Students and faculty joined to protest proposed budget cuts by the state Legislature.
The Tuesday, April 21, the event was part of a statewide effort by the American Federation of Teachers, the union that represents faculty members at Washington community and technical colleges. Faculty Senate President Amy Kinsel helped organize the event that included speakers, poetry readings and music performed by Funkngroove. (clilck here for photos)
Kinsel and others cited proposed tuition increases as potentially keeping students out while program reductions would mean fewer opportunities for those who do get in.
Faculty member Ernest Johnson, known on campus as “Dr. J,” told the crowd that it was a sad day for students, faculty and all colleges across the state as they face serious budget cuts. Johnson said that “most societies don’t turn to education for cuts in an economic downturn” as Washington lawmakers are doing.
The state House and Senate are in discussions, looking for a compromise budget as the session heads for its scheduled April 26 end. In December, Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed a budget that would cut about 6 percent from community and technical college budgets. In the past month, the Senate’s proposed budget pushed that number to about 10 percent while the House proposed budget adds another 3-4 percent cut on top of the Senate number. Some observers in Olympia are predicting the session will be forced into overtime with a special session needed to complete the budget.