EWU Government Relations


The goal of Eastern Washington University’s Department of Government Relations is to promote the campus community’s mission, interests and needs. EWU Government Relations identifies, coordinates and advances the university’s interests to elected officials both in Olympia and the nation’s capital.

Legislative Priorities

Learning Recovery and Student Success Initiative | $1.3 M

Washington’s comprehensive baccalaureate institutions are a critical access point for expanding economic opportunity. EWU, CWU, Evergreen and WWU have partnered to formulate a regionally focused $5 million Joint Operating Request that will yield statewide impact. Eastern’s $1.3 million portion of that investment will provide critical wrap-around services through our Eagle Care Network and help the students and families that EWU serves with a personalized FAFSA completion initiative.

Cybersecurity | $2.8 M

Eastern Washington University is uniquely positioned to equip students for the estimated 10,000 current job openings in this exciting field. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency (NSA) have designated EWU as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (NCAE-C). As the only four-year institution on the east side of the state to earn this classification, Eastern is currently turning away qualified students from the program. This critical investment will allow EWU to serve these students by expanding our course offerings.

Compensation | $3.1 M

With the robust revenue forecast and to maintain parity with other state employees, we are requesting funding to provide a 3% general salary increase.

Capital Budget
#1 – Science Building Renovation – $45 million
The original 1960’s structure has served generations of students, but modern teaching techniques and innovations require modern facilities. (Phase one construction.)

#2 – Infrastructure Renewal – $25.5 million
Additional capital expenditures will ensure that Eastern remains good stewards of its nearly 3,000,000 square feet of state facilities.
#3 – Engineering Building Design – $3.5 million
Anticipating 20% growth, Eastern’s STEM-related programs are being constrained due to a lack of space.

Diversity, Equity, & Opportunity

$10 Million Joint Operating Request
Washington’s comprehensive baccalaureate institutions are a critical access point for expanding economic opportunity. EWU, CWU, Evergreen and WWU have partnered to formulate a regionally focused $10 million Joint Operating Request that will yield statewide impact. Eastern’s $2.7 million portion of that investment would: Accelerate EWU’s efforts toward becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI); target advising and community-based mentoring for dual credit eligible students from rural, low-income and traditionally underserved populations; and ensure student support through faculty and staff preparedness, education and development, and inclusive pedagogy.

Equity & Opportunity

Investing in Student Affordability – $3.36 million
Eastern’s mission has always been to meet the unique needs of our changing region and the increasingly diverse population we serve. As good stewards of state funds, we prioritize student affordability by keeping tuition reasonable and stable.

Our commitment to low tuition—the most affordable in the state—reflects our core values: as a diversity-serving institution, we embrace equity and social justice. In 2011-13, when institutions were increasing tuition by 14%-20%, EWU negotiated an 11% tuition increase.

As the state’s economy and tuition policy evolved, state funding to help offset EWU’s lower tuition base did not keep pace. Now, with a reduced level of operating funding, EWU is at a disadvantage among our fellow universities.

To continue ensuring our students’ academic and professional success, we must implement comprehensive initiatives and wrap-around programs to support our students. This annual investment in EWU will reaffirm the legislature’s commitment to equity and inclusion. Most importantly, it will provide significantly enhanced opportunities for our diverse and talented students.

Maintenance & Operations

Managing Unanticipated Spike in Energy Costs – $800,000
A natural gas pipeline rupture in Canada in October 2018 caused unanticipated energy price increases.

Roof Replacement Program (Certificate of Participation – Capital Budget) – $3,000,000
Legislative authorization will enable EWU to complete a roof replacement program.

Serving the Region

Approval of Doctorate of Education (EdD) Degree Offering (HB 1755)
Passage of HB 1755 will give EWU and the other comprehensive universities the option of offering this degree in response to regional demands.

Core Funding of Compensation

EWU seeks a commitment from the legislature in the 2019-21 biennium to fully fund the compensation increases recommended in the budget.

  • Historically, salary and benefit increases approved by the Office of Financial Management were fully paid for by the state.
  • In 2015, the legislature reduced tuition for all state universities; now tuition increases are capped at approximately 2% a year.
  • In 2017, the legislature changed policy to require that half of all compensation increases be paid for by the universities.
  • This unexpected change in funding policy, combined with the statutory cap on tuition, creates an unsustainable business model in which operating expenses rise while revenues are reduced.

Design Money for Science Building Remodel

EWU received pre-design money in the current biennium and now requests $7.9 M as continued investment for the remodel of the old science building.

  • EWU’s STEM degrees are the fastest growing disciplines in the university.
  • EWU thanks legislators for the investment in the new Interdisciplinary Science Center.
  • EWU’s existing science building is the oldest science building still in use in Washington.

Engineering Degrees

EWU requests state funding to create civil engineering ($2.7 M) and computer engineering ($2.6 M) degree options; these programs will significantly increase the number of EWU engineers graduated each year.

  • Increasingly recognized as Washington’s public STEM university, EWU’s highly qualified graduates fill hundreds of professional job openings in Washington each year.
  • EWU enrolls nearly 1,000 students in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and visual communication design.
  • Multiple advanced technology companies request that EWU expand its programs to help meet the demand for career-ready graduates.
  • Between industry demand and the state’s infrastructure needs, the opportunity is significant for EWU to expand engineering degree offerings.

Council of Presidents

The Council of Presidents (COP) is a voluntary association of Washington’s six public baccalaureate degree granting colleges and universities. COP, located in Olympia, Washington, works to be the collective voice and trusted resource regarding issues facing public higher education.


Photo of David Buri

David Buri

Executive Director of Government Relations
Photo of David Buri
214 Showalter Hall, Cheney, WA 99004

As a former member of the Washington State House of Representatives, Executive Director David Buri knows the importance of building relationships with elected officials and their dedicated, hard-working staffs. David’s deep roots in Eastern Washington give him unique insight into the region and as a first generation student himself, he personally connects with EWU’s mission of providing access to excellence.