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Feel free to double-check this

Back before the turn of the century, a reader shared an observation.

He said the University of Washington and Washington State University are farther apart than any other similar pairing in the nation.

I can't recall how exhaustively I fact-checked that. But if you have some time on your hands, you might take a stab at it.

As I recall, this pertains only to pairings involving a University of (name of the state) and (name of the state) State University. Branch campuses using any other naming convention (such as one might find in, say, California) do not count.

P.S. Actually, I suspect the state of Idaho refutes this assertion. But I'll have to look it up. Maybe the Gem State holds the record, not Washington.

Wildlife officers clamp down on Grande Ronde frat party

PUBLIC LANDS — Two Washington Fish and Wildlife police officers followed a tip to find a large college party underway recently on state wildlife lands along the Grand Ronde River at the bottom of Shumaker Grade. 

In the past, these gatherings have resulted in large amounts of litter, destruction of habitat, illegal burning, etc.," reported Capt. Dan Rahn. The photo one of the officers snapped (above) indicates the 160 students already were getting a good start on trashing Snyder Bar. 

The area is a popular staging and camping area for anglers launching or taking out boats for floating the Grande Ronde.

The party was an annual event organized by a University of Idaho fraternity, according to the officers' report.

"After locating the frat president, the officers issued numerous citations for No Vehicle Access Permits and MIC," Rahn said.  "They were warned for not having required group permits and advised these gatherings would not be allowed in the future.  They agreed to have all of the litter cleaned up by morning or they would be subject to litter citations and they agreed to not return in the future.  There were a total of 13 kegs of beer on site and the purchasers were identified.  Possible charges of Furnishing to Minor will be forwarded to the Prosecutor."

Political leanings of Northwest colleges

So I was reading an obituary written about the actor William Windom. I always like to see if someone's appearance in "The Twilight Zone" will be mentioned. It was.

But the thing that caught my eye was the fact that the Citadel in South Carolina and Antioch in Ohio were among two of the colleges where Windom studied.

Talk about schools on opposite ends of the political/attitudinal spectrum.

Anyway, that made me wonder. If we restricted ourselves to colleges in the Northwest, what two institutions are most unlikely to show up on one student's academic record?

Maybe Reed or The Evergreen and a conservative church school? 


The rear-window college stickers game



Well, it's not really a game. But if the vehicle ahead of you at a stop light displays college stickers from more than one school, it's tempting to speculate about family dynamics. For instance, what gets said at Thanksgiving?

"At least Chinese students want to go to U-Dub."

"What conference are your teams in this year?"

"How's everything at the normal school?"

"So how often do you wish that you had actually tried to get good grades in high school?"

"Do you know any of the athletes who have been arrested?"

"Where are your professors applying to?"

"You should have gone to Faber."  

Gregoire proposes education czar

Gov. Chris Gregoire explains proposals for education and higher education at a press conference Wednesday.

OLYMPIA — All of Washington's education systems and programs, from preschool through graduate degrees at universities, should be working together and overseen by a single office, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Wednesday.

Gregoire proposed creating the cabinet position of Secretary of Education — appointed by the governor and approved by the Legislature — and placing responsibility for the many “silos” of education at all age levels into that office. That would include the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, a constitutionally mandated official, elected by voters every four years, just as the governor is.

The state could eliminate the elective position, or keep it and have the OSPI report to the Education Secretary, Gregoire said at a morning press conference. “I'm comfortable either way.”

The current occupant of that office, Randy Dorn, is not comfortable with the idea. Wednesday afternoon he suggested it was a power grab by the governor…

GU to host San Diego State, IUPUI

Gonzaga, Duke, Kansas State and Marquette have been selected as the regional hosts for this year’s CBE Classic.

There will be three teams in each of the four regionals and the hosts, regardless of winning or losing, will advance to the semifinals and finals, Nov. 22-23 in Kansas City, Mo., it was announced Thursday.

Joining Duke in its regional are Princeton and Miami of Ohio; Kansas State hosts James Madison and Presbyterian; Marquette hosts Bucknell and Wisconsin-Green Bay; and Gonzaga hosts IUPUI and San Diego State.

The teams not hosting will move to sites where they will all play three more games.

Poll: What should Pac-10’s next move be?


Thousands of teachers laid off? A look at the House budget and “trickle-down pain”…

A day after the Senate, House lawmakers proposed a budget plan that cuts much deeper into higher education but spares K-12 education from some major cuts.

