Both the Yakima Herald and the Washington State Association for Justice are reporting the death of Sanford “Sam” Kinzer, of Liberty, Washington. Sam died after a fall on his property, when he slipped and fell off a cliff, while removing a tree. My apologies if the year of his birth is wrong. Sam was 63 years young at the time of his passing.
Sam is well known in the trial lawyer community, having served as a past-Director of the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association. The following is his biography from Central Washington University’s web page:
Mr. Kinzer was born and raised in La Grande, Oregon where he attended public schools, 4-H clubs, played sports and enjoyed the outdoors. The first member of his family to graduate from college, he attended Eastern Oregon College his freshman year, and graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Oregon in 1970. He later graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Masters Degree in Public Administration, and from Georgetown University Law School in 1977.
Prior to law school Kinzer worked as a lobbyist for the Teamsters Union in Washington, D.C. After graduating he practiced for a year in Seattle, and returned to the other Washington where he worked as staff counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and as Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). In 1983 Kinzer moved to Seattle and joined the law firm of Preston Gates and Ellis.
Sanford has practiced law as a litigator, and trial lawyer. Between 1989 and 2005 he maintained his office in Everett, Washington representing primarily injured persons. He has been a member and director of many civic organizations, and served as a Trustee at Everett Community College during 2000-05. In July, 2005 he and his wife and two young daughters moved to Ellensburg where they now live and work. Rural dwellers, the Kinzer’s have many animals and raise and show American Quarter Horses.
Sam, a staunch advocate for education, resigned from his post as trustee at Central Washington University over tuition increases in 2009. Sam openly opposed the rate increase, and explained his position in a letter to the Daily Record:
Central Washington University just handed its students a 14 percent increase in tuition, and next year another 14 percent is proposed. The Board of Trustees rubber stamped this year’s increase at the recommendation of the administration without debate.
As a result, the CWU board has one fewer trustee. That would be me. I resigned because I am opposed to the tuition boost, and I detest the board’s habit of automatic, lock-step approvals of whatever the administration wants.
A college education has become too expensive, and we are not doing enough to control costs. The priority of university administrators (at Central and elsewhere) is to preserve the institution as is – maintain the jobs, the programs, the benefits – cuss the legislature for cutting funding, then lobby for authority to raise the kids’ tuition. It’s been going on for years.
Even when we didn’t need the money in flush times, we have had tuition increases. Seven percent increases were passed each year from 2004 to 2008, and in 2002 and 2003, there were 14 percent increases.
A full-time student at Central will now pay tuition and fees of $4,841, additional “mandatory fees” of $882, books and supplies of about $924, room and board of $8,052, transportation costs of $1,098, and estimated miscellaneous expenses of $2,016. Those numbers equal a not insignificant $17,813 for a year at CWU.
Without much help from home, Central graduates can now expect to finish with $20- $30,000 of debt. In this job market, many students will start saying it’s not worth it.
And then you hear: all of the other universities are raising tuition, Central will fall behind if we don’t follow suit. We must maintain the competitive edge, keep pace, preserve the quality of our product.
Central needs to start worrying more about whether it is going to have students around to enjoy the quality of any product. It is time to change CWU. We can no longer afford the old ivy and all of its trappings.
A good start would be for Central to step forward with innovative ideas, and say:
No more damn tuition increases for now. We think too much of our students and their families. We’re going to find another way. Raise more private money, trim the alphabet soup of courses offered, offer fewer majors, quit trying to be all things to all students, cut back on staff and teachers, make do with less.
Like any school, CWU wants a brand. To be known for something special. Here’s a thought: “Join our team at Central where we believe in our students, where we draw the line on tuition gouges, where we might ask you to mow the grass, but we’ll give you a jacket” It says:
“CWU: Where Students Come First.”
The Amateur Law Professor would like to express our condolences to Sam’s family. Our prayers are with you in this tough time.