Advocates for a new University of Washington branch campus packed an Olympia hearing room Thursday to argue whether an urban Everett location or a more spacious Marysville campus would be the best site to serve the north Puget Sound region.
This choice is easy: Everett, right? The proposed campus would be easier to get to, considering many students take transit. The UW Tacoma location happens to be right on their streetcar line, and it’s a big success.
Backers of a 27-acre Everett site adjacent to the city’s transit center said Everett is closest to population centers, convenient to public transportation and offers a wealth of high-tech employers with whom future students can partner.
There you go, it’s a slam dunk. But the “rural campus” advocates don’t like the Everett choice:
Proponents of a 369-acre site in North Marysville said the more rural location offers a traditional campus setting with room for dormitories, sports fields and future growth. It would also better serve students in Island and Skagit counties, they said.
If a prospective student wants the sleep-away college experience, complete with sports teams and palatial grounds, that choice already exists. It’s called the University of Washington. You know, the original one.
Besides, kids from Island and Skagit counties already have a state school with sports field and dorms. It’s not new, but Western Washington University, located in Bellingham (in Whatcom county, just to the north) has been churning out quality graduates since 1893. (Most of Death Cab for Cutie! Chris Vance! Randy Tate! Joyce Taylor! The Punter For The Atlanta Falcons!)
The U-Dub’s lobbyist (who blogs, oddly enough) says this:
[…]but while the Everett site has gained some additional support this week, deep divisions remain in the legislature on the issue. More importantly, I believe a number of legislators are beginning to question the wisdom of moving ahead at all on the new campus given the cost projections and what appear to be concerns about how this really fits into the entire higher education system.
Considering just how tough a time Olympia is having providing funding for the UW branches that already exist, one has to wonder: is creating another UW branch in our best interest? Or is it more about legislators bringing home some pork?
[For more info, check out Postman’s run-down.]
Piper Scott spews:
You raise a very valid and fair point. The question should be what’s best for the citizens of Snohomish and Skagit Counties who currently are poorly served in terms of four-year college opportunities, not what’s in the best interests of the economies or general communities of either Everett or Marysville.
There’s a lot of freeway between UW-Bothell and Western. People who live between the two who want the opportunity to go to college while staying at home are effectively denied the opportunity. UW-Bothell isn’t a resident campus, it’s a commuter campus. While that has its good points and bad, it’s consistent with its stated intent of serving a student population for whom the main UW campus doesn’t work.
If a new branch campus is to be built…the “if” gets larger by the day…then common sense dictates putting it dead center in the population it’s supposed to serve.
The more the debate focuses on how a new campus will revitalize Everett or be the best use of a Marysville piece of property, the more it loses sight of why a new campus is under consideration and the more it loses support overall.
Dave Gibney spews:
If they want a real campus away from home, they can also come to WSU :)
Richard Pope spews:
We need more space in higher education. Washington has historically ranked near the bottom in per-capita higher public education enrollment, especially at the 4 year level. Not so near the bottom, of course, when you take the number of Washington residents who are attending private institutions and public institutions in other states. But right at, or near, the bottom of state residents attending public institutions in their own states.
Richard Pope spews:
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily translate into a need for more pork, or even more campuses.
Roger Rabbit spews:
“Western Washington University … has been churning out quality graduates since 1893. (Most of Death Cab for Cutie! Chris Vance! Randy Tate! Joyce Taylor! The Punter For The Atlanta Falcons!)”
How could you miss the most illustrious WWU graduate of them all?
Roger Rabbit’s degree collection includes a sheepskin from WWU (which technically makes him an alumnus, even though most of his undergraduate work was done elsewhere).
I know the funds would come from a totally different source but I find it bizarre that the UW would interject stadium funding into the political arena while this branch campus issue is up in the air. That struck me as politically naive.
rcr @ 6
It’s Snohomish-area electeds who are pushing hard for a new UW campus. The UW isn’t going to veto it, but you can tell that Emmert and others could go either way.
However, the UW brass are making a big push for help in remodeling Husky Stadium. They seem much more interested in making THAT happen.
Roger Rabbit spews:
I think it’s a bit disingenuous to suggest that kids from Island and Skagit counties who want a “campus experience” should go to the U.W., because that assumes U.W. has space for them, when the opposite is true — the whole point of building a state university in Everett is to provide some relief to students suffering from a shortage of opportunities to attend our state’s public colleges.
That said, a commuter school in Everett makes a great deal of sense; and it shouldn’t be unduly burdensome for students from Island and Skagit counties to attend school in Everett instead of Marysville. In addition, it seems likely a good many of them will be community college transfers who are more focused on academics than campus life.