The House plan would strip $683 million from colleges, even while raising tuition at four-year schools 10 percent a year.

“We are asking them to take the biggest cut” despite the fact that the schools are engines of innovation and worker retraining, said Rep. Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton. “They will have to do the hardest work to figure out how to get through these tough times. But I know they can do it.”

The Senate plan, which would cut $513 million, is estimated to mean 2,500 fewer higher education jobs. House officials wouldn’t put a number on their proposal, saying they would leave it to the individual colleges to meet budget targets.

As for K-12 schools, the House would cut $625 million, compared to the Senate’s deeper $877 million in cuts. Much of that money would come from a voter-approved measure designed to shrink class sizes by hiring more teachers.

But even under the House plan, Haigh predicted, many teachers will lose their jobs.
“If we can keep other funds whole,” she said, “maybe we won’t lose more than 3- or 4,000 teachers.”

A top Senate budget writer, Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, also estimates that 2,000 state workers will lose their jobs.

“This is not a very pleasant day for any of us,” said House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler.
Lawmakers will spend the next few weeks agreeing on a final plan.

State spending would still rise

Both budgets total about the same: $32.3 billion, compared to the $33.7 billion budget approved two years ago. That doesn’t include $2 billion to $3 billion more in expected federal help. And both the House and Senate budget would reduce state pension payments by hundreds of millions of dollars and use millions more in long-term construction dollars to support the operating budget.
In other words, the state will still be spending significantly more in this budget than in the last one.

“We now know where the Enron accountants turned up: writing this budget,” said Rep. Doug Erickson, R-Bellingham, criticizing the fact that that the federal aid wasn’t included in the budget.

“Today we got the status quo,” said Erickson, indicating the House budget. “We’re going to borrow more, we’re going to spend more, and we’re going to pass the debt on to our kids.”

He and other Republicans say the budget crisis was a chance for long-term spending reforms, but that majority Democrats resisted that. Over the past 4 years, state spending rose $8 billion. Republicans argue that the state must overhaul state spending to ease the burden on taxpayers and businesses.

“It’s really hard to imagine people who are having difficulty meeting payroll in their small businesses, and yet our state employees have one of the richest health care plans that’s out there,” said Rep. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor. “I find that just amazing.”

House budget writers said Tuesday that they tried to preserve basic education and the state’s social safety net, as well as state-subsidized health insurance for kids.

Taxpayers are likely to be asked for a tax increase to help avoid some of the cuts, said Rep. Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham. But what tax and how much have yet to be worked out.

Wherever possible, Haigh said, lawmakers want to set a budget amount and let school districts, state agencies and colleges figure out the best way to meet it. Many wanted that flexibility, lawmakers said.

“There was trickle-down economics,” said Haigh. “Well, this is trickle-down pain.”

UPDATE: Local higher-ed breakout:

How the House and Senate budgets would affect local universities:

Locally, Eastern Washington University would fare about the same under either plan, with about an 18.5 percent cut from what it would cost to maintain current programs. Washington State University would lose 17 percent to 18 percent. The deepest cuts under either budget would be at the University of Washington, which would lose $134 million under the House plan.

Higher ed: Cut us and it’ll cost ya…

Go to any budget committee in Olympia and it will quickly become apparent that the near-universal argument for anyone seeking state money is this:

“Spend on this worthy program now. You’ll save money down the road.”

At the moment, some of the bigger voices in this chorus come from the state’s colleges. The state Higher Education Coordinating Board on Thursday released a report saying, in essence, that the colleges should be spared severe cuts because they’re so valuable. It’s title: “The Benefits of Investing in Higher Education: A Return on Investment.”

The board, recalling previous downturns, is clearly trying to head off deep cuts combined with big tuition hikes.

Eollege-educated people earn more money, pay more taxes, commit less crime, volunteer more and vote more, the HEC Board notes. Parents without a college degree, it says, use food stamps and welfare more. The colleges also “serve as incubators for growth and innovation” and provide a steady supply of trained workers, the report says.

Instead of cuts, the study suggests that the state should put more money into colleges now. The federal government, through the G.I. Bill, poured money and students into schools in 1946, at a time when the nation feared a fall into recession.

And it’s not just the graduating students. The report pointedly notes that Eastern Washington University’s payroll, for example, means $77 million in spending in Spokane County. (2004 figures.)