Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed and Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson will be keynote speakers at a student-organized community event about voting and the future of public college tuition and access.
Reed and Anderson will speak about civic engagement, what it means to be a registered voter and how voters influence decisions made in Olympia. UW Tacoma students have added a second component to the event, taking their case for protecting state funding for higher education to the public.
Called a Community Conversation on Higher Education Access and Tuition, the event is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., April 11, in Philip Hall on the UW Tacoma campus. It is part of College Civics Week, organized by the Office of the Secretary of State’s College Civics Program and funded by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), a federal law adopted in 2000 to help with voter education.
UW Tacoma is one of the first stops on Reed’s annual weeklong tour of college campuses statewide to encourage students to vote and become more civically engaged. Reed will visit 19 schools, taking part in discussions and connecting with the state’s youngest voters, who have the lowest voter participation rate in Washington.
“I want students to know their collective voice is powerful and talk about what they stand to gain by participating [in the voter process],” said Reed. “A key reason why I do this tour is to explain how and why their votes make a difference, and simple ways for them to participate in their government.”
The forum is organized by the Associated Students of the University of Washington Tacoma (ASUWT) to call attention to probable cuts in the state’s funding of higher education and the effects those cuts will have on future students and the state’s economy. Panelists will answer questions about proposed tuition increases at Washington’s public colleges and universities.
“The cuts that have been proposed and pending legislation suggest that tuition could be raised by as much as 30 percent annually beginning next year,” said John Wheeler III, ASUWT legislative liaison and moderator for the event.
“The Legislature is also discussing the possibility of cutting many, if not all, forms of financial aid, other than loans offered by the federal government,” he said. Wheeler, 35, from Puyallup, is a senior majoring in American studies. He serves as vice president of legislative affairs at the Washington Student Association.
Concerned parents, students and community members are invited to learn more about the state’s higher education funding crisis.
• Patricia Spakes, chancellor, UW Tacoma
• Chris Thompson, director of government relations, Higher Education Coordinating Board
• Lyle Quasim, president, Bates Technical College
• Rai Nauman Mumtaz, president, ASUWT
• Lauren Adler, president, Associated Students of Pierce College Puyallup
A panelist from a civic organization is being finalized.
For further information, contact Wheeler, 253-905-1838, email@example.com; or Megan Lewis, 206-708-3869.