It’s official, the city of Seattle has their new 55th mayor for 71 days. Councilmember Tim Burgess was nominated by the Seattle City Council this afternoon in a 5-1 vote.
Nearly four months after sexual abuse allegations first emerged against Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, the one-term mayor has decided to resign after his cousin recently claimed Murray abused him as a child.
The ASUW Student Senate convened for a meeting last night, asking for UW President Ana Mari Cauce to answer some questions regarding the Jan. 20 Red Square shooting.
Most of the questions posed over the evening revolved around UW resources, asking the administration to be more proactive than reactive. Many expressed concern for safety and frustration about the UW’s handling of incidents against and by students, like doxxing, threats, and knife-wielding.
The UW has been negotiating its contract with three medical centers — Harborview Medical Center, Valley Medical Center, and Northwest Hospital & Medical Center — since its first proposal in April. Medical staff in each hospital, however, see real on-the-ground issues within, and missing from, the contract.
“We’re always struggling to find staff to take care of patients,” said Chris Lopez, a nurse at Valley Medical. “Valley’s motto is — at least it used to be — was ‘patient safety is our number one priority.’”
Lopez feels being understaffed has direct consequences for patients because there aren’t enough employees to see the number of people coming in.
During the Board of Regents’ meeting Nov. 12, Lopez was one of many medical staff who showed up to express these concerns.
“We need to get our patients the proper care all the time and very quickly because time matters,” he said at the meeting. “We don’t want our patients to hit the call light and have nobody show up.”
According to Lopez, Valley Medical currently sends out “robo-voicemails,” texts, and emails to staff every half hour or hour, trying to get people to come to work. He isn’t talking about just people who have the day off either; he’s talking about staff that are already at work but are asked to stay.
Lopez isn’t the only one feeling the strain. Staff at other hospitals under the UW medical contract are also having these issues.
Vanessa Patricelli from Harborview also voiced her concerns during the public comments section, referencing what it was like to be understaffed during the accident caused by a Ride the Ducks tour bus on Aurora two months ago.
Of the many things on the board of regents’ two-hour long agenda Thursday evening, two of them involved large sums of money.
One of these was the UW president Ana Mari Cauce’s salary for the next five years. She will earn $910,000 a year. Broken down, $12,000 of that is her yearly automobile allowance, $697,500 her yearly salary, $150,000 her yearly deferred compensation, and $50,500 her yearly retirement.
While signing her contract, Cauce announced she will donate $500,000 of her salary to the UW over the course of her promised five years. Cauce will also add to a scholarship fund she created in the name of her brother, who was killed because of his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. She also said she’ll contribute to other funds for student support and programs.
In their meeting Tuesday, the UW Board of Regents announced interim president Ana Mari Cauce will be the new president of the university. Cauce is the first-ever Latina and the first-ever woman president of the UW.
Cauce called the occasion an out-of-body experience.
“This is less about me, than really about us,” Cauce said. “Because we’re all together here. What it says to me is that — and I hope it says to everyone out there — is that you have confidence we’re moving in the right direction.”
She addressed the importance of diversity and access at the UW, saying it’s not just the right thing to do, but it’s also the smart thing to do. She said diversity gives the university an advantage to have complexity, and people coming from different perspectives.
Private contributions from outside donors play a large role in university funding across the nation. The UW received approximately $227 million in last year’s private gifts, almost $28 million less than gifts from the preceding 2013-14 fiscal year.
“The [contribution] that is significantly smaller is [to] the School of Law,” said Walt Dryfoos, associate vice president for advancement services at the UW.
The decrease in the law school’s contributions may be in part due to Jack MacDonald, a generous donor, passing away in 2013, leaving his $187.6 million to be split up between the UW’s School of Law, the Salvation Army, and Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
This is the largest gift to the law school in its history, according to The Seattle Times.
With all of this money laying around, some people might wonder why public universities like the UW need funding from the legislature in the first place.