Hell, my first college experience was at an urban university with a 100% commuter student body that didn’t even have dorms or sports. The closest thing it had to competitive athletics was the ROTC marksmanship team. Nearly all the students were working stiffs (many with families) who attended classes by day and held down swing or graveyard shift factory jobs. They were blue collar guys trying to become white collars and professionals, and they were totally focused on coursework and making grades. They didn’t have time or energy for “campus life.” On the other hand, tt was by far the most academically competitive school I’ve ever seen anywhere. Those students were dead serious about getting ahead in life and the trappings of “campus life” were totally irrelevant to them. Those who had any interest in sports were content to follow the nationally-ranked basketball team field by the private university across town.
So, I agree with siting the new college in Everett, not Marysville. However, I wonder when southwest Washington is going to get a university? Vancouver would seem the logical place for a WWU or WSU-class university.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Of course, if Dino Rossi had won in 2004, we wouldn’t even be talking about this because Republicans who can afford to send THEIR kids off to private schools aren’t willing to pay taxes for public education. Hell, they don’t even like public education, because they don’t want their kids to compete in the job market against a mass of public university-educated rivals. Republicans have always wanted to pull up the ladder so only their offspring have access to opportunity.
Even before she was elected governor, Gregoire publicly acknowledged the need for more spaces in our state’s public college system, and the long-overdue expansion of our state university system now taking place is entirely attributable to her willingness to commit political capital and skills to an issue that doesn’t get a lot of publicity or reel in a lot of votes but is vital to our state’s economy and the fairness of our society to the younger generations. The funding issues were very difficult as colleges are expensive and it wasn’t obvious four years ago where the money would come from, but here again, as in transportation and so many other areas, Gregoire is displaying dynamic leadership and making good things happen.
If Rossi was governor, that money would have gone for tax cuts to people who don’t need them and giveaways to businesses and developers, not expanding education opportunities for young Washingtonians who can’t afford private universities. We’re very fortunate that election worked out the way it did, and one must trust voters to do the right thing again this November by re-electing Gregoire, because our state still has unmet needs and we still need her. She is a unique leader and we are not going to have an opportunity to have someone like her as governor again in our lifetimes, so we need to make the most of what she has to offer while the opportunity is here.
Rog @ 8
Also, SW Washington is “theoretically” served by The Evergreen State College, but Evergreen has turned into a “niche” school (5k enrollment, many of those from out of state) and less like the regional state school many envisioned it to be.
If the UW had a branch in Olympia, something that could team up with the legislature and state government- that might do well.
You know, the UW is crowded not just because of lack of space, but rather they have lack of space due to less than optimal funding.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@10 State support for the U.W., as a percentage of the total U.W. budget, has been steadily dropping for many years. This winter the U.W. president made a pitch in the alumni magazine for more state funding. That’s all well and good, but there’s only so much money, and the revenue stream is about to get tighter as the nation moves into recession. I think the U.W. is well served by leadership skills that can keep the institution going without having to depend overly much on unreliable state funding. There are just too many other competing needs for a too-limited cash pot to depend on that source. I don’t like tuition increases because they tend to slam the door in the face of less-affluent students (and I’m highly sensitive to this isue as I was one of those), but I also understand that research money and private donations also are limited funding pools, and costlier tuition probably is inevitable. Yes, the legislature arguably should do more for the U.W. and other state colleges; but I think that’s the same thing as saying we need to get cracking on comprehensive tax reform, because this state’s needs can’t be satisfied by layering more regressive taxes on top of existing regressive taxes to be borne by those least able to pay.
I am strongly on the same side of this as you are.
1. THERE IS NO NEED FOR A UW CAMPUS IN EITHER EVERETT OR MARYSVILLE.
The same can be said for the Potemkin campuses that have been built in Bothel and Tacoma. Thses are pure pork, hurt the uW, and do not serve the students well.
Students in these areas DO need more 4 years colleges. BUT, the uW is NOT a four year school. It is a research university. The job of the uW (and WSU) is to serve the postgraduate programs and the high level undergraduate programs that require access to grad. level facilities and faculty.
The existing Tacoma/ Bothell campuses are not full Universities and there is no prospect of funding in the foreseeable future to change that.
2. The UW is overused. But that is because SEATTLE needs a four year alternative to the UW. A huge nunber of kids have “rolled their own” by combining SCC with the UW!
3. The State colleges offer smaller classes at lower costs to the State than the uW can offer.
Washington could use a Techology Insotitute. Locating WIT in Everett makes great sense. This is a great chance to synergize with the US N and with Boeing as well by offereing work to train programs.
The UW needs to support outreach classes, mehtods to let UW enrich the State Colleges.
Bothell and Tacoma should (have been) part of teh State College System.
The Stadium initiative is disgusting.
I understand that it is a different County and different source of funds. I just think that there will lots of confusion in the public mind, and so many people are viscerally opposed to tax payer financing of stadiums, that it is a mistake to interject that at this time. Look at all the people in other cities and counties that got so wound up over the monorail, Key Arena, Prop 1, etc….that had nothing to do with them and didn’t cost them a dime.
Bringing the stadium up now will have a negative affect on either the branch proposal or the stadium or both.
