The state legislature is considering $620 million (or more) in cuts to education funding in order to balance the budget, and in response the Washington Student Association is organizing a statewide walkout tomorrow.
How big a deal is $620 million (or more) in cuts to education funding? Megan Brownlee, of the Washington Student Association, offers a sense:
-The legislature's $620 to $800 million in proposed cuts to higher education is the equivalent of cutting all funding for Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University, Washington State University, and Evergreen—combined. (OR, over half of all community colleges.)
-These funding reductions would put public support for four-year colleges at or below 1987-89 levels.
-Already, severe tuition increases and cuts to colleges over the last two years have resulted in students and their families paying more than 50 percent of the cost of instruction.
In Seattle, the University of Washington's walkout will involve tabling in Red Square from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and generating calls to state legislators, according to Melanie Mayock, a legislative assistant for the UW Graduate and Professional Student Senate. (A full list of participating schools and their rallies is right here.)
Seems like an issue that would draw a huge crowd, right? So, um, what's with the hundreds of "maybes" on the walkout's Facebook page? I'll be there... If I wake up by 1 p.m.? If it's not raining? If my ouija board tells me it's a good idea?