Editorial roundup

Columbus Dispatch, Feb. 17

The notion of the “starving college student,” subsisting on ramen noodles and the occasional beer, is a quaint little campus concept that should be long retired — like “co-ed” and panty raids.

Nobody should go hungry in America, certainly not people who are sacrificing to pay ever-increasing tuition in order to build better lives.

Colleges and universities are beginning to recognize that, along with folks who are nontraditional in age and more diverse in every way, the typical student body includes people struggling to make basic ends meet.

It’s encouraging that campuses are responding, in many cases by setting up food banks. Ohio University has taken an extra step, by applying for and receiving permission to accept federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, formerly known as food stamps.

OU students who qualify can use SNAP to buy food at a campus-run grocery. The university also is making an effort to let students who aren’t enrolled in SNAP know that they might qualify.

That sort of proactive approach probably is more important now than in the past, as colleges and universities seek to help and encourage low-income students and adults get college training or degrees.

More campuses should consider qualifying for SNAP spending. Even with financial aid, many low-income students need help to cover expenses. If no on-campus store accepts them, food stamps can’t be much help to a student who doesn’t have a car to drive to the nearest grocery store.

In trying to increase the percentage of low-income and first-generation students who make it to graduation, colleges and universities provide many supports: tutoring, academic advising, help making the social transition to college. If they aren’t already including assistance to those who need food, they should start.

Online: http://bit.ly/2FaH8v3

Feb. 27, The Seattle Times on legislative secrecy, an editorial that ran on the newspaper’s front page, in an unusual move:

Flanked by cameras, Gov. Jay Inslee boldly stood before President Donald Trump on Monday and told our commander in chief to listen to the people.

Inslee now needs to follow his own advice here at home. He must veto Senate Bill 6617, state lawmakers’ flagrant and rushed attempt to avoid following Washington’s Public Records Act.

Lawmakers hastily introduced and passed the legislation within 48 hours last week — a clear yet clandestine effort to evade a January court ruling that found they have been illegally withholding emails and other important documents from the public.

Hundreds of people emailed the governor’s office over the weekend to demand Inslee veto the bill. And, on Tuesday, The Seattle Times was joined by 12 other newspapers that ran editorials on the front page, urging the governor to veto the measure.

Yet Inslee told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that he cannot block SB 6617 “because they have a veto-proof majority.”

This is not true. Inslee absolutely can and should veto the legislation, forcing lawmakers to once again take this vote. This time, constituents are watching more closely.

Lawmakers can override Inslee’s veto only if they hold a second misguided vote, ignoring this week’s public backlash and the front-page objections of newspapers throughout the state.

In his televised comments Monday, Inslee called SB 6617 a “bad idea” and unnecessary, while proudly trumpeting his administration as “the most transparent . in our state’s history.”

Now is the time for Inslee’s actions to live up to his words.

Vetoing the bill would show legislators they are not, in fact, above the law, and that the state’s executive will stand up to them when their actions diverge from the public interest.

Online: https://www.seattletimes.com/