Washington's Trustees and Regents Speak Out for Investment in Higher Ed
From the start of the state legislative session in January, we have been advancing Western’s legislative priorities, as always, through coordinated efforts involving our Government Relations team, the Associated Students (see more about ASWWU Lobby Day 2021 here), and faculty legislative representatives. Also deeply engaged are Western’s Trustees, who, along with the Regents and Trustees of Washington’s other public and private colleges and universities, meet with legislators to advance and promote Western’s priorities. This letter addressed to our legislators, signed by the Trustees and Regents, as well as the President of the State Board of Community and Technical colleges, also reflects the breadth and depth of support for our priorities and for public higher education in general. You can read more about Western’s legislative priorities here.
As I mentioned in an earlier communication, Western is well positioned to receive funding for our highest priority capital projects, the Electrical Engineering/Computer Science building, and a Coast Salish Longhouse. We are also committed to working with the legislature to protect the investments made in higher education in the past biennium and to ensure that the Washington College Grant program continues to be fully funded so that every student, regardless of income, can afford to go to college. And, on the programmatic side, we are partnering with Central, Eastern, and Evergreen on a joint proposal related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion aimed at improving access and success for diverse students.
Between now and the conclusion of the regular legislative session at the end of April many things can happen; we recognize that the state has a significant budget shortfall and that there are many worthy priorities competing for the legislature’s attention. However, we are encouraged by the fact that our advocacy team is deep and wide, not only internally but with our public and private sector partners around the state. We are also confident that adequately funding public higher education is one of the most powerful mechanisms the state has to accelerate the pandemic recovery, address ongoing social justice and inequality challenges, and increase opportunity for all the people of our State.