Feb. 19, 2010
With winter quarter now at the midpoint, I want to touch base and give you an update on happenings around my office and the campus. So far, 2010 has been marked by many important events for the university.
As you know, the Washington Legislature is in full swing, and, although this is supposed to be a short session, there are many critical items on the table that will once again impact Eastern’s budget. Not only are we facing more cuts to our operating budget, there is also the potential for deep cuts to financial aid.
This is why I have made several trips to Olympia to meet with lawmakers and state leaders, including Gov. Chris Gregoire. It is important that we keep sharing Eastern’s story, reminding everyone that our students cannot keep absorbing higher tuition while the state reduces its support for education.
I expect to make more trips to Olympia before the session ends, and will keep the campus community updated on the Legislature’s actions.
Closer to home, I was proud to support the student rally on the campus mall on Feb. 4. It was great to see such a large turnout of students, faculty and staff, all taking a strong stand against proposed cuts to higher education. My message was clear that day – our students are not just a number, they are people, and each of us must take the time to contact lawmakers to let them know funding cuts will hurt students.
As far as the budget goes, we have held two forums to discuss the possible impacts to campus. As I have indicated before, while we hope we can sustain operating cuts without layoffs, reductions to financial aid could drive students away, thus hurting EWU even more. Lawmakers are considering many different options at this time.
Finally, I want to share some recent successes. EWU was the main sponsor of the Downtown Spokane Partnership’s Annual Meeting in late January. This was an excellent chance to showcase our many downtown programs. I was honored to introduce the guest speaker, who highlighted the critical role higher education plays in a community’s economic well-being.
Also, a generous donation by alumnus and current NFL player Michael Roos has garnered national attention for EWU. The gift jump-started plans to install one-of-a-kind red turf in time for fall football. In addition, Eastern received a $300,000 gift from a donor who wishes to provide scholarship support for students in our health science programs.
These gifts reflect the pride many of our supporters have in this university. Their willingness to give back is always appreciated and enhances the student experience at Eastern.
As spring quickly approaches, I look forward to seeing many of you around campus in the weeks to come.
Rodolfo Arévalo, PhD
President Arévalo visits with Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire
EWU students participate in campus rally
President Arévalo speaks to students at rally
Fielding questions at open budget forum
President Arévalo addresses Downtown Spokane Partnership's Annual Meeting
For all these photos and more check out EWU's Flickr photo share.