Office of the President

January 24, 2019

Shutdown’s effects on lives and research continue to grow

Ana Mari Cauce

As the partial federal government shutdown continues, its consequences are increasing daily and are profoundly felt in the lives of federal government employees and contractors – and those who they serve. Our thoughts are with everyone whose families and livelihoods have been disrupted by this unprecedented shutdown and we continue to hope it will end very soon.

At the University of Washington, we are seeking to mitigate the effects of the shutdown wherever possible, even as these effects vary in nature and intensity across schools, colleges and departments. The impact is particularly acute for individuals and units funded by one or more of the currently shuttered federal research agencies. There are colleagues across the UW whose salaries are funded entirely or in part by the federal government and who are therefore are not being paid. Fellowships that were due to start this winter are now on hold. Time-sensitive research is unable to take place, and other projects, including vital earthquake research, are on hold since our partners in the federal research agencies legally cannot work. And students, faculty and staff who simply need to access federal databases or resources for their research or coursework have had their own work blocked, with any number of effects on their research and, in the case of students, potentially their progression towards their degrees. These effects will last far into the future, and in some instances may never be overcome.

Chancellors and deans are providing updates to me and Provost Richards on the impact of the shutdown on their campuses, colleges and schools, and wherever possible we are finding strategies to maintain funding until federal funds are received. These sort of stop-gap measures are merely a partial fix and cannot be maintained indefinitely. The longer the shutdown continues, the greater the impact will be on individuals’ lives and on the UW’s ability to deliver the research and discovery that advances knowledge in service to the American people.

We continue to share the effects of the shutdown with our state’s federal officials in the hopes that they will reach an agreement to reopen the government, and will continue to provide updates here, on the UW Federal Relations page and via UW Research’s shutdown page.