To the Editor:

On Nov. 6, residents across the State of Maine will take to the polls to vote on a number of different bond issues. One of these issues is Question #6, a $36.7 million bond to support higher education across the state, of which USM is earmarked to receive the highest amount, $8 million.

These funds will be used in two distinct ways. First, a two-level parking garage (YES!) will be built on the grounds currently occupied by the Bedford St. parking lot. In doing this, 1,200 student parking spaces will be added to the Portland campus.

Second, a community education center will be constructed adjacent to the parking garage. This building will house much-needed office and classroom space (15,000 sq. feet), and a new 400-500 seat lecture hall, all designed to better meet the needs of USM and the greater community.

Certainly from the perspective of anyone within the USM community, this is a most admirable and desperately needed plan. However, even if everyone within the USM community were to vote in favor of this issue, there still would not be enough votes to gain passage of the bond. It is important to note that USM does not stand alone in supporting this issue, as almost every state-funded university and technical college within the state will be receiving access to bond money if this question passes. To ensure that this bond issue does pass, it is imperative to bring our perspective from within the USM community to light on a much larger, statewide scale in order that voters outside the USM community can see how worthwhile and beneficial this plan is.

The true key to gaining voter awareness and ultimately voter support on this issue is publicity, and this means YOU!

The USM Student Senate is charging all USM community members to keep this issue at the forefront of their thoughts for the next week and a half leading up to the election and to make the greater public aware of the potential benefits to both USM and the greater community. Since the USM community is fairly geographically diverse across most of southern Maine, each of us should serve as a local delegate to our hometowns in publicizing this issue. It is our hope that everyone from USM will get to the polls on Nov. 6. To assist Gorham residents without transportation, the Student Senate will be operating shuttles between campus and the polling locations in Gorham. There will also be a student rally in support of the bond issue on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 2:30 p.m. on the steps of Masterton Hall on the Portland campus.

For more information or to volunteer in support of this issue, please call the Student Senate office at 874-6594. Vote YES on 6: USM’s future is in your hands!

Mike Norton

On behalf of the Student Senate

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