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December 19, 2013 at 6:12 AM

Why UW, Seattle U. should divest from fossil-fuel companies

(Illustration by William Brown / Op Art)

(Illustration by William Brown / Op Art)

Editor’s note: Nicole Gaddie, a Seattle University student, is interning with The Seattle Times opinion section this fall.

A new movement is building traction among colleges across the nation: withdrawing endowment investments from major fossil-fuel companies.

Historically this is not new territory. In the 1980s college students demanded divestment from companies that supported the apartheid regime of South Africa. In the 1990s college endowments divested from Big Tobacco.

Students should once again make a statement, this time by seeking a solution to climate change.

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0 Comments | Topics: climate change, students, uw

June 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Patty Murray makes strong case for immigration reform

Comprehensive immigration reform is easy to bash when you look at a bunch of policy reforms on paper.

Many Americans get it. Some don’t. This is really about people. Living, breathing human beings. There’s no better way to understand the need for changes to the way we treat the issue of citizenship in the United States than to hear the personal stories of individuals who are living in the shadows.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray delivered a strong opening speech before Congress Wednesday as the chamber opened the floodgates to a national debate on reforming immigration laws. She outlined a pragmatic approach to the problem while standing beside a a giant poster-sized photo of two Washington state sisters, Mari and Adriana Barrera.  The two were raised by a single mother and began working from a young age. When one sibling fell terribly ill, the other pledged to become a doctor. Unfortunately, she recently had to drop out of the University of Washington because she could not afford tuition and did not qualify for financial aid. That’s the price young people have to pay when they are raised in and thrive in the U.S., but lack a valid nine-digit code known as a social security number. It’s inhumane for us to limit their talent and brain power, which are often cultivated in American schools.

Watch Murray’s 15-minute speech below. As the debate continues, I hope other lawmakers bring forth similar stories of determination and survival. They should remember these stories before they vote.

Whatever happens in Washington, D. C. in the coming months will affect our state in profound ways, whether we’re talking about laying the groundwork for the high-tech sector to maintain jobs here or keeping up with the labor demands of our agricultural economy. As this February Slate map shows, there are approximately 230,000 undocumented immigrants within Washington. They make up about 3 percent of our statewide population and 5 percent of our total labor force (and very likely a much higher percentage of our farm workers).

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0 Comments | More in Video | Topics: comprehensive, immigration reform, patty murray