State Rep. Takes Up UW Students' Cause for More Representation

By Andrew Calkins May 3, 2011

Today's Winner: Students

It looks like Rep. Derek Stanford (D-1, Bothel) has taken up the cause of the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW) to increase the number of student regents from one to three. Stanford proposed an amendment to a higher education bill today that would do just that. Last week, the ASUW announced the idea as an offset to Rep. Reuven Carlyle's (D-36, Queen Anne) legislation to grant local control of tuition setting authority to the state's public universities — something the group has adamantly fought this session.

Andrew Lewis, Assistant Director at ASUW's Office of Government Relations, tells PubliCola that Stanford's amendment is a step in the right direction and gives them a "tangible piece of legislation to work with, rather than an abstract idea." Last week, Carlyle told PubliCola that there wasn't an appetite in the legislature to move forward with ASUW's regent idea.

The Stanford amendment, though embodying the core of ASUW's original proposal, only applies to the UW (the original proposal was broader). Lewis says that's because ASUW felt "the fairest thing was to make it UW-centric," adding that "we didn't feel comfortable imposing this on other schools" since they didn't know where they stand on the issue.

Lewis added that the greater victory was actually that Carlyle's bill didn't get a vote during yesterday's house floor session, despite Carlyle telling PubliCola on Friday that the legislation could move on the house floor early this week. Lewis credited that victory to the lobbying his group has done during the 2011 session, saying he didn't think Carlyle had the votes.

Rep. Carlyle tells PubliCola: "That's just not true," explaining that they were just going through the "normal legislative process" and were still in negotiations with house senate and governor. He couldn't say when the bill would finally be worked out, but said he had "bipartisan" support for the bill.

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