Haigh defends proposal to close campus


University of Washington students protesting cuts to higher education in Olympia, Wash. Photo Credit to: Ellen Banner/Seattle Times.

By Christina Lorella

On Nov. 16, Rep. Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton, met with representatives of the Associated Students of UW Bothell to discuss her recent proposal to close branch campuses, including the University of Washington, Bothell and Washington State University, Spokane.

ASUWB invited Haigh to campus after she referred to UW Bothell as an “operation cost” in her October proposal and recommended its closure.  ASUWB wanted to show Haigh the unique and valuable nature of UW Bothell, which they believe is unmatched by any other institution.

Rep. Kathy Haigh (D), 35th Legislative District

Freddie Hensen, President of ASUWB commented on Haigh’s tone, stating that she sounded sympathetic, but resolute.

“She seemed to care more about preserving  K-12 education and less interested in preserving higher education; claiming that our intensive learning atmosphere with smaller class sizes and more contact with professors is inefficient,” Hensen said.

According to Hensen, Haigh remained closed-minded and unwilling to compromise throughout the meeting. He said that, rather than working with ASUWB to brainstorm alternatives, Haigh focused on “how to squeeze as much funding from higher educations as possible, without killing it. Like a parasite,” Hensen said.

While Haigh agreed that higher education is important, she explicitly said that, when it came to the options currently on the table, higher education was her target for cuts. According to Hensen, the likelihood of UW Bothell closing is slim, but it is an option still being discussed.

More likely, Hensen said, is another reduction in state assistance for public universities, and the elimination of both the State Need grant and the Work Study program.

Another round of cuts will result in “crippled aid for all but the most desperately needy students, and another tuition hike of at least twenty percent,” Hensen said. “If the cuts are ratified without a successful revenue package, we could see tuition increased before the end of the academic year.”

In early November, Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, met with members of ASUWB to discuss the potential consequences of Haigh’s proposal. Seaquist disagreed with her strategy, referring to it as an “awful solution to saving funds in a squandering economy.”

“Investing in higher institutions is the ladder out of a recession,” Seaquist said.

The special session to discuss these budget cuts began on Nov. 28. Legislature expects a decision to be made by January.

ASUWB urges students to get involved by contacting their local representatives, rallying at the State Capitol during the special session and by encouraging other students to get involved.

2 Responses to Haigh defends proposal to close campus

  1. Lauren

    December 6, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Excellent article, thank you for posting. My only recommendation is that the "contacting their local representatives" link is to your U.S. Representatives, not your State Reps and State Senators in control of Washington State's 2011-12 Budget. Here is the link to the member roster for the State Legislature, I encourage readers to find out their (state) legislative districts when considering contacting their elected officials to ensure that their message is heard. Here is the link, emails to your state legislative officials are usually firstnameDOTlastnameATlegDOTwaDOTgov, but peruse leg.wa.gov and find out for yourself.  http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rosters/Members.aspx Thanks again!

  2. Husky Herald

    December 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you, Lauren. We appreciate you pointing that out to us. We have made some changes to the link and it now directs readers to their state legislators. We hope this helps!

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