VICE News Covers the EWU Community


Keri Kelly

EWU student Aiden Cook stands outside the music and arts building. Many academic programs are facing budget cuts.

By Emily Driskel, News Editor

A video from VICE News “COVID Is Emptying College Towns That Desperately Need Students” came out on Oct. 19 about the effect online school was having on EWU and Cheney. The opening scene of the video shows an overview of Cheney, with clips of the train going by, empty buildings along the street and barely anyone out walking around.


Here is a list of takeaways from the VICE video regarding the effects of the lack of students on EWU’s campus:

  • VICE News mentioned that there were only a few hundred people out of the 12,000 students living in the EWU dorms this year. 
  • They interviewed freshman Rylee Carlon on the day she moved into the dorms. She mentioned that this experience was not what she was expecting, and she said it can be scary because of students breaking social distancing.
  • The video states that EWU has been around longer than Cheney has been, which is a true statement. EWU was established about a hundred years before Cheney became an official town.
  • Cheney businesses rely heavily on students and faculty to remain open, according to Meena Davidson from VICE News, and Cheney estimates losing one third of its revenue due to the lack of students returning to campus. 
  • Douglas LaBar, owner of The Mason Jar, talked with VICE News about the 22 empty store lots on a four block radius. 
  • According to VICE News, EWU is one of the 600 regional four year universities that serve mostly in-state students. 
  • VICE News also spoke with President David May about EWU’s budget. EWU has cut over $20 million from their budget since the pandemic began.
  • “400 people have been impacted by personal actions,” said May. “In some cases that [impact] was a layoff. I think the number was 108…”
  • May said that EWU has been looking for anything possible in order to reduce the effects on the people.
  • Michael Reid, after 14 years of working at EWU, was laid off in June with a couple of days notice and a one month severance. 
  • “I don’t know how much longer EWU, as we understand it now, is going to be around,” said Reid. 
  • Towards the end of the video, LaBar mentions that it will be tough for the Mason Jar if classes remain online throughout the year. 
  • “It’s getting tiring and slightly exhausting after awhile,” said LaBar. “I think we are finally getting a little momentum, but then of course [COVID-19] or stuff like this happens.”


The VICE video also states that EWU plans to keep classes online until May. EWU has only informed the students that winter quarter will continue remotely, but EWU is still waiting to hear what the rest of the school year will look like.