Shoreline Community College students are organizing to raise awareness of pending state budget-cut impacts.
“We would like to preserve the learning opportunities both in and out-of-classroom at SCC as well as at other colleges by persuading the legislators to dedicate funding for higher education,” wrote President of Shoreline’s Student Body Association Parliament, Kanpong "Gun" Thaweesuk in a letter to students and the campus community. “We think the State budget cut on higher education is not only going to hurt us as current students, but the future of Washingtonians as well as our society as a whole.”
On Oct. 31, the student association hosted an open meeting for students to hear President Lee Lambert, faculty members and others speak about impacts of previous and proposed budget cuts. Since 2005-06, Shoreline has lost $8.7 million from state-allocated funds.
On Nov. 16, student government is sponsoring a “teach-in” where faculty and students can gather outside of normal class to talk about specific budget-related issues.
“We will open these teach-ins to the public by inviting students from other colleges to attend as well as using (webcasts) to broadcast to other colleges,” Thaweesuk said, adding that the students hope to have two or three separate teach-in locations on campus. The students are also contacting local legislators and inviting them to speak at the teach-in sessions.
On Nov. 28, Thaweesuk said the students are working with other colleges to organize a protest visit to Olympia, the same day as the start of the Legislature’s special session.
“We will collaborate with other colleges to bring students to Olympia in a walkout day,” Thaweesuk said. “We aim to persuade the legislators to dedicate funding for higher education. Simultaneously, college students from other districts can protest in their regions to raise statewide awareness.”
In addition, the students are working with faculty to create advocacy workshops. The workshops would focus on areas such as how community colleges operate, learn more about the current economic situation, learn how the budget cut affects equity and develop and practice public speaking skills.
“We will host advocacy workshops to prepare students with the skills to persuade the legislators to dedicate funds for higher education effectively,” Thaweesuk said.