Can’t shut us down

Lizzy Balboa

The pandemonium of a government shutdown is seen well beyond the limits of Washington, including
at the secluded Allendale Campus of Grand Valley State University.

However, considering the school’s identity as a public institution, the effects aren’t as direct as one
might think.

“Current students will see no effect from the federal shutdown; classes, housing, dining, student
services, and normal university operations are state—not federal—functions,” said Matt McLogan, vice
president of University Relations at GVSU. “Grand Valley has contracts with the federal government;
examples are TRIO, the small business outreach program (SBTDC), and selected research projects. So
far, work in these activities continues and no university employees have been impacted by the federal

The GVSU community could feel the effects outside the academic sphere, though.

“It’s not so much how it affects GVSU, but everyone as individuals,” said Whitt Kilburn, associate
professor of political science. “Flu season is almost upon us, but the Center for Disease Control has to
stop its flu vaccine program. Food safety, air and water quality monitoring from the Environmental
Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture has been reduced.”

Professor research could also be halted with a cut-off of federal information.

“Perhaps most generally, anyone reliant on access to data provided by the federal government is
affected,” Kilburn said. “Businesses and individuals who use data from the U.S. Census Bureau, for
example, will find that data access is suspended. Various websites used to access census and survey
data are down.”

Kilburn added that some GVSU students will feel the effects more than others.

“Student veterans could lose benefits if the shutdown continues for more than two weeks,” he said.
“Any GVSU education students who study, teach or assist with Head Start programs could see that as
Head Start programs begin to close, their education is affected. Students who receive disability
benefits from the federal government could lose support.”

The effects may not be so direct, either.

“Health sciences students could be affected by a shutdown at the National Institutes of Health. For
example, clinical research trials and grant funding operations are halted,” Kilburn said.

As more consequences come to light, McLogan said the university is monitoring them daily to gain a
better understanding of how the GVSU community could be impacted.

[email protected]