Students are not so ‘transient’ after all

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University of Vermont students could have City Council representation, unless Burlington wards them off.

In an effort that began last year, University students and some Burlington political activists have proposed drawing the UniversityÕs on-campus population into the cityÕs district map.

The plan would ideally give UVM its own ward, allowing for two students to serve on the Burlington City Council and giving students a direct voice on city issues.

Critics of the proposal cite the transient nature of studentsÕ residence, a concern with the level of student interest and a lack of student knowledge in representing a city as issues with the effort.

We ask that these issues be re-examinedÑby students, City Council members, Burlington residents and SGA President Connor Daley.

It is true that UVM students are transient. Yet it is also true that Burlington residents are transientÑletÕs be honest, it gets cold here in the winter and while UVM students are trekking through the snow on the way to class, many Burlington residents are comfortably napping in their Florida homes.

Still yet, many UVM studentsÑincluding, we would submit, those who would be serving on City CouncilÑstay in Burlington throughout the summer.

We donÕt think it would be Òa disaster,Ó as one man said at a redistricting committee meeting last year. Students have already fought for recycling initiatives, code enforcement and social issues downtown. So why are people from within the UVM community so quick to dismiss the credibility of a student representative?

Lastly, as a plea to those opponents on the City Council, UVM students carry an important resource in both current scholarly knowledge as well as the research that UVM is becoming increasingly well known for.

This would provide Burlington with a unique perspective and beneficial access to resources at the top of the hill.

We know the process is messy, complex and the current layout of many neighborhoods weigh in the balance. At the very least this issue gives the UVM community a chance to engage in city politics and prove that they will not be apathetic in their own city.

Civic engagement demands enfranchisement. Give students a chance.