Seattle Central cancels homeless veterans charity event

Amber Athey
Investigative Reporter

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  • A charity for homeless veterans was forced to move its two-day outreach event to a new university after Seattle Central College (SCC) tried to charge the group $13,860.
  • Last month, a member of the Student Veterans Association posted pictures to Facebook documenting the dilapidated accommodations for student veterans on campus.
  • A charity for homeless veterans was forced to move its two-day outreach event to a new university after Seattle Central College (SCC) tried to charge the group $13,860.

    Seattle Stand Down is a nonprofit charity program that offers peer support and therapeutic activities for homeless veterans. The name “stand down” comes from the military term for relief from duty. The charity hosts events throughout the year focused on connecting disadvantaged veterans with the resources and benefits available to them, as well as providing basic items such as food, haircuts, medical care, and clothing.

    "[Way] to take care of your Student Veterans, #SeattleCentralCollege you really seem to care."   

    For the past five years, Seattle Stand Down had hosted an annual program at Seattle Central College. However, this year when the charity began negotiations with the university, Interim President Sheila Edwards Lange slapped the group with a $13,860 fee, reported The New City Collegian.

    The charge included costs of alleged vandalism at past events, as well as opportunity costs on behalf of the university for hosting the event. In an expenses document obtained by The New City Collegian, SCC also tried to charge Seattle Stand Down $830 for categories listed as “Tarrell OT”, “Kehn Untulan”, and “Mohammed”.

    Seattle Stand Down told the university they were happy to pay for rental fees if they were provided with a billing statement. Quickly approaching the deadline for federal grants, the charity reached out to Ms. Lange multiple times over the next month. Nearly one month after the request for rental fee billing, Ms. Lange responded, saying, “recent interactions between Seattle Central staff and Stand Down supporters/organizers lead me to the conclusion that we have irreconcilable differences between the parties. To that end, Seattle Central will not serve as host in the future.”

    While the cancellation appeared to be due to the president’s inability to squeeze $13,860 out of the charity, a statement from David Sandler, SCC’s Director of Communications, failed to mention there had been any conflict between Seattle Stand Down and SCC. He said, “the success of the Stand Down event has enabled it to grow beyond our ability to effectively host this.”

    This is not the first time Seattle Central College has faced criticism of their “commitment” to veterans. Matthew Perry, member of the Student Veterans Association, made a Facebook post on May 3rd regarding the dilapidated accommodations for student veterans on campus. Perry says he has been in the building for five years, and photos show severe water damage, open holes in the ceiling, and unfinished drywall.

    Due to the runaround and ultimate cancellation of the Stand Down event at SCC, Seattle Stand Down will now be hosting their event at South Seattle College.

    Campus Reform reached out to both SCC and Seattle Stand Down for comment, but neither had responded by press time.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @amber_athey



    Amber Athey

    Amber Athey

    Investigative Reporter

    Amber Athey is an Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. She graduated from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Government and Economics, and is currently a member of the 2016-2017 Koch Associate Program. 

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