After weeks of name-calling and accusations, a temporary agreement to end the government shutdown was reached Jan. 25.
With 800,000 federal employees looking to miss yet another paycheck, the pressure on both parties to reopen the government was reaching a fever-pitch.
The effects of the 35-day shutdown were felt throughout the United States, including here on MCCC’s campus
On one side is President Donald Trump – who was demanding $5.7 billion to begin a proposed wall on the U.S. Mexican border.
On the other side the Democratic Party, which recently gained control of the House of Representatives.
“We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier,” Trump said from the Rose Garden. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on Feb. 15, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.”
Earlier this month, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi spoke to reporters.
“A wall, in my view, is an immorality,” she said. “It’s the least effective way to protect the border and the most costly. I can’t think of any reason why anyone would think it’s a good idea — unless this has something to do with something else.”
On campus, those looking to receive federal financial aid had the most to lose.
Director of Financial Aid Valerie Culler said there was no disruption in student aid for those who took classes last semester.
She said transfer students and those starting at MCCC for the first time this semester had the most to lose.
Culler also said the agencies overseeing federal financial aid were doing what they could to make the process easier.
On Jan. 9, an updated guidance was sent to the Financial Aid office.
“Going forward, and even after a deal is reached, students may bring in their own tax forms,” she said.
Previously, all tax forms had to be sent directly from the IRS to MCCC.
“Students who need letters to show proof of non-filing status are required to make a good faith effort,” Culler said. “We can help them with that.”
Culler said the Offices of Financial Aid helped students create a document stating the government is shutdown, therefore the student is unable to receive their letter.
However, the shutdown did not just affect those with financial aid.
Many students on campus have strong opinions on the shutdown.
“I think the Democrats should get their money withheld,” student Jackie Conn said the day before an agreement was made. “They need to hit them where it hurts, then maybe something will happen.”
Conn, who said she supports the President’s concept of building a wall, wishes the Democrats would “give a little bit.”
Blaine Hubbert, who attends both MCCC and Siena Heights, said he does not understand why there isn’t a stipend in place to pay government employees.
Both he and Conn said what’s happening to employees is terrible.
“They’re going to work and they’re not receiving a paycheck,” Hubbert said. “There’s no guarantee they’re even going to get their back pay.”
Hubbert puts a lot of blame on the President, and feels like the 2020 election mixed with a hatred of Latin people is playing a big role in the President’s decisions.
“I think it’s a lot of xenophobia,” he said. “Building the wall is based on xenophobia and racism.”