generation.
About the Tour
This stop at Whitman is the second of several to be held this academic year. Future stops will include Auburn University, Franklin & Marshall College, Florida International University, Indiana University-Purdue, and Indiana University-Bloomington.
During the 2011-12 academic year, the American Whistleblower Tour visited 13 colleges, including Auburn University, Mount Holyoke College, Rutgers University-Newark, Syracuse University, Tulane University, and the University of Texas at Austin. GAP secures some of the most prominent whistleblowers in American history for its Tour. Last year, whistleblower presenters included Daniel Ellsberg (Pentagon Papers), Frank Serpico (NYPD), Sherron Watkins (Enron) and Susan Wood ("Plan B").
Goals of the Tour include raising awareness about the vital role whistleblowing has in our democracy, preparing America's youth for ethical decision-making, countering negative connotations associated with whistleblowing, connecting prospective whistleblowers to available resources, and encouraging academic studies of whistleblowing.
TakePart, a digital division of the film production company Participant Media, will be extending the tour through video and editorial content, in addition to collaborating with GAP on protecting the rights of whistleblowers by hosting a petition on TakePart.com/Whistleblower.
Contact: Sarah Damian, GAP New Media Associate
Phone: 202.457.0034, ext. 130
Contact: Dylan Blaylock, GAP Communications Director
Phone: 202.457.0034, ext. 137
Contact: Katharine Curles, Student Activities & Orientation Program Advisor, Whitman College
Government Accountability Project
The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
TakePart is an interactive publisher and the digital division of Participant Media, the company responsible for award-winning films such as An Inconvenient Truth, Food Inc, Waiting for Superman, Charlie Wilson’s War, Contagion and The Help. Participant’s ethos that “a story well told can change the world” is the driving force behind TakePart’s mission: To inspire and accelerate social change by connecting compelling content to social action. TakePart’s news, videos and campaigns can be found on TakePart.com; YouTube via TakePart TV at youtube.com/takepart; MSN at Takepart.msn.com.