@12 Seattle Jew
I agree that Bothell and Tacoma should have been part of the State College system rather than part of the UW. The same should be true of the Everett/Marysville campus. I’ve long thought that both Bellevue CC and Seattle Central CC should be upgraded to four year college status.
You are correct that those branches are distractions from the purpose of the UW.
Roger Rabbit spews:
@y6 Frankly I don’t know what they’re thinking. $150 million for Husky Stadium in an off-year? Just after voters overwhelmingly rejected Sonics subsidies? I think it’s DOA.
Yes, UW has a new AD who may not know the ropes, but I can’t believe Emmert is this ignorant of political situation in Olympia. Which makes me wonder if some game playing is going on. University presidents are not above going through the motions of something that’s certain to fail just so they can say, “See? We tried that, and it didn’t work. So now let’s talk about Plan B.”
I have a feeling there’s more going on behind the scenes than we can see right now.
Typical UW-centric shortsighted thinking here:
Our state is underfunded and lacking in public college opportunities realtive to other states. The UW can’t expand anymore. WSU is over on the other side of the state. WWU is full too.
Getting in to the UW these days is harder than it ever has been – you over a 3.5 from adecent HS and good scores on the SATs too, just to get in. There is a large bolus of studetns coming through in the next few years and college costs are off the map – not to mention the dearth of private schools in Washington (Seattle has…SU and (small religious schools such as SPU and Northwest) and that is all).
Looking out from the Ivory tower at UW – it is easy to demand all the state dollars – but it is hard to get to UW from other places. Commuter schools are local (read cheaper on the room and board) and can serve populartions not served at the UW. Try thinking out of your pathetically small box.
@15 I am not sure I agree in re Everett. I think there may be room on WAstate for a techologically oriented campu. As such that wod have to be at the res. University level.
The issue would be whether the state is ready and willinmg to spend the money to create such a place. At a mimni9mum it is likley to cost a billion dollars or more to make it work but the time you consider faciites for Biotech, Comp Sci, Physics, Chemistry, etc. Of course, unlike a bridge, Universities generate money so ???
My thought would be to being the WIT as a sattelite of the UW. Enough dollars invested in creating the place could attract a faculty and the focus on undergrad education might help the UW and the rest of the state a lot.
On friend of mine at Princeton has pioneered a new kind of undergrad curriculum that could really make such a place a world magnet. He beleive we ned to redesign the classical curriculum to foster quantitative skills in all kids.
I rather like the idea of a WIT built aorund that sort of requirement.
E.g all majors might be required to include quantiative skills (even English). All students would need to take introductory statistics and formal logic. Conventional eurocentric history would be replaced by a histolry of ideas approach.
To save dollars and leveragr reources, some of the finds would be used for UW/WIT distance education and companies would be encouraged to offer WIT courses for their employees and WIT students.
Unlike other WAstate schools, WIT owuld INTENTIONALLY attract out of state students. (If we can subsidize experteise in football we can do the same for aeornautics).
To really make WIT work, why not go whole hog and combine it with high spped rail service? Currently ti takes 3o min to commute from main campus to the SLU. I would not be surprised if a high speed rail to Everett could do about as well.
we culd build private boxes in Husky stadium
How could a school called Wit not succeed?
Puddy The Prognosticator... spews:
That had to be a tough write for you. You couldn’t say it’s Bush and the Republicans fault? Of course, your gang has been screwing the WA State public for a long time now.
Puddy The Prognosticator... spews:
I like the Marysville idea.
Rossi Lies spews:
@1 Piper Scott. Why don’t you share with us your opinion as to what makes an ideal location for a secret torture center. Obviously it requires a reliable water supply but what other items are deemed necessary by you Republican war criminals.
@17 correct not right
Sorry,you missed my point. Putting “branch” campuses at these sites is expensive and give LESS to the community than adding new state Unversities would.
UW is a terrible model for college education for all but a small portion of WAstate kids. Furthermore, building a few buildings, opening a book store and hiring some admns does NOT create a University just because the logo is the same.
I would replace UWTac and UWBothell with new state colleges, esp in the case of Bothell taking advantage of the relationship to Cascadia. The main function of these campuses would be continuing ed (i.e. community ocllege) and undergrad ed but they could “grow” professional disciplines at a graduate level as needed.
There are huge advantages to this approach in efficiency. Costs at the cc and state Us are much lower than the at the UW. There are also paradoxical advantages in terms of small class size and the potential of integration with AP curricula at the secondary schools to suport gifted ed.
To further strengthen this system, I would develop a UW online effort that would enable some subjects to be taught at the new state Us by local faculty working with lectures and other materials form the UW. Tansfer should be made as easy as possible for those students already taking UW centric courses. I see no reason not t award a UW degree from one of these campuses if that is important.
I see Everett as a different kettle of fish. None of the WAstate schools specialize in technical education. Thge location of Everett near enough to Seattle but with and independent industrial and military base, makes thia good opportunity to build a regional. technical college .. that would be a new state University specializing in technology.