We are more than halfway through the academic year. The legislative session has already started. More cuts to higher education are expected.
As students, we need to make sure our representatives hear us.
ASWSU President Riley Myklebust and Vice President Amanda Spalding have not shown much public effort toward their biggest campaign promise — the “2-4-6 Legislation” plan.
“2-4-6” was aimed to promote two Coug Day at the Capitol events, as well as campaigns to send Washington representatives 400 letters and make 600 phone calls. These efforts were framed last year as a monumental increase in WSU lobbying compared to previous years.
As of right now, the only part of the plan our leaders have completed is the first Coug Day. In regards to the four and six part of the plan, it seems there has been little public effort to encourage students to write or call by ASWSU.
“We have just over 200 electronic or physical correspondences with legislatures and we’ve estimated 112 phone calls,” Myklebust said.
While he also said the actual number is higher than the current tally, 200 and 112 is still pretty far from 400 and 600 — especially more than halfway through the year.
Thankfully however, ASWSU has plans to gain student involvement.
Beginning next week, Myklebust said they will have computers Feb. 15, 22 and 29 in the Compton Union Building for students to write electronic letters to legislators. The Daily Evergreen Editorial Board urges students to take advantage of this easy lobbying opportunity.
Director of Legislative Affairs Tristan Hanon said they are a little less than halfway done with “2-4-6.”
“The four and the six are going to be most effective while we are in the session because when there’s a big vote coming we will actually have something for students to focus on,” Hanon said.
Although Myklebust and Spalding have begun “2-4-6,” they should have made a larger effort earlier in the year.
“Start early,” Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville said as stated in a previous The Daily Evergreen article. “You don’t start in January, you start early.”
Sending letters earlier would have been more benificial because legislators would have gone into session knowing what is important to their constituents.
WSU and other state universities have received enormous budget cuts in recent years. Also, Gov. Chris Gregoire has proposed another $160.1 million cut to higher education in Washington. Funding is minimal and will continue to decrease if student lobbying efforts fail to intervene.
As students, we all hold the same responsibility to lobby as Myklebust and Spalding. If you voted for Myklebust and Spalding’s “2-4-6” plan, do not only rely on them to achieve it. Just because they are only beginning to launch their largest efforts, does not mean yours should be limited. Perform the campaign you voted for by contacting your representatives as soon as possible.