Morris Announces Student Outreach Campaign Directive
Republican mayoral candidate Randy Morris announced a new student outreach campaign directive last week in which he seeks to bridge the divide between students and city officials.
“For years, many issues in local politics have been cast in a light that leads students to believe their interests are in conflict with those of long term Athens residents,” Morris said in his statement.
“I believe the division between the two entities is more perception than reality. The vast majority of students are productive and responsible members of the community and should be engaged in civic discourse. They are partners in our community; they help to strengthen this place where we all live together” he said.
Morris said that the concept of having to be a permanent resident to have one’s voice heard is offensive to him. Morris served in the military for 29 years, during which he lived in eight states for usually no longer than three to four years.
“Students are just as much a resident for the four years they are in school as I was when I was on all those assignments,” he said.
Morris promised to continue to pursue an open dialogue with the student population if he were elected mayor in November. In order to achieve this, he would meet with members of Student Senate as well as other students at least once a month to discuss students’ concerns.
Currently there are no students serving on Athens City Council. This lack of representation makes it difficult for students’ concerns to be brought into consideration, according to Morris.
“I think that this disconnect between the city and the students is unfortunate. It shouldn’t be that way; we should work together and work out solutions to our problems, not name call and scapegoat,” Morris said.
“I want to break down that barrier and let the students know that that’s not how I do things. I view the students to be just as important as long term residents.”
By providing a forum in which students can speak openly about concerns they have with local policies, Morris hopes to avoid reproducing the “us versus them” mentality that he believes constrains political discussions in the community.