SEIU

 

Balance the UW Board of Regents

Background:

The UW Board of Regents is the University’s governing body. Board members are responsible for supervising, coordinating and managing UW.

Seven of the ten current board members are corporate leaders, including executives from Alaska Airlines, Boeing and Microsoft. Two board members are non-profit leaders and one is a student. None are UW faculty or staff.

The UW Board of Regents recently:

  • Approved the second highest undergraduate in-state tuition hike in the country between 2008-2013.
  • Froze faculty and staff salaries for four years. Faculty are now paid 12% less on average than faculty at peer institutions and haven’t caught up.
  • Inadequately represented UW to the state legislature, even as state funding dropped from 12% of UW’s operating budget in 2008 to 4% today.

Two Regents’ terms are expiring on September 30th, 2016. Governor Inslee could choose to re-appoint them or make new appointments.

Patrick Shanahan, chair of the UW Board of Regents and a Vice President at Boeing, has served on the Board since 2012. In 2015, Boeing received a $305 million tax break from Washington State – MORE than the state provided in funding to UW, which received $293 million in state funding for fiscal year 2016.

William Ayer, former chair of the UW Board of Regents and former CEO of Alaska Airlines, has served on the Board since 2012. Mr. Ayer was Chairman of UW Board of Regents for all 2014-15 “closed door” meetings with no accountability, likely in violation of state open-meeting laws, leading to student protests against Regent meetings.

UW needs a Board of Regents that will fight for public funding for public education.

Governor Inslee,

We urge you to appoint a balanced UW Board of Regent which is committed to sustainable public funding for our public university, and opening up opportunities to diverse student, faculty and staff populations. The current corporate majority on the Board of Regents has demonstrated an over-reliance on private, rather than public funding solutions.