. Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Anti-Budget Cuts coalition is a broad based coalition of students, workers and community members. We believe that the University of Washington, a major educational institution in the Northwest, needs to maintain the purpose of a public university: affordable education for all. It needs to remain accessible for students of color, working class students, women and queer students.

The impending tuition hikes affect these populations of students most adversely. Historically, these groups have been denied entrance to universities. As such, our demands against the budget cut decisions of the university are not simply an issue of fiscal policy. They are issues of civil rights.

The decisions undertaken by the administration (to cut TA positions, lay off workers, and imposing tuition hikes, to name a few) have been extremely undemocratic. They have been proposed by the administration and decided upon the Board of Regents, six members who are handpicked by Governor Gregoire. They are not accountable to the students, workers and community members who are the majority of people that represent the University of Washington. In light of the serious impacts these cuts have, a decisio made by a handful of unelected elites cannot reflect the needs, desires, and interests of the university population.

This document lays out the alternatives that the UW administration could seek to prevent the burden of the economic crisis being unfairly shouldered by the most vulnerable populations of the university. That the UW administration had not sought these obvious alternatives, and have instead resorted to raising student tuition and laying off workers, makes their intentions behind these decisions clear.

In the Seattle Post Intelligencer (April 30th 2009), the President of the University, Mark Emmert openly embraced the privatization and “market-driven model” of the university.
[1] Nowhere did he state in the article that he would seek to challenge the trend toward higher tuition costs and decreased state funding. In fact, a Board of Regents member, Constance Proctor, revealed that this move to high tuition, has been planned for sometime by the University administration. The university’s decision to raise tuition has long been in the works. Over the past seven years, despite the decline/stagnancy of real wages, tuition costs at UW have risen by 8%[2]. The University administration had long been moving toward privatization of a public university. It is clear that the economic crisis and budget cuts serve merely as a convenient opportunity for Emmert and the Board of Regents to institutionalize this new “private” model.

The decision to force workers and students to carry the burden of the economic crisis and budget cuts, while President Emmert and others in his administration continue to make well over $200, 000, cannot be separated from the broader trends of unemployment, wage decreases, and rising costs occurring throughout the country, as well as public school closures right here in Seattle. Public school teachers across Washington are being laid off due to the legislature’s budget cuts.
In preparation for this alternative budget proposal, the ABC coalition demands

· Rejection of the 25% budget cuts imposed by the state
· Moratorium on staff and TA layoffs across campuses
· No tuition hikes
· Cut from the top. Impose a salary cap on administrators who make above $ 150 000
· Tap from existing endowments…
· Freeze construction of new buildings such as the Business School expansion