Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: UW


The wrongfully convicted deserve compensation

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

In 1993, Alan Northrop was found guilty in Clark County of rape, burglary and kidnapping and spent 17 years in prison for the crimes. There was a problem with that conviction, though: Northrop was innocent.

Thanks to efforts by the Innocence Project Northwest at the University of Washington’s Law School, DNA tests of evidence finally cleared Northrop, and he was released in 2010. Besides being wrongfully imprisoned, he missed seeing his three young children grow up. Today he owes more than $100,000 in back child support and says he lives paycheck to paycheck.

Under current state law, he has little chance of receiving compensation for his wrongful conviction. He would have to sue on such grounds as police or prosecutorial misconduct, which could be hard to prove in this case: The victim picked him out of a lineup. Read more »


Approve amendments and maintain tax actions

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Voters can be excused if they’re scratching their heads over four measures on the Nov. 6 ballot. The ballot language can be confusing, especially on the two advisory vote measures.

We’ll make it easy for you. The News Tribune editorial board recommends that you vote “approved” on the two constitutional amendments (ESJR 8221 and SJR 8223) and “maintained” on the two advisory votes. Here’s why. Read more »


Grading Washington’s four-year schools: An F for UW?

In today’s column, Kathleen Parker writes about a new study, What Will They Learn, conducted by the nonprofit American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). It grades about 700 of the nation’s four-year colleges and universities, focusing on their “requirements as a measure of what an institution actually delivers.” Institutions typically were downgraded for not requiring students to take courses in economics, government and history.

Only 16 schools received A grades, and none were in Washington. The highest grade earned in this state was Seattle University’s B. Cougars have some bragging rights over the University of Washington, earning a C compared to the F for UW. (That grade has me wondering about the quality of this study, frankly.)

One very notable oversight was the study’s failure to include Pacific Lutheran University – even though the ACTA saw fit to rate City University. Spokesman David Azerrad said that the organization had limited resources and only this year expanded its rating pool from 100 to 700 schools. PLU’s absence, he said, “has been duly noted” and it will probably be included next year. PLU’s challenge: Beat the D earned by the University of Puget Sound.

Here’s how the state schools rated. Also included are graduation rates and in-school tuition and fees for a year. Read more »


The South Sound has a big stake in Emmert’s successor

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

If ever an institution needed to get it right in picking its next leader, the University of Washington does now.
The UW will soon be losing Mark Emmert, its best president in decades. There’s a lot at stake in his replacement, for the state as a whole and also for the South Sound.

Whoever takes his place will walk into a crisis. The Legislature has long been lukewarm about funding higher education, and the recession has given lawmakers ample justification to carve deeply into the UW’s muscle and bone. The threat is becoming existential.

Over the last three years, the Legislature has raised tuition while cutting its support for Washington’s flagship university by a full third. Students are writing bigger checks for skinnier course offerings, larger classes and fewer labs. For the first time, they now pay more than half the cost of their educations – a sharp erosion of a public university’s mission to offer affordable diplomas to those who can’t afford private school tuition.

The best solution, given the scarcity of funding, is to allow the UW and other public colleges to set their own tuition rates – requiring the affluent to pay full freight and offering generous financial aid to students who need it. But lawmakers have refused to cede control of tuition, preferring to impose across-the-board increases on rich and poor alike.
Read more »