On institutional framework

Cuts everywhere. Education and also beef.

Cuts everywhere. Education and also beef.

Now that the Senate and House budgets have come out, there’s a lot of surmising in the ether about how and where precisely education cuts will fall. There are numbers floating around that are based on hunches and guestimations, but it’s increasingly clear that nobody exactly knows.

Case in point is the University of Washington, where every one of the various colleges have separate processes for identifying where cuts should come, and which programs are on the chopping block. Each college has come up with its own decision-making process, and each has various degrees of transparency. Where one department might be sacrificing staff in favor of financial aid for graduate students, another might be talking cross-the-board salary cuts. And where some students have a direct voice in the decision-making process, others are learning of decisions well after the fact.

It’s a microcosm of the larger issue facing organizations and agencies all across the state (and the nation): unprecedented cuts, and an institutional framework that isn’t designed to handle it, because it’s overwhelming.

Not an appealing scenario, but it also holds the potential for ordinary (and organized) citizens to have input on decisions that are usually far from the light of day.


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