While working on a presentation for her BIO 181 class, kinesiology freshman Laura Hatty attempted to access the Department of Agriculture’s website, only to find that the website was temporarily shut down.
“This made things a little more difficult for me and my research,” Hatty says.
Hatty’s homework dilemma may seem trivial to some, but it represents just one of the many ways that Arizona State students are feeling the effects of the government shutdown.
Journalism sophomore James White is facing a lack of monthly income and scholarship money. White is a member of the ASU ROTC, which gets a monthly stipend provided by the government. According to him, none of the members have been paid yet.
ROTC also gave White a scholarship. He is currently unsure of the status of that money.
“It’s just a really frustrating time,” White says.
The United States government shut down at 12:01 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Oct. 8, because Congress could not come to an agreement over a spending bill. As a result, all non-essential federal employees were furloughed, which means they are forced into a temporary, unpaid leave of absence. Those employees considered essential, such as the President and Congress, as well as the military, were not affected.
The University Perspective
Business and legal studies sophomore Nic Parra put the shutdown in perspective by explaining what would happen if the Arizona State Undergraduate Student Government ever shutdown. Parra is a senator for USG, and also services as the chair of university affairs.
If the USG shutdown, students would no longer have a voice in student affairs. According to Parra, USG gets to voice an opinion over everything the university decides to do. This includes the new controversial proposed student athletic fee.
“We wouldn’t have any say on it,” Parra said. “They would just pass it without us consenting.”
Other programs and services would also be affected if the student government decided to temporarily shutdown.
“There wouldn’t be any programs on ASU’s campus, because everything gets funded by USG,” Parra explained.
These programs include many of the clubs and activities on campus. Parra mentioned that other essential things would also be closed down, including the bike co-op.
“That would be terrible, because hundreds of people use that every week,” Parra explained.
Luckily, there are no plans to shutdown the undergraduate student government. Additionally, the federal shutdown has not affected USG at all. According to Parra, student and state funding supports USG.
Permits and Services
Unfortunately, students do not just rely on university services. Several have faced difficulties recently as a result of essential government services closing.
Health promotion senior Nathan Mills has been trying to replace his social security card, which he lost during a recent move, and now needs in order to complete an application for a job. However, the Social Security office is not currently issuing any new or replacement cards.
In addition to Social Security cards, citizens cannot currently obtain a gun permit or get a small business loan from the government, either.
Many students also found their weekend plans threatened by the shutdown.
“It’s completely messed up our fall break,” says Dakota Snider, the vice president of the ASU Outdoors Club and film and media and mass communications junior.
115 students faced ruined or altered plans in the Outdoors Club, alone. The club had planned two trips over fall break, to Utah’s Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon and Red Rocks Canyon in Nevada. Not only were those trips already planned, they were also already paid for.
“Now, we’re out of money, and there’s no way to get a refund,” Snider explains.
It was looking dire for the Outdoors Club. While they managed to make alternate plans for trips to state land, it would not have been the same experience. According to Snider, students signed up for particular trips because they wanted to see that particular place, not a nearby state campground.
“There’s a lot of disappointment,” Snider said. “Most of that disappointment comes from our exchange students.”
According to Snider, out of more than 300 members, almost 50 of those are exchange students.
“We pride ourselves on the fact that all of these students from other countries want to join the club,” Snider says, “and this limits their chances to see some of the best features of North America.”
Those planning to go on the Zion trip got lucky, though. On Friday, Oct. 11, Utah announced that it would use state funds to reopen five of their national parks, according to USA Today, including Zion.
Nursing sophomore Bailey Scalise faced disappointment as her chance to get up close and personal with an American monument was similarly jeopardized. Scalise spent her fall break with other students from Barrett, the Honors College, on a trip to New York City. The trip initially included a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty; however, because the National Park Service runs the island, it is currently closed.
Senior student services coordinator Sashaun Wood, the coordinator of the trip, confirmed that the trip is not severely affected by the shutdown.
“Everything that was originally planned, we’re basically doing,” Wood says. “They’re not federally-funded locations that we’re going to.”
The group did indeed get to see Lady Liberty, as well as many other sights that were privately or state-funded.
“Good thing we didn’t go to DC,” Wood jokes.
According to the Washington Post, senate leaders have announced today a bipartisan deal to raise the dept limit through Feb. 7 and plan to bring the shutdown to an end.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.