Government shutdown jeopardizes Whitworth University course

Government shutdown jeopardizes Whitworth University course

The partial U.S. government shutdown is all too real for a group of students at Whitworth University on a month long trip in the nation’s capitol.

Professor Aaron Putzke spent the last several months planning the trip and coordinating with researchers and curators at the Smithsonian. His students were supposed to get a behind the scenes look at several Smithsonian museums – now they aren’t sure if they will be able to step foot inside any of them.

“It was disappointment, and of course a slight bit of panic,” Putzke said.

Doors are locked, and Smithsonian museums are dark. The federal government entered a partial shutdown on December 22nd and there’s still no end in sight as the president and democrats bicker over border wall funding.

“I had three or four days since the shutdown to completely refigure the next three and a half weeks or so to not include what we came here to do,” Putzke said.

He’s now looking at private museums, even performances at the Kennedy Center.

“There’s plenty for us to fill our space and time with that’s enriching and educationally valuable,” he said.

Students say they are hopeful – but not especially confident that the shutdown will end by the end of their trip toward the end of January.

The group is in contact with Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Senator Patty Murray. Both politicians are trying to set up a time to visit with students.

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