In recent days, we have all received notifications of crimes that have occurred on or near the Seattle campus. As the notifications indicate, these are sent in compliance with federal law—the Clery Act—and also as a way to caution all of us that the incidents are occurring and that we should be watchful and especially aware of our surroundings.
Some of the events have occurred on campus and others have taken place in the community surrounding the University, where many of our students reside. In the minds of those intent on committing a crime, we represent an attractive target for robbery—of personal belongings, especially smartphones—and other property. Fortunately, thus far we have not had serious injury occur, though two of the incidents were frightful armed robberies.
I know that the frequency of these incidents over the past week can be a source of anxiety. It also raises questions about what we are doing to try to prevent such incidents from happening. Your safety is of the utmost importance to the University, and there are things we are doing to respond. We are significantly increasing our UW police presence and patrols in west campus and the surrounding areas. UWPD continues to partner with the Seattle Police Department in and around the University District to provide safety and regular patrol operations and is in regular communication with them about ways to work together. We can all be more aware of and sensitive to our surroundings and circumstances and take common sense steps to enhance our safety, such as traveling together after dark and exercising caution in using our phones in public. And we can enhance our security and well-being by looking out for each other as we move about the University District.
We are pleased to report our financial, student, research, community and environmental performance for 2012. The Report to Stakeholders accounts for our performance during the year, with financial and non-financial information together.
Yesterday the Governor released her 2013-15 biennial budget proposal. This marks the final budget proposal of Governor Gregoire’s eight-year term, and the first step in preparation for the 2013 legislative session. I first want to thank Governor Gregoire for her exemplary service to the state, and particularly commend her leadership as we navigated the last four years of extraordinary budget challenges.
While it appears Washington’s economy is slowly recovering from the Great Recession, significant state budget challenges, including a $970 million budget deficit over the next two years and a court mandate to fully fund basic education, remain. Higher education is not exempt from these challenges. Since 2009, the University of Washington’s state funding has been cut by nearly 50 percent. Despite significant tuition increases to help mitigate these reductions, funding per student at the University of Washington is still $3,000 less than it was before the recession started.
Last year, the legislature passed the first ‘no new cuts’ education budget since 2008. The governor’s proposed 2013-15 budget would continue to hold the university harmless from further reductions, with targeted new investments in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and student financial aid. This is a good step forward and we commend the governor for recognizing the role that higher education has in fueling our economic recovery.
However, more is needed to address the real financial pressures facing higher education. If Washington truly wants to grow and sustain a 21st century economy, we must re-commit to an accessible and affordable public higher education system for Washington’s next generation by re-investing in public higher education.
There is still much work to be done. I look forward to working with Governor-elect Inslee and the state legislature in the coming months as budget conversations progress.
The news today about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut is devastating and incomprehensible. Our hearts go out to all the families who lost loved ones in this horrible, tragic shooting. It is especially disturbing at this time of year when families gather to celebrate the joy in their lives. As our community disperses for the holidays, I know today’s events will weigh heavily on all of us, and I hope we will all take a moment to think of those who were killed today and the suffering of their families and friends.
Dear Members of the University of Washington Community:
We have so much to be grateful for at the University of Washington. We are all fortunate to be part of a community with the ability—and determination—to make a positive difference in our world, whether through teaching, research, artistic expression, collaboration, service or other means.
Reflecting on the past year, I’m proud of the UW’s outstanding work and achievements. And I’m also proud of the generous spirit that continues to characterize our university.
Our 2012 year-end video, which I invite you to view and share, celebrates that spirit.
Thank you for making a difference as part of our community. I wish you all the best this holiday season.
At the UW, not all of the creative solutions to contemporary challenges come from our faculty. We also have some of the best staff in the world.
Recently, a good example of what our staff does came to my attention. Many schools have had agonizing struggles to decide which intramural locker rooms, male or female, are to be used by transgender students.Here, though, John Pariseau, our Director of Recreational Sports Programs, saw the question coming and worked out a thoughtful, innovative answer. (Seattle Weekly blog)
First, John started by defining this not as a “problem” but as an opportunity to help make part of our community feel more comfortable. Then, rather than forcing such students to make a difficult either/or decision, he pursued his idea for a “universal shower-dressing room” to be used by transgender students and others, giving them the privacy of traditional male and female facilities without unnecessary complications. John coordinated the planning for this locker room with the UW’s Q Center and now it is almost ready to open.
I love seeing this kind of flexible thinking and the application of both imagination and common sense. Thank you, John, for helping make the UW a better institution for our entire community.
This week marks the third annual Sustainability Summit on our Seattle campus. The Sustainability Summit celebrates the University of Washington’s leadership and accomplishments in environmental stewardship and sustainability. It is a great opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to find ways to get involved with sustainability efforts here on campus and beyond and also to learn more about the UW’s commitment to sustainability.
Dear Members of the University of Washington Community:
Yesterday afternoon, many of you joined me at my annual address for a look at how we are working together as a university to address key 21st century challenges. Thank you for attending or watching on UWTV or online.
As I said in my remarks, everything you do here at the UW — whether you are a faculty or staff member or a student — has the potential to make a difference in people’s lives in the Pacific Northwest and around the globe. As a public university, we are committed to addressing the world’s most pressing challenges, as we have done throughout much of our 150-year history.
As we look to the future, I believe we can do even more. And that is what Tomorrow’s University Today, the initiative I introduced yesterday, is all about. The challenges we face in the world are large and complex and require multi-dimensional, integrative solutions. The UW, with our history of collaborative, multidisciplinary research, is poised to deliver them.
Tomorrow’s University Today is an effort to broaden and deepen our impact on societal issues in three key areas:
I encourage you to visit tomorrow.uw.edu to learn more about Tomorrow’s University Today. You can also watch a number of videos showing some of the great work already under way in these critical areas.
I hope you’re as excited as I am about the many ways the UW can propel ideas from our classrooms and labs out into the community to continue creating positive change.