Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Polls are now open, student body president nominees provide their solutions

Bradford Spurr

Posted on April 19, 2016 in News
By USM Free Press

By Colin Cundy, Contributor

On April 14, polls officially opened for the 2016 student body president and vice president elections. Candidates for these positions introduced themselves and their platforms in two debate-style events. The first was held late-morning in Woodbury Center on the Portland Campus and the second occurred in the evening in the Brooks Student Center on the Gorham Campus.

The student body president and vice president lead the Student Senate and act as representatives to the university’s administration. The Student Government Association (SGA), which the student body president and vice president are a part of, is responsible for governing all student groups. Each student pays a ‘student activity fee’ based on the student’s credit hours. The SGA is the steward of the fund this fee creates.

Muhammad Khan, candidate for student body president and a history major, is running with specific goals in mind. “I would like to work with USM Libraries and help them purchase all the necessary textbooks needed for coursework at USM,” he said.

Khan continued to say that college is very expensive, and that the first step to reducing the cost of college is eliminating the cost of textbooks.

The cost of attending university to begin with is very high, he contended, which makes it imperative to find other ways of cutting students’ costs. In order to provide the textbooks needed at USM, Khan would work to expand USM’s libraries and make required texts available for borrowing.

He would also make fundraising one of his administration’s priorities. “Fundraising for an increased number of scholarships open to all members of the student body” would be yet another effort he’d undertake if elected.

Khan, who has served in the student senate, highlighted the need for unity within the student body as another reason for his seeking the presidency. “We need to stop factionalism that is prevalent among many student groups,” he said. Khan further remarked that a united student body is needed for the betterment of USM.

Khan has also served as a member of the Gorham school board, and would like to see more involvement between USM and Gorham and Portland school districts. On the subject of increased community outreach, Khan said, “This would be a great opportunity for USM students to gain internships as mentors and coaches in the Gorham community.” Kahn noted that this increased outreach is a way to improve both USM and its local communities.

Matthew Raymond is running alongside Khan as candidate for vice president, and wants to use the position to advocate for a more positive environment on campus. He said he’d “like to advocate for the issues that they care about most.”

Raymond, a member of USM Socialists, promised to argue for increased funding from the state. He said he would work to “support working and middle class students here at USM and across the University of Maine system.” Dylan Ross, a senior political science major, is also running for student body president.

“I am disgusted with how the university I love has been operating,” he said. This feeling, he continued, has motivated his running for office. Ross, while praising his opponent, didn’t hold his feelings about the SGA back.

“I would like to see most preexisting student leaders resign,” he said. This personal belief has left Ross feeling “like running is the only way to correct the problems.”

Ross, previously involved in the Student Senate, also noted that the institution’s retention rate needs to be addressed. “Our retention rate is 67 percent, and  the national average is 72.3 percent,” he said. He said the solution is “to take our school back, not with a polite suggestions, but with clear demands, and reasonable dialogue.”

The polls opened on April 14 and will be open through April 20. Students, residential and commuter, can find ballots on the SGA’s page on the USM website.  Students can also find other relevant information on this page, such as more information on the candidates, Senate meeting times and more. Students can also find more information on Facebook page ‘USM Votes 2016.’

 

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