Letter to the editor: Redirect budget cuts

WSU Young Democrats

As a Registered Student Organization on campus, the Young Democrats of WSU strongly opposes ending the Performing Arts program and the proposed budget cuts to the Office of Multicultural Student Services and the Office of Equity and Diversity.

The Performing Arts program does not negatively impact WSU’s budget significantly enough to terminate the entire program. The budget for Performing Arts’ four faculty members and small amounts of maintenance is approximately $270,000 per year, which the ASWSU public testimony pointed out is a mere 2.7 percent of the colossal $10 million being cut. The Performing Arts faculty are not only imperative to the program, but have had significant positive impacts on the mental health of many students. Some of those faculty members have been highlighted for saving countless students from suicide, depression and mental distress.

We strongly oppose the cutting of retention counselors from the multicultural community, especially in light of the fact that many of these people are first-generation college students and the most vulnerable to suffering low retention rates. The Office of Multicultural Student Services retention counselors make about $37,500 a year — a fraction of the new regent positions being added.

WSU President Kirk Schulz has released many statements in the past affirming his support for diversity, while now simultaneously cutting funding for programs that support these very students. Such top-down management completely disregards proper communication between the affected programs and students.

The Young Democrats of WSU stands in solidarity with the Performing Arts program, the Office of Multicultural Student Services and the Office of Equity and Diversity. Instead of focusing on depleting resources that aid and guide students, we urge the university to consider how to lower the deficit in ways that impact the student body less.

We feel that these cuts could be implemented in such a way that feels less tone-deaf to campus climate and the needs of students. We strongly encourage you to vocalize your outrage in concert with our own by emailing Schulz directly at presidentsoffice@wsu.edu as well as on social